June 15, 2006 VOLUME 25
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
Few days ago, people from all walks of life rallied,
in the streets of Tehran, in support of the demands of Iranian women and their
organized equality movement Iranian women demanded the most basic rights, yet
their strategy has been carefully outlined to politically, socially and
ideologically challenge Ahmadinejad's regime and Khameini's
supreme leadership. The protest was sponsored by numerous women's organizations
and banned political and resistance groups. Protesters chanted "women are
human, but we don't have any rights", "our demand: freedom and equal rights",
and "regime of misogyny must end". Threatened by women’s show of
will, Tehran's regime responded with severe
crackdown and presence of State Security Forces. Many have been arrested and
some take to hospital due to clashes with security forces. Yet, Monday June 12, 2006, marked the second major rally
sponsored by women in the past two months.
Such active political presence and protests should signal
the world leaders who wonder about the future of Tehrans
regime. As women demanded in their rally on Monday, the world community should
move swiftly and decisively in isolating the regime in Tehran. No amount of incentives or
negotiations will change the nature and the behavior of Ahmadinejad's regime.
Instead, women are urging the community of nations to hold his regime
responsible for its state sponsorship of violence against women, illegal
nuclear activities, international terrorism and spread of Islamic
Fundamentalism in the region.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
NCR Website - May 18, 2006 The Iranian regime's
Supreme Council on Cultural Revolution has been considering the so-called plan
for "fashion and clothing", according to the state-run news agency, ISNA.In releasing the news, a member of the Majlis (Parliament) Culture Committee said, "Cultural
problems are not like economic problems which could be resolved through
coupons". She reiterated, "The State Security Forces should first
only issue warnings and if that was not enough it should take more serious
measures". The announcement signaled more crackdown
on women by the Iranian regimes' suppressive agencies.
NCR Website - May 23, 2006 On May 17, the mullahs' Majlis (Parliament) repealed a 1935 law which gives all
children of an Iranian mother and non-Iranian father, Iranian citizenship.
Consequent to this measure, thousands of Iranian children born in Iran of
Iranian mothers will be left without birth certificates and rights. Millions of
Afghanis and Iraqis, during the past 27 years, have married Iranian women.
Their children are now ineligible for citizenship, educations, health and other
Tronto Star - May 24, 2006 Like others who come
watch Iran's national soccer team
prepare for next month's World Cup, they join in the chants and wave their
flags. But these fans are cheering from outside the fence surrounding the field,
barred by law from entering because they are women. More than 50 female soccer
fans - from girls to mothers with baby strollers - pressed against the
chain=link fence, screaming, whistling, and trying to make sense of their
exile. "We're out here like beggars in our own country trying to support
our own nation's team," said 20-year-old Mina Tehrani,
who was taking photos of the team with her cell phone. "Are we not
Iranians? Are our cheers less important?" It's just the latest in the
ever-shifting - and seemingly arbitrary - messages sent to women by Iran's Islamic
Iran Focus - May 31, 2006 Iranian authorities have stoned a man
and a woman to death, according to a report that has surfaced in
Persian-language websites. The stoning was carried out in the middle of the
night three weeks ago in a cemetery in the north-eastern city of Mashad, the report said. The
woman was identified as Mahboubeh Mohammadi.
Mahboubeh, who was a teacher, and her sister's
husband were accused of murdering her husband eight years ago. The report said
that her role in the murder was only discovered last year. Iran Focus has not
been able to independently confirm the stoning.
Iran Focus - June 6, 2006 A report released by the U.S. State
Department described Iran as a "source,
transit, and destination country for women and girls trafficked for the
purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude"."Women
and children are trafficked internally for the purposes of forced marriage,
sexual exploitation, and involuntary servitude", it said, adding,
"The Government of Iran does not fully comply with the minimum standards
for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do
so". The annual report downgraded Iran to a Tier 3 trafficking
country after "persistent, credible reports of Iranian authorities
punishing victims of trafficking with beatings, imprisonment, and
execution". Iran now joins 11 other
nations regarded as the worst offenders on the blacklist. "The Government
of Iran did not improve its protection of trafficking victims this year",
it said, adding, "Child victims of commercial sexual exploitation
reportedly have been executed for their purported crime of prostitution or adultery.
