The Iranian Diaspora Brief

The Iranian Diaspora Brief: August 19, 2021

Top Stories

Iran’s Rising Trend Of Executions Indicates Further Human Rights Violations | Iran Focus

The National Council of Resistance of Iran has reported that the Iranian regime has yet again added more executions to their longstanding trend of carrying out the highest rate of executions per capita across the world. Just three days after Ebrahim Raisi was inaugurated as the regime’s new president on August 8, the clerical regime carried out nine executions at three prison facilities across Iran. With the latest hanging that took place on Monday, the total number of deaths has reached 22 for the month of August alone. This now takes the year-to-date total to over 200.

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8 Political Activists Are Sentenced To Prison In Iran | Iran News Update

Eight political activists in Iran’s Gilan province were sentenced to prison at the urging of the Ministry of Intelligence, despite their innocence in a previous court. Reports from Gilan indicate that on 28 June 2021, the Gilan Court of Appeal sentenced these political activists to prison. The names of these political activists are Ahmad Behnami, Ebrahim Hazuri, Mahin Akbari, Azra Taheri, Narges Shirbacheh, Simrokh Bozorg Ziaberi, Zahraheghgoo, Aqeel Rahnama Behembari. Reports indicate that the retrial of these Gilani political activists took place in Branch 18 of the Court of Appeals without the presence of a lawyer and in absentia.

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New Iran Government Leaves Country’s LGBTQ Community Hopeless | Washington Blade

Ebrahim Raisi took over the presidency of Iran and promised to be a “true defender of human rights,” but the Iranian LGBTQ community is not hopeful. Iran, a country where LGBTQ youth face legal challenges such as prosecution, sometimes to the extent of death sentences, is seeing a rise of new ultra far-right leaders. Raisi is accused being involved in the 1988 execution of thousands of political prisoners in Tehran, but his human rights abuses are not limited to political prisoners.

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Regime Abuses

Political Prisoners Ahad Barzegar, Reza Roj’ati Abruptly Moved To Rajaiishahr Prison | Iran Human Rights Monitor

Political prisoners Ahad Barzegar and Reza Roj’ati were abruptly moved out of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary and relocated to Rajaiishahr Prison (Gohardasht) on Sunday morning, August 15, 2021. Prison authorities called them from their ward under the pretext of attending a court hearing. Later on, the authorities ordered the political prisoners’ cellmates to pack their belongings for transfer to Rajaiishahr Prison. Ahad Barzegar, a political prisoner of the 1980s, reported into the Greater Tehran Penitentiary on Wednesday, July 14, to serve his 5-year sentence.

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The Arrest Of 7 Lawyers And Civil Activists In Iran | Iran Focus

Reports indicate that seven lawyers and civil activists were arrested in Iran on Saturday, August 14. The group of civil society activists and lawyers is said to have been detained because they intended to sue Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and members of the National Coronavirus Task Force for negligence in their duties, which has resulted in the deaths of thousands of Iranians.

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Azam Attarzadeh, Victim Of 1988 Massacre | Iran Human Rights Monitor

Azam Attarzadeh was born in 1961 in Boroujerd, in western Lorestan Province. Her friends know her as Shahrbanoo. She continued her high school education until graduation, and then worked in a cultural-educational center where she became acquainted with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). She was arrested on September 8, 1981, for propaganda activities against Khomeini. She spent seven years behind bars. Prison officials tortured Azam to cooperate with them. They pressured her by transferring her into solitary confinement.

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In The News

What About Our Future?’ The Iranian Kurds Trapped In Iraq And Forgotten By The International Community | The Independent

In May, 25-year-old Ako sat in a hospital room next to his friend Behzad Mahmoudi, who was wrapped head to toe in bandages.Behzad, an Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker, had set himself on fire outside the United Nations’ headquarters in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. He was protesting his desperate living conditions and what he saw as neglect by UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. “Behzad was crying,” Ako – also an Iranian Kurdish asylum seeker – recalled in Erbil last week, speaking under a pseudonym. “He said, ‘I really didn’t want to end my life like this. I wanted to live, but it just happened.’” Behzad died days later. Soon afterwards, Ako sewed his mouth shut for four days, in another protest over the conditions endured by Iranian Kurds in the Kurdistan Region.

