July 15, 2006 VOLUME 26


To our readers,

In the last few days Middle East region has, once again, been plunged in a dangerously escalating conflict. News from the region points to Tehran’s regime as engine behind the violence and escalation. The fundamentalist regime in Tehran can tremendously benefit from such crisis erupted just in time for the G8 discussion on its illegal nuclear weapons program and subsequent UN Security Council action. One would hope this can be yet another wake up call for the community of nations to see the Iranian regime for what it is. Never before the Iranian regime has been so actively and simultaneously engaged in three major regional crises with serious international consequences:

-          Nuclear standoff with the West. Despite having weeks to study the lucrative incentive package on the table, Tehran announced that it will not suspend its nuclear enrichment program. With failed negotiations, the United States and the other permanent members of the UN Security Council are inching closer to imposing multilateral sanctions.

-          Continuous meddling in Iraq. According to Iraqi, US and British officials, Tehran’s fundamentalist regime has fostered sectarianism by aiding proxy Sunni groups and Shiites factions in powerful militias, particularly the Tehran-trained Moqtada al-Sadr's militia and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq's Badr Brigades. Rallis and public protests often call for “ousting the Iranian regime from Iraq”. Tehran is actively engaged in a hidden war in Iraq.

-          Escalating crisis in southern Lebanon. With Tehran’s expansionist ideology of Islamic fundamentalism, the regime is actively arming, training, funding and directing the regional forces including Hizbollah and Hamas. Iran’s president has infamously denied the Holocaust and made countless provocative statements about Israel and Arab and Muslim states not abiding by his venomous tirade. Recent Iranian-made Al-fajr missile attacks from Southern Lebanon indicate Iran’s direct involvement in the escalating conflict.

The common thread among these crises is Tehran’s desire to foment and escalate regional violence and military conflict. As women of Iran declared in their recent protest, “the world community must be conscious of Iran’s war agenda in the region”. No one except Tehran would benefit from instability and conflict in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East. Such conflicts would not only distract the attention from Iran’s nuclear program and ongoing human rights abuses in Iran, they would also overshadow the Iranian voice that is calling for democracy and freedom.

If there is seriousness on the part of the international community to provide conditions conducive for peace and stability in the region, then it must not lose focus on Tehran’s regime. Neither war nor negotiations with the regime in Tehran are the answer. Empowerment of Iranian people and their resistance movement is. The time to look for viable indigenous solution to the growing Tehran-problem is now.  


E-Zan Featured Headlines


Iran Focus – June 16, 2006

The international human rights groups Amnesty International condemned a crackdown by Iran’s State Security Forces (SSF) on a peaceful demonstration earlier this week by women in Tehran. “Amnesty International condemns the Iranian security forces' violent disruption of a peaceful demonstration on 12 June by women and men advocating an end to legal discrimination against women in Iran. The demonstrators had gathered in the Seventh of Tir Square in Tehran to call, among other things, for changes in the law to give a woman's testimony in court equal value to that of a man and for married women to be allowed to choose their employment and to travel freely without obtaining the prior permission of their husband”, the rights group said in a statement released on Thursday. The group said that agents of Iran’s SSF “moved in as soon as the demonstration began and immediately started beating the protestors with batons in order to force them to disperse”. Amnesty said it had received the names of over 40 women and men reported to be among those arrested.


The Times– June 19, 2006 Thousands of Iranian women, barred from attending football matches by the religious leadership in their homeland, turned out in Frankfurt to watch their team play Portugal on Saturday. Simply by being in the stadium they were rejecting the view of the ayatollahs that it is unIslamic for women to see the bare legs of men who are not their husbands. Women are routinely detained at the Azadi stadium in Tehran if they try to gain admission to a football match.

The New York Sun - June 26, 2006 An Iranian prosecutor who is accused of condoning the torture, rape, and murder of a Canadian

photojournalist will have to plan his trips to Europe and the Americas carefully after it was disclosed that the Canadian government is now demanding his arrest if he leaves Iran.  The Canadian foreign minister, Peter MacKay, telephoned his German counterpart last week and asked that Saeed Mortazavi be arrested if he set foot in Frankfurt, Germany. Mr. Mortazavi was expected to stop over in the German city on his flight back to Tehran from Geneva, Switzerland, after attending the opening session of the new U.N. Human Rights Council. The Canadian government has declared that Mr. Mortazavi's 2003 decision to send photographer Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian citizen, to the prison where she was murdered makes him culpable in the crime.


