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Ill Political prisoners in Iran

February Report from Iran Human Rights Monitor Provides New Data on Regime’s Treatment of Prisoners and Oppressed Groups

 

Ill Political prisoners in Iran

Credit to IranHRM- Political prisoners in Iran are denied medical services, as a mean to exert more pressure on them.

Human rights situation in Iran deteriorates in February 2019. Iran Human Rights Monitor released its February report on human rights in Iran on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. The report includes data on executions, torture, denial of medical treatment, imprisonment and suppression of lawyers and human rights activists, violations of women’s’ rights, and persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. The report is summarized below:

Death penalty

  • Total executions in the months of February: at least 12;
  • Public executions: one.

The actual numbers are most likely much higher, but it is difficult to obtain accurate data because the regime carries out most of its executions in secret.

Three young men who were sentenced to death for crimes committed while they were minors face imminent execution.

Mohammad Kalhori

Mohammad Kalhori was arrested in December 2014 for the murder of one of his teachers. He was 15 years old. Kalhori has been diagnosed with several mental and emotional disorders.

His lawyers have asked for a pardon from the victim’s family, citing his lack of mental maturity at the time of the crime, due to his age. This is allowed under the rules of the presiding court in

Borujerd, Lorestan Province.

Barzan Nasrollahzadeh

Barzan Nasrollahzadeh was arrested in May 2010 in Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province by Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) agents. He was 17 years old at the time of his arrest. Nasrollahzadeh was severely tortured in an MOIS detention facility for months and denied access to his family or an attorney.

Nasrollahzadeh was convicted of “enmity against God” in August 2013 and sentenced to death. His request for judicial review of his case was denied, placing him at risk of imminent execution.

Shayan Saeedpour

Shayan Saeedpour turned himself in at a police station for killing another person in a fight in August 2015. He was 17 years old at the time of his arrest. He was sentenced to death in October 2018 for first-degree murder and received 80 lashes for consuming alcohol.

Amnesty International issued a statement calling on the Iranian regime to halt the executions of all three of these young men. The statement, written by Saleh Hijazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, read, in part, “The Iranian authorities must act quickly to save these young men’s lives. Failing to stop their execution would be another abhorrent assault on children’s rights by Iran.”

Torture,  Inhumane, or Degrading Punishment

  • Flogging sentences issued: 20
  • Flogging sentences carried out: 5

On February 8th, twenty prisoners at Gharchak Women’s Prison, including five Sufi political prisoners were sent to solitary confinement or transferred to Evin Prison after being violently attacked by prison security. The attack occurred after women in two of the wards asked that prison officials provide medical care to a fellow inmate and were denied. The women protested this neglect and were subsequently attacked.
The women were then placed in unheated cells and denied food and fresh air breaks for two days. Several of the inmates were beaten severely.

Human Rights Activists

On February 4th, regime Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani announced that there were no longer any political prisoners in Iran. This claim came after he pardoned 50,000 prisoners in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic regime’s rise to power.

Iranians on social media were quick to react to Amol Larijani’s pronouncement, noting that the Judiciary uses the term “security prisoner” in place of “political prisoner.” International human rights groups have also observed that political prisoners in Iran are generally charged with “acting against security,” most likely in order to avoid being accused of having political prisoners.

Denial of Medical Treatment To Prisoners

Mohammad Banazadeh Amirkhizi

72-year-old political prisoner Mohammad Banazadeh has been denied medical attention for a meniscus tear in his leg. The elderly man also suffers from untreated prostate issues, sleep disturbances, and memory problems.

Hassan Sadeghi

Political prisoner Hassan Sadeghi is being denied medical care that could save his eyesight. Sadeghi was tortured by intelligence agents when he was arrested, which led to a variety of injuries and illnesses. He also has glaucoma and is now in danger of losing his sight altogether.

Sadeghi also has infections in his stomach and small intestine and a gastric ulcer.

Sadeghi was arrested and tortured in 1981 for his membership in the MEK. He served six years in prison and was released. He is once again a political prisoner and still suffers from the torture that was inflicted upon him in the 1980s.

Saeed Shirzad

Saeed Shirzad has been banned from receiving urgently needed hospital care for severe damage to his kidneys. The political prisoner’s condition has deteriorated due to the lack of treatment for his condition, which requires sophisticated care in a hospital setting. Both of his kidneys are damaged, and his right kidney has shrunk by 25%. His family has paid for his hospital treatment, but regime officials have denied his request for a transfer.

Arash Sadeghi

Imprisoned human rights activist Arash Sadeghi has been denied chemotherapy or hospital treatment for a rare form of bone cancer.

Prison officials allowed him to have a tumor removed from his hand after a long delay, but they refuse to allow him to complete the cancer treatment. He also developed an infection in his hand after the surgery, which destroyed the nerves in his right hand.

