News of Iran

20April 2000

Continued Infighting between conservative and Reformist Factions:

As the factions inside the Islamic Republic government of Iran continue their infighting over different instruments of power ( judicial, legislative, executive, media, ect. ), each side tries to use the instruments at its disposal to undermine the position of the other side. The courts, which are totally run by conservative clerics, have intensified their activities against the reformist press.

On Monday, April 10, the influential editor Mashallah Shamsovaezin began serving a 30 months sentence for insulting religious values, the most common charge brought by conservatives against the pro-reform press.

On Tuesday, April 11, Emadeddin Baghi, of the newspaper Fath was summoned to Iran`s hard-lind press court and indicted on multiple charges, including libel and insulting religious values. Plaintiffs included Tehran's justice chief, the Intelligence Ministry, and the state broadcasting organisation, dominated by hard-liners.

Mohammed Reza Khatami, the brother of the raformist president, and the leading vote-getter in the parliamentary election, face six charges of defamation lodged by the police, broadcasting authorities and others in connection with articles printed in Mosharekat, the newspaper of the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the leader in the parliamentary elections.

In Tehran, the order has been issued to arrest Latif safari, the director or the banned newspaper Neshhat, and the well-known journalist Akbar Ganji has been ordered to appear in the press court to answer several charges, which include insulting Ayatollah Khomeini:

He is charged to have said that the founder of the Islamic Republic "belongs to the museum of history ". The plaintiffs include the notorious cleric Ali Fallahian, the former intelligence minister, and his deputy.

Change of the Election Results in several Towns:

Two months after the parliamentary elections, the Guardian council, consisting of conservative clergy , continues to surprise and disgust people by annulling the victories of moderate candidates, and delaying the ratification of about 60 elected members of parliament, including all 30 deputies elected from Tehran There is conflict between Iran's interior ministry, led by reformists and the Guardian council, which checked all parliamentary candidates before the election but also has the final say on the fitness of winners to serve.

There were angry demonstration and riots in several towns, and such as Khalkhal, Naghadeh, Oshnavieh and Damavand, after the Guardian council overturned the victory of the reformist candidates and installed the rival conservatives. Rioters in the north-western town of Khalkhal attacked the governor's office and a theological school. Set fire to official vehicles and destroyed a bank. They attacked institutions affiliated to conservative clerics. One such cleric named Ahmad Anvari claimed that the rioters who set fire to his house burned more than 70 Corans. He said the rioters first looted his house, than broke everything in it and finally burnt it out. Another cleric, Bashir Latifi, the director of Jafariish religious school, said the rioters who set fire the school his house were more brutal than Mongols.

He said the rioters burned Coran and religious books. State television said security forces restored order in Khalkhal and arrested 40 people . Authorities in Tehran refused to allow foreign journalists to visit Khalkhal.

Riot in Rasht:

In Resht, the centre of the Caspian province of Gilan, violent demonstrations erupted against the Islamic militants called Basij and " Prevention of Vice". The riots started when the Islamic militants tried to arrest a young couple, in the suspicion of " un- Islamic behaviour ". The youth were particularly active in these demonstrations which took place on Friday and Saturday April 14-15 . The state radio called them " Vandals", and as usual, the official of the Islamic government staged a counter- domonstration in the town, which remains very chaotic. The Guardians of Islamic Revolution and the ministry of Intelligence continue arresting the youth; but the number of those arrested are not known. The government accuses that the demonstrators gave slogans disrespectful to the mourners of Ashura (the anniversary of the death of Imam Hossein).

New measures Against Freedom of the press

The outgoing conservative dominated parliament hastily passed new measures Monday, April 17, to rein in the liberal press, whose influence is increasing day by day. The new rulings ban criticism of the constitution, which is increasingly seen as a barrier to democratic reforms. The new measures also forbid Iranian publications from receiving " direct or indirect " financial support from foreign governments or foreign individuals. The new law extends responsibility for press violations to news writers and commentators, in addition to a publication's director. According to the new law, any individual whose faith in the Islamic government is not certain cannot enter in journalistic activity , or write articles in the press.

Possession of sinful videocassettes is a crime:

The highest court of justice ( Divan Aali Edalat) issued a ruling confirming that the private possession and use of videocassettes are crimes and can be punished. The verdict overruled two conflicting judgements by two judges in a case involving a family who was found in possession of four videocassettes of foreign films.



To: Representative of the Human Right Commission of the European Union

Re: Representative of the UN Human Rights Commission

Re: Members of the European Parliament

According to the news agency IRNA, the EU has prepared a resolution about improvements in human rights under the Islamic Republic, and Submitted it for ratification to the UN Human Rights Commission. According to the resolution Iran is a safe country as a result of respect for the people in the elections of the 6th Islamic parliament, and as a result of the participation of the law, improvement in the condition of women in such areas as education and hygiene, and the freedom of conscience for religious minorities. The resolution is expected to be discussed and put to the vote in the UN Human Rights Commission in the next few days.

We, Iranian writers, artists, and political activists who have sought asylum in other countries as a result of the prevalent pressure and suppression of the Islamic Republic, therefore, find it imperative to inform you about the deplorable circumstances of Human Rights such as the freedom of thought and expression as well as other social and political freedoms, the rights of those who differ, of women, and religious and national minorities in Iran. We ask you to reconsider regarding the Islamic Republic as safe and to refrain from a vote that would ensure perpetuation of the criminality of this despotic regime, the misery of the Iranian people, and the threat to the lives of thousands of asylum seekers who look for a refuge in other countries as a result of the absence of freedom in Iran.

