December 15, 2005 VOLUME 19
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
voters casted their ballets to choose representatives who will serve for the
next four years in Iraq’s new 275-member
Council of Representatives. More than 300 political entities and
coalitions ran for seats in Iraq’s 18
provinces. Each province is allotted a certain number of seats in the
legislature based on its population.
While there has been persistent calling for active participation
in December 15th elections by Iraqi women, Faten Ibrahim-Ra’ouf, a women’s
rights advocate, said, “The Iranian regime and its proxies do not want women to
take part in the elections. They have carried out terrorist and criminal
actions such as the torture that took place in Jaderiya Prison and the attacks
of the mosque in Khanaqin to scare people away from taking part in free and
Policy of intimidation and terror did not deter the women of Iraq to
cast their vote. However, the fundamentalist regime in Tehran
resorted to other tactics to impact the elections in Iraq. The New York Times
reported less than two days before nationwide elections, the Iraqi border
police seized a tanker that had just crossed from Iran filled with
thousands of forged ballots. To Tehran’s surprise, there
has been a very strong turnout and casting of real ballots. The elections results
are still unknown, but relentless effort by Iraqi people, particularly women, in
exposing the threats of the Iranian regime is truly commendable.
women see their Iranian sisters are stoned to death, executed for their
political beliefs and murdered in the name of Islam, they charge to defeat spread
of Islamic fundamentalism in their homeland. Jus one week before the election, Saeidia Thamer Farman, a prominent women’s rights activist,
called on the Iraqi people to say “no to fundamentalism, and yes to democracy”.
Democracy is indeed a strategy to defeat fundamentalism in Iraq. Supporting
the voice of Iraqi women will ensure a secure and stable Iraq in
post elections days. WFAFI joins Iraqi women in solidarity to say no to
fundamentalism and yes to democracy in both Iran and Iraq.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
Dutch News Agency (DPA)
– November 15, 2005
Shirin Ebadi said she has been repeatedly threatened with death in her home
country Iran. Winning the Nobel Peace Prize of
2003 did not protect her from repression, she said in an interview in the
newspaper Die Presse while attending the current international conference in Vienna on "Islam in a Pluralistic
World". "I am threatened with death in Iran. I'm constantly getting anonymous
threatening letters. I am accused of defending western human rights, and
working against the interests of Iran." "I was already in
prison once, and there were two attempted terror attacks on me. By a miracle I
stayed alive", said the lawyer...She said that since the election of
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president in June this year, the situation in Iran had become "stricter".
Agence France Presse – November 16,
Reuters News Agency – November 18, 2005
Assembly committee narrowly approved on Friday a resolution expressing serious
concern over a long list of human rights abuses in Iran after turning back a delaying
tactic by Tehran. The assembly's social and humanitarian committee voted 77
to 51, with 46 abstentions, to call on Iran to fully respect its people's right
to freedom of assembly and speech, and to end harassment and persecution of
opposition groups and rights activists. "The use of torture or the
execution of children, the denial of freedom of expression, the targeting of
women and specific religious groups -- all of these things are continuing and
in some instances worsening" in Iran, said Canadian Ambassador Allan
Rock, who submitted the resolution.
Herald News Daily – November 20, 2005
sectarian tensions have dominated the run-up to the December 15 parliamentary
election, exacerbated by violence that has touched every community in Iraq, from Shi‘ites to Sunni Arabs,
Kurds to Turkmens and other minority groups. At the last election in January, a
Shi‘ite Islamist bloc took the majority of seats after Sunni Arabs boycotted
the vote, raising concerns among secular Iraqis about the influence of powerful
Iranian-backed clerics and religious militias. Zainab Fou‘ad, 24, who is
studying French at Baghdad University, said parliament had done nothing
for women since then. "I believe women‘s rights can‘t be achieved under a
religious government," she said.
