By Michael Petrou - Friday, February 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
The government is already rounding up ‘dissidents’—an early warning sign to the opposition
Iran’s disputed 2009 election, which returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency, led to mass protests and a brutal crackdown that saw dozens killed and thousands arrested. This time, the government is taking early steps to silence potentially disruptive voices. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast last week warned that Iran’s “enemies” are planning to foment unrest as part of an “all-out war” against the Islamic Republic, pre-emptively defining protesters as anti-Iranian. Elections aren’t until June.
Late last month, 16 journalists were arrested and taken to Tehran’s infamous Evin prison, where they are reportedly being held in wing 209—the same cellblock where Canadian Zahra Kazemi was murdered in 2003. (In an ironic twist, Saeed Mortazavi, the former prosecutor who sent her to prison, was arrested this week—possibly as a result of a power struggle within Iran’s political elite—and is now in Evin himself.) Arash Azizi, an Iranian journalist living in Canada says the arrests have shocked journalists in Iran, in part because several of those arrested were not obvious targets, even for Tehran’s thin-skinned government. “We are used to these kind of attacks, but this was unexpected. This was an attempt to bring an atmosphere of intimidation before the election.” It is not just journalists who are being subjected to increased state pressure. Coffee-shop owners have been ordered to install video cameras and provide the recordings to authorities. Cafés are popular with Iranian youth and intellectuals who enjoy the chance to drink, smoke, talk and listen to live music. Dozens were raided last summer, ostensibly for offences such as allowing women to smoke hookah water pipes. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 1:25 PM - 5 Comments
How can Obama pursue diplomacy with Iran if its leader is illegitimate?
Barack Obama campaigned on a policy of engagement with America’s adversaries, and in his inauguration address offered an “open hand” to countries such as Iran. After his election, he had a certain degree of support in Washington for starting on a new course of diplomacy. But then came the June 12 Iranian election that returned President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power under heavy suspicion of fraud. With a crackdown on massive street protests that left at least 17 dead, Obama’s running room for engagement has shrunk. The turmoil in Iran raised the question of whether Obama would only bolster Ahmadinejad’s authority by sitting down with a leader whose legitimacy has been so tarnished. Not to mention how the U.S. government could trust any agreement reached with a regime that its own people accuse of deception, and whether the exercise would only serve to betray the reformers whose struggle for freedom stirred passions around the world.
For now, Obama’s hand remains outstretched—but not for long. He has given Tehran an end-of-the-year deadline to show that diplomacy regarding its nuclear ambitions is getting somewhere. But even long-time supporters are doubting that the overture can work. Continue…
By John Parisella - Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at 3:24 PM - 59 Comments
The Neda video and the many other disturbing photos coming out of Iran show…
The Neda video and the many other disturbing photos coming out of Iran show the protest movement there will continue to take on a life of its own, with courageous dissenters facing repression in the form of bullets and sticks. Pressure is now mounting on President Obama to take a more aggressive stand against the Iranian regime and do what is necessary to ensure its downfall. This approach has its origins with the same bunch of neoconservative stalwarts in the Republican Party who hijacked President George W. Bush ‘s presidency shortly after 9-11 to push back against the new axis of evil of the day—Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
It was not long before the US was engaged in the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. To this day, the mission in Iraq is inconclusive, Afghanistan is still a dangerous place with no end to the war in sight, and Osama Bin Laden is still making tapes! We now know that much of the build-up to the Iraq war was based on faulty intelligence and, in some cases, fabricated evidence. Now, many of the same observers—like Paul Wolfowitz—are calling for Obama to take the U.S. on a path that can only lead to a more direct intervention. Obama must not listen to the neoconservatives on Iran. They are dead wrong.
Credit where credit is due: A really pretty darned solid statement by the PM on the situation in Iran
By kadyomalley - Monday, June 22, 2009 at 2:08 PM - 21 Comments
“The reaction of the Iranian authorities to the demonstrations in Iran is wholly unacceptable. The regime has chosen to use brute force and intimidation in responding to peaceful opposition regarding legitimate and serious allegations of electoral fraud.
“Basic human rights, including freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, are being ignored. Demonstrations have been banned and demonstrators beaten. Injured protestors have been arrested when they arrive at hospitals for treatment. Journalists have been prevented from covering protests and subjected to arbitrary detention and arrest. Foreign press credentials have been revoked.
“Canada calls on the Iranian authorities to immediately cease the use of violence against their own people, to release all political prisoners and journalists – including Canadians – who have been unjustly detained, to allow Iranian and foreign media to report freely on these historic events, and to conduct a full and transparent investigation into allegations of fraud in the presidential election. The voices of all Iranians must be heard. I have directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ensure that Canada’s views are conveyed to Iran’s top representative in Canada.”
“Canada continues to be a strong and consistent voice calling on the Iranian regime to fulfill all of its human rights obligations, both in law and in practice. For six consecutive years, Canada has led a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran at the United Nations General Assembly. Canada continues to support freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Iran and around the world.”
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