Iran’s women and their lost dreams

There are stories of Iran that mainstream media unfortunately refuse to cover. These days it is all talk about the smiling “moderate” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani launching his second term.

One dark side of Iran the mullahs’ regime have kept a lid on is the status of Iran’s young women. Despite having a highly educated young population, with women comprising the majority of Iranians going to college, the end result, however, is mostly heartbreaking.

Shahindokht is a young woman in her twenties working at a women’s clothes shop in Tehran’s Haft-e Teer Square. When interviewed she did not allow the reporter from Iran’s state ILNA news agency take photo of the store she works in, not even a small shot for a video-take, and nor will she allow the reporter name the store. She is afraid. Afraid of losing the job she was lucky to even find. When she talks about her conditions, one gets more familiar with the drastic circumstances young Iranian women are enduring these days:

“I was in my last year of college, unemployed and literally broke to the point that I was going crazy. My father had been unemployed for a few years and barely making ends meet. He had been a factory worker and I don’t know how he was retired after 20 years, while earning less in comparison to others like him. My older brother drove taxis for a while, until he became a drug addict. For the past few years he sleeps until noon at home, then smokes one cigarette after another until evening. He may work a few hours, just to make his drug money. And that’s it.”
She wants to share more of her pains, about life and her family, about a sister who has divorced, a mother who soon will most likely be diagnosed with Alzheimer… but she prefers to talk about her job, about working in the clothing store:

“For a few days I would buy a newspaper and look through the ads. I couldn’t find a job in my field, history. As I looked more I started to become hopeless. I came to understand I either had to start selling on the streets or down in the metro, or take a job as a typist or a salesperson. Typing wasn’t easy for me. I started looking for stores selling women’s clothing, and finally, a month later, I found this place. The day when I came for the interview there were many women in line. Such a long line, you should’ve seen it.”

Now it’s exactly eight months since Shahindokht is selling women’s clothing, and as she said, living on tips and percentage. She doesn’t have a written contract or a fixed paycheck. No insurance either…

“We receive a monthly salary of two million or three million rials in cash from the storeowner (the equivalent of around $100), for cleaning the place, making tea, providing some service. The rest is from how much we sell. At New Year my salary reached 15 million rials (around $500), but now it’s mostly no more than seven to eight million. I am waiting for late August and September. With schools and colleges opening, young ladies and school girls come flocking in to this square to buy new clothes. That’s when we sellers see better days…”

In the middle of her sentence two or three ladies enter the store. Shahindokht looked in despair, upset at why she had been standing outside talking. She has to go in or else the other sellers will receive the percentage, and who knows when two or three more customers will come by this store again.

There are many such young women in Iran’s huge capital, Tehran. Women who are deprived of having a decent job, forced to work in such conditions without a guaranteed future… These women can only afford a very minimum lifestyle if their storeowners are lucky in their sales… if not, they just come and go. Meaningless labor, without any light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

This is the destiny awaiting young educated women in Iran ruled by the mullahs’ regime.

The Story Of Rahele Zakaie: Another Woman Perished In Iran

Following International Women’s Day on March 8, the plight of Iranian women to finally obtain the freedom and rights they deserve continues. This struggle is resembled in the case of each and every Iranian women.

News of Rahele Zakaie’s death means nothing to many people. Another human being amongst the 7.5 billion now roaming the earth. She died of cancer.

However, her loss brought much sorrow to those women who in recent years were and have been detained in the political prisoners’ ward of Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, those who shared moments of joy and tears with Rahele.

She had a strange story, with many years behind bars. Thirteen years of her short life she spent in prison for theft and drug-related crimes. She was a drug addict who got clean several times, and despite spending many years behind bars, others’ fondness of her never waned.

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Iranian women inmates sit at their cell in Evin jail, north of Tehran, June 2006. (ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

Rahele, a girl from Mashhad in northwest Iran, was acquainted with crime at an early age due to poverty and her family’s background in such a lifestyle. When she was only 11 years old, her uncles used her as cover for an armed robbery. At 13 she was sent off to live with a man who was killed some time later during an armed robbery, leaving behind a 1-year-old boy. At 16, Rahele was put behind bars for theft and drug-related charges.