This time, Sunni
Arabs are expected to vote in large numbers, offering the possibility of a more
representative parliament. More than 200 parties and coalitions have registered
for the ballot, including secular parties and small local groups that have a
better chance of winning seats under a new system of proportional
representation for Iraq‘s 18 provinces.
have reportedly spent millions on programmes designed to filter cyberspace and
block access to controversial sites, with names such as "regime change Iran", "free thoughts on Iran" and "women against
fundamentalism". As part of the most recent clampdown, reported in the
reformist newspaper Shargh, Iran's Telecom company has ordered all service
providers to block access to blogrolling.com, a free service enabling users to
track their favourite weblogs and be informed when they are updated.
Iran Focus – December 4, 2005
Iranian State Security Forces raided
a home in the north-eastern city of Mashad, host to a co-ed party, dozens of
youths, a state-run daily reported on Sunday. At least 18 young men and 22
young women were arrested in the raid, according to the daily Iran.
The 40 detained individuals have been handed over to the judiciary to face prosecution
for attending the mixed-sex party.
Co-ed parties are banned in Islamic Iran. Thousands of teenage boys and girls
were arrested last year for taking part in similar parties. Some were flogged
Iran Focus – December 5, 2005
Iraqi women gathered
outside a political party headquarters in Baghdad protesting secret
prisons and torture chambers run by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, an
Iraqi television reported on Saturday. The women gathered outside the
headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party, al-Sharqia TV reported. They protested
the detention and torture of Iraqis, in particular women, in secret prisons
similar to Jaderiya Prison discovered in Baghdad. The report said that
torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners by the officials inside the Interior
Ministry with ties to Iran had caused anger and
protests among the Iraqi public. The women called for the “immediate and
unconditional release of all female prisoners”. There have been reports of rape
of female prisoners inside prisons under the control of the Iraqi Interior
Ministry. They also demanded an inquiry into the torture and abuse cases and
demanded that those involved in torture be brought to justice. Iraqi officials have blamed Iran’s notorious Ministry of
Intelligence and Security (MOIS) for running the secret Iraqi Interior Ministry
prison in Baghdad where more than 170
Iraqi prisoners were being illegally held.
Iran Focus – December 7, 2005
Dozens of women
blockaded a main road leading to Tehran during a protest on
Monday. The women from the village of Keresht blockaded the road from
neighbouring Boumehen to the Iranian capital, forcing all traffic to stop in
both directions. The women, several of whom had brought their young children
with them to the demonstration, protested government inaction in providing
social welfare and services in their neighbourhood.
Iran Focus – December 11, 2005
An Islamic court in Tehran sentenced a woman to
stoning for adultery in the town of Varamin, near Tehran, a state-run daily
reported on Sunday. The woman, only identified by her first name, Massoumeh,
was given prison sentence for aiding her husband Ismaeil in the murder of a
brother and sister, the daily Hamshahri reported. She was condemned to stoning
for adultery, the paper added. Ismaeil, Massoumeh’s husband, also murdered
their two children in 2004, but has not been sentenced to stoning. Under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code,
adultery by a married woman is punishable by stoning. The law is very specific
about the manner of execution and types of stones which should be used. Article
102 states that men will be buried up to their waists and women up to their
breasts for the purpose of execution by stoning. Article 104 states, with
reference to the penalty for adultery, that the stones used should “not be
large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes, nor should they be so
small that they could not be defined as stones”.
The Washington Times – December 13, 2005
An Iraqi general formerly in charge
of special Interior Ministry forces said yesterday that a senior Iranian
intelligence officer was in charge of a network of detention centers where
suspected insurgents were routinely tortured and sometimes killed….Four were in
the Iraqi capital, including the one raided by American forces Thursday, he
said. Another three are in largely Shi'ite regions of the country, the general
said. He said there are also two detention centers for women in Baghdad, where "female prisoners are
tortured and raped."