Shahram Pourmansouri

Political prisoner Shahram Pourmansouri has been denied hospital treatment for spinal disk inflammation and problems with the muscles in his back. He is in urgent need of surgery to treat these problems and the resulting pain.

Hamzeh Savari

Hamzeh Savari has been denied hospital treatment for a tumor behind his right knee that is causing severe pain and is impairing his ability to walk. Doctors have said that the tumor needs to be removed to prevent further damage.

Christians

Six Christian converts were arrested during the month of February. All of the arrests occurred in the city of Rasht.

Persecution of Ethnic Minorities

Arrests of Ethnic Minorities in February:

  • Ahvazi Arabs: 70
  • Baluchis: 20
  • Kurds: 20
  • Turks: 2

Women’s Rights

The Provision of Security for Women against Violence, otherwise known as the PSW bill, was rejected by the regime’s judiciary and sent back to the regime’s parliament to be “fundamentally revised.”

The bill, which has been blocked from the passage for 13 years, would criminalize domestic violence, penalizing some violent abusers with prison sentences.

When questioned about the regime’s refusal to pass the current bill, Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Eje’ii, First Deputy Minister and spokesman for the Judiciary Branch, replied, “The PSW bill contained numerous problems so much that it could not be reformed. The solution is to draft a totally different bill or to reform the existing bill only in collaboration with the government,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

Eje’ii went on to say, “One of the problems is that our general policy is de-imprisonment. In the PSW bill, however, imprisonment has been predicted as a punishment for every minor violation in this regard. And in doing so, it jeopardizes the foundations of families.”

The idea that the regime has a policy of de-imprisonment is false on its face. Iran Human Rights Monitor and MEK-Iran.com have written dozens of reports on arbitrary arrests and overcrowding in Iranian prisons. Iran is responsible for half of the world’s executions.

Eje’ii also made earlier comments claiming that the anti-domestic violence bill would not protect women, saying, “The objective of adopting this bill is to fortify the family environment so that women, spouses, and others, would feel secure in every respect. Now, the question is whether the articles contained in the PSW bill provide such security or not.”

The Judiciary’s Cultural Deputy, Hadi Sadeqi, went even further, saying, “The PSW bill against violence is apparently drafted to support women, but in essence, it strikes the greatest blow to women and families. When a woman sends her husband to jail, then that man can never be a husband for her again, and the woman must accept the risk of getting divorced in advance.”

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Hon. Bob Blackman MP

British MP Describes Climate of Fear in the Regime’s Leadership

Hon. Bob Blackman MP

MP Bob Blackman, during a video message in support of MEK’s Free Iran gathering-June 2018

A Member of the UK Parliament (MP) penned an op-ed for Politics Home on March 4th, 2019. The piece was a response to the Warsaw Conference which took place the previous month. Bob Blackman, who represents the Harrow East constituency and is a member of the UK’s Conservative Party, describes the precarious situation in which the Iranian regime now finds itself. With shrinking international support, rampant infighting, and an opposition movement grows stronger by the day, the MP concludes that the regime is in a crisis.

Sounding Alarm Bells

Following the Warsaw Conference and the emergence of an international coalition united against Iranian expansionism and state-sponsored terrorism, Blackman describes how Iranian government officials are “sounding alarm bells”.

The conference represented a landmark moment in the history of Iranian policy. There has been nothing like it in the last 30 years, and the threat to the regime was only enhanced by the scores of Iranian opposition protestors that gathered alongside the Warsaw Conference to vent their frustrations.

MEK Supporters Rally for Second Day Outside of Warsaw Conference

The US is Leading the Charge

There have been signs that the US will not tolerate a violent and murderous regime in the Middle East undermining regional security and running roughshod over human rights with impunity. Vice-President Mike Pence told Europe in no uncertain terms that the US expected the union to adopt a firmer stance against the violent Iranian regime. He said, “the time has come for our European partners to stop undermining US sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime.”

His comments prompted a response from Khamenei which was significant for several reasons. The Iranian Supreme Leader told his colleagues that they “should not fear the enemy,” a comment that was revealing for Blackman.

Fear is Taking Hold

Blackman wrote that this comment “clarifies two issues.” Firstly, “the panic and fear of the regime’s followers have now spread to decision-makers at the top of the regime.” Secondly, that “the growing fear in officials is not an isolated case and has overtaken the entire theocracy.”

This fear, Blackman asserts, is the result of escalating domestic and international crises. At home, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK) has been relentless in its pursuit for Iranian democracy and regime change. It has mobilized large swathes of the population against the mullahs and used its political influence abroad to draw international attention to the regime’s glaring human rights abuses.

