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The intensification of repression in Iran while tensions in the region and the risk of war are mounting

Image for women and prison2With the escalation of tensions between the dictatorial theocratic regime of Iran and the right wing and fascist government of the United Sates, the spectre of a devastating war, with the agitations on both sides, is moving over Iran and the Middle East and causes worries for the people and the progressive forces of Iran and the world. This is taking place at a time when in Iran, due to the anti-democratic economic policies the living conditions, the peoples’ livelihood, is constantly declining, and the people, upset with the inflation and high prices, face many difficulties in providing the life necessities, and in addition, are bearing the burden of the imposed sanctions as well.

Today, the destructive and dangerous acts are replacing the rhetorical threats by both sides, especially by the Trump’s quasi-fascist government. These acts are threatening the peace in the region and this conflict situation is pleasing the warmongers on both sides. Experience has shown that the reactionary and anti-democratic policies of the regressive regimes, not only protects the interest of their authoritarian and repressive regimes but also works and is in line with the interest of imperialism. On the other hand, the US destructive and dangerous policies and actions, including imposing sanctions and creating tensions, serve and are in line with the interest of the reactionary and repressive regime of Iran.

Thus, the tyrannical regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran which from two years ago, specially from December of 2017, is facing wide popular protests, has welcomed the tense and dangerous atmosphere and in order to avoid the collapse of its shaking bases, has launched further suppression against social and trade union activists. Systemic corruption and the deepening gap between the poor and the rich, which is the result of the implementation of neo-liberal economic policies, along with the astronomical embezzlements that every so often find its way to the official media, as a result of internal power struggles, along with rampant inflation and the high cost of the basic necessities such as housing, food, etc., day by day push increasing number of people under the line of poverty. At the same time, this has resulted in protest movements by the lower strata of the society and the working class such as the workers, teachers, and the pensioners, which continues despite all the suppression.

Even the cronies of the theocratic regime cannot deny the economic, political and social crises that Iran is faced with. As the food basket of the people shrinks, the general manager of the Office of Nutrition Improvement under the Ministry of Health states: eight provinces of the country are facing with food supply insecurity; specially in the poor provinces such as Sistan and Baluchistan, Kohgilooyeh and Booyerahmad, Eelam, Hormozgaan, Khoozestan, Kerman, and the south Khorasan province. He deems unemployment, low-income, and drought and water shortage, poverty and illiteracy as the main reasons of this situation (ILNA, July 31, 2019).

But the theocratic regime and its dictatorial and anti-democratic structure, as always see the solution in further suppression and violation of the peoples’ rights and freedoms, by taking advantage of the tensions and conflict in the region and widespread arrests and repression of activists who call for an end to oppression, poverty, discrimination and inequality. Due to these arrests, the prisons of the country are full of women and men, freedom fighters, trade union and civil rights activists, university students, teachers, religious minorities, democratic lawyers, environmental activists, and journalists.

According to reports by prisoners’ families, hunger strikes by political prisoners are on-going, and the prisoners continue to sacrifice their lives to pursue their humanist ideals. In recent days there have been reports of the hunger strike of Sepideh Gholian, in protest at the prison guards’ degrading treatment of her elderly parents, the hunger strike of Sanaz Allahyari and Amir Hossein Mohammadifar (journalist couples) or Hakimeh Ahmadi (Civil activist from Azabayjan). While these are taking place the international community is silent.

Let us not forget that the massacre of more than four thousand political prisoners by the theocratic regime of Iran in August and September of 1988 on the eve of the end of the Iran-Iraq war, was also committed in full silence of the international community. Given the developments in cyberspace and communications, today’s situation is in no way comparable to 31 years ago.

Autocracy in Iran has repeatedly showed that its suppression does not differentiate between men and women: from the heavy sentences for the democratic lawyers such as Nasrin Sotoudeh (38 years) , Amir Salar Davoudi who recently was sentenced to 30 years and 111 lashes, or the civil activists such as Yasmin Ariaee, Manizheh Arabshahi and Mozhgan Keshavarz who in total were sentenced to 55 years prison term for protesting the compulsory covering (Hijab) for women and giving flowers to women in Tehran’s subway, to the heavy sentences issued for the teachers trade union activists such as Esmail Abdi and Mohammad Habibi and etc.

