May 15, 2006 VOLUME 24


To our readers,

On Monday April 24th, the fundamentalist president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, announced that Iranian women can go to stadiums to watch sporting events, a ban imposed since the 1979 revolution. Ahmadinejad’s move was to appeal to national sentiment of Iranians and their love for football (soccer) in the upcoming season. In his misogynous view, Ahmadinejad explained "experience has proven that when women and families are allowed into stadiums, ethics and chastity will prevail”. In fundamentalist view women as a “source of sin” and elements of “corruption”, for this reason, Ahmadinejad described women’s attendance only with the presence of their “families”, meaning their male guardian. On April 26th, just two days after Ahmadinejad’s, the “lifting of the ban” was overturned by Ayatollahs criticism or in some cases fatwa (decree). One fundamentalist cleric, “top clergy”, Fazel Lankarani, went on further and issued a fatwa against the presence of the women in stadiums. Many parliamentarian members complained and rallied to pressure Ahmadinejad to reverse his decision.The head of Iran Physical Education, Aliabadi, who had earlier announced women are allowed to attend the games from the start of next season, seemed to backtrack on Wednesday when he told the reporters “The ban on single women still exists and we wont allow single women to attend any games. Only women who come with their families will be allowed in”. Finally, on May 8th, the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, ruled that "the top clergy's opinion should be respected and this issue be reconsidered," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters. "The president said he would act as the supreme leader said," Elham added.

Ahmadinejad strategy to score a point with Iranian people backfired, but, once again, the misogynous nature of the regime in Tehran revealed itself to its core. The idea of allowing women to watch sporting events is so threatening that created such uproar among all ranks of the regime. Women are still not allowed to attend sporting events, just as they are not allowed to have any social and political voice so long as this regime is in power. Let us not forget that the movement for equality, freedom and democracy in Iran is much more grounded and solid to be manipulated with such shallow calls of reforms. With eight years of Ahmadinejad predecessor, Khatami who was the master of double-talks and so-called reforms, Iranian women will not be fooled by such empty gestures and political moves.

Ahmadinejad’s anti-Iranian thinking along with this regime’s agenda of terror and violence against women has far surpassed any “reforms”. There is nothing nationalistic about this regime or its president.  With the rising pressure on Iran’s nuclear file, there have been more crackdowns on women and youth. There has been a number of public executions of youth and death sentences against women. There is no other option but the total removal of Tehran’s fundamentalist regime  by a women-led democracy movment.

E-Zan Featured Headlines

Agence France Presse – April 18, 2006

"In our campaign, we will confront women showing their bare legs in short pants," Tehran's police chief, Morteza Talai, told the semi-official Fars agency. "We are also going to combat women wearing skimpy headscarves, short and form-fitting coats, and the ones walking pets in parks and streets," he added. Also in police crosshairs are "the ones create noise pollution" by playing their car stereos too loud.  Every post-pubescent female in Iran, regardless of her nationality or religion, is obliged to observe the Islamic dress code and cover her shape and hair whenever outside the home. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran's ruling clerics have been at pains to keep women under wraps and away from the risk of "Westoxication". According to Talai, 50 patrol cars will be cruising Tehran in the coming days to implement the measures. He also said that shops selling skimpy clothing would also be targeted.


NCRI Website – April 21, 2006

The discovery of bodies of three young women in Tehran brought to six the total number of women who have been murdered in the capital last week, according to state-run media. The unidentified victims, between the ages of 20 and 30, had been brutally murdered and their bodies dumped in remote outskirts of Tehran. Mrs. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, Chair of NCRI’s Women’s Committee, said, “The alarming increase of such horrific crimes in Tehran and other cities of Iran is, before anything else, the result of misogynous actions, policies, and laws of the mullahs’ regime, which have set the stage for serial murders of Iranian women and girls. The killers believe they can act with impunity." During Kerman (central Iran) serial murders, in which pro-regime Hezbollah thugs brutally murdered five young men and women, the mullahs’ regime Supreme Court acquitted the murderers of all charges on the grounds that, “the defendants were pious individuals and that their determination that the victims should have been killed was not wrong.” 