The MEK represents a “viable democratic alternative to the current theocratic regime,” Blackman wrote, and that makes them an existential threat to the clerical regime. Its resistance units, consistently praised by the Iranian opposition, President-elect Maryam Rajavi, are active across Iranian towns and cities and are busy encouraging protest against the regime’s repressive and violent policies.

Blackman concludes, “it is clear that February was a very tumultuous month for Iran’s regime.” In the words of senior Iranian cleric Makarem Shirazi, “there is no going back.”

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3rd day of protest by teachers across Iran

Iran’s Defiant Teachers Will not Be Silenced

3rd day of protest by teachers across Iran

Nationwide protests by teachers across Iran- MEK sources report strikes in more than 110 cities across Iran over low payments and repressive measures against teachers

On Sunday, March 3rd, Iranian teachers mobilized for their latest round of protests and sit-ins. Teachers from across Iran staged demonstrations over the regime’s inaction to address their basic demands. Reports from MEK sources inside Iran indicate that teachers from Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz, Karaj, Qazvin, Yazd, Kermanshah, and Saqqez, among others, protested unpaid wages and regime economic mismanagement.

A String of Protests from Educators

Iran’s educators have protested on a number of occasions over the last 14 months. Government corruption, economic decline, and unpaid wages have left Iran’s teachers struggling to make a living and support themselves and their families.

The teachers have repeatedly demanded higher wages, economic reform to ease their financial hardship, free education for all, and equal rights for Iranian ethnic and religious minorities. Retired teachers have also joined the cause and asked for an increase in the funds allocated to the country’s education sector.

However, the regime has been steadfast in its refusal to even acknowledge the teachers’ demands. It has responded by arresting prominent teachers’ rights activists and threatened those attending protests.

Teachers have remained defiant and have turned out in vast numbers to protest the regime on several occasions. In December, teachers were attacked and arrested during a peaceful protest. On November, 12 were detained and held in regime custody for over their involvement in protests. They also staged strikes in October, and May last year. Each time, Iran’s brave teachers continued and sustained their protests in the face of regime threats, arrests, and violent baton and pepper spray attacks.

The Regime Cannot Stifle the Voice of Justice

Iran’s teachers, like other segments of the workforce, have shown that they will not back down in the face of violence. They will not have their voices silenced and stand idle while their peers and colleagues are arrested and subject to extreme violence.

The protests are part of a wider movement across Iranian society. Led by the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), Iranian people are rising up against their oppressors in unprecedented numbers and frequency. MEK resistance units orchestrate protests on an almost daily basis across Iran’s towns and cities, challenging the regime’s violence and oppression wherever it occurs.

On Monday, the MEK issued a statement in solidarity with Iran’s protesting teachers. The principal Iranian opposition called on international trade unions and educators to pledge their support to their peers across Iran and provide assistance to the protestors in any way they can.

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Ebrahim Raisi

Death Committee Member Appointed as Regime Judiciary Chief

Ebrahim Raisi

Ebrahim Raisi, a mass murderer of MEK activists and political prisoners appointed as head of the Iranian regime’s Judiciary.

Regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently appointed Ebrahim Raisi, a senior member of the “death committee” that sent thousands of political prisoners to their executions in the 1988 Massacre, as the new Judiciary Chief.

On Sunday Mohseni Ejei, a spokesperson for the regime’s judiciary confirmed Raisi’s appointment, and Yahya Kamalipour, a member of the Parliament’s judiciary committee said that Raisi would be officially introduced on Thursday, March 7th. Raisi will replace Sadeq Amoli Larijani as head of the judiciary. He will serve a five-year term, which may be renewed.

Raisi has received support from regime President Hassan Rouhani and his faction, which is unusual considering Rasi’s connections to Khamenei and his supporters. It is rare for the two groups to find common cause on any issue lately, but Mostafa Tajzadeh and Mahmoud Sadeghi both tweeted their support of the appointment. The same behavior was recently seen when Foreign Minister Javad Zarif resigned and then rescinded his resignation over a 24 hour period. He received support from Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force and member of a rival faction. The regime appears to have chosen to show an outward display of solidarity in the face of domestic and international crises.

Raisi’s Role in the 1988 Massacre

In the summer of 1988, Ebrahim Raisi sat on the Tehran Death Committee, along with former Minister of Justice Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi. The death committees were formed after then-Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa calling for the deaths of all MEK political prisoners. Raisi and the other members of the committee sentenced thousands of political prisoners, most of whom were members or supporters of the MEK, to death solely because of their political beliefs. Trials in the kangaroo court lasted only a few minutes, and anyone who refused to renounce their support for the MEK was sent to the gallows. People were hanged in groups in order to keep up with a large number of executions being carried out and then buried in mass graves. Teenagers and pregnant women were among those who were murdered by the regime.