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Iranian Tells ‘Post’ She Is Thrilled For Alleged Regime War Criminal Trial | Jerusalem Post

Lawdan Bazargan told the Jerusalem Post Tuesday that she is delighted with the Stockholm-based trial of  judicial official Hamid Noury who is charged with war crimes and murder for his role in the mass execution of Iranian political prisoners in 1988 in Iran. Noury is on trial in Stockholm, Sweden for the mass murder of 136 Iranians in Gohardasht prison in Karaj, near Tehran, while he allegedly worked as an assistant to the deputy prosecutor.

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Iran: Government Mismanagement Compounds Covid-19 Crisis | Human Rights Watch

Iranian authorities’ prohibition on procuring US- and UK-produced vaccines, lack of transparency, and mismanagement are exacerbating the already dire impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Iran, Human Rights Watch said today. Iran is experiencing a “fifth wave” in the pandemic with a daily death toll of at least 655 and a total of almost 100,000 deaths as of August 18 based on the government’s official statistics. Iranian authorities should urgently redouble efforts to respond effectively to the crisis, including by using all resources necessary to secure lifesaving vaccines and transparently communicating and enforcing effective and clear vaccination and other safety guidelines.

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“Iran Without Hate” Campaign For Baha’is Attracts Widespread Support | Iran Press Watch

The “Iran Without Hate” social media campaign, in Persian and in English, was to address discrimination against Iran’s Baha’i community and to help reduce this discrimination in Iran. A Twitter storm with the #StopHatePropaganda hashtag in English and, in Persian, #Iran_Without_Hate, attracted the support of influential figures around the world. How can the campaign reduce hatred against religious minorities in Iran? IranWire spoke with the organizers and some of its supporters. Systematic harassment and official hatred against the Baha’is in Iran is not something new.

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Hezbollah Says Iran Fuel Tanker To Sail To Lebanon | AFP

Hezbollah chief Hasan Nasrallah Thursday said a tanker would set off from Iran “within hours” to bring desperately needed fuel supplies to Lebanon, in defiance of US sanctions. Nasrallah had previously said that he would turn to his movement’s ally Tehran if authorities failed to address acute and growing fuel shortages brought on by an economic crisis the World Bank has described as one of the planet’s worst since the mid-19th century. The move, prohibited by US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry, could drag Lebanon into the covert naval war between Tehran and Israel, and Nasrallah dared Iran’s foes to stop the shipment.

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Hamas Congratulates Taliban On Victory While Iran Notes US ‘Military Failure’ | Belfast Telegraph

The Islamic militant group Hamas has congratulated the Taliban for their swift takeover of Afghanistan and the end to the United States’ 20-year presence in the country. In a statement, Hamas welcomed “the defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan land” and praised what it said was the Taliban’s “courageous leadership on this victory, which was the culmination of its long struggle over the past 20 years”. Hamas, a Palestinian group that opposes Israel’s existence, has governed the Gaza Strip since taking over the area in 2007, a year after it won a Palestinian election.

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Iran Is On The Path To Becoming A Forever Poor Country | Iran Focus

Experience shows that the group of countries in the world whose inability to use their assets due to poor productivity and inefficiency in domestic economic policies, as well as an inability to speed up foreign trade and interaction with the world, are ready to sink into perpetual poverty. Unfortunately, signs of all three of the above factors can be seen in the Iranian economy from 2011 up to now, especially in the context of growing poverty and the number of poor people.

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End The Immunity Of Raisi For Crimes Against Humanity | Khadijeh Borhani For Eurasia Review

On August 3, the new president of Iran was inaugurated. Ebrahim Raisi embodies the totalitarian regime’s cruelty and violence, spreading killing and destruction inside Iran and the region. Two of my six brothers were executed by Iran’s religious totalitarian regime in the 1988 massacre. Raisi was one of the most instrumental members of the Death Committees that contributed to this massacre. The Death Committees implemented the historic and inhumane fatwa of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. The fatwa ordered them to eliminate anyone opposing the regime, particularly the Mojahedin.