The arrests in recent months and the heavy sentences passed on activists for voicing their opinion or peaceful struggle, under the pretext of security risks, happen under circumstances in which the progressive public opinion in the country and around the world are gravely worried about the situation in the region and the consequences of a possible devastating war. The spread of the arrests and the intensification of suppression of activists proves that for the leaders of the theocratic regime of Iran, the best context for their cynical survival is to take advantage of threat of war.

The names of some of the arrested people in recent months are as follows:

Farangis Mazloom, Mother of Soheil A’raabi, political prisoner

Asrin Kaleh, Women and Human Rights Activist

Marzieh Amiri, Anisha Asadollahi, Neda Naji and Atefeh Rangraz, arrested during the May 1st (Labour Day) gatherings

Sepideh Gholian and the journalist couples Sanaz Allahyari and Amir Hossein Mohammadifar, defendants in the judicial file of Haft-Tapeh strike who presently are on hunger strike

Leila Hosseinzadeh, Secretary of the Central Student Council of Tehran University

Parisa Rafiee and Saba Kord Afshari, Human Rights Activists and former political prisoners

Naheed Shaghaghi, Women’s rights activist who was arrested for hiking without wearing the veil (Hijab)

Hakimeh Ahmadi, Human Rights Activist from Azerbaijan

Sepideh Moradi, Elham Ahmadi, Shokoofeh Yadollahi, Dervish women, imprisoned in Section 7 of Gharechak Varaamin prison

Sima and Shima Entesari, two sisters, held in Section 1 of Gharechack Varaamin prison

Hengameh Shahidi, Journalist, sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment

Niloofar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, Environmental Activists, along with 4 male activists, has been detained “temporarily” in Revolutionary Guard Torture centres for more than 4 year now

Yasamin Ariaee, Manizheh Arabshahi and Mozhgan Keshavarz, charged with protests against the compulsory veil (Hijab) and giving flowers to women on Tehran’s subway. Sentenced to a total of 55 years in prison

Sadigheh Moradi and Mehdi Khavas Sefat, the couple who are former political prisoners, were arrested on July 7, 2019 by the security forces in Tehran

Maryam Mohammadi, Akram Nasirian, Aras Amiri, Sepideh Farhan, … and the list goes on.

Even though this list is not complete and does not cover many of the detainees outside Tehran, or those prisoners whose relatives for one reason or another, under threats by security forces, do not officially release the prisoner’s names. It is just a snapshot of the intensification of suppression in Iran.

Courageous women political prisoners, like their male counterparts, show resistance against the torturers and their masters: the misogynist and despotic theocratic regime of Iran. Prisoners such as Nargess Mohammadi, Atena Daemi, Zeinab Jalalian, Sepideh Gholian, and Nasrin Sotoodeh, and hundreds of others, are incarcerated in Iran’s prisons, and their number is increasing by the day. Defending all the political and civil prisoners, regardless of their political tendencies, has become one of the effective means of struggle beside that of the masses for social and economic change, against the regime and against war. By connecting these struggles with the general struggle of the Iranian people, we can get rid of dictatorship, war, and injustice in Iran.

Let us be the voice of the political prisoners of Iran!

We conclude with a quotation from the brave and steadfast Ms. Nargess Mohammadi, a civil and human rights activist, who wrote, in a letter, from the notorious Evin prison in Tehran:

Dictatorship and war are the two sides of the same coin in destructing the societies, and their obvious common denominator is violence. Thus, the same way and with the same power that we have stood and will stand against war and violence, we have a mission that retreating from it would never be justified, and that is to fight against the dictatorial regime. For many years, we have witnessed repression and oppression, which has resulted in endless and limitless systematic corruption of the rulers and increasing poverty and marginalization of the people, lack of freedom of expression and opinion, imprisonment and arrests, silencing the opponents and critics. (August 2019)

MaZanan 23.09.2019

No to War, No to Sanctions, No to Dictatorship

Ahvaz-bombardment-iran-iraq-warThe following are excerpts from the message of the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women (DOIW) to the Women’s International Democratic Federation -WIDF, in June 2019

‘As you know, the tensions between Iran on the one hand, and the Trump Administration together with its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, have been intensifying and the drums of war are sounding again. Without a serious and concerted struggle to stop war, another catastrophe can befall the world. Progressive forces and peace activists in Iran and the world are voicing their deep concern at the intensification of this dangerous trend which, in addition to verbal threats by both sides, has led to the massive increase in the deployment of the imperialist war machine in the region.