 

More than 30,000 people were executed during a single summer in the 1988 Massacre. The perpetrators of this crime against humanity have never been brought to justice. A number of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have called for an independent investigation to be launched and for the perpetrators to be held accountable, but this has still not occurred, and many of the criminals responsible for the murder of 30,000 innocent people have held powerful positions within the regime. Ebrahim Raisi is the only the latest war criminal to take a position of authority within the regime.

Raisi was the Deputy Prosecutor in Tehran in 1988 and has been identified by name by a number of survivors of the massacre as one of the primary people responsible for ordering the executions of MEK members. Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s former deputy, wrote about Raisi in his memoir.

Montazeri was Khomeini’s intended successor, but he was recorded objecting to the massacre in 1988 while it was going on. In the audio recording, Montazeri can he heard saying that history would condemn the mullahs for these crimes. In 2016, the audio tape was leaked by his son, and Montazeri was removed from power and placed under house arrest, where he remained for the rest of his life

Two Death Committee Members Become Chiefs of Judiciary

Pour-Mohammadi, the other death committee member who went on to become Chief of the regime Judiciary, gave an interview after the release of the Montazeri tape. He bragged about being part of the death committee, saying that he was “proud to carry out God’s will” and never lost sleep over sending thousands of people to their deaths. He also said that Montazeri’s son Ahmad committed an “act of treason” by leaking the tape and that in doing so he betrayed Khomeini, his father, and the Islamic Revolution.

Unraveling Iranian Regime’s Deeds During 1988 Massacre of MEK Activists

In the televised interview, he also said, “Well, I defended [Khomeini’s] move. We had a mission in regards to the [MEK], back when I was the Revolutionary Court prosecutor. I issued many indictments against the [MEK] and sent it to the court. Many of them were condemned, many were executed and many other verdicts.”

 

Ebrahim Raisi is the latest war criminal to attain a high-ranking position within the regime, but he is not the first. He is not even the first perpetrator of the 1988 Massacre to become Chief of the Judiciary. The families of those killed in the summer of 1988 are still waiting for an investigation into their loved ones’ murders, while those who ordered their executions are named as arbiters of justice.

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Ashraf III, MEK's main residence in Albania

Struan Stevenson Calls Out the Western Media for Its Lies and Hit Pieces Against the MEK

Ashraf III, MEK's main residence in Albania

Ashraf III, the main place of residence of MEK members in Albania. The book “Ashraf III – Rising From The Ashes” debunks Iranian regime’s attempts to demonize the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK)

Struan Stevenson’s new book, ‘Ashraf III— Rising from the Ashes’ charts the regime’s attempts to demonize the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK). Speaking at a press conference, the former Scottish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) told reporters, “they [the regime] are providing some of the most ludicrous lies and slanders to the press.”

He called out the Guardian and the Independent, two British newspapers, for publishing these lies and falsehoods, and called a recent hit piece in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine “astonishing”. “Der Spiegel last December, admitted that one of their most famous sub-editors and journalists, Claas Relotius, had been writing fake stories made up of absolute fiction.” Stevenson lamented that even though Relotius was fired, “suddenly we see Der Spiegel published a long, ludicrous article about Ashraf III… claiming that, amongst other things, that three times a week PMOI (MEK) are being trained how to cut throats, gouge out eyes with their fingers and tear people’s mouths open.”

Stevenson describes how Der Spiegel’s unsupported and blatantly false claims were made all the worse as the magazine had been invited to visit Ashraf III, but editors rejected the invitation. Any print journalist would know that to carry out due diligence as a reporter and publish a piece with journalistic integrity, Der Spiegel had the responsibility to accept the MEK’s invitation and send reporters to Ashraf III. If they had, they would have immediately seen the claims for the lies and propaganda that they are.

Stevenson visited Ashraf III in 2018 and knows first hand what goes on in the camp.

MEP Describes Visit to MEK’s Residence -Ashraf 3

Reporting in This Way Glosses Over the Mullahs’ Atrocities

“This kind of horrible fake news and attempts to blacken and demonize the PMOI (MEK) simply plays into the hands of the mullahs,” Stevenson continued. “Not a mention in that article about the human rights atrocities that go on, on a daily basis, not a mention of the 30,000 political prisoners summarily executed in 1988,” he added.

When it publishes hit pieces against the pro-democratic opposition, the international media ignores these atrocities and becomes little more than a mouthpiece for the Iranian regime, attacking the opposition and glossing over the regime’s own violent deeds.

A Muted Response from European Governments and Institutions

Stevenson doesn’t lay the blame squarely at the foot of the media, although it has a lot to answer for. His book is also heavily critical of Europe’s institutions. He criticizes Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, for what he calls, “her continued attempts to appease the mullahs” and ignore their blatant human rights abuses in Iran.

For Stevenson, her inaction has been inexcusable. “They [the mullahs] have used their own so-called diplomats in Europe to perpetrate acts of terrors, trying to commit atrocities on European soil!” he exclaimed.