Reuters – April 24, 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday women should be allowed into sports stadiums for the first time, reversing the Islamic Republic's code preventing them watching men playing sports in big venues. Women have been barred from attending matches, such as national soccer games, in big stadiums and have long complained, particularly when female fans of visiting foreign teams were allowed in. A state television announcer reported that Ahmadinejad "ordered the head of the sports organization to provide facilities in the stadiums to watch national matches." "The best stands should be allocated to women and families in the stadiums in which national and important matches are being held. The presence of women and families in public places promotes chastity," he was quoted as saying. It follows Ahmadinejad's statement on Sunday saying Iran's strict Islamic dress codes that require women to cover their heads and bodies should not be imposed by force.


Iransportspress.com site – April 26, 2006

Several Iranian MPs have also criticised the decision. “We call on the president to annul the order to allow women into stadiums. The presence of women in stadiums is against moral, social and Islamic values. This is a hasty order. According to Islamic law, it is not right for women to watch men's bare legs" said the MP from Isfahan, Mohammad-Taghi Rahbar. "I think police can not even provide security for explosive materials, let alone security of women," said another MP.


NCR Website – May 3, 2006

State-run daily IRAN reported today that a woman was hanged in public in western province of Lorestan for alledged murder. Farzaneh Sadeqi was sentenced to death by local judicial authorities and the sentence was carried out yesterday at 5:35 am local time, according to mullahs' police report. The same daily also reported today that death sentence for a young man, Qarib Rahman, has been approved by mullahs' judiciary and he is on the verge of execution. He was also charged with murder that he denies. Etemad state daily also reported that a 17-year-old boy from central city of Isfahan has been sentenced to death by the judiciary. The daily identified the boy by his first name only as Nemat. Etemad also added that a 26 years old man in Tehran identified as Saber has also been condemned to death by hanging.


Iran Focus – May 5, 2006

Iranian authorities have launched a crackdown on “mal-veiling” in society and have stepped up arrests of women caught breaching the Islamic dress code. The new crackdown, which began in mid-April, coincided with a call by Majlis (Parliament) deputies for the adoption of a bill to regulate women’s attire during the hot summer months. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women in Iran have been forced to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise the shape of their bodies in public. Penalties for disobeying the dress code are severe. Women caught flouting the code can receive lashes, jail sentences, and large fines.


Agence France Presse – May 8, 2006

Iran's supreme leader has vetoed an order by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to end a 26-year-old ban on allowing women in stadiums for major sporting events, the government said.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state, ruled that "the top clergy's opinion should be respected and this issue be reconsidered," goverment spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.
"The president said he would act as the supreme leader said," Elham added.  Last month Ahmadinejad ordered an end to a decades-old ban on women entering stadiums for major sporting events, including football matches. Although this was hailed by women's rights activists, the directive did not go down well among religious right-wingers eager to maintain the male-female segregation ushered in by
Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution


Deutsche Presse-Agentur – May 8, 2006

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday called for the introduction of an “Iranian dress code” for men and women alike, the news agency ISNA reported. ISNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during a visit to an Iranian textile exhibition that relevant experts should work on the Iranian dress code. The president insisted that the new outfit should have a variety of forms and colours as well as be economical. “But when we say Iranian dress code we do not only refer to women but also to men,” ISNA quoted the president as saying. The Iranian parliament has several times raised the issue of the ”national dress bill” for replacing current Western-style fashions


Iran Focus – May 12, 2006

The semi-official daily Jomhouri Islami quoted on Wednesday the head of the State Security Forces in the province of Gilan, northern Iran, as saying that 15 had been arrested on charges of “mal-veiling”. The women were all arrested in the provincial capital, Rasht, it said, adding that a number of other women had also received warnings that they would also be arrested if they breached the Islamic dress code.
The crackdown, which began in
Tehran in mid-April, coincided with a call by Majlis (Parliament) deputies for the adoption of a bill to regulate women’s attire during the hot summer months. Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, women in Iran have been forced to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise the shape of their bodies in public. Penalties for disobeying the dress code are severe. Women caught flouting the code can receive lashes, jail sentences, and large fines.


Deutsche Presse-Agentur – May 14, 2006

The Iranian parliament approved on Sunday the generalities of the 'national dress code' bill which is supposed to replace current Western-style fashions, state news television IRIB reported. According to the draft bill, which is yet to be finalized and reconfirmed by the senate-like Guardian Council, facilities should be prepared for local designers and tailors to focus on outfits in line with 'Iran's national and Islamic identification and culture.' The form of the new outfit is to be specified by a joint committee which includes the ministries of culture and commerce, the cultural commission of the parliament and the state television and eventually finalized by local designers and tailors. While the Commerce Ministry was ordered to put higher charges on import of foreign cloth, the Iranian banks would be obliged to approve credit facilities for local designers and tailors. While men in Iran are dressed similar to their counterparts in the West, women have to respect the Islamic dress code and wear a long gown or coat and a scarf to hide body contours and hair in public.