For instance, one 16-year-old sex trafficking victim was hanged publicly by
religious authorities who accused her of engaging in "acts incompatible
with chastity." The governor of the town later congratulated the religious
leader for his 'firm approach'".
BBC - June
13, 2006 Iranian news websites and women bloggers
have been full of angry comment about the way that policewomen took part in
breaking up a women's demonstration for more legal rights in Tehran on Monday. Pictures on
several Iranian websites showed the policewomen in black chadors wielding
batons against women protesters - many of whom were dressed in patterned
headscarves and short, colorful overcoats and jeans. The descriptions and
photos appeared on some of the more than 100,000 active blogs
in Iran that have sprung up in recent years, providing an unprecedented insight
into Iranian people's lives and concerns - and for the most part bypassing the
censors. Among the police were a number of women officers. Their behavior has
been widely noted by Iranian bloggers. One site
commented that the women police were swinging their batons without restraint.
Another written by an eyewitness called the confrontation between the women
police officers and protesters "very interesting" - and described one
protester being chased by a policewoman, shouting back at her: "Don't you
care if your husband takes a second wife?" A posting on another site
described some policewomen as taking off their chadors so they could use their
batons more easily - commenting acidly that they did not seem to mind that
non-family members could see them uncovered and hear their voices.
E-Zan Featured Reports
Isolate Iran's Belligerent Regime
In the past few weeks a chorus of influential
voices in foreign policy circles in the United States and Europe has expressed concern
over the perceived "march to war" by the Bush Administration,
prompting emphatic appeals for direct dialogue between the US and the world's
"most active state sponsor of terrorism." The call for dialogue with
Tehran has come from Sandy Berger, former President Bill Clinton's national
security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski,
former President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser, Patrick J. Buchanan,
a leading conservative columnist, George Perkovich, a
vice-president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Madeline
Albright, former President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) and Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), among
others. The Financial Times, the perennial voice for dialogue with Tehran's mullahs, led off its
editorial page on May 15 by declaring that "A grand bargain is still the
only solution on Iran." It claimed,
"The opportunity now exists to turn the tables on Tehran: to put forward an offer
that recognizes that Iranians have legitimate security concerns while
acknowledging that others have so too. Thus a realistic threat that Iran faces isolation in the
world should be accompanied by a serious offer to negotiate."
The question, however, is whether the regime in Iran is willing to negotiate
and about what?
The commotion about guaranteeing the tyrants of Iran their security and
promising them that nobody wants "regime change" in exchange for
their goodwill and cooperation misses the point of what this most serious
crisis of the 21st century is about. The argument goes something like this: The
US is not supporting negotiations and is implicitly threatening Iran with
regime change, has nearly 150,000 troops on Iran's western and eastern borders,
and Tehran has genuine security concerns which is forcing it to pursue nuclear
weapons and behaving belligerently. To succeed in changing the Iranian regime's
behavior, the US should engage the
Iranian regime directly in a grand bargain to buy its goodwill by promising the
regime the security it wants, and getting a well-behaved partner in securing
This argument rests on a misunderstanding, or a lack there of, about the nature of the present Iranian regime and
fails to draw lessons from the past three decades of Islamic fundamentalist
rule in Iran. Is the Iranian regime really
pursuing nuclear weapons as an act of self-defense against perceived US threats? Are
Ahmadinejad's continuous threats to other countries and his call for a
"global Islamic rule," a result of Iran's perceived threats? Is Iranian sponsored terrorism and its spread of fanatical
and regressive religious fundamentalism due to some outside impetus?
The past three decades of Islamic fundamentalist
rule in Iran have shown that the
regime in Iran thrives on confrontation
and external threats to suppress all dissent and consolidate internally,
precisely because it is incapable of managing a modern, prosperous, open, and
democratic system of government.