NCRI Website - July 5, 2006 Speech by Baroness Harris of Richmond from British Parliament at the largest gathering of Iranians in Paris in support of a democratic change in Iran.I find it entirely shocking that Iranian women face daily humiliation, oppression and terrible cruelty merely for being born female. Over the years we have been told of terrible cases of unimaginable barbarity faced by these women. Sadly since the appointment of Ahmadinejad, the plight of women, religious minorities, students and dissidents has further deteriorated. Everyday that we delay our action, we are failing girls like Atefeh Rajabi led to the gallows at the age of 16 or women like Zahra Kazemi brutalized to death in Evin prison. Our inaction is costing lives. In very stark contrast to these heinous mullahs, I have the very real pleasure of meeting Madam Rajavi earlier this year. Ladies and gentlemen, I am entirely convinced that she will lead your people to the freedom and democracy they so desperately crave. She and you have the burden of 70 million Iranians trapped in the prison that is modern day Iran.”


Voice of AmericaJuly 5, 2006 It has been three years since Canadian-Iranian photo-journalist Zahra Kazemi was arrested by Iranian security forces, taken to Tehran's Evin prison, and beaten to death. She had been taking photographs of an anti-government demonstration outside the prison gates. To date, no one has been held accountable for Ms. Kazemi's murder, and Iran's clerical regime has refused to release her body to her son in Canada. The brutally repressive behavior of Iran's clerical regime is a betrayal of the Iranian people.

Iran Focus – July 8, 2006

An Iranian woman has been sentenced to death by stoning, according to a Kurdish human rights group. The woman, identified as Malek Ghorbani, is from the north-western city of Naqadeh, the Rapporteurs of the Organisation for Defence of Human Rights in Kurdistan said.  Ghorbani was accused of adultery, the report which appeared on several opposition websites said, adding that she is currently in a prison in the nearby town of Orumieh. A court in Orumieh handed down the sentence. Iran Focus has not been able to independently confirm the sentence. Naqadeh, in West Azerbaijan Province, has a strong Kurdish and Azeri population. In May, at least six Azeri anti-government protestors were killed in the city by security forces during clashes following the publication of an insulting cartoon in the official daily Iran.


Various News Sources– July 12, 2006

Iran’s state-run media reported half a dozen executions on Wednesday bringing to 98 the number of executions reported in the state media since the start of 2006. At least a dozen minors and women have been among the victims. Four men were hanged in public in the southern city of Zabol, Sistan-va-Baluchistan Province, on Wednesday, the official news agency IRNA reported. The four were identified as Mehdi Zori, Houshang Kiani, Jamaloddin Jamali, and Abdol-Rahman Safar-Zehi were accused of “instigating trouble” and drug-related offences. The government-run news agency Fars reported on Wednesday that a young man was hanged in public in the northern city of Shahroud. The 31-year-old man was only identified by his first name Davoud. He was accused of rape. A man identified as Ali-Reza Ranjbar was hanged in prison in the western city of Boroujerd on Tuesday, the official news agency IRNA reported. He was accused of murdering another man. Another man, identified only as 34-year-old Behzad, was hanged in public in the central city of Isfahan on Tuesday on charges of kidnapping, the daily Etemaad Melli reported on Wednesday. His alleged accomplice, a woman identified only as Anita, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 74 lashes, and a fine.

E-Zan Featured Reports

Women’s Rights in Iran

By Julien Duval-Leroy

International Security Research & Intelligence Agency

June 28, 2006

As Tehran's Islamic Regime defies International Community by continuing its clandestine nuclear program and remains the most important supporter of international terrorism according to the United States, there's another problem that the world community should worry about. If there's a place where being a woman condemns you to live deprived of human rights, it could be Iran. If Men's situation is far from being attractive given the dictatorial shape of the Islamic Regime, Women's situation is far worse. Islamic Regime considers Women as second-class citizens. Yet reports from Iran showed Women can divorce and often resist the best they can.  Various groups that defend Women's rights in Iran have been formed for years. Unfortunately, most are based abroad, therefore it limits their action. Beyond its complete intolerance towards non-muslims (especially Jews) and its dangerous behavior abroad that encourages djihadi to spread terror, the Islamic Regime also treats half of its population as it treats its 'foes': Iranian Women. The Islamic Regime turned Iran into the contrary it's been in the past: a tolerant and open-minded nation. What would be the impact of the Islamic Revolution on women rights? Iran ratified in 1968 the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, in 1975 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in 1976 the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol relating to the status of Refugees, and after the Islamic Revolution, the Convention of the Rights of Child in 1994. Existing treaties about human rights would jeopardize the Islamic regime. Yet what is all the more preoccupant is the degradation of political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of women. Iranian women participated widely in the 1979 revolution. Once in power, however, ayatollah Khomeini implemented a theocracy