Italian AKI News Source – December 13, 2005
The government of hardline president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has begun preventing women who are not wearing the chador -
the traditional Muslim head to toe veil used in Iran - from entering restaurants owned
by government bodies and state institutions. For several days, the Pasdaran
(Revolutionary Guards) have been standing guard outside such restaurants
preventing access to any women who wear alternative forms of the hijab, such as
a scarf. Iranian law stipulates that women must cover their heads in line with
conservative interpretation of Islamic teaching, but does not specify how or
make reference to the chador. "This initiative and others which we are
considering will help women to have a clearer and better perception of the
Islamic female role model," female MP Eshrat Shayegh told the ISNA news
agency. "The other objective is to help women protect themselves from the
lure of Western culture and decadence," added Shayegh, who is part of a
parliamentary committee studying a dress and behaviour code for women.
"Other tasks of our committee include enforcing the use of the hijab
(Islamic head scarf), creating a better balance in the relationship between the
sexes, helping young people to accept Islamic tenets and we will work closely
with the police, the government ministries and with the state radio and
television," she said. During the eight-year-rule of former president
Mohammed Khatami, the police and various Islamic militias were more lenient,
often ignoring the "violations" of the moral laws in force.
Ahmadinejad Terror Policies Must be
The American Thinkers
By Roya Johnson
November 16, 2005
officials all over the world were stunned last month by statements made by
Mahmood Ahmadinejad, the current president of Iran. Ahmadinejad stressed that having a
world without the United States and “Zionism” is indeed a goal “which
is attainable and could definitely be realized”. Ahmadinejad also
threatened leaders of Muslim countries with ties with Israel that they would burn in the “fire”
of their nations’ “fury”.
country [Israel] is in reality the staging-ground
of the World Arrogance in the heart of the Islamic world…” Ahmadinejad’s
remarks are indeed an articulation of his government’s terror policy.
week, his invective found an ominous resonance in Jordan.
the last two decades, Iran’s primary instrument of
advancing its foreign policy objectives has been terrorism or the threat of it.
Engaged in an asymmetric war for regional domination, the mullahs of Tehran advocate the dispatch
of the suicide bombers and hostage-takers as instruments of advancing their
foreign policy agenda.
speech was a call to action for terrorists to attack sites in the Middle East, and cannot go
unanswered by the community of free nations in the midst of a Global War on
Terror. On October 30, the Associated Press reported from Tehran that about 300 men and
women, motivated by Ahmadinejad’s remarks, turned up a few days later at a
state-sponsored event to volunteer for suicide bomb attacks. Several senior
officials, including Parliamentary speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, were at the
gathering, according to the report. Ahmadinejad’s ascendance to presidency was
the product of a well-executed plan by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
(IRGC), backed by the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
implement his bellicose domestic and foreign policies, Khamenei corruptly
facilitated Ahmadinejad’s “election” to fill the seat of presidency.
Ahmadinejad’s loyalty to Velayat-e-Faqih and his notorious background as a
former member of the IRGC and a commander of the Guards Corps’ Qods
(Jerusalem) Force, tasked with “exporting the revolution to Qods
through Karbala”, made him the best candidate to be the chief executer of the
glance at Ahmadinejad’s performance since assuming office indicates a rapidly
deteriorating situation in domestic and foreign policy areas. The state-owned
hard-line daily Jomhouri Islami wrote that Khamenei had recently ordered
the head of the country’s judiciary to deal “decisively” with “elements
creating disruption in society” and to sentence them to “the most severe
punishment that God has prescribed”. Ahmadinejad’s inauguration was followed by
a severe crackdown on Iranians: arrests, at least 71 public hangings, and the
execution of individuals, among them three women and minors. In September
of this year, close to 1,600 persons were arrested in Tehran as part of a nationwide
Last month, the
international media watchdog, Reporters without Borders (RSF), ranked Iran as the worst violator of press
freedoms rights in the Middle East. RSF ranked Iran at 164 out of 167 in its 2005
annual Press Freedom Index.
