The Iranian Diaspora Brief

The Iranian Diaspora Brief: September 2, 2021

Top Stories

After Leaked Videos, Iran Opens Cases Against Prison Guards | Associated Press

Iranian prosecutors opened criminal cases against six guards at the country’s notorious Evin prison, the judiciary reported on Tuesday, after footage showing the widespread abuse of detainees at the facility leaked out last week. The judiciary’s three-day investigation into mistreatment and grim conditions at Tehran’s Evin prison had landed “some” prison guards in detention, said judiciary spokesman Zabihollah Khodaeian. Authorities also summoned two guards and punished others, Khodaeian said, without elaborating on the penalties or identifying the suspects.

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Political Prisoners In Iran Under Pressure | Iran News Update

Reports from the city of Semnan, northern Iran, indicate that on, August 27, former political prisoner, Alireza Nabavi Chashmi, was sent to prison again. He is said to have been summoned to serve a 15-month prison sentence. Alireza Nabavi had previously been arrested in February 2020. In addition, Alireza Nabavi was arrested during the nationwide protests in 2009 on charges of supporting the Mojahedin Khalq (MEK/PMOI) and spent a long time in prison. The former political prisoner has now been summoned to prison after his appeal against his latest sentence was quickly rejected and he was pressured to report to prison sooner or else his previous bail would be forfeited.

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Tortured, Sentenced To Death Without Lawyer: Iran Must Halt Execution Of Political Prisoner | Center For Human Rights In Iran

Iran’s judiciary should stay an execution order against political prisoner Heydar (or Heidar) Ghorbani, who was tortured and sentenced to death without a lawyer, and grant him a case review, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. “Executions based on forced confessions extracted under torture and after trials without legal representation are murder, not justice,” said CHRI Executive Director Hadi Ghaemi. “Severe due process violations urgently warrant a judicial review of this case,” Ghaemi added.

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Regime Abuses

Iran Parliament Speaker Admits Some Prison Abuse Images Are Real | Iran International

The speaker of Iran’s parliament has said that after the visit of a group of parliamentarians to Tehran’s Evin prison and the review of abuse videos released by hackers, some of the images were verified and he called “for structural changes in prisons”. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf also said that prison officials seen in the videos abusing prisoners should be called to account for their actions. Images showed handcuffed prisoners being dragged on the ground and assaulted by prison guards.

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Dozens Of Human Rights Violations Reported In Iran’s Kurdish Areas In August | Rudaw

At least one kolbar was killed and 13 wounded by Iranian forces in August, and at least 47 people were arrested, a human rights organization monitoring Kurdish areas of Iran said on Wednesday in their monthly report. “In August, the Islamic Republic of Iran military forces killed at least one kolbar and wounded 13 in the western border areas of Kurdistan, Kermanshah, and West Azerbaijan provinces,” read the report from the Paris-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN). Two other kolbars died in a road accident and nine were injured “either in a road accident or falling from mountain heights.”

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Under Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s LGBTQ Community Fears The Worst | New Europe

The recent election of Ebrahim Raisi as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran has sent shockwaves through the country’s LGBTQ community, with many fearing that the new president’s radical religious views will endanger the rights of an already repressed minority group.For decades, the LGBTQ community in Iran has been subjected to state-sanctioned persecution and brazen discrimination. For this reason, international human rights organizations consider Iran to be one of the most oppressive countries in the world when it comes to gay rights and treatment towards the LGBTQ community. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, clerical authorities quickly moved to ban LGBTQ individuals from entering certain public spaces and participating in everyday society.

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Iran Arrests Financial reporter Amir-Abbas Azarmvand On Security Charges | Committee To Protect Journalists

Today, Azarmvand, a financial reporter for the state run Iranian economic newspaper SMT, was arrested at 8:30 a.m. at his parents’ home in Tehran by security agents of the intelligence ministry, according to the exile-run news website IranWire and the Human Rights Activists News Agency, a U.S.-based outlet that covers news in Iran. Azarmvand was charged with “spreading propaganda against the system,” IranWire reported, citing the journalist’s colleague, who spoke to the outlet on the condition of anonymity due to the fear of reprisal. According to the source, the agents presented Azarmvand with an arrest warrant citing recent critical reporting for SMT on the “difficult economic situation of union workers and some of the new economic decisions by the government.”

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Iran: Child Rights Official Says Child Marriages 3 Times More Than Official Stats | Eurasia Review

A children’s rights official said the number of Iran’s child marriages was three times higher than official statistics. The Statistical Center of Iran said on August 20 that the marriage of girls between 10 to 14 years of age had increased by 10.5% in 2020 compared to 2019. Speaking to the ISNA state-run News Agency, the Secretary of the National Authority of the Convention of the Rights of the Child said the marriage of children under 13 was prevalent in Iran. “Some families marry their children before the age of 13 without official registration,” Mahmoud Abbasi said. Abbasi claimed that these families “took advantage” of Iran’s laws and went to court to get marriage licenses for their children after the marriage. According to the laws of the Islamic Republic, families must get permission from the court to marry girls under 13 years of age.

