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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

‘Islamic Guidance’ Patrol Beats up Young Woman in Park

A video made public on social media, in recent days, shows the appalling Guidance Patroltreatment of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran during the enforcement of compulsory hejab. The video shows a group of men and women ‘Islamic Guidance’ Patrol approach a few young women in a Tehran park. As they resist the Guards a verbal altercation starts and a female guards starts beating up one of the young women. Her friends try to free her. Crying and screams of the girls is heard remonstrating with the Guards. At the end of the video one of the young women is seen collapsed on the ground with one of her friends saying that she is having problems with her heart. There is no further information about the fate of the girls.
Since coming to power, the Islamic Republic has restricted freedoms of dress, food, social gatherings and other everyday aspects of people’s life. In recent months, resistance against forced hejab has escalated in Iran. This latest incident has caused such repugnance among those who have seen the video that some in official positions have started questioning the wisdom of the function of the patrols and the way they enforce their laws. Some of the statements are cited below. Read the rest of this entry »

The Struggle in Workplaces to Eliminate Discrimination against Working Women

In recent years, the Iranian women have been persistently fighting for their violated and trampled rights in many arenas. They have street vendors in Gilan Irancampaigned against compulsory hijab (head and body covering), Retribution Bill (equal retaliation as punishment for an offence, in Islamic jurisprudence and penal law), the so-called “Family Support” bill which legalizes the lack of rights of women, child marriage, gender segregation (in schools, buses, and other public places), domestic violence and other cases of violence against women, and child abuse. The Iranian women have relentlessly fought for the equal rights in education, the right to go to sport stadiums and attend public sport events, and to defend the rights of the children. Other important struggles of the Iranian women have been in the areas such as, but not limited to, equal rights with men, equal pay for equal work, equal employment opportunity, and pension and health care services, particularly for marginalized women. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Amnesty International Call for an End to the Persecution of Women Peacefully Protesting Against the Veil

On 24th January 2018, Amnesty International published a Public Statement in which it called compulsory veiling as abusive, discriminatory and humiliating and demanded an end to the persecution of women for peacefully protesting against it. The full Woman protestor with white clothcontent of the statement is shown below.

‘The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a woman who was arrested on 27 December 201

7 in Tehran for engaging in a peaceful protest against compulsory veiling (hijab), Amnesty International said today. The organization renewed its calls on the Iranian authorities to end the persecution of women who speak out against compulsory veiling, and abolish this discriminatory and humiliating practice. This practice has violated women’s rights in Iran for decades, including their rights to non-discrimination, freedom of belief and religion, freedom of expression, and protection from arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Read the rest of this entry »

Amnesty International on reports of protester deaths in custody

The following statements were published by Amnesty International, on 9th and 4th of January respectively, following alarming news about brutal crackdown on protesters and mounting deaths of those in custody of the regime.Unrest in Iran

‘Iran: Investigate reports of protester deaths in custody

9 January 2018, 18:04 UTC

The Iranian authorities must immediately investigate reports that at least five people have died in custody following a crackdown on anti-establishment protests, and take all necessary steps to protect detainees from torture and prevent any further deaths, Amnesty International said today.  Read the rest of this entry »

Pain and Suffering of Iranian Children

The murder of several little girls in recent weeks, has drawn media’s attention to the suffering of children, the unprecedented increase in the rate of child marriage and the appalling social damage caused by child abuse  Iran. These are only a small part of the social problems related to the children that surface in the media. They are rooted in poverty and unemployment, combined with ignorance, cultural poverty, and policies based on the traditionalist and reactionary views of the ruling regime in Iran. Combined with an absence of legal and stat

young boy in hospital

e protection for children, these conditions exacerbate social problems and the suffering of the children in Iran.
According to the statistics, children make up 24 million of Iran’s population (according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, anyone below the age of eighteen years is defined as a child). Sociologists deem children as the most defenseless and vulnerable individuals in a society. The Convention states, “The Convention states that everyone under the age of 18 (the definition of a child), regardless of gender, origin, religion or possible disabilities, needs special care and protection because children are often the most vulnerable.”
Despite signing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran’s theocratic regime has taken no steps towards it. The Child Protection Act has been gathering dust in the bureaucracy of the parliament for years. The regime persecutes organisations that genuinely promote the rights of children, it conceals and obstructs the publication of data on the harm done to children and works towards removing the subject from the agenda of periodic international meetings on the rights of children, and it tries to present fake statistics. In Read the rest of this entry »

Widening Gender Divide and Increasing Impoverishment of Women

One of the most telling indicators of economic, political and cultural development, gender equality and the empowerment of women, isstreet vendors in Gilan Iran women’s share of economic resources and their influence in the country’s economy. According to agreements and official documents of international gatherings on women, ‘promoting development, eradicating poverty, promoting and achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment are among effective factors for the realisation of human rights (World Conference on Women, 1995), and governments have a duty to plan for these and to implement them.

Therefore, one of the most important indicators of development is the rate of employment among women and its effect on the country’s economy. From this point of view, Iran has a deplorable rating, even among the countries of the region. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani, the accomplished Iranian mathematician, died on Saturday 15th July at the age of 40, due to breast cancer. She maryam-Mirzakhanileaves a daughter and a husband. She studied in Tehran’s Sharif University and went to Harvard for her PhD, which she completed in 2004. Tributes have been paid to her nationally and internationally, by academics who knew her professionally, praising her for her remarkable intellect and contribution to mathematics.
Her significance, as a woman from Iran, is ever more remarkable given the disdain that the ruling regime shows women and the impediments it engineers in their development, socially, economically, and politically; and the way it has hampers the development of so many girls and young women in science and education. The achievements of Maryam Mirzakhani find even greater importance in this context. She was a positive role model for so many young girls, whose interests and talents in all fields of education are neglected by a patriarchal and misogynistic system of government, and its laws and artificially imposed social norms. Read the rest of this entry »

Urgent Action – Human Rights defender on Hunger Strike

On 20th April, the solidarity organisation CODIR called for action in solidarity with Atena Daemi, political prisoner in Iran.

‘Iranian human rights defender Atena Daemi has been on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin prison since

Atena Daemi

8 April. She is protesting the suspended prison sentences imposed on two of her sisters, Hanieh and Ensieh, for “insulting public officers on duty”. She has accused Iran’s security bodies of harassing family members as a way to inflict further pain and suffering on political prisoners.

1) TAKE ACTION
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

  • Release Atena Daemi immediately and unconditionally, as she is a prisoner of conscience targeted solely for peacefully exercising her rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly;
  • Ensure, pending her release, that she has access to a qualified health professional who can provide health care in compliance with edical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy and informed consent;
  • Quash the convictions and sentences of Hanieh and Ensieh Daemi, which were issued after an unfair trial;
  • Investigate Atena Daemi’s allegations of torture or other ill-treatment, including being subjected to violence during her November 2016 arrest, and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice in fair trials. Read the rest of this entry »