This was the beginning of her painful in-and-out experience from this to that prison, from interrogation to solitary confinement. She once even claimed responsibility for the narcotics found in the belongings of her friend to save her from being executed. Iran is known to execute several hundred people each year for drug-related charges, a practice condemned by Amnesty International. What Rahele considered the “price of friendship” cost her 10 ruthless years behind bars.

She always dreamed of protecting her son and worried of the fate of her sister’s five-year-old daughter, wanting a better life for her. The little girl’s father had been executed and her mother committed suicide. Rahele wanted to take care of these kids and also support her younger twin brother and sister. She was deprived of any visits and worked long hours in Sari Prison’s doll shop to pay for her son’s mobile phone charges.

However, like many others, the events of 2009 changed Rahele’s life. When prisons were filled with female political prisoners with no means to phone their families, Rahele would make these calls for them. The authorities had accused her of having contact with prisoners related to the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

During this period she yearned to learn and craved to become a human rights advocate. She quit drugs once again and devoted her time to reading books.

She longed to write her life story and especially the tales of women in various prisons across the country. She once wrote a two-part report about Gharchak Prison, located southeast of Tehran, published in the Focus on Iranian Women website.

She continued her writing about the prisons she had experienced, in Mashhd, Sabzevar, Ghezel Hesar and Evin, describing the horrible spread of skin diseases and inmates using contaminated needles for drug injections. Reading Rahele’s writing demands strong tolerance, like when she talks about the “Mothers’ Ward” in Mashhad’s Vakil Abad Prison, where in each room you see a grieving mother with two little children…

Yet as Rahele explains, no prison was as atrocious as Qarchak. She always wanted to write a book about the place, where each corner contained another nightmare.

Diarrhea and blood vomiting is common. I used to cry all night until morning because of the cold. The cold would literally kill you.”

Prison authorities would kick me hard in the chest during the period that I was breastfeeding my child. I was beaten many times. In the first six months I wasn’t allowed to shower. During these six months I had six periods. When you are repeatedly beaten and tortured, the bleeding is unstoppable. All of my clothes were filled with sh*t and dried blood. After six months I literally cried and begged for a 15-minute shower. I was so happy that I was even smelling that water.”

She also endured much torture.

I was blindfolded and chained to a chair. They beat me so long that I could barely walk. Mr. Monfared grabbed my chest so hard that I fainted of pain. One cannot imagine the horror until they actually experienced it.”

A journalist who spent some time behind bars with Rahele wrote about her:

Despite all the pain she had experienced in her childhood and being behind bars, she was always full of life and loved to learn. She wanted to go to school, learn English and computers. The joy of life was the first thing you saw in Rahele’s eyes. During the little time she had, she would go to the library and had read nearly all the books. This was what made Rahele different for me. Nine years have passed, but she is still in my heart.”

They say Rahele started using drugs time and again to relieve her of the pains, and time and again she quit to start life all over again.

During the short periods of furlough, she would try to contact me to provide news about events inside the prison. She would go to see the families of political prisoners and reassure them that their loved ones were okay. She had come to learn about human rights activities and sought to follow up on these matters. In prison she attempted to gather signatures for a million-signature petition. Rahele didn’t just think about herself. She liked to change the world around her.”

Was Rahele diagnosed with cancer early on?

No. There is no decent medical care or diagnosis in prison. Her cancer was most probably diagnosed at a very late stage, as she passed away soon afterwards. I know she also suffered from dialysis in her last days.”

Rahele is described as different from those in the prison ward.

All the inmates in that ward had common background. They were either human rights advocates or journalists. However, Rahele was from another world. She was a different person from a different atmosphere, with a different language. Maybe that’s why she has remained in the memory of so many.”

Rahele had spent 13 years behind bars and was released on bail in the summer of 2014. She was ordered to live under internal exile for two years in the city of Isfahan, in south-central Iran.

“I will become a new person,” she would say.

She always yearned for freedom. Many nights when she fell asleep dreaming about freedom. However, the cancer had spread and stole her last breath on February 17.

Unfortunately, Iran under the mullahs’ regime is riddled with such painful stories of women across this ancient land. Of those unjustly jailed, tortured and executed, those suffering with faces and bodies scarred with lifelong wounds of acid attacks, and the millions enduring enormous hardships through the course of 38 years of the mullahs’ atrocious and misogynist rule.

Humanity must pledge to bring an end to all the wrongs being imposed against women, especially in countries such as Iran. The 21st century is no place for such continuing atrocities.