E-Zan Featured Reports

Police in Tehran Ordered to Arrest Women in 'Un-Islamic' Dress
The Guardian
Robert Tait

April 20, 2006

Iran's Islamic authorities are preparing a crackdown on women flouting the stringent dress code in the clearest sign yet of social and political repression under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. From today police in Tehran will be under orders to arrest women failing to conform to the regime's definition of Islamic morals by wearing loose-fitting hijab, or headscarves, tight jackets and shortened trousers exposing skin. Offenders could be punished with $30 fines or two months in jail. Officers will also be authorised to confront men with outlandish hairstyles and people walking pet dogs, an activity long denounced as un-Islamic by the religious rulers.  The clampdown coincides with a bill before Iran's conservative-dominated parliament proposing that fines for people with TV satellite dishes rise from $60 to more than $3,000. Millions of Iranians have illegal dishes, enabling them to watch western films and news channels. The dress purge is led by a Tehran city councillor, Nader Shariatmaderi, a close ally of Mr Ahmadinejad who helped to plot last year's election victory. Loosely arranged headscarves - exposing glamourous hairstyles - and shorter, tight-fitting overcoats (manteaus) became a symbol of the social freedoms that flourished under the reformist presidency of Mohammed Khatami. During his election campaign, Mr Ahmadinejad dismissed fears that his presidency might herald a forced reversal, saying Iran had more urgent problems.  However, Mr Shariatmaderi denounced the trends as "damaging to revolutionary and Islamic principles". "We are looking for a social utopia to live in but in the last couple of months, our attention has wavered," he told fellow councillors. "In the present international situation, people must unite under known principles." The clampdown recalls the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution, when women wearing lipstick were often confronted by female vigilantes wiping their faces clean with handkerchiefs, which were said to often conceal razor blades. The new campaign will hold taxi agencies accountable for their passengers' attire, police will be able to impound cabs carrying women dressed "inappropriately". Agencies guilty of repeat offences will be closed. Police have reportedly been stopping women motorists recently whose hijab was judged inadequate. Police have also raided fashion stores and seized brightly coloured manteaus. Tehran's police chief, Morteza Talai, said the campaign would try to clamp down on people making "the social environment insecure". Young women shopping in north Tehran's fashionable Tajrish neighbourhood yesterday, however, were uncowed. Matin, 24, a nurse, was wearing a gaudily patterned light-blue head scarf pushed back to reveal sunglasses and bleached blond hair. Her tight, short black manteau with intricate gold patterns seemed designed to provoke the ire of the authorities. But she was unrepentant. "I'm a married woman and it should be my husband who tells me what and what not to wear. He likes the way I dress," she said.  Surprisingly, Narges Asgari, 20, a dressmaker wearing an all-encompassing black chador, was also critical. "I don't think people will listen because they want to take decisions themselves," she said. "Clothes depend on the culture of their families. I wear the chador because, in my family, it's something we accept."