The regime's acquisition of nuclear technology,
which many suspect is for building nuclear weapons, started in total secrecy in
the late 1980s and was uncovered by the opposition National Council of
Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in the summer of 2002.
Tehran's involvement in Lebanon and its sponsorship of
terrorism began in the early 1980s, which make it clear that terrorism has been
a major foreign policy instrument for the regime with which it aims to
intimidate and blackmail various countries into accepting its terms.
Tehran has openly declared its
ambition to be the leader of the "Islamic World," and to form an
"Islamic bloc" to impose the Iranian model of religious government on
Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. This
"Islamic Caliphate" would be armed with nuclear weapons and
long-range missiles to impose its terms on a world that looks on incredulously
and seeks to negotiate and bargain with an increasingly confident and
belligerent state-sponsor of terrorism.
What does Iran have to negotiate about?
The Iranian regime said repeatedly that it is more than willing to negotiate,
but only about its own agenda and on its on terms. In the same breath, it vowed
over and over never to suspend nuclear enrichment. What it is willing to
negotiate about is how the West could help it dominate the region, acquire
nuclear surge capability, withdraw from the region, and abandon all talk of
spreading democracy to the so-called Islamic dominion.
So herein lies the
fallacy of the argument for engagement and negotiations. The Iranian regime
says let's negotiate about how you can save your skin and leave the region
safely, rather than about changing our behavior. No change in behavior will
come from any such negotiations and the regime will use the time to cross the
point of no return in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
The second fallacy lies in the fact that
engagement has been the modus operandi going all the way back to the Irangate fiasco in mid-1980s, with the Europeans and the
United States engaging with Iran one way or another and closing their eyes on
the regime's human rights abuses at home and sponsorship of terrorism abroad.
Engagement, therefore, is not a new idea but an old and failed policy that
actually resulted in the ascension of Ahmadinejad and the Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps as a sign of hardliners consolidating their position in the
If the threat of military confrontation in the Persian Gulf region looms so large
today is a consequence of such appeasement in the past.
The third fallacy is that it sends precisely the wrong signal to a restive and
discontent Iranian population which does not support the regime and will not
support it on the nuclear issue either.
The world must unite in the face of this new
oriental and religious dictatorship and isolate it rather then lend it further
legitimacy through futile engagement. The Iranian people despise the regime,
and despite the myth of Iranian nationalist sentiments causing a rally round
the flag effect over the nuclear issue, will not support this regime in its
present confrontational stand. Over 4,000 protest actions in Iran aimed at the regime
during the last Iranian year that ended in March prove that there is a deep and
wide gap between the Iranian rulers and the Iranian people. The world must
recognize this resistance to Islamic fundamentalist rule in Iran and avoid offering the
mullahs any more favors by promising it security guarantees. Why should anyone
offer to protect this regime from inevitable downfall at the hands of the
On the contrary, international pressure on the
religious tyranny in Iran should be ratcheted up
and the US administration should
engage the Iranian Resistance movement and people instead of threatening
military action. War is not inevitable as long as appeasement (ie: engagement, negotiations, grand bargains, etc) is
The best option remains the third option as set
out by Maryam Rajavi,
President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in her address to the European
Parliament in December 2004 and to the Council of Europe in April 2006. "I
have come to say that the international community is not required to choose
between the nuclear-armed mullahs or a war," she said. "There is a
third option: democratic change by the Iranian people and their organized
resistance. Making concessions to the mullahs is not the way to avoid war. It
would increase the possibility of a war."
The West should heed her advice before it is too
The Price Of Freedom: Human Rights
Abuse in Iran Intesifies
While the world is occupied with Iran’s nuclear program and how to solve
the dilemma, the clerical government intensifies its internal suppression. A
new wave of arrests and executions has begun since Ahmadinejad came to office.
The hard-line president, himself a former member of the notorious Revolutionary
Guard, is a fundamentalist Muslim who believes in “paving the path” for the
appearance of Shiite “hidden Imam”. His goal is to expand fundamentalist
Islamic empire ruled by Islamic religious law (Sharia).