Originally published in Forbes

Iran’s Regime of Terror by the Numbers

In 38 years the country’s Islamist regime has taken the people into poverty and illiteracy while the leadership has gotten richer and richer.

The mullahs now ruling Iran were able to hijack the revolution that sacked the U.S.-backed Shah regime back in February 1979. However, the 38-year report card left by the mullahs has only raised extreme anger throughout the Iranian society.

Numbers are very vivid in revealing the undeniable atrocities caused by the mullahs’ disastrous policies.

The daily trend of continuous executions in Iran has raised anger amongst the international community for years. Iran is considered the number one executioner per capita.

The number of executions in Iran “paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” according to Amnesty International.

Suicides are also on the rise, especially amongst women, ranking Iran first in the Middle East and third in the world. There are also reports of a growing number of teenagers committing suicide.

Drug addiction is yet another disastrous result of the mullahs’ rule in Iran. The amount of drugs spreading amongst women and teenagers is skyrocketing and state-run media are citing experts estimating at least 8 million Iranians are suffering from this dreadful phenomenon.

Iran’s roads are even considered very dangerous, as the mullahs refuse to allocate the necessary budget to provide safe passages. 20,000 people die each year in Iran and 300,000 injured (150% more than the global average). Iran’s annual road accident casualty statistics are even compared to an all-out war.

Poverty has increased to an extent that many Iranians have resorted to gathering recyclable products, food stuffs and other trash to make ends meet, and the homeless sleeping in pre-dug graves.

All the while Iran is a country sitting on a vast sea of crude oil and natural gas, with new reports of 2 billion barrels of shell oil discovered in western Iran.

The country’s economy, however, has nosedived to such an extent that more than 50% of the industrial units have gone bankrupt or are on the verge of bankruptcy.

Unemployment is now a critical and increasing crisis. Nearly 15 million people are unemployed in Iran, according to an Iranian economy expert.

The mullahs’ policies have literally destroyed the entire “middle class” in Iran, leaving the population divided between a small percentage with massive riches, and a high percentage living in poverty.

30% of the country’s population is hungry and have no bread to eat,” said Ali Akbar Sayari, Deputy Health Minister in the cabinet of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran has an urban population of 65 million, of which one third live in city outskirts comparable to shacks and slums.

“Around 20 million people are living in 53,000 hectares (204 square miles) of non-official residential areas,” according to Mohammad Saeed Izadi, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Road and Construction.

Financial corruption is spreading throughout society like cancer. The numbers have become massive and even unimaginable. Above all is the apparatus linked to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, whose riches value at $95 billion.

Iran’s environment is also on the verge of complete annihilation.

“If the water crisis in Iran continues, the country will soon become very similar to Somalia and 50 million Iranians will be forced to leave the country,” said Isa Kalantari, Rouhani’s advisor in water and agricultural matters.

Even the workplace is considered unsafe under the mullahs’ rule, as Iran ranks first in the world in workplace incidents.

“Iran is the world record holder in construction accidents,” said Akbar Shokat, head of the Construction Workers’ Guild Center in an interview with the state-run ISNA news agency.

Illiteracy is plaguing millions of Iranian children, depriving them of education due to their family’s economic and social problems. Iran has a population of 10 million illiterates and 10 million low-literates, according to Rouhani’s Deputy Education Minister.

Yet another repulsive custom rendered from the mullahs’ regime has been child marriages. Poverty forces families to give off their young daughters, leaving them to face unthinkable spiritual and physical damages from arranged marriages.

43,000 girls between the ages of 10 to 15 are currently married in Iran,” according to regime officials.

This is merely a tip of the iceberg of the mullahs’ horrific track record in the past 38 years, making serious measures against this regime and in support of the Iranian people all the more necessary.

Originally posted in The Clarion Project

Iran: Why “moderate” Rouhani can’t tolerate 2 motorcycling women

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By Heshmat Alavi

Two young women were arrested last week in Dezful, southwest Iran, for riding a motorcycle, according to a report wired by state-run IRNA news agency. As images went viral a social-media backlash was sparked against the ultra-conservative establishment ruling the country. But nothing heard from the so-called “moderate” camp, now symbolled only in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, orphaned following the sudden death of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a former president and senior figure in Iranian politics.

The tale of the two young women, when read, resembled a crime report or breaking news about a major security or political development.