Under the current circumstances not only has it not opened up as far as freedom of thought and expression is concerned, not only is the press still heavily censored, a new law passed recently in the parliament has put new limitations at the press. Writers and journalists who write about things as they are, or who oppose censorship are being put on trial and condemned to flogging and imprisonment.

The condition of women is as deplorable as before. Not only are they discriminated against certain jobs and social rights, they are still barred from mixed gatherings ,and discriminations in areas such as marriage, divorce, education, travel, and custody of children prevail. Women are flogged and treated with violence when they do not fully comply with the Islamic dress code.

Religious and national minorities are humiliated, harassed and suppressed more than the rest of the population. They are barred from practising their ceremonies, from reading and writing in their own mother tongue, and live with risk of losing their life or their freedom in random attacks by the revolutionary guards and military forces on their work places or living quarters.

Living under the Islamic Regime is a hell in which our people are perpetually being suppressed and oppressed. The participation of the people in the recent election does not mean that they harboured any hope for change through legislation in the Islamic parliament. Any legislation is possible only within the framework of the existing constitution, dominated by the highest religious authority, by cruel and inhuman punishment, disenfranchisement of women, workers, and national and religious minorities. No hope for the implementation of just legality would be realistic under these circumstances.

The people participated in the elections in order to widen the gap between the factions in power and to impede suppressive practices. The people used the elections as an instrument, not as a goal to which real hops could be attached. The opposition movement is by no means limited to the instrumental use of the elections. Various protest actions by the people reflect the fact they have no illusions about any part of the regime. At the same time that the European Union's resolution about the spread of freedom in Iran is being submitted to the UN there are street demonstrations in the cities of Rasht, Sanangaj, Chardangeh, Nahavand, Firouzkooh, and Khalkhal, in protest to government policies.

The demonstrations have been meet with shootings by the Revolutionary Guards in an effort to suppress them.

The university students who came to the streets last summer to protest the closure of the newspapers are still in jail and subjected to torture and mistreatment. News of their hunger strike was reflected in the papers a couple of month ago, and several of them live under the threat of execution. In general, flogging, mutilation, the cutting of the hands and feet and taking the eyes out instances of which were recorded on a video tape and smuggled out of the country are still common practice. At the point in which the EU resolution is being submitted to the UN the prisons of the Islamic Republic are filled with prisoners whose crime is the defence of human rights. And torture is still a common practice.

To defend the human rights of the Iranian people we ask you to refrain from voting in favour of the EU resolution. We ask you to refuse to contribute to the suffering of the Iranian people and to endangering the lives of thousands of Iranian asylum seekers by giving political support to the Islamic republic.

The people of Iran would cherish all actions which remove the obstacles on the way of their struggle and contribute to their liberation from the despotic regime of the Islamic Republic.

19 April 2000

Enclosed the names of signaturees:

1- Dr. Reza Eyrumlu (Writer)

2- Ali Aeineh ( poet )

3- Mina Assadi ( poet)

4- Javad Assadian ( poet)

5- Yavar Ostovar ( poet)

6- Hossein Afsahi ( Teather director)

7- Mahmoud Elhami ( Writer)

8- Taifoure Bathai ( Author)

9- Parvaneh Boka ( Journalist)

10- Niloufar Bayzai (Author)

11- Nader Sani ( translator)

12- Ali Reza Saghafi


13- Ramin Javan (Writer)

14- Bahram Choobineh (Author)

15- Reza Hesami (Theatre director)

16- Kamal Hosseini (Theatre director)

17- Parvan Hamidi (Actress)

18- Dr. Ismail Khouy (Poet)

19-Reza Dabui ( Cinematographer)

20- Mehrangiz Daubui ( Film maker)

21- Shahriar Dadvar ( Poet)

22- Ahmad Daneshi ( Radio director)

23- Hayedeh Dar Agahi ( scholar )

24- Azar Derakhshan (Journalist)

25- Hossein Dolat Abadi (writer)

26- Bahram Rahmani (Journalist)

27- Babak Rahimi (Journalist)

28- Ali Rastani (Author , Actor)

29- Nasrin Ranjbar Irani (Poet)

30- Dr.Kambize Roosta (Scholar, Writer)

31- Siavosh Sateri (painter)

32- Hassan Sahelneshin (Poet)

33- Abbass Samakar (Cinematographer)

34- Assad Safe


35- Daroush Shirvani (Compositor)

36- Parvize Sayad (Writer, Film maker)

37- Dr. Zahra Erfani (Scholar)

38- Jila Faraji (Translator)

39- Laila Gharai (Radio Director)

40- Daroush Hargar (Writer)

41- Ziba Karbassi (Poet)

42- Hodjate Kassraian (Painter)

43- Jaber Kalibi (Author, Scholar)

44- Majid Golbabai (Theater Director)

45- Freidoun Gilani (Writer, Poet)

46- Kambize Gilani (Writer, poet)

47- Farhad Madjdabadi (Teather Director)

48- Dr. Majid Moshayedi (Scholar)

49- Bahman Matai (Radio director)

50- Sirous Malacouti (Compositor)

51- Hossein Mahini (Cinematographer)

52- Asghar Nosrati (Teather Director)

53- Jamileh Nedai (Film maker, Actress)

54- Bassire Nassibi (Writer)

55- Ahmad Nikazar (Writer, Film maker)

56- Aliakbar Hadipoor (Writer, Poet)