Defying the United Nations, he continues Iran’s nuclear program, regularly
threatens to “wipe Israel off the map” and questions the veracity
of the Holocaust.
Using religion as a weapon, Ahmadinejad’s regime conducts public hanging,
execution, arrests and crackdown to intimidate the public and silence
dissident. In the past six to nine months, there have been numerous cases of
teenage public hangings, crackdown on Sufi’s protests or labor sit-ins, arrests
of bloggers and journalists, and more systemic
crackdown on women regularly including public flogging for mal-veiling.
Most notably has been the renewed wave of execution of the political prisoners.
Reports from Iran indicate constant and rising
threats by officials have continued due to international pressure on Tehran’s nuclear case. Moghanian,
the warden of Gohardasht prison and staff in charge
of political prisoners ward, recently told the prisoners that “don’t ever think
that by going to the Security Council, we will leave you be. If something
happens to us, we will cut you to pieces.”
On February 7, 2006, Hojjat Zamani, member of Iran’s main opposition group, People’s Moujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), was executed
followed by the government’s announcement on more death decrees of other PMOI
members. Among them is Valiollah Feiz-Mahdavi, in Gohardasht prison. He was arrested in 2001 and moved to Gohardasht prison in Karaj (west of Tehran). Valiollah was handed a death
sentence scheduled for May 16th. In the coming days, the 28-year-old Valiollah,
whose only “crime” is to fight for freedom, will face execution. Families of
political prisoners report that as the last step by the fundamentalist regime,
Valiollah was forced to sign the commandment to his execution in Gohardasht prison, which was put into place by the Judgment
Enforcement of the Court of Justice and brought to him by Ali Mohammadi, the prison’s director.
Recently, Women’s Forum Against
Fundamentalism, obtained the translation of Valiollah’s
recorded voice message from the prison, in which he says: “In the course of my
struggle I learned that for freedom fighters it is not all that important to
personally see realized the ultimate aim of their efforts and sacrifice. What
is paramount for them is steadfastness in struggle. I truly believe that
freedom, democracy and justice are as vital to human life as the air one
breathes. I thus permit myself to ask you not to abandon Iran’s just fight against the oppressive
regime of the mullahs. I also have a few words for the leaders and minions of
the regime: we will never resign ourselves to the ignominy of surrendering to
your repressive dictatorship, even if it will cost us our lives.”
In concluding his message, Valiollah calls for an Iran free of “injustice, oppression and
exploitation”, a reminding us of the price of freedom.
The past 27 years has demonstrated that silence and inaction
by the international community only emboldens the tyrants in Tehran. While there is a loud and clear
voice in Iran calling for the end of tyrannical
regime, many are too quick to judge the solution is through foreign war or
continued appeasement of the regime in Tehran.
To start with, the member states of the United Nations
Security Council must halt any talks of incentive to the fundamentalist regime
in Tehran and the Council must hold Ahamdinejad’s regime responsible for posing a threat to 70
millions Iranians. Forgetting Tehran’s continued gross human rights violations,
systemic oppression of women, and more importantly turning blind eyes on the on
going executions which have cost the Iranian nation tens of thousands of
innocent lives is not just immoral but irresponsible. The world needs to
pressure the Iranian government to stop the execution of Valliollah
and all other political prisoners.
In response to role of international community, Maryam Rajavi, the eloquent
female leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), says “the only viable way to end
the terrorism, nuclear program, human rights violations and internal
suppression imposed by the fundamentalist government of the Islamic Republic of
Iran”, is to support “change by the Iranian people and their resistance.”
Valiollah Feiz-Mahdavi is a brave member of this
growing resistance movement and is fully aware of the price of freedom. Let us
hope the international community acts in time to come to his aid.
us your comments or op-ed on relevant topics for future issues, email email@example.com
unsubscribe or subscribe others to our newsletter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
volumes of E-Zan visit www.wfafi.org
25, June 15, 2006
E-Zan © 2006