“This manifested the utmost denunciation of religious norms by the two girls and caused serious torment and anxiety among city officials,” said local police commander Colonel Ali Elhami. “The state security forces carried out an extensive investigation and finally managed to find, arrest, and deliver them to judiciary officials.”

The charges raised for this arrest has been violating “religious norms” as their adventure was filmed and posted online. Religious extremists in Iran responded by demanding the women be arrested for their dress, appearance and interaction with men seen in the online video images.

This is a regime with an amazingly low tolerance for any social freedoms. Iranian authorities have described this act as “exploiting the opportunity” due to the lack of police in a national park to take part in an “obscene act.” Yet it seems the regime is more concerned about the footage spreading online so quickly, and more individuals seeking to challenge the establishment through such practices.

A woman would not be officially breaking the law in Iran for riding a motorcycle, yet the very extreme interpretation of modesty laws can provide grounds for authorities to punish such acts.

We are talking about a country of strict attire regulations, especially targeting women, whom are obligated to wear headscarves and abide by so-called “modest” clothing. The regime is also known for dispatching undercover agents in the thousands, parallel to so-called “morality police” patrolling the streets hunting for cases of violations.

In the 21st century when hundreds of millions of social media users are communicating like never before, Iran is known for its frequent social media crackdowns. In 2016 a number of women were apprehended for posting images on Instagram and one was humiliated as authorities forced her to publicly apologize on state television.

Iranian women endure discrimination in marriage, divorce, child custody, inheritance and even freedom of movement, according to the 2017 Human Rights Watch world report.

Women and girls are also banned from entering sports stadiums to attend certain events, such as men’s soccer and volleyball matches

Knowing the potential of Iran’s powder keg society, and women capable of spearheading protests across the country, the mullahs have for the past 38 years continuously kept women under harsh crackdown measures.

This goes against any and all arguments of Iran possessing a faction of so-called “moderates” or “reformists,” especially since four years of Rouhani’s tenure rendered no significant improvement in freedoms.

Despite his smiles aimed at fueling the West’s pro-appeasement policy camp, Rouhani’s grim report card shows a horrendous surge to nearly 3,000 executions, unrivaled even by his predecessor, firebrand Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The case of these two innocent motorcycling girls further proves the growing intolerance of a regime on the brink of collapse. With Rafsanjani gone, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has lost his balancing factor, and any opening divide in the senior hierarchy will pave the path for 2009-like uprisings that shook the regime’s very foundations.

Interestingly, women lead the main Iranian opposition movement threatening the mullahs’ rule. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella group including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Women play a very significant role in this entity, acting as a role model for women inside Iran.

This is exactly why the mullahs’ regime has no tolerance for the Iranian population to sense any increase in freedoms. With crucial presidential elections only a few months away, Khamenei and his apparatus seek to maintain a tight grip on the un-resting society. Even such simple cases of two young women riding a motorcycle.

Iran: imminent executions, harsh prisons & increasing protests

10 inmates face imminent execution in prison west of Tehran

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Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran

10 death row inmates in Gohardasht Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran, were transferred to solitary confinement on the morning of Saturday, December 10th, in preparation for their executions.

One of these inmates is Abdullah Ghaffari from ward 2 of this jail. These ten inmates are scheduled to be executed soon.

 

 

Female political prisoner severely attacked in Kerman Prison, south-central Iran

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Political prisoner Afsane Baizadi in Kerman Prison

Political prisoner Afsane Baizadi was severely attacked by authorities in Kerman Prison, south-central Iran, after protesting the facility’s inhumane conditions.

“It has been around two weeks since the ward’s heating has been turned off and we have been deprived of any hot water and showers. We are serving our time under very harsh and isolated conditions. Political prisoner began protesting such conditions to the prison authorities and Ms. Baizadi began chanting ‘Death to Dictator’ and ‘Death to the Islamic republic.’ The authorities attacked and began severely beating her,” a prisoner in Baizadi’s ward reported.

Baizadi is a Kurdish Iranian college student who was condemned on June 20th of this year to four years behind bars and exiled to Kerman Prison. The charges raised against her include propaganda against the establishment, insulting Iranian regime leader Ali Khamenei and cooperating with a Kurdish party.

“I am the same Afsane who was tortured and placed under suffering for 90 days. During this period I was tortured in every possible way. During my first days in detention the torture reached a point that I couldn’t even walk. My legs and back were completely swollen black,” she had written in a previous letter shedding light on the medieval tortures imposed on her during her arrest.