expediency were ever a motivator for the West’s policy of appeasement, their
policies have certainly backfired. The Financial Times recently reported
Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) has dropped 20 percent since the election. In
response Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying
[Iran’s ruling elite] allowed us to execute 2 or 3 individuals, Tehran Stock
Exchange’s…problems would be solved for good,” according to state-controlled
on-line publication Rooz, whose correspondent spoke with the ministers
after the session. None of this news bodes well for Iran’s industries, including its
petroleum industry or for the stability of the global petroleum industry.
And in the
nuclear standoff, Ahmadinejad’s government resumed operations
at the nuclear facility in Esfahan last August in violation of its Paris agreement, and since then has
pursued a highly dangerous and belligerent diplomatic approach. In short,
mullahs are fulfilling their nuclear weapons ambitions and there is not going
to be any turning back.
sidestepping the irreformable rogue nature of the Iranian regime have so far
failed miserably, for both the Iranian people and the West. Opting for the
delusional goal of achieving “behavioral change” of Iran’s theocratic regime, European
capitals have designed their policy based on the appeasement of the Iranian
government. While Washington has moved away from the late 1990s
outright appeasement of the clerical regime by President Clinton, it is
suffering from a policy paralysis - which is no less harmful than
appeasement. The West’s roadmap has so far included measured sanctions relief,
huge trade and commerce, opening dialogue channels with Iranian officials and
blacklisting the “enemies of the ayatollahs”, Iran’s main opposition, the
National Council of Resistance (NCRI) and its primary member the Mujahedine-e
reality on the ground inside Iran is rapidly changing for
the worse. This is alarming, to say the least. The policy of the free
world’s democracies has to be designed to answer Tehran’s terror policy.
If the free world is unable or unwilling, it may lose more than it could have
ever gained by appeasing the tyrants of Tehran. A firm policy, clear
of any appeasing gestures, with the intention of supporting the legitimate
opposition groups, is the most beneficial solution for the West and the Iranian
people to deal with the government of Iran and its rising terror
Belgian Female Parlimentarians Speak
Out Against Islamic Fundamentalism Emanting from Iran
Address an Iranian rally in Brussels
November 21, 2005
Senator Erika Thijs:
“As a member of the Women Committee in the Senate as well as the Foreign
Affairs Committee, I have been very much concerned about the situation of human
rights in Iran and especially women, who are
constantly repressed and humiliated by the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.
The most urgent
issue that has aroused concern across the world is Islamic fundamentalism
emanating from Iran. It is now spreading to other
Muslim countries, regional countries and especially Iraq, seriously threatening peace,
democracy, and the achievements of humanity and the equality movement.
The plight of
girls and women in Iran, where even 16-year-old girls are
hanged by the mullahs, cannot be ignored.
The danger of Islamic fundamentalism is not unique to Iran and the Middle East. Fundamentalism is now spreading in
The Iranian Mojahedin is the main anti fundamentalist movement opposing the
mullahs in Iran. Women have a high and leading role
in the People's Mojahedin. The Iranian Resistance as whole is also led by a
woman. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, that I know personally, is a hope for many women and
men and young people in Iran. The Iranian people deserve to have
Maryam as their president and not this criminal Ahmadinejad.
The recent events after the election of Ahmadinejad show that EU's soft policy
with Iran has failed. There are now no so
called moderates to be seen in the regime. The regime is keen to get a nuclear
bomb and has cancelled all its agreements with Europe regarding the nuclear issue.
has said that appeasement and external war are not solutions. She has proposed
a third option, which is to support the Iranian people and their resistance to
achieve democracy. Therefore the first step is for our Foreign Ministers to
remove the name of the People's Mojahedin from its blacklist. This should be
done very quickly. We in Belgium are working to have the Mojahedin
removed from this list. Last year 41 senators, which is a majority, signed a
statement which expressed support for the People's Mojahedin.”