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Ebrahim Raisi’s Cabinet, A Collection Of Suppressors And Looters | Cyrus Yaqubi For Eurasia Review

On Wednesday, August 11, Ebrahim Raisi, the new president of Iran, introduced the names of his cabinet ministers to Iran’s parliament. A brief look at the proposed ministers clearly shows that, as expected, with these ministers and their boss, Raisi, no serious changes will occur in the management or, better say, in the country’s mismanagement.

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Iran Protests Are Real, But Is The West Willing To Listen? | Ahmad Ra’fat For World Crunch

Protests and strikes are continuing in Iran, as are the clerical regime’s relentless efforts to crush them. The government sees such popular actions as a grave threat to its survival. It knows it can no longer claim to enjoy public support, and sees repression as the only way to survive — at least for a while longer. The country’s presidential elections, in June, were a wakeup call in that respect. People broadly refused to participate, as indicated even by the official numbers. The regime, if it’s to be believed, claims that less than half of eligible voters participated, and that of the votes cast, 14% were blank or spoiled ballots. Unofficial reports paint an even starker picture, with estimates that participation didn’t even reach the 20% mark. In Tehran, only one in five people are believed to have voted.

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Non-English Language Media

 بازداشت هفت وکیل دادگستری و فعال مدنی در تهران| The Independent

برخی رسانه‌ها روز شنبه از بازداشت هفت وکیل دادگستری و فعال مدنی به دست نیروهای امنیتی در تهران، و انتقال آن‌ها به مکانی نامعلوم خبر دادند. به گزارش هرانا، ارگان خبری مجموعه فعالان حقوق بشر در ایران، آرش کیخسروی، مصطفی نیلی، مهدی محمودیان، محمدرضا فقیهی، محمدهادی عرفانیان کاسب، مریم فراافراز، و لیلا حیدری، افرادی هستند که بازداشت شده‌اند. در این گزارش گفته شده است که هنوز از دلایل بازداشت، نهاد بازداشت کننده، و محل نگهداری این افراد اطلاعی در دست نیست، اما احتمال می‌رود که تعداد بازداشت‌شدگان بیش از این باشد. آرش کیخسروی، مصطفی نیلی، محمدرضا فقیهی، محمدهادی عرفانیان کاسب، و لیلا حیدری، وکلای دادگستری هستند، مهدی محمودیان روزنامه نگار و عضو شورای مرکزی حزب اتحاد ملت، و مریم افرافراز فعال مدنی و از اعضای «جمعیت امام‌علی» است.

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حسن روحانی بارها اعلام کرده است که «قطع اینترنت شایعه دشمن است»؛ با این حال، ایجاد اختلال در دسترسی به اینترنت از سوی دولت به رویه‌ای تبدیل شده است که در پی هر اعتراض مردمی و با هراس از آن، نخستین گام در روند سرکوب و تضییع حقوق شهروندان است که با قطع دسترسی آن‌هابه جهان ارتباطات، برداشته می‌شود. در چند سال اخیر، حکومت بارها اینترنت را قطع یا مختل کرده است. حکومت همچنین با خرید ابزارهایی از شرکت «Blue Coat» در آمریکا و شرکت چینی ZTE که هدف اصلی تولید و استفاده از آن‌ها ارتقای امنیت ذکر می‌شود، به ایجاد اختلال در اینترنت، محدود کردن دسترسی کاربران، و جاسوسی از آن‌ها می‌پردازد. این روند تا آنجا پیش رفته است که تیم برنرزلی، پدید‌آورنده شبکه جهانی وب، در انتقاد از حکومت ایران درباره قطع اینترنت گفت: «حکومت ایران اکنون به نماد بالکانیزه کردن اینترنت [تجزیه اینترنت به واحد‌های دیوار کشیده محلی و راه‌اندازی شبکه مجزای داخلی] در جهان تبدیل شده است.

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