She was summoned and interrogated time and again by the Iranian regime’s notorious Ministry of Intelligence. It is worth noting that the women’s ward in Kerman Prison has 92 inmates detained for different crimes, including 11 political prisoners who are kept in a completely isolated environment.

 

 

College students in northern Iran demand release of political prisoners

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Mazandaran University, northern Iran

A session was held to discuss the nuclear agreement between the international community and Iran, known as the JCPOA, on Saturday, December 10th, in Mazandaran University, in northern Iran.

Iranian MP Mohammad Ali Najafi took part in this session where the students taking part chanted slogans demanding the release of all political prisoners. The university is alive, they also said in their slogans.

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500 miners protest in Shahrood, east of Tehran

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Tarze workers holding protest gathering

More than 500 miners of the Tarze coal mine rallied on Saturday, December 10th outside the administrative office of this mine in the city of Shahrood, east of the capital, Tehran, demanding their delayed wages. These workers have not received their paychecks for the past 4 months.

The mine managers pledged last week in a similar rally held by the workers to respond to their demands and send them their paychecks. However, no such measure has been taken.

The miners are saying they are concerned that considering the fact that they are reaching the last months of the Iranian calendar the managers will also refrain from paying them their New Year bonuses.

 

 

Glass/gas workers stage rally outside regime parliament

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Gas & Glass Factory in Shoga

At 8 am on Saturday morning workers of the Shoga Gas and Glass Factory rallied in Tehran outside the Iranian regime’s parliament demanding to return to work, reports from inside the country indicate.

The protesters raised placards written, “We are a group of fired workers of the Gas and Glass Factory despite having 20 years of experience in this work. We demand to be able to return to work.”

 

 

IRGC members kill a Kurdish load-carrier, injuring another

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Systematic killing of load-carriers in the mullahs’ dictatorship

Members of the Iranian regime’s notorious Revolutionary Guards opened fire and killed Kurdish load-carrier in a village near the city of Maku, northwestern Iran. This incident took place on Thursday, December 8th, reports indicate.

Majid Dadkhah, the victim, was taken by IRGC members to their outpost station.

On this same day other IRGC members opened fire on another such load-carrier in the village of Ezgele near Babajani, northwestern Iran, leaving him injured as a result.

These crimes against the deprived load-carriers are taking place under the pretext of confronting smuggling of goods. However, according to the remarks made by the regime’s own officials, billions of dollars of goods are being smuggled into the country through the IRGC’s exclusive transits and ports, without any hurdles throughout the entire process.

Crackdown wave in Iran & protests in response

Theater actor sentenced to 99 lashes

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Inhumane lashings as punishment in Iran

The mullahs’ so-called judiciary in Iran has sentenced a young theater actor by the first name of Payam to 99 lashes. This inhumane ruling was upheld yesterday by the Iranian regime’s supreme court.

It is worth noting that following the lashing of Agh Dare mine workers and 35 college students in Ghazvin being sentenced to 99 lashes each by the mullahs’ judiciary, the United Nations issued a statement condemning lashings in Iran as inhumane, cruel, humiliating and in violation of international laws.

 

 

Kurdish woman sets herself ablaze

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Women setting themselves ablaze in protest in Iran

A Kurdish woman in Iran who set herself ablaze lost her life on Tuesday, December 6th due to her severe injuries. She was held in a hospital in Isfahan.

Negin Bidkham was from the village of “Faraj Abad” near the city of Kamiyaran, western Iran. She had set herself ablaze 10 days ago.

Women of all ages committing suicide and setting themselves ablaze is the immediate result of the atrocious crackdown imposed on this sector of society by the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

 

 

 

Intelligence agency demands money from family for a prisoner’s dead body

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Bandar Abbas Prison

Agents of the notorious Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) in Iran are demanding ransom money from the family of Reza Hossein Alizadeh in return for his corpse. Alizadeh lost his life in Bandar Abbas Prison, southern Iran, due to lack medical care.

The physical conditions of this prisoner was very dire, yet MOIS agents prevented his transfer to a hospital until he was finally taken to a hospital on Wednesday, November 16 after suffering a brain stroke. However, according to physicians his transfer was very late and there was nothing more they could do to keep him alive.