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In The News

Iranian Americans Motivated To Build New Bridges With Israelis | JNS

After a visit to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in late July, Khosrow Beitollahi, a former Iranian air force pilot and activist against Iran’s current regime, said he was devastated to learn of the magnitude of the Nazi genocide also but inspired by the spirit of the Jewish people to rebuild new lives in their ancestral homeland. Beitollahi is one of the hundreds of Iranian non-Jewish activists in the U.S. — a number that is growing — who are openly supporting Israel because of their desire to help rebuild Iran’s neglected and devastated landscape under the current ruling Islamic regime.

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The Life Of An Iranian Child Bride: An Animation By Marjan Farsad | Center For Human Rights In Iran

By the age of eleven, “Raha” already had seven children. Married off to a man five times her age, she was in poor health when her situation was accidentally discovered in the Iranian city of Ilham by a charity that was later disbanded by the government. Her story made headlines throughout the country, yet tens of thousands of girls continue to be legally married off every year in Iran, where girls can be married at age 13—younger with the permission of the father or male guardian and a judge—and boys can be married at age 15.

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UN Chief Says Ready To Work With Raise For Peace, Human Rights | Iran Front Page

Antonio Guterres congratulated Raeisi on his victory in the June presidential election and said the UN is ready to work with Iran to achieve peace, security, and development in the world. “Simultaneously with your presidency, your country, region, and the world are at a critical juncture”, he said, adding, “Today, we face many common challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and long and devastating conflicts in the Middle East.”He also said Iran has remarkable human and natural resources and this can improve the well-being of Iranians, as well as other world nations.

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Yemen Report Says Houthis Behind 40,000 Human Rights Violations In Mahwit | Asharq Al –Awsat

Shedding light on crimes committed by Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, a local human rights organization said it has documented over 40,000 humanitarian violations staged by the group in Al Mahwit Governorate since September 2014. Rassd for Rights and Freedoms (RRF) released a report covering 40,506 humanitarian violations carried out by Houthis against civilians in Al Mahwit between September 2014 and September 2021. The monitor reported on Houthis killing, forcibly displacing, torturing, and kidnapping civilians, as well as recruiting child soldiers and plundering private and public institutions.

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Eight Wounded In Houthi Drone Strikes On Saudi Abha Airport | Reuters

At least eight people were wounded on Monday in Houthi drone strikes on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport that also damaged a civilian airplane, Saudi state TV reported. The Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi group in Yemen said earlier that it intercepted a Houthi drone that was targeting Abha International Airport. Shrapnel was scattered in the vicinity of the airport, the coalition said. Ekhbaria TV said a second armed drone was intercepted, but debris wounded eight people and damaged a civilian airplane inside the airport. It did not give further details. The Houthis did not claim responsibility for the attack, but the Iran-aligned group regularly fires drones and missiles into Saudi Arabia.

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Hezbollah Moves Into The Crosshairs As Lebanon Sinks Into Poverty And Despair | Los Angeles Times

Driving back to base after firing rockets toward Israeli positions from a border area last month, a group of Hezbollah fighters was accosted by angry villagers who smashed their vehicles’ windshields and held them up briefly. It was a rare incident of defiance that suggested many in Lebanon would not tolerate provocations by the powerful militant group that risk triggering a new war with Israel. As Lebanon sinks deeper into poverty, many Lebanese are more openly criticizing Iran-backed Hezbollah. They blame the group — along with the ruling class — for the devastating, multiple crises plaguing the country, including a dramatic currency crash and severe shortages in medicine and fuel.

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Taliban Reportedly Deliver American Military Hardware To Iran | Iran International

Reports and images on social media received from Iran indicate that tanks and military vehicles which belonged to the Afghan army were seen in Tehran and other parts of Iran. Photos have emerged showing armored Humvees being transported from the eastern parts of the country toward Tehran, on the Semnan-Garmsar road. Besmallah Mohammadi, a former Afghan defense ministry official published one of the photos referring to Iran as a “bad neighbor” and saying Afghanistan misfortune will not last forever. Iran had promised to resume fuel deliveries to Afghanistan last week, which the Taliban need to prevent a collapse in the economy. Tehran has adopted a friendly posture toward the Taliban, unlike past relations which were marked by tensions.