“A Pivotal Moment in World History”

Europe’s inaction is particularly damning because Stevenson asserts, we are at a pivotal moment in the history of the Iranian regime. “We are witnessing the final collapse of the theocratic dictatorship in Iran,” he said, “I think it is a pivotal moment in world history.”

Stevenson asserts that Europe and international governments are faced with a choice; they can choose to back the violent dictatorship in their repression and human rights violations, or they can back the Iranian people in their fight for freedom and democracy.

Stevenson was clear about which side he would back. He concluded, “I know which side I am on, thank you very much.”

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Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

Struan Stevenson Presents New Report on Regime’s Demonization Campaign against the MEK in Albania

Struan Stevenson-News Conference in London

The Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CiC), former MEP (1999-2014), at a news conference in London, introducing a new book, titled, ‘ASHRAF III – Rising from the Ashes’ about the recent visit by a delegation of European MEPs to Ashraf III, the main residence of the MEK in Albania-March 5, 2019

On Tuesday, Struan Stevenson presented his new report, “Ashraf III – Rising From The Ashes,” at a press conference in London. Stevenson is a former Member of European Parliament, the Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, and a longtime supporter of the MEK and has written extensively about Iran and the Western policy of appeasement toward the mullahs. His latest report describes the regime’s latest efforts to demonize the MEK through propaganda and eliminate the resistance organization through terrorist plots.

Terrorist Plots

During his remarks at the press conference, Stevenson discussed the Iranian regime’s escalating terrorist plots and propaganda attacks against the MEK under the leadership of “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani.

“The regime plotted to bomb a rally in Paris. I was at that rally. Several other terror plots were perpetrated by Iranian regime agents in Europe,” Stevenson said, describing the regime’s foiled terrorist plot on last year’s Free Iran rally outside of Paris, which targeted tens of thousands of MEK members and supporters, as well as hundreds of high-ranking politicians and dignitaries from all over the world. Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian regime diplomat, was arrested by German law enforcement for masterminding the attempted bombing and now awaiting trial in Belgium on terrorist charges. “But despite all that, we still have Europeans trying to sign trade deals with Iran as part of an appeasement policy,” Stevenson continued. “These countries have shamefully set up INSTEXT to bypass U.S. sanctions in a somewhat barter system.”

Recent Developments in Iran

Stevenson also spoke about recent political developments in Iran. “Only two days ago, Iran appointed Ebrahim Raisi, the notorious executioner of thousands only for their support for the PMOI/MEK. How on Earth can we have dialogue with a regime that appoints a man with such atrocities to head of judiciary?”

Raisi was a senior member of the “Death Committee” who sentenced thousands of political prisoners to death in kangaroo courts during the summer of 1988. Over 30,000 people, most of whom were MEK members or supporters, were executed in the 1988 Massacre. No one has ever been held accountable for this crime against humanity.

Stevenson also addressed regime Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s recent resignation and reinstatement, saying, “The sudden resignation of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the uprising show the fragile status of the regime. The insistence of Revolutionary Guards Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani on Zarif’s reinstatement show how these two figures are working together on the regime’s foreign terrorist organization.”

Ashraf III

The bulk of Stevenson’s remarks were devoted to the Ashraf III, the MEK’s headquarters in Albania, and the regime’s attempts to demonize and destroy Ashraf through propaganda and outright terrorism.

“Following the airlift of over 2,000 Iranian dissidents [from Iraq to Albania], the mullahs couldn’t tolerate it and sent dozens of agents to Albania. The mullahs’ regime began planning bomb plots and assassinations in response,” Stevenson said. “Mrs. Maryam Rajavi and her people built a whole city in a matter of months. Ashraf. That is why I call it ‘rising from the ashes.’”

Stevenson described the role of British citizen Anne Singleton, who was recruited along with her husband, Masoud Khodabandeh, by the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) to spread false propaganda about the MEK in Albania. “Anne Singleton actually held a press conference in Albania, claiming to work for the UK government as an anti-terrorism expert. Two Londoners, Masoud Khodabandeh and his wife, Singleton, who have sinister records and have been seen outside Ashraf in Iraq planning rocket attacks on the residents, are now regularly visiting in Albania,” Stevenson explained.

Stevenson concluded his remarks by stating the mission of the MEK members living in Albania and their goals for helping the people of Iran to establish a free Iran. “The people of Iran now look to the organized opposition [the PMOI and the NCRI] as the harbingers of a future of democracy, justice, and peace. The fortitude and stamina of PMOI [MEK] members in Albania has acted as a beacon of hope for the 80 million beleaguered citizens of Iran who hope and pray for freedom from oppression,” he emphasized. He went on to say, “The Iranian people have lost their fear and are demanding regime change. We have a regime that has executed 4,000 only during the so-called moderate Rouhani’s tenure. After 40 years of dictatorship, today 80 million Iranians have had enough.”