The instigators of this tension are the racist and neo-fascist Trump administration in the USA and its allies in the world and the region on the one hand, and the despotic regime of Supreme Religious Leader which faces increasing political and economic crisis in the country, and whose survival depends on preserving a theocratic dictatorship, and guaranteeing the interests of big capitalists, middlemen and rentiers, on the other hand. Neither have any compunction about killing millions of innocent people and destroying the vital infrastructure of the country. A military confrontation will only benefit the material and political interests of the belligerents in power.

In the early years after the Revolution of 1979, the war-mongering leaders of the Islamic Republic offered slogans such as  ‘war is a blessing’ and called for the continuation of the destructive Iran-Iraq war even after the liberation of Khoramshahr from the occupation of the Iraqi regime’s forces, and missed the opportunity to end the war by negotiation. This stance led to massive human loss of life and the destruction of our country’s resources. The regime also used the war as a pretext to summarily and secretly execute around 5,000 political prisoners, ultimately using the war to defeat the Revolution. Today, too, the war-mongers are attempting to use the climate of security threat and war, in order to crush people’s protest movement.

In the last decade alone, the rabid, war-mongering imperialists and their allies have started destructive wars in many countries in the region, namely, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and they have profited from these wars by hundreds of millions of dollars. The sale of billions of US dollars’ worth of military hardware to the reactionary regime of Saudi Arabia, and the recent dispatch of warships to the Persian Gulf are in line with the US attempts at establishing its domination on the energy sources in the region.

On another hand, in our country, under the rule of despotism and injustice, the anti-people policies of the regime have caused economic bankruptcy, and deepening poverty for most of our people. More than three decades of neo-liberal policies, closure of manufacturing and production units, increasing unemployment especially among women, zero-hour contracts, and privatisations, a rentier economy, have meant that the class division has become ever greater, and the ordinary people’s living conditions have become intolerable. In addition, the imposition of back-breaking sanctions by the US have targeted ordinary people and has made the lives of workers and the poor evermore difficult, and has affected women even more so.

The people of Iran know well that their demands for an end to the economic and social problems they face, and for freedom and democracy, depends on their own relentless struggle. They strongly oppose any imperialist intervention in the country and believe that war and imperialist threats only serve the prolonging of the current conditions and will increase the climate of security tensions and the suppression of the protest movement. For this reason, the people of our country fight on two fronts: against the medieval regime that considers itself to be the representative of god and to have jurisdiction on the life and property of the people, and against its the anti-people economic policies that have driven the people to destitution; they also fight against aggressive imperialist plans of war in the region and in Iran. The slogan of the people of Iran is: ‘No to War, No to Sanctions, No to Authoritarianism’.

‘Ordinary people, at their forefront, women and children are the main victims of wars and displacements. The intensification of tensions and the start of another war, will lead to another catastrophe that will affect the people of the Middle East as well as Iran, threatening to plunge the whole region in an extended war and ruination. In this midst the ordinary people who play no part in the start of wars, become targets for the conflict. The hardship that women and children face in ordinary conditions are multiplied manifold in war conditions.

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women appeals to all its comrades and peace activists, worldwide, to mobilise public opinion and seek assistance from international organisations, especially the UN, to stop a new catastrophe from developing in the Middle East and Iran. We must not allow women, children and millions of innocent people, the human and natural resources of Iran to fall victim to the destructive plans of imperialism.’