Member of the Belgian Parliament: “I’m a woman politician, and as such what concerns me even
more are indeed the rights of women. I see also here that there are many women
present today. I believe that in this fight women are in the frontline.
But if they are in frontline, they are also in the frontline as victims, they
are the first victims. Therefore I would like to express all my solidarity with
all women today who are victims of this regime, victims of laws that violate
personal freedoms and basic rights of each individual. I believe indeed that as
women politicians we must fight on your side so that your struggle will be
heard much more here in Belgium, in Brussels, the capital of Europe, but also in European level.
I believe that it is unacceptable that in the twenty-first century women
are stoned, are killed simply for demanding basic rights, or are executed
without a judicial process or the right to defense. This is what we want here,
and tomorrow I hope that Europe and our government will begin to speak very clear in favor
and in defense of human rights in Iran and will limit the relations with Iran on the condition of respect for
human rights and particularly women rights. I believe that everyone here,
you all show that you are first of all pacifists who want to fight for a
legitimate freedom and rights that are recognized by the whole world. It is
time that the European countries take their responsibilities in this. I wanted
to say that of course I myself, but also many of my political partners will be
fully on your side to try to fight peacefully for freedom and for human rights
UN Diary: Will the UN resolution save
By Ayesha Javed Akram
A week after
the United Nations chided Iran for its human rights record, the
country hasn’t stopped bickering about what it calls a western agenda.
The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a US-backed resolution
critical of Iran’s human rights record on Nov 17.
The Canadian-drafted measure was passed 69-55 with 51 abstentions.
called upon the Iranian government to fully implement the ban on torture
announced in 2004 and “to expedite judicial reform, abolish executions and
pursue penitentiary reform.”
Since Canada announced its intentions to pursue
the resolution, Iran has been launching attacks against Ottawa’s human rights record. “Some think
that Canada may have reached a level of human
rights record that allows it to point its finger,” Mostafa Alaei, director of
the department of human rights at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, told a General
Assembly committee earlier this month. “Astonishingly, we found otherwise. We
have obtained piles of credible and reliable information suggesting that the
violation of human rights in Canada is alarming.”
In numerous statements, Canada has dismissed Iran’s attempts to claim moral
equivalency. “Iran’s response clearly shows that it is feeling the pressure of
Canada’s leadership at the UN in focusing attention on Iran’s dismal human
rights record,” Pierre Pettigrew, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, told
CanWest News Service.
Canada and Iran have been at loggerheads since
Zahra Kazemi, an Iranian-born photographer with Canadian citizenship, died in
Iranian custody in 2003. Since then, Ottawa has been making concerted efforts
to bring about international condemnation of Iran’s human rights records.
On the eve of the General Assembly’s approval of the resolution, Allan Rock, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations,
reiterated the need to continue pressuring Iran. “While no country can claim a
perfect human rights record, there are cases that particularly merit this
Committee’s attention – cases where governments have condoned and often been
the instrument of human rights violations,” said Rock. “It is important for the
international community to be able to speak out about such cases.”
resolution was co-sponsored by 44 countries, Canada’s staunchest ally against Iran is the United States.
Speaking to reporters after the Third Committee approved the resolution, Deputy
US Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Anne Patterson said: “It’s
quite a victory for the Iranian people because it brings to life the fact that
there’s no free expression in Iran.”
The most surprising critics of America’s attempts to draw attention to Iran’s human right abuses have been Tehran’s liberals. “It is hard not to see
America’s focus on human rights in Iran as a cloak for its larger strategic
interests,” wrote Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights advocate, in the
London-based The Independent.
Ebadi won the
2003 Nobel Prize for peace and is founder of the centre for the defence of
human rights in Tehran. In the article, Ebadi severely
criticised what she calls American hypocrisy. “Given the long-standing willingness
of the American government to overlook abuses of human rights, particularly
women’s rights, by close allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, it is
hard not to see the Bush administration’s focus on human rights violations in
Iran as a cloak for its larger strategic interests.”