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Iran Protest in various cities across Iran

A Day of Protests: Teachers, Railway Workers and Bus Drivers Strike

Iran Protest in various cities across Iran

Nationwide teachers’ protests in more than 30 cities started on March 3, 2019 over unpaid wages and difficult working conditions

The week began in Iran with yet more civil unrest and disobedience.  Reports from MEK sources inside Iran say, protestors in Tehran, West Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Khuzestan, Mazandaran, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Isfahan, Yazd, and East Azerbaijan, among other regions, staged sit-in protests on Monday.

Teachers across the provinces refused to work and demanded the payment of unpaid salaries. They are the latest demographic across the country to mount strikes and sit-ins related to unpaid wages. In late 2018, the workers at Haft Tappeh mounted a similar strike over unpaid wages. The workers had gone months without receiving their salaries, putting them under extreme financial duress.

A Day of Strikes

The teachers of Iran were not the only workers on strike on Monday. On the same day, railways workers in Neyshabur and Andimeshk also went on strike over unpaid wages. They also complained that they had not received the New Year’s bonuses they were promised last year. In Tehran, bus drivers also gathered outside the Ministry of Cooperatives over the same issue.

In one day, three workforces from across the country mounted strikes over unpaid wages. Nothing illustrates the cracks in the Iranian economy better than the unpaid wages racking Iran’s industries. The mullahs’ systematic looting of Iranian finances and institutions have left the economy crippled and key industries creaking under the financial strain.

Repression and Anger

Instead of embarking on reform, the regime prefers to quell protests and force its people into submission. In the case of Haft Tappeh, workers were arrested and threatened with execution unless they returned to work. Iran’s truck drivers suffered a similar fate when they embarked on nationwide strikes in 2018.

The nation’s teachers, bus drivers and railway workers are under no illusion. They will know that in staging sit-ins and protests they risk not only their freedom but their lives. However, for these brave men and women, the situation demands protest. They cannot continue working in these appalling conditions, unsure of when the next paycheck will come, if ever, and struggling to put food on the table for their families.

Because of this, the Iranian resistance movement, including the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK) has called on teachers and trade unions across the globe to pledge their support to Iran’s protesting workforce.

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2nd Day of Nationwide teacher's strike in Iran

Iranian Teachers Protest for Second Day

2nd Day of Nationwide teacher's strike in Iran

Iranian teachers in at least 31 cities across Iran joined a nationwide strike in protest to the Iranian regime’s repressive measures against teachers, the lack of their overdue payments and the unacceptable working conditions-In the photo, teachers of a secondary school in Kurdistan, joined by some of their students are holding signs to show their solidarity with the nationwide teachers’ strike- March 4, 2019

Teachers in more than thirty cities across Iran protested for the second consecutive day on Monday. The teachers, who plan to continue their sit-in tomorrow, are protesting low pay, low-quality insurance and benefits, and gross mismanagement of the education system. Iran’s teachers staged a number of strikes and protests over these issues last year, but their demands went unanswered, so they were forced to protest once again.

Teachers are among the many government employees and retirees who are actively protesting the regime’s corruption and mismanagement of Iran’s economy. As the rial continues to plunge in value, people from all sectors of society are struggling to provide for their families. Teachers’ salaries have remained stagnant despite skyrocketing inflation, making their financial situations particular dire.

Education Funding in Doubt

The regime parliament is currently negotiating the budget for the upcoming Persian year, As the March 21st deadline grows near, teachers are worried that education will not be receive adequate funding and that teachers, government employees, and schools in general will continue to suffer due to the regime’s misplaced priorities. The regime spends billions of dollars every year exporting terrorism, funding conflict in the region, and building its nuclear program. Meanwhile, the people of Iran fall further into poverty. Iran’s teachers struggle to meet their basic needs, and protesters say that the Ministry of Education is doing nothing to help.

Additional Demands

 

The teachers’ also demand:

  • that the regime provide free education to all, as stated in its own laws;
  • the cancellation of legislation that would create an undue burden on current and future teachers;
  • the release of colleagues who were imprisoned for organizing on behalf of teachers and/or taking part in earlier protests and strikes;
  • the right to organize labor unions.