Iranian Women and Gender Discrimination

In recent years that the capitalist system has increasingly put the burden of its crises on the shoulders of women, we have witnessed the demo bannerdeterioration of the living and working conditions of women across the world. The owners and holders of wealth and power try to overcome and go through the crises by intensifying the exploitation of women in every aspect, but our sisters have risen all around the world and have raised their voice of protest in every possible opportunity.
The women’s struggle is not only for women, but is a struggle for all the humanity to realize a humane life, freedom, equality, and social justice. It is essential that all humans who believe in equality, freedom, and social justice join in this struggle. A society whose half of population is not free and is under various pressures and political, social, economic, and social discriminations cannot be a free and democratic society. In a society where there is no equal rights and freedom for women, the concepts of democracy and social justice are meaningless and unreal. Read the rest of this entry »

8th of March, the day of solidarity of women all over the world

Jam'iat_e_nesvan_e_vatan-khah01The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women issued a statement on the International Women’s Day: “Greetings to all hard-working women, on the occasion of 8th March, the day of solidarity with the struggle of women the world over, for freedom from sexual and class exploitation, for a better world, free from poverty, violence, war and exploitation, a world of equal rights.
The 8th of March is not only a reminder of the relentless struggle of workers for their rights against discrimination and inequality, but also an occasion to honour a century and a half of women’s movement with its successes and setbacks – a movement whose achievements have changed the face of the world in the interest of working and deprived people, especially women.
This day is also irrevocably linked with the name and memory of its founder, Clara Zetkin, one of the renowned leaders of the German communist and working class movement. For the first time, in the conference of socialist women in 1910, she proposed this day as the day of commemoration of the women workers in USA who had been gunned down by the police to protect the interests of capitalism. In the following year, in 1911, the second international accepted this proposal and since then, the international women’s day has been commemorated by progressive women in different countries, as their conditions allow.
The 8th March is not merely a day of celebration, it is the day of renewal of our resolve to uphold the values for which the world’s communists and progressives, and women at their helm, have fought:  freedom from sexual and class exploitation. Today, more than 150 years after its inception, this struggle of women worldwide has had immense achievements such as raising awareness about the role of women in society, it has succeeded in bringing about the preliminary conditions for ending sexual inequality, such as ending numerous misogynistic laws in patriarchal societies, and the realisation of the social, economic and political rights of women in many countries in the world. In addition, the effective role of women in the anti-war movement, against poverty and violence and for the environment, has turned women’s movement into an effective force in political developments in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesdays – Special Days for Imprisoned Mothers and their Little Children

Narges Mohammadi, the human rights activist who has spent years in the Islamic Republic’s prisons for trumped up charges, has written a report on the visiting day in the women’s ward of Evin Political Prison in Tehran.Narges Mohammadi and kids

“There are special days in Evin prison that mean a lot to the imprisoned women. Eight of 31 women held there, namely Maryam Akbarimonfared, Leila Jama’at, Nigara Afsharzadeh, Nargess Mohammadi, Zahra Zehtabchi, Fatemeh Mossana, Azita Rafeezadeh and Nazanin Zaghari have very young children.
According to prison regulations, very young children can visit their mothers on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 PM. The meetings are held inside the prison hall and observed by prison guards and 5 CCTV cameras. The children are accompanied by their families to the prison’s gate, and then guided by the officials from there towards the meeting hall to see their mothers for about an hour.
On Wednesdays, all the mothers in the women’s ward are excited and look forward to seeing their kids. Azita begins to Read the rest of this entry »

New Year Greetings for 2017

On the eve of the Christian New Year, the Democratic Organization of Iranian Women (DOIW) offers its greetings to all picasso picturewomen who are struggling for freedom and against the war-mongering policies of imperialism and reactionary forces – we wish you a year free from poverty, discrimination, and oppression, and assure you of our solidarity in your struggles.

We re-iterate our profound solidarity and support for the campaigns of women around the world against imperialist wars and neo-liberal economics which have resulted in mass migrations, sexual slavery, poverty and destitution for women and also for children – in particular, for the women of Iran who continually challenge and struggle against the despotic and misogynistic regime of the Supreme Leader.

We call for the freedom of all political prisoners in Iran, including scores of women political prisoners who are languishing in the regime’s torture chambers for having taken part in lawful civic campaigns.