Most of the
media coverage of the resolution has been centred on gauging the reasons for America’s recent interest in Iran’s human rights abuses. In the midst
of these controversies, little attention has been paid to the text of
acknowledged slight improvements in Iran’s human rights condition but said
this limited progress was undermined by a serious clampdown on the independent
media. The resolution noted unjustified closures of newspapers and blockings of
websites, and urged Tehran to allow journalists the freedom to
fulfil their duties.
In a report
presented earlier this year, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Iran, Maurice Copithorne said almost the
entire reformist press in Iran had been shut down.
also called upon Tehran to ensure “full respect for the
right to due process of law including access to counsel by those detained.”
In particular, the resolution decried executions of people under the age of 18.
Human Rights Watch said Iran executed at least four juvenile
offenders in 2004 and up to 30 juvenile offenders are on the country’s death
row. Citing Iran’s discriminatory practices, the
resolution urged Iran to adopt policies that eliminate
discrimination of women and religious minorities. In August, Human Rights Watch
registered the deaths of 17 Kurds at the hands of security forces in Iran’s Kurdish region.
Muslim countries, including Algeria, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh and Pakistan voted against the resolution.
Muslim member states said such a resolution would undermine potential within
the system and serve to polarise and politicise human rights at the United
expressed displeasure at the small vote-margin “The vote was a little narrow
for comfort. We believe that the human rights machinery in the United Nations
needs wide-scale reform. It was revealing that countries that spoke in favour
of Iran, like Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Cuba and Sudan, are major human rights violators.”
and discussions over the resolution continue, Amnesty International worries
change may not come soon enough to save the live one Iranian woman.
Esmailvand has been convicted of adultery and orders have been given to stone
her to death. Amnesty International says Esmailvand has been a prisoner in the
northwestern city of Jolfa since 2000 and is scheduled to be executed on Dec
condemn Iran’s meddling
December 12, 2005
women’s rights personalities from Iraq’s Diyala Province condemned on Monday
“massive meddling by Iran” in their country’s
internal affairs ahead of key elections this week. They called for widespread
and active participation in the elections by Iraqi women to combat this threat.
time, all of us women will go to the ballot boxes and vote for national and
democratic candidates. We will also put all our efforts in preventing the
propaganda in the elections by the agents of the mullahs’ regime in Iran”, Feryal Majid-Hendi, a
women’s rights activist, told the gathering.
women called on the international community to help prevent Iranian meddling in
Dawood-Jum’a agreed. “In these elections, we women must vote for currents,
parties, and candidates that are opposed to fundamentalism and are not tied to
the clerical regime [in Iran], since this regime and its mercenaries do not
have the slightest respect for women’s rights and are unwilling to accept that
women can determine their own fate”.
who called on international organisations to increase the number of people they
plan to dispatch to monitor the polls for riggings, said, “Only by choosing
democratic and nationalist candidates can the people of Iraq, especially women, take
hold of their rights”.
Robab Aboud-Azab told the gathering, “The meddling by Iran’s rulers in the
election is the greatest danger to the security and stability of Iraq”.
While calling for active participation in Thursday’s elections by Iraqi women,
Faten Ibrahim-Ra’ouf, said, “The Iranian regime and its proxies do not want
women to take part in the elections. They have carried out terrorist and
criminal actions such as the torture that took place in Jaderiya Prison and the
attacks of the mosque in Khanaqin to scare people away from taking part in free
and fair elections”.
Saeidia Thamer Farman, a prominent women’s rights activist, called on the Iraqi
people to say “no to fundamentalism, and yes to democracy”.
see the day of the elections as a day which will determine the fate of Iraq and we are resolute not
to allow fundamentalist currents determine our destiny”, she said.
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