This prisoner passed away on December 7th and when his family commuted from Maku (northwest Iran) all the way to Bandar Abbas in southern Iran to retrieve his body, MOIS agents said they must first pay 7 billion rials (around $200,000). The MOIS agents said they will not hand over the body otherwise.

 

 

Political prisoner transferred to Tabriz Prison

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Political prisoner Morteza Moradpour

Political prisoner Morteza Moradpour has been transferred from Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, to Tabriz Prison in northwest Iran, while 44 days have passed since his hunger strike.

Kept in solitary confinement and under inhumane conditions until his transfer, he informed his brother in a phone call about the pressures imposed on him by regime agents while in solitary confinement.

“Morteza called on Thursday afternoon. This was the first call he made after his transfer to the Karaj prison. It was completely obvious from his voice that he had become severely weak. His blood pressure is usually 8. Morteza said he remains deprived from direct access to drinking water. They rarely provide him hot water. More than anything else he is suffering from lacking blankets and the cold and dry atmohsphere in solitary confinement. Despite the fact that doctors have emphasized on providing him blankets, the authorities have refused to do so. He said he doesn’t know why but the authorities have closed even the smallest openings in his cell. Morteza insists on continuing his hunger strike to have his demands met,” his brother added.

 

 

Conditions of political prisoner on hunger strike deteriorates severely

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Conditions of political prisoner Arash Sadeghi is deteriorating

Political prisoner Arash Sadeghi, on his 45th day no hunger strike, once again began suffering from breathing and heart rate problems. He was transferred to the prison clinic and placed under oxygen.

The clinic resident doctor described his conditions as very concerning.

In the past few weeks Sadeghi has been transferred to the prison clinic many times and each night he has needed to be placed under oxygen. He has lost 18 kilograms of his weight and his blood pressure is very low.

This political prisoner is currently unable to speak and in the past few days he has been vomiting “blood clots,” and transferred to a hospital as a result. However, he was returned to prison without receiving proper medical treatment.

It is worth noting that Arash Sadeghi has been on hunger strike for 45 days protesting inhumane prison conditions and the illegitimate arrest of his wife.

 

 

Residents clash with riot police in Tehran

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Bihaghi complex in Tehran

On Thursday, December 8th the residents of the Bihaghi complex in Tehran fought back a raid staged by Tehran special riot police and municipality agents who were dispatched to force the locals to evacuate the complex.

Clashes broke out as regime agents forced 200 workers to evacuate this complex and be left in the freezing winter cold.

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Protest rallies in Tehran, Mashhad, Neishabour and Sarkhoon

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Rally protesting housing policies of Iranian regime

People from various parts of Iran in the cities of Tehran, Mashhad, Neishabour and Sarkhoon staged protest rallies.

In Tehran, people demanding their homes under the Pardis housing project rallied outside the regime’s Ministry of Road & Construction to voice their protests. They were protesting 7 years of reluctance, delays, embezzlement, money laundering and lies by regime authorities.

In Mashhad, incoming reports indicate a group of people who lost their stock investments rallied outside the regime’s governorate office in Mashhad. They were demanding attention by regime officials to their requests.

A group of people in the town of Sarkhoon, near the town of Ardel in southern Iran, held a rally outside the main oil pipeline and demanded their water pollution problems be resolved.

In Neishabour, northeast Iran, drivers of heavy machinery belonging to the municipality staged a rally protesting their paychecks being delayed for the past 7 months. This rally was held on Wednesday, December 7th.

Furthermore, drivers of private cars in this city also rallied outside the regime’s governorate office protesting not receiving their paychecks for the past few months.

 

 

Human chain in defense of Karoon River in Ahvaz

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Human chain alongside Karoon River

A group of people in Ahvaz rallied in support of Karoon River and against measures of rerouting its waters to Zayandeh River. They formed a human chain to voice their protests on Thursday, December 8th, reports indicate.

It is worth noting that to this day numerous protest rallies have been held, such as forming human chains by Ahvaz locals. However, regime officials have yet to bring an end to their destructive policies in this regard.

 

 

 

Urmia University students chant “Release all political prisoners”

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Urmia University

At a ceremony marking Students Day in Urmia University, northwest Iran, protesting students began chanting slogans demanding the release of all political prisoners.

The students also specifically demanded the release of political prisoner Morteza Moradpour.

“Freedom doesn’t mean that freedom activists must spend their lives behind bars under the most atrocious conditions, including on hunger strike,” they said.

 

Protests & crackdown measures continue in Iran: latest reports

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Protesting students demand release of jailed students

Universities across the country marked Students Day on December 6th

In Tehran students of Amir Kabir Tech University staged their protest rally despite Bassij paramilitary forces attempting to prevent them. The rally witnessed slogans including, “Release all political prisoners,” “Students do not belong in prison,” “No to administrative corruption,” “Release Nargis Mohammadi,” “Students rather die than succumb to abjection.” In the Sharif Tech University students held a rally and chanted, “Release all political prisoners.”

Students of Science & Industrial University also held a rally, chanting, “Evin Prison accepts students,” “My dear Kianush, we continue your path,” “I hate chains.” They also raised posters written, “Jailed students must be release,” “Duration law must be cancelled.” Students of Teachers Training University raised placards written, “We demand expulsion of elements behind 2009 university crackdown.”

Students of National University forced state TV camera crews out of their session hall and chanted, “State radio & TV are a disgrace,” “State agents out.”

In the city of Yazd, central Iran, students of the law school disrupted a pro-regime session by chanting, “The establishment must be uprooted.”

Students of universities in Mazandaran and Ahvaz staged rallies and raised placards written, “Students don’t belong in prisons,” and “Students are aware and ready.”

Students of Asfarain Tech University turned the stage held for a regime governor to deliver a speech into a scene of protest. “Students rather die than succumb to abjection.”

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Students of Andimeshk University protested a speech delivered by the governor and chanted, “The message of justice: struggle till freedom,” “Release all jailed college students.” These student protests were held across the country at a time when the mullahs’ regime held a ridiculous program dubbed “War of Joy,” attempting to quell student protests. These arrangements were held with hated mullahs and regime officials taking part, all boycotted and hated by the college students.

In Urmia, northwest Iran, only a few of the thousands of college students actually attended the session. Students of Tabriz University raised a placard in their rally written, “December 6 is the day of demanding justice and freedom, not war of joy?!”

In Semnan University, east of Tehran, regime officials attempted to hold a cultural event, only to be boycotted and ridiculed by the students. These students raised pictures of the students killed on December 7, 1953 by the Shah’s regime. These pictures were captioned as, “Today is not a day of dancing, but a day of commemorating killed college students.”

Hundreds of students of Tehran University turned the Student Day ceremony to a scene of protest against the repressive policies of the regime.

This protest move was coincident with the presence of mullah Rouhani at the university auditorium and despite widespread security measures by the agents of suppression organs including the Intelligence Ministry and special guard unit of the university. The students, who were prevented from entering the auditorium, marched across the campus. During the march they sang “Yar-e Dabestani” and chanted:

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“Political prisoner must be freed”, “Student dies but does not accept humiliation”, “Noble students! Support, support”, “Student prisoners must be freed” and “University security should be abolished”.

They also protested against monetary law of university and the law called ‘Sanavat (years)’ enacted in order to extort money from students. They also distributed leaflets saying: “University is not garrison!”, “Prison is not a place for students”, and “why 1988 (massacre)”?

Suppressive measures of Basij forces to disperse students led to confrontation, and the students managed to force Basij forces to escape.

Despite the massive presence of repressive and anti-riot forces inside Tehran University and in front of its entrance gate and streets leading to the university, the student managed to stage their protest gathering. Police cars blocked the university entrance preventing the people to join protesting students.

Students of “Allameh Tabatabi” University in Tehran also chanted “Political prisoner must be freed” and “worker prisoners must be freed” in their protest gathering.

The regime’s intelligence agents called “Harasat” in Azad University of Saveh attacked and assaulted the students to prevent them from entering the campus. The regime’s mercenaries attack turned into a confrontation with students. The students chanted: “University is not garrison” and” Death to dictator”.

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In Tabriz, the students staged a gathering in front of the university despite the widespread presence of intelligence and plainclothes agents of the regime. They chanted, “Our last message to the incompetent regime: the freedom- loving nation is ready to rise up!”

Zahedan university students also chanted in the ceremony held on December 5: “Student dies, but does not accept humiliation” and “political prisoner must be freed”. State officials prevented free entry of the students in order to prevent the formation of student protests.

On the same day, the students of Tehran ‘Tarbiat Modarres” University repeatedly interrupted the speech of Ma’soumeh Ebtekar, head of the Department of Environment of Rouhani, and chanted: “Political prisoner must be freed”. In protest at the catastrophic situation of air pollution in various cities, the students presented oxygen cylinder to Ma’soumeh Ebtekar.

Students of ‘Khajeh Nasir University’ in Tehran wrote on large banners that were installed on the walls of the amphitheater: “University is not a garrison, our university is alive”, “political prisoner must be freed”.

 

 

Iran: Young woman summoned to Intelligence Department

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Civil activist Laila Mir-Ghaffari was summoned to the Intelligence Department in Tehran on December 6, 2016, to be interrogated on her activities.

The young woman had been arrested in a protest rally outside the Evin Prison last year on November 21, 2015, and taken to Varamin’s Qarchak Prison. She was released after a week on November 28, 2015, on a 500 million rial bail bond (equal to around $14,300).

 

Iran: Double-fold increase in the number of homeless women in Tehran

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A member of Tehran’s City Council revealed that there has been a 100% growth in the number of homeless women in Tehran.

Fatemeh Daneshvar said, “Based on the statistics collected by Tehran Municipality’s social services patrols, 1026 women were rounded up in the streets in the period between October 2015 and March 2016. Among them, 544 were homeless women, and 482 were beggars. While in the period from March to September 2016, a total of 1598 women were rounded up including 1038 homeless women, and 560 were beggars. This shows a 100% rise in the number of homeless women which includes women who sleep in cardboard boxes in the streets or those who stay in ‘hangouts’.” (The state-run Tasnim news agency – December 5, 2016)

These official figures should be considered as minimum as there is no accurate method or system of data collection in Iran, while the government deliberately keeps part of these statistics secret in fear of public outrage.

 

 

Internet leads to further unrest, support increasing for MEK: senior mullah

7Mullah Movahedi Kermani, head of the so-called “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Wrong” office in Tehran revealed how the Iranian regime is terrified of social media in Iran and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran gaining further support amongst the youth.

“The internet has led to further unrest and support for the PMOI, and leading to mental deviations,” he said.

“Today, the internet is more important than hijab regulations and even the elections. The elections and hijab are second and third. Unfortunately, we are witnessing traitorous measures by various officials in talking about the internet. Many officials have not made the public aware enough about the internet, saying it has similar pros and cons. This is not the case at all and there are many negative side-effects… Therefore, this needs special attention and we are engulfed with this issue as we speak,” he said as reported by state-run media outlets on Sunday, December 4th.

“Today’s cultural attack has targeted our wives, small children, and even the elderly. For example, if you are a guest at the house of one of your friends or relatives, you will see that everyone is plunged into their mobiles. Have we ever asked ourselves what is going on in these mobile phones and what are the people seeing?” Movahedin Kermani added.

“I received a report from the Assembly of Experts regarding the threats of the internet. I became aware about how the internet can literally uproot religion and Islam altogether. It has enormous power. Mal-veiling is not good, but the internet is a hundred times worse,” he continued.

Street Women in Iran: Not a Profession, But a Sign of Oppression

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Street woman in Iran. Screenshot from Documentary, Prostitution in Iran.

By Iman Moridi, M.A.

There are many rising social dilemmas in today’s Iran. Along with poverty, homelessness, and substance addiction, there are street women. It is clear Iran’s rising rate of inflation is causing an increase in poverty, and now thousands of women engage in prostitution across the country just to survive. Continue reading “Street Women in Iran: Not a Profession, But a Sign of Oppression”

Iran: letter from political prisoner to int’l rights orgs

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Political prisoner Golrokh Ibrahimi Iraie

Political prisoner Golrokh Ibrahim Iraie issued a letter to her husband, Arash Sadeghi and international human rights organizations, supporting his hunger strike.
Political prisoner Arash Sadeghi has been on hunger strike for the past 37 days, protesting inhumane prison conditions and the arrest of his wife, Golrokh Ibrahimi Iraie. His conditions are currently reported as dire. Continue reading “Iran: letter from political prisoner to int’l rights orgs”

Iran: women continuing struggle against mullahs’ regime

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Women protesting in Iran

By Heshmat Alavi

As we mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, it is fit to take a brief look at the atrocious situation the women Iran are facing under the ruthless mullahs’ dictatorship sitting on the throne in Tehran. Continue reading “Iran: women continuing struggle against mullahs’ regime”