U.S. can become a hero to millions of Iranians

By Faye F. Farhang

Special to Seattle Times

April 21, 2006

Twenty-seven years after the 1979 Islamic revolution, the majority sentiment among Iranians today can be summed up in a single question: When are they leaving? "They" refers to Tehran's extremist mullahs, who have turned back Iran's clock on cultural and scientific development for more than a quarter of a century. In a country where 70 percent of the population is literate and secular and close to 50 percent is female and educated, women are still permanent second-class citizens. Without the basic right of choosing their public attire, women going out without the mandatory Islamic veil will be arrested, beaten and jailed. Astonishingly, these human-rights violations are a daily regimen of life in Iran. In March, in commemoration of International Women's Day, scores of Iranian women participating in a peaceful sit-in demonstration were initially filmed, and then severely beaten off-camera by the Islamic police and their militant assistants. Yet, in the midst of such brutality, how does nuclear energy win out as the sujet du jour? The irony of the situation may be baffling to the outsider, but diverting attention from its human-rights abuses is exactly what the Islamic regime seeks in order to establish greater internal and regional dominance. When the clerics took power in 1979, they promised to deliver the wealth of the nation to the poor. Yet, the fact that the poor suffer from greater poverty today only illustrates what has been proven repeatedly about the fundamentalists in power. They cannot be trusted. Returning to Iran some two decades after leaving it as a child, I was determined to find out whether the Islamic revolution that had upturned so many lives, including my family's, had benefited the less-fortunate. In the summer of 2001, the Iranian workers, be it the cleaning lady or the gardener, were more honest than I had ever expected. These women and men, while not literate enough to write, were articulate about their experiences, explaining that after all these years they were still waiting for their oil money — as if waiting for the messiah. For them, the oil money is as unreachable as the democracy the majority of Iranians desperately seek. The oppressive fear perpetuated by the Islamic regime has seeped into every aspect of Iranians' lives. They lead a quasi-existence under watchful eyes. In a totalitarian state, the pro-American majority is not empowered to stand up to the clerics. Fear dominates. Many Iranians have already lost their lives in the human-rights struggle and those who continue to dedicate themselves to the cause of justice know too well that the small strides they have made over two decades can be reversed by an unpredictable regime. During his presidential campaign, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sought to portray himself as some sort of Islamic Robin Hood. He did practically everything but dress the part. Yet, his short track record already proves his betrayal of the poor who supported him. Now, consider his desire for nuclear energy, masked by peaceful intentions today. Despite certain pundits' assertions, it is unlikely that this disciple of the ayatollahs' regime would honor an agreement on the purpose of the uranium enrichment. He seeks to bolster an oppressive position of power for tomorrow. If allowed, Iran likely would be a reign of terror over the Middle East. According to terrorism experts, the fundamentalist-controlled groups — Iran's ministry of intelligence, its security operatives, the Revolutionary Guards, and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah — are better trained and equipped than the al-Qaida network that carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran's rogue regime are a grave threat to the security of the Iranian people, the international community and especially the United States, the well-identified foe of the Islamic Republic. If Churchill's assertions were right and "the United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative," then the U.S. administration must maintain full speed with the agenda of establishing democracy in Iran. By continuing to drive a wedge between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime, the U.S. will bolster its chances of success, without alienating the average Iranian. Using the Iranian masses effectively to undermine the fundamentalist regime will also create leverage for the international community to step up and confront militants. A free, democratic Iran remains in the best interest of the United States. The "risk"? Becoming the certified hero of millions of Iranians by bringing the freedom they have long desired.


Iran’s “Nuclear Nationalism”

By Roya Johnson

The American Thinker
April 21st, 2006

A nation advancing in the fields of science and technology usually inspires pride among its citizens. Iranians are no exception. Throughout Iran’s history, the traditional culture has been particularly focused on scientific and intellectual achievement, and these pursuits have been rewarded with extremely high social honor. Unfortunately, the present regime in Iran is turning the honorable and dignified natural quest for technological achievement into propaganda about progress for peaceful power generation, in order to ineffectively camouflage its pursuit of nuclear weapons technology. They seek to delude Iranians into believing there is something positive in the billions of dollars lavished on a nuclear program while the economy and lives of ordinary Iranians languish. Technological advancement in Iran today serves to advance a war mongering, Armageddon threatening, fundamental Islamist Iranian government. The Iranian mullahs’ regime takes perverse pride in the early years of its revolution when it conducted a heinous and bloody “cultural revolution.” Tens of thousands of progressive and anti-fundamentalist students and professors were purged and hundreds were killed and wounded by state-dispatched goons. The regime, which has executed thousands of student political activists and has crushed every student uprising, can hardly claim a genuine affinity for scientific and academic endeavors.  By consistently consolidating authority under thuggish elites, the clerical regime can serves itself. Like every other Iranian asset, technological achievement has been commandeered by the state and is being used to threaten and destabilize the region. Even if one were to take the Iranian government at its word, the timing of weapons testing, military exercises and belligerent rhetoric from the highest Iranian officials indicates that these technological advancements are nothing more than political instruments in a tool box that services a two-and-a-half-decade-long terror policy.  For all the deafening claims of Iran’s thug-par-excellence president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the clerical regime’s success in enriching uranium last week was primarily the result of nuclear science and technology imported from abroad, primarily from the infamous nuclear proliferator, A.Q. Khan of Pakistan. Iran insists their nuclear program is for civilian purposes and claims it embodies the “national aspiration” of Iranians. If that were the case and the program would ultimately benefit the Iranian people, then why would the Iranian regime find it necessary to hide its existence from its own people? A massive uranium enrichment project was clandestine until the exiled Iranian opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, exposed  the existence of the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and the heavy water plant at Arak in August of 2002. Recent revelations demonstrate Iranian scientists linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have made attempts to fashion highly enriched uranium (HEU) spheres into a nuclear warheads to put on top of advanced missile designs. While the HEU sphere schematics have their origins with Pakistan and A. Q. Khan, Iran’s long range missiles technology appears to have its origins with North Korean missile designs.  The Americans as well as the Europeans now know beyond a reasonable doubt that the Iranian regime has been working in secret since the 1980’s on their nuclear weapons program. In October of 1988, when former President Rafsanjani was addressing the IRGC he said: …we should fully equip ourselves both in offensive and defensive use of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons. From now on you should make use of the opportunity and performs this task.