We hope that the New Year will be a year of success for the people of the world, and one that spells the end to all forms of persecution, violence, and injustice – a year of freedom and peace and victory in the struggle of women worldwide.

The Democratic Organization of Iranian Women

20 December 2016

International campaign for the release of Narges Mohammadi, Civil & Women’s Rights Activist

narges-mohamadiNarges Mohammadi, the civil and human rights activist in Iran, is a prisoner of conscience held in Evin prison, with thirty two other women.  Mrs Mohammadi, a mother of two, who has already served several prison sentences in the last decade, was re-tried recently and was sentenced to a further 16 years.

 Narges Mohammadi is the Vice President of the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran. The Centre and its leader, Shirin Ebadi issued an appeal some time ago, in which they called on “all individuals and organisations, who defend human rights and freedom of speech” to do all they can in an international solidarity campaign to bring about the release of Narges Mohammadi.  In her appeal published on 15th October, 2016, Shirin Ebadi, who is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, pointed out that the Iranian Judiciary and Security authorities have handed out a heavy sentence of 16 years in order “not only to silence human rights activists but also to show everyone how heavy the price of freedom of speech is in Iran”. Read the rest of this entry »

Campaigns for the International Day for the Elimination of Gender-based Violence in Iran and the World

The Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women supports whole-heartedly the international campaigns against violence that are held the world over between 25th November and 10th December every year. Every year, during this period millions of people, especially progressive women, the world over, participate in the campaign that culminates on the 10th of December the day of Orange the WorldHuman Rights, and is a manifestation of the integral connection between violence against women and the breach of human rights, in other words, violence against women is the violation of human rights.
The organised struggle of women in these days have been called Orange the World and have the following aims:
Raising awareness of sexual violence and identifying it as a violation of human rights at local, regional and international levels;
Intensifying the local actions regarding sexual violence and creating transparent relations between local and international action towards an end to violence towards women;
Organising networks in which activists can devise, share and promote new strategies against sexual violence;
Raising the profile of women’s solidarity and organizing against violence against women;
Putting pressure on governments to honour their legal undertakings in the field of ending violence against women. Read the rest of this entry »

Appeal by the Mothers of Laleh Park

mothers of laale parkIn May 2016 the women who have come together under the banner Mothers of Laleh Park Iran and who have been campaigning against human rights violations in Iran, issued an open letter to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as shown here:

“May 2016
From: Mothers of Park Laleh Iran, (www.mpliran.net)

To:
Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Cc:
- Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations
- Mr. Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran
- Mr. Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
- Mr. Juan Mendez, UN Special Repporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Human Rights Watch
- International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
- Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights
- Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC)
- Amnesty International”

“We Demand an Intensive Investigation on the Violation of Human Rights in Iran and Ask for the Authorities to Be Held Accountable.
The systematic violation of human rights in Iran is beyond description and we must find a way to put an end to it. Freedom of thought and expression is virtually non-existent in our country. No dissidents, whether social and political activists, or religious minorities such as Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni, atheists and people with diverse ethnic Read the rest of this entry »

Greetings on the 8th of March

We greet all women on the occasion of 8th of March, the day of solidarity of women worldwide, as we call for building a new world, one free from war, poverty, violence, discrimination, and inequality; and struggle for peace, freedom, and social justice.demonstration
We, the women of Iran, celebrated this day 93 years ago, twelve years after Clara Zetkin the prominent fighter in the communist and working class, and women’s movement had marked it in 1910. To this day, we have celebrated the 8th of March relentlessly as we have struggled against reaction and medieval despotism, discrimination and inequality.

Through our struggle for equal rights, we forced the reactionary monarchy to acknowledge the right to education for girls and to-date we occupy 60% of places in higher education institutions. However, the reactionary regime of the Supreme Religious Leader sees us as the weaker sex, in the civil law we are seen as second class citizens and are under the yoke of men in the family who own the right to give or refuse permission for us to work or travel. Even the right of choosing our clothes has been taken from us. Every time that there has been the slightest opening in the oppressive climate in the country, we have tried to extend our wings and to inform people of our rights. Our struggle is not against men, but against misogynistic and medieval laws that Read the rest of this entry »