Support from the MEK and NCRI

The teachers of Iran have the full support of the MEK and the Iranian Resistance in their fight for fair treatment. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), tweeted in support of the protesting teachers, calling on the Iranian people to join their cause. She wrote:

#Iran’s freedom-loving teachers have once again risen up to demand their rights. They have staged sit-ins to declare support for the imprisoned teachers.#IranProtests
— Maryam Rajavi (@Maryam_Rajavi) March 3, 2019

Cities Participating in the Protests

As of Monday, March 4th, teachers in the following cities have joined in the nationwide protests:

Tehran
Tabriz
Isfahan
Shiraz
Mashhad
Kermanshah
Hamedan
Karaj
Qazvin
Alborz
Sanandaj
Marivan
Baneh
Shar-e Ray
Saqqez
Kazerun
Mahabad
Parand
Kamiaran
Homayounshahr
Sarv Abad
Paveh
Takestan
Zanjan
Khoram Abad
Torbat Heydarieh
Divandareh
Tulmat (Gilan)
Bojnurd
Mohammad Abad (Isfahan)

 

Last year Iranian teachers held a number of protests and strikes, receiving widespread support from the Iranian people. In May, October, and November teachers in a number of cities across Iran launched strikes that lasted for several days. The teachers of Iran have continued their protests despite retaliation and intimidation by the regime. Numerous activists and protesters have been imprisoned for speaking out against the unfair conditions faced by teachers, but the brave educators of Iran will not be deterred. The regime’s tactics of suppression are no longer effective in the face of organized resistance.

Staff Writer

 

 

 

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Ashraf III,Der Spiegel,Disinformation by MOIS,Disinformation Campaign,MEK,MEK Abania,MOIS,Mujahedin-e Khalq,PMOI,Spiegel Fake News

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Statement by Members of MEK Denounce DER Spiegel Hit Piece Against Iran’s Main Opposition

Spiegel hit piece against MEK

Spiegel published a full of lies story about MEK, Iran’s main opposition force, raising an outrage among the Iranian communities-February 2019

The ruling regime in Iran uses social media networks and international newspapers and magazines to spread mistruths and lies concerning the Iranian opposition movement. Along with state-sponsored terror, the clerical regime uses it as a weapon to undermine and discredit the opposition and sway public opinion against the principal opposition, the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK).

In a statement published recently, a group of members of the MEK based in Albania emphasize that the defamatory accusations made by Der Spiegel will only prepare the ground for terrorism against MEK, Iran’s principal opposition, especially in Albania. Members of MEK ask all supporters of democracy and those who combat against terrorism to protest against Der Spiegel that has fallen to “the most disgraceful mouthpieces of the Iranian regime.”

The latest hit piece, an article published in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine entitled “Prisoners of Their Own Rebellion”, spouted a list of usual regime talking points and falsehoods. The allegations cited in the piece have been publicly discrediting numerous times, including by international courts, political figures, and legislative bodies.

Shoddy Journalism

The statement of the members of the MEK says, Der Spiegel recently suffered a journalism scandal when an editor, Claas Relotius, was caught fabricating stories. Now, just weeks later, further questions have been asked of the publication’s journalistic integrity.

The magazine published its hit piece against the MEK after interviewing sources within the regime and affiliates of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). A trainee correspondent spent time in Iran with the regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Basij forces.

The MEK extended an invitation to the magazine’s editor, offering to permit its journalists to visit the MEK’s compound in Albania. Despite persistent invitations, Der Spiegel declined, preferring instead to write its piece on the opposition group without speaking to anyone from the organization itself.           

The end result was a piece lacking fundamental accuracy. It demonized the MEK and ignored the regime’s widespread and rampant human rights abuses. There was no mention of the 12,000 political executions, 500 plotted terror attacks abroad, and massacres of MEK members carried out by the regime.

Laying the Groundwork for a New Massacre

The hit piece is more than just an example of shoddy and inaccurate journalism. By demonizing the MEK, the Iranian regime is able to lay the groundwork for a new massacre, much like those that took place in 1988 when the regime killed 30,000 MEK members, and those that happened at Camp Liberty and Camp Ashraf in Iraq, states the MEK members in their statement.

If it can rob the MEK of its support through slanderous hit pieces like those that have appeared in Der Spiegel and The Guardian, the regime believes it will be able to kill and maim MEK members across the globe with impunity.

Iranian Incentives Inspire Der Spiegel Writers

The only explanation behind Der Spiegel’s deliberate and contrived rejection of even basic journalistic fact-checking principles is that the regime offered tantalizing incentives in exchange for Der Spiegel turning a blind-eye to the facts.

For example, in the piece, Der Spiegel alleges that former MEK members have described how the group regular practices slitting throats and jabbing out eyeballs. However, the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has repeatedly warned that the MOIS recruits former MEK members and coerced them into publicly criticizing the group. The MEK sent Der Spiegel’s editor the BfV’s findings, however, these falsehoods still appeared in the final article.

Why Der Spiegel is Little More than a Regime Mouthpiece

The testimonies of the so-called “defectors” also expose glaring holes in their narrative. For example, Gholamreza Shekari, one of the “defectors” interviewed in the article, claimed the MEK tortured him in 1994. However, he remained with the MEK until 2016, despite meeting regularly with officials from the US, Iraq, the UN and the UNHCR. If we wanted to leave and the group’s members had “tortured” him, as he claims, why would he not leave sooner?