His deputy at the time of Rafsanjani presidency, Mohajerani, said:…since the enemy has atomic capabilities, Islamic countries must be armed with the same capacity.

To remark about the consistency of bad government in Iran is not to suggest the regime has not evolved! The so called “pragmatic” Rafsanjani and the so called “reformer” Khatami have yielded to an even more virulent strain of Iranian official. Since the presidency of so called “populist” Ahmadinejad, the Iranian regime has emphasized nationalism to rally support for the fascist government. According to Patrick Clawson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy “Ahmadinejad has been very clever as a politician in realizing that the way to rekindle fervor among ordinary Iranians is by appealing to their proud nationalist sentiments.”

There is no question that Iranian people are proud of themselves and their national identity. The wild permutations of fascist government in Iran stand in contrast to its traditional proud national identity. Indeed, the Iranian regime, including Ahmadinejad, is a national embarrassment to many Iranian nationalists. A secret official poll  that was leaked * revealed that last winter that about 69 percent of Iranians dismiss the nuclear program as a national project and 81 percent believe it was not worth taking Iran to the verge of war.*  Iran’s Ministry of Information has privately issued directives to state-controlled dailies not to report on negative aspects of the nuclear issue. A common joke these days in Tehran is: we do not have meat and potatoes, but “nuclear energy is our certain right.”  The mullahs’ nationalistic justification for the nuclear weapons rings hollow considering that their profoundly anti-Iranian rule has brought nothing but death and destruction for Iranians. They have plundered Iran’s national wealth and resources to finance terror and a military machine. They have turned Iran’s cultural, economic, and social fabric into a big mess. While Ahmadinejad was at his “yellow cake celebration” last week, residents of quake-stricken cities of Bam, Doroud and Boroujerd were still crying out in their misery. The dichotomy between national identity and the current Iranian leadership fuels general angst as well as a justified resistance against the totalitarian regime there. More than one hundred thousand Iranians have lost their lives in an attempt to correct what they saw as an ultimate political infraction. In their effort, they showed that this regime does not represent their values and culture.

Although seldom reported, true Iranian nationalism exists, and is geared to support a free Iran. These sentiments can be found in every demonstration organized in Iran by oridnary Iranians, including teachers, women, workers, students and minorities. In a fascist state like Iran, patriotic Iranians are not those who parrot the government, they are those who seek freedom and democracy, and continue to expose Tehran’s anti-Iranian nuclear program at great cost to themselves and their families.

*The original report is in Farsi but has been translated into English by the US Alliance for Democratic Iran.

According to news form Tehran, an official polling center has sent a report to senior officials stating that 69% of Iranians do not view the nuclear case as a nationalist and only 11% said that they believed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could solve their daily problems.

Stamped as “Classified”, this report has been put together by the polling department of one of the official news agencies of the country based on the polling it did in the months January and February. The report also states that 86% of people have said the nuclear energy is not worth a war.

Moreover, according to the polling results, Iran’s ethnic minorities do not consider the nuclear issue as their number one priority. 94% of Arabs of Khuzestan Province and 91% of Kurds have said the nuclear issue is not their main priority. 98% of Iranian people believe the nuclear case will eventually result in a military confrontation between Iran and the United States. About the same number of people responded positive when asked if Iran would have the same fate as Iraq if militarily attacked by the United States.  The polling result also indicates that only 28% of Iranians are worried and fearful about an American attack…

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Volume 24, May 15, 2006

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