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Sixty Percent Of Buildings In Iran’s Capital ‘Don’t Comply’ With Earthquake Standards | Radio Free Europe

An Iranian newspaper has quoted a Tehran risk management official as saying that 6-in-10 of the city’s buildings don’t meet seismic standards and would be heavily damaged if a major earthquake hit. The report in the Hamshahri newspaper quotes city risk management department head Reza Karami-Mohammadi as saying 1-in-5 of Tehran’s buildings would be “completely destroyed” in a big earthquake. Iran lies on the Iranian Plateau at the juncture of the Eurasian Plate to the north and the Indian Plate to the southeast and is one of the most seismically active countries in the world.

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How Iran And Tirkey Helped Cause A Water Crisis In Iraq | Bahrooz Jaafar For The Algemeiner

The Middle East contains 6.3% of the world’s population, but only 1.4% of its usable clean water. In 1955, only three Arab countries suffered a water crisis, but that figure has risen to 11. Scientists forecast that seven more will suffer a water crisis by 2025. The British think tank Chatham House titled a report on this problem, “Do not solve the water problem in Iraq using an old policy.” The center argues that the Iraqi prime minister’s office must prioritize the water problem, as successive governments largely contributed to its severity. According to Chatham House, Iraq was in a good position regarding water due to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers until 1970. After that year, however, the country lost about 40% of its water. This was partly due to policies in neighboring countries (especially Turkey) toward Iraq.

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Why Is Hamas Still An Issue? | Walter Bingham For The Jerusalem Post

During the past 16 years, a new generation aged in their 30s is now driving our economy. They grew up knowing almost only one prime minister, a right-wing government and full employment, as well as the setback of the COVID pandemic. They also lived through several military incursions into Gaza, the long-running saga of Gilad Schalit, thankfully resolved, and the fruitless efforts to retrieve the bodies of MIAs and an Ethiopian citizen who are held hostage by the Hamas terror regime in Gaza. The most recent reports that are impossible to avoid hearing about are the events from Afghanistan.

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Non-English Language Media

   عفو بین‌الملل: تصاویر منتشر شده نوک کوه یخ شکنجه در ایران است| The Independent

عفو بین‌الملل اعلام کرد تصاویر ویدیویی منتشر شده از زندان اوین، ظلم علیه زندانیان و سوءاستفاده وحشتناک از آنان را نشان می‌دهد و یادآور این است که مسئولان زندان‌ها در ایران با وجود رفتارهای غیرانسانی و ظالمانه با زندانیان و شکنجه کردن آنان، مجازات نمی‌شوند. سازمان عفو بین‌الملل در بیانیه‌ای اعلام کرد که تجزیه و تحلیل ۱۶ ویدیوی لو رفته از زندان اوین تهران شواهد تکان‌دهنده‌ای را از ضرب‌وشتم، آزار جنسی، بی‌توجهی عمدی و بدرفتاری با زندانیان نیازمند به مراقبت‌های درمانی ارائه می‌دهد. در این بیانیه همچنین درباره ازدحام موجود در زندان‌های جمعی و شرایط بی‌رحمانه و غیرانسانی سلول‌های انفرادی ابراز نگرانی شده‌ است. سازمان عفو بین‌الملل در بیانیه‌ای که روز چهارشنبه (۳ شهریور) منتشر کرد، ویدیو‌های منتشر شده را تنها نمایی از ظلم مداوم در زندان‌های جمهوری اسلامی ایران دانست و تاکید کرد: «سوءاستفاده‌هایی که در این ویدیوها دیده می‌شود، تنها نوک کوه یخ شکنجه در ایران است.

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 ادامه اعتراض‌ها به احتمال اجرای حکم اعدام حیدر قربانی| BBC News

درحالی که گزارش ها حاکی از احتمال اجرای حکم اعدام حیدر قربانی زندانی کرد است، درخواست ها در شبکه های اجتماعی در مخالفت با اعدام او بالا گرفته است. شبکه حقوق بشر کردستان روز پنجشنبه چهارم شهریور به نقل از صالح نیکبخت وکیل و نزدیکان آقای قربانی نوشت احتمال اجرای حکم او در روزهای آینده قوت گرفته و از سازمان های حقوق بشری و شهروندان ایران خواست به اجرای این حکم اعتراض کنند. سازمان عفو بین‌الملل هم اخیرا در توییتی با اشاره به “شکنجه شدن” آقای قربانی خواستار لغو فوری حکم اعدام او شد. به گزارش شبکه حقوق بشر کردستان صالح نیکبخت گفته است: “دادگاه انقلاب اسلامی شهر سنندج حیدر قربانی را به اتهام “بغی” (شورش مسلحانه) به اعدام محکوم کرده است. در حالی که شرط تحقق بزه بغی عضویت فرد در یک گروه مسلح و استفاده از سلاح در برابر جمهوری اسلامی است، موکل من حتی در شرایط سخت و دردناکی که تجربه کرده اقراری در این رابطه نداشته و تنها دلیل برای اثبات این اتهام ادعای اداره اطلاعات سنندج و کامیاران است.

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