The statement of the member of MEK stationed at Ashraf III in Albania, calls on the international community to stand against the promulgation of lies and inaccuracies wherever they occur. Der Spiegel must be called out for publishing such an inflammatory and damaging piece, and it should be warned that in publishing a piece of this nature, it is complicit in the regime’s human rights abuses and international terrorism.

Staff Writer

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Disinformation by MOIS,Ingrid Betancourt,Maryam Rajavi,MEK,MEK Support,Mujahedin-e Khalq,NCRI,PMOI

Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Ingrid Betancourt: Maryam Rajavi is There to Replace the Regime

Ingrid Betancourt speaking at a conference in the French Parliament.

Hon. Ingrid Betancourt, Colombian Politician, and former presidential candidate speaks at the conference “Iran’s Perspective in 2019” held  in the Colbert hall inside the French National Assemblee-February 2019

During a recent conference in the French Parliament, Ingrid Betancourt, a Colombian-French politician and supporter of the Iranian opposition movement, addressed French MPs on the threat the regime poses.

Asking the Right Questions

Betancourt began by calling on French politicians to ensure they will be on the right side of history and give voice to the downtrodden and repressed Iranian population. She said, “be the voice of the Iranian people, the voice that asks the right questions about the attacks, the executions, the imprisonment.”

Ms. Betancourt reminded that the Iranian regime has run roughshod over the basic human rights of the Iranian people. Pro-democracy activists in Iran, gender equality activists, trade unionists, ethnic minorities, Christians, and women, amongst others, are frequently repressed, arrested, and executed without fair trial and due process.

The Iranian people have endured four decades of the clerical regime’s blatant and violent human rights abuses. Nobody has been on the receiving end of these abuses more than the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK), the largest and most active opposition group, Ms. Betancourt emphasized.

A Thorn in the Regime’s Side

Ms. Betancourt, the former candidate for Colombia’s presidential campaign, outlined that the MEK has been a thorn in the side of the clerical regime since day one. Resistance units operate across Iran’s cities, organizing protests and opposing the mullahs’ violent tyranny wherever it occurs.

In response, the mullahs have launched a series of bloody crackdowns on the opposition group. In the summer of 1988, the Iranian regime rounded up and executed more than 30,000 MEK members in what amounted to one of the largest crimes against humanity of the twentieth century.

Most recently, the regime launched a state-sponsored terror campaign against the MEK. It plotted a series of violent attacks on MEK members living in Albania. Then it plotted to bomb the group’s annual Grand Gathering event in France. Shortly afterward, two regime agents were arrested in the United States for carrying out reconnaissance activities against MEK members in the US ahead of a planned terror attack.

Speaking about the attacks, Ms. Betancourt asked, “why”, “what is the purpose of removing Ms. Rajavi and removing the Iranian Resistance Council?” The “answer is simple,” she explained. “The mullahs want to convince the world that there is only one viable interlocutor in Iran.”

Weaponizing Word

Ms. Betancourt pointed out that the regime has not limited its fight against the MEK to physical attacks. It uses international media outlets to spout lies and disinformation against the MEK and the Iranian opposition and turn public opinion against pro-democracy groups.

One of the most recent regime-originated hit-pieces appeared in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine. The article spewed a series of falsehoods and lies, all of which have been extensively disproved in international courts. The piece drew criticism from politicians across the globe. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, the former vice-President of the European Parliament, called the piece, “a laundry list of baseless accusations.”

Why Devote Time and Resources?

The regime frequently insists that the MEK is a small and unpopular organization and that it has limited support among the wider Iranian population. But if that were the case, why would the regime devote such resources to attacking the group both at home and abroad?

The 2018 terror attacks demonstrated that the regime was willing to risk bilateral relations with European nations in order to kill and maim MEK members. Why would the regime go to such lengths over an insignificant organization?

The reality is that the MEK poses a significant existential risk to the regime. Its ranks swell by the day. The MEK-organised protest movement is expanding, and each time the group and its supporters take to the streets, the calls for regime change get louder.

There have been signs that the regime is growing uneasy. Privately, many of the regime’s leadership have made comments expressing concern, and the Supreme Leader himself blamed the group for the nationwide protests that took place across Iran in early 2018.

The MEK represent a democratic alternative to regime rule. The Iranian people know this, and now, at last, international governments are beginning to take note. Betancourt concluded her speech in the French Parliament by urging French MPs to “ask until when will we continue to believe that our only legitimate interlocutor is the tyrannical regime ruling Iran.”

Maryam Rajavi (the president-elect of the MEK) is there to replace them,” she concluded.

Staff Writer

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