The Iranian Diaspora Brief

The Iranian Diaspora Brief: August 16, 2021

Top Stories

Does Killing Of Iranian Dissident Foreshadow What Is To Come For Others? | Jerusalem Post

Mousa Babakhani, a leading figure in an Iranian opposition party, was found murdered last Saturday in a hotel room in the Iraqi Kurdish capital city of Erbil. Babakhani was a member of the central committee of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDP-I). His body, which according to a statement released by the party, bore “signs of torture,” was found in a room at the Guli Suleimani hotel in the city. According to a KDP-I statement, Babakhani had disappeared the previous Thursday. The Kurdish Human Rights organization Hengaw reported that Babakhani was lured to the hotel by an old acquaintance who had arrived from Iran.

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Iranians Slam Macron For Congratulating ‘Butcher Of Tehran’ Raisi | Jerusalem Post

Prominent Iranian human rights activists blasted French President Emmanuel Macron for his congratulatory statement on Monday to the Iranian regime’s new president, Ebrahim Raisi. “We the people of Iran will never forget this historical betrayal,” tweeted Masih Alinejad, an Iranian-American journalist and women’s rights activist. “President of a democratic country congratulates a mass murderer like Raisi, who’s ordered the execution of more than 5000 political prisoners in the 80s. He also approved the execution of French-Iranian journalist.”

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Protest Held At San Diego Hall Of Justice Against Iran’s New President | KGTV

Iranian-Americans gathered in downtown San Diego Friday to rally against the new President of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi. Members of the Coalition of Democracy and Human Rights in Iran stood in front of the Hall of Justice calling for Raisi to answer for his alleged role in the massacre of thousands of political prisoners. The rally is the latest demonstration held across the United States in opposition against the country’s new leader.

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Regime Abuses

Families Of Dual Nationals Imprisoned In Iran Renew Call For More Assertive Strategies | Iran Focus

The family members of British nationals imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran staged a protest outside of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office on Friday, accusing the government of doing too little to secure the release of their loved ones. On the same day, Johnson made a statement on Twitter to mark the four-year anniversary of Anoosheh Ashoori being arrested in Tehran. “I reiterate my call for Iran to do the right thing and release him immediately,” Johnson wrote. But his critics expressed concern that his government is leaving the matter in Iranian hands and deferring to the clerical regime’s position that Ashoori and other dual nationals are citizens of the Islamic Republic and therefore subject only to the laws and processes of the Iranian judiciary.

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Family Of Prisoner In Iran To Hold Empty Chair Protest Outside Boris Johnson’s Home | The National

The family of a British-Iranian prisoner will hold a protest close to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s official residence on Friday – the fourth anniversary of his detention on trumped-up national security charges. The wife, daughter and son of Anoosheh Ashoori and his local MP will meet outside Downing Street with an empty chair to symbolise Mr Johnson’s failure to meet them to discuss the case of the retired engineer. Mr Ashoori, 67, was detained in 2017 and convicted of spying for Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad, following a pattern of similar sentences for dual citizens convicted on apparently spurious charges.

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Iran’s ‘Hostage Diplomacy’ Traps Foreign Nationals | Deutsche Welle

The 67-year-old German-Iranian activist Nahid Taghavi is still in detention after being arrested in the Iranian capital in October 2020. Last week, an Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced her to 10 years and eight months detention on charges of engaging in political activity. Such courts are used to try people suspected of wanting to overthrow the government, the proceedings usually take place behind closed doors and evidence is rarely disclosed.

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Six Arrested For ‘Intention’ To Sue Iran Officials Over Mismanaging Covid | Iran International

Iran’s security forces arrested five lawyers and a civil rights activist Saturday evening. Some sources claim that the group was detained during a meeting on taking legal action against authorities for mismanagement of the pandemic and delay in mass vaccination. Apparently Judicial and security officials wanted to prevent them from filing a lawsuit. Some activists in recent days have said that the delay in vaccination in Iran has caused the unlawful deaths of thousands of Iranians and called for the prosecution of those responsible. Iran hit another record high in Covid-19 deaths from Saturday to Sunday with 620 casualties in the fifth wave of the pandemic, the health ministry announced on Sunday. In recent days health and hospital officials have been warning of a total breakdown in the healthcare system.

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In The News

Mysterious Hacker Group Suspected In July Cyberattack On Iranian Trains | New York Times

When a cyberattack on Iran’s railroad system last month caused widespread chaos with hundreds of trains delayed or canceled, fingers naturally pointed at Israel, which has been locked in a long-running shadow war with Tehran. But a new investigation by an Israeli-American cybersecurity company, Check Point Software Technologies, concluded that a mysterious group opposed to the Iranian government was most likely behind the hack. That is in contrast to many previous cyberattacks, which were attributed to state entities. The group is known as Indra, named after the god of war in Hindu mythology.

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Lebanon’s Hezbollah Says It Will Begin Importing Fuel From Iran | Reuters

Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah will begin to import gasoline and diesel from Iran, its leader said on Sunday. Lebanon is experiencing a severe fuel shortage that has caused long lines at petrol stations and extended blackouts. Hospitals, bakeries and other essential facilities have said that dwindling stocks will cause them to shut down. “I assure you, yes, God willing, we will definitely bring diesel and gasoline from Iran,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech, saying the government was no longer able to provide.

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Raisi Inauguration Reveals Rifts In Iran Establishment | Al-Monitor

A week after Ebrahim Raisi’s inauguration as Iran’s new president, questions are lingering and speculation growing over the absence of certain figures from the ceremony. Were they not invited or did they decline to attend? Either way, the visible absences speak volumes about widening cracks in the corridors of power in Tehran. Ahead of the Aug. 5 swearing-in ceremony, Iranian news outlets reported that invitees from 73 countries were to attend, including 10 heads of state. Of them, only the Iraqi and Afghan presidents made it. Next in seniority were the prime ministers of Syria and Armenia. Notably, there was a marked presence of representatives of the regional militant groups Iran is funding to strengthen an anti-Israeli “axis of resistance” and advance its controversial regional influence.

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Iranian Regime Will Stop At Nothing To Ensure Survival | Azadeh Pourzand For New Age

The recent protests that erupted under the pretext of socioeconomic deprivations, but are rooted in political grievances stemming from decades of lack of accountability and repression, have become a trend in the country. Regrettably, the brutal crackdown of these protests by the regime is also the disconcerting order of the day. This is all while the authorities continue to make twisted statements, warning against the conspiracy of ‘the enemy’ against the nation. What do the protests mean for the Islamic Republic of Iran? Having failed to deliver on the promises of the 1979 revolution, including social justice, some observers such as the German-Iranian political scientist Ali Fathollah-Nejad warn that, ‘[W]ithin the socioeconomic, political, and ecological triple crisis, the political crisis constitutes the center of gravity,’ marking a chapter of ‘turmoil and potential instability.’

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More Than 500 Women Human Rights Defenders Unjustly Imprisoned In Iran | Ewelina U. Ochab For Forbes

On August 5, 2021, several human rights organizations sent a joint submission to the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women warning about the increasing persecution and prosecution of women human rights defenders in Iran. The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (RWCHR), International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Iran Human Rights Documentation Centre, Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights (ABC) in Iran and PEN America produced a report shedding light on the dire situation of women human rights defenders in Iran…

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Water Scarcity Is The Biggest Threat To Middle East Stability | Dnyanesh Kamat For The Straits Times

Water is likely to become the most critical determinant of state stability and geopolitical conflict in the Middle East. What makes water conflicts in the Middle East particularly flammable is that they sit atop a complex matrix of pre-existing ethnic grievances and interstate disputes. Over the past few weeks, Iran has been rocked yet again by anti-regime protests, this time over water scarcity. The centre of the protests has been in Iran’s south-western Khuzestan province, home to a large Arab minority who have long complained of second-class treatment from the government in Teheran. As usual, the regime has responded with heavy-handed tactics, with at least eight people dead and scores more arrested.

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Justice For My Brother And All Victims: Ending Impunity For Iran’s 1988 Prison Massacre | Lawdan Bazargan For Iran International

In June 2021, in a presidential election that was neither free nor fair(link is external), and that most Iranians boycotted, Ebrahim Raisi became the eighth President of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). Raisi is implicated in the killings of more than 5,000 political prisoners in Iran’s jails in the summer of 1988, including my brother Bijan Bazargan. Since Raisi’s appointment, people ask me, “how do you feel?” They are surprised when I say, “Honestly, I am happy and thrilled.” The reality is that I am relieved that finally, the truth about the IRI is plain to see: it is a regime run by killers.

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Dismantle The Islamic Republic | Mordechai Kedar For The Algemeiner

In recent weeks, mass demonstrations have taken place in three peripheral provinces of Iran populated by non-Persian ethnic groups. The most prominent is the Arab-inhabited Ahwaz province, located on the banks of the Persian Gulf. Mass demonstrations were also conducted in the Kurdish and Azeri regions in the north of the country. Iran’s economic crisis has resulted in a lack of investment in, among other things, water infrastructure. The Persian region of Iran has suffered severe drought for years.

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Non-English Language Media

 شش وکیل دادگستری و فعال مدنی در ایران بازداشت شدند | Voice Of America

ک منبع مطلع به صدای آمریکا گفت، روز شنبه چهار وکیل دادگستری و دو فعال مدنی توسط نیروهای امنیتی در تهران بازداشت و به مکان نامعلومی منتقل شده‌اند. یک منبع مطلع که به دلایل امنیتی نخواست نامی از او فاش شود،‌ به صدای آمریکا گفت روز شنبه ۲۳ مرداد ماه آرش کیخسروی، مصطفی نیلی، محمدرضا فقیهی و لیلا حیدری،‌ چهار وکیل دادگستری، مهدی محمودیان و مریم افرافراز، دو فعال مدنی، توسط پلیس بازداشت شده‌اند. این منبع مطلع در ادامه، دلیل بازداشت این افراد را تلاش برای شکایت آنها از برخی مقامات جمهوری اسلامی در پی گسترش ویروس کرونا اعلام کرد و افزود،‌ مقامات پیش از بازداشت در تماسی با برخی از این وکلا و فعالان مدنی به آنها فشار آورده بودند تا هیچ اقدامی صورت نگیرد.

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 اعتصاب غذای دو زندانی در ایران؛ عفو بین اللمل خواستار محاکمه مجدد یک زندانی محکوم به اعدام شد| Voice Of America

اخبار منتشر شده در شبکه‌های اجتماعی حاکی از اعتصاب غذای آتنا دائمی،‌ فعال مدنی زندانی، و قادر محمدزاده،‌ زندانی سیاسی، و درخواست عفو بین الملل از مقامات ایران برای محاکمه مجدد و عادلانه حیدر قربانی،‌ زندانی سیاسی کرد در ایران، است. حسین دائمی، پدر آتنا دائمی، با انتشار متنی در توئیتر اعلام کرد این فعال مدنی محبوس در زندان لاکان رشت از روز پنجشنبه ۲۱ مرداد ماه در اعتراض به عدم رسیدگی به قطعی مکرر تلفن این زندان و پاسخگو نبودن مسئولان به وضع موجود، دست به اعتصاب غذای نامحدود زده است. پدر خانم دائمی پیشتر به صدای آمریکا گفته بود، با پایان حکم پنج سال زندان او که از سال ۱۳۹۵ بدون یک روز مرخصی در زندان به سر می‌برد، حکم ۲ سال و یک ماه زندان دیگر او به اتهام «توهین به رهبری» از تیرماه سال گذشته به اجرا گذاشته شده است. در حکم شعبه ۲۴ دادگاه انقلاب تهران خانم دائمی به اتهام «تبلیغ علیه نظام» و «اخلال در نظم زندان» مجموعا به ۲ سال زندان دیگر و ۷۴ ضربه شلاق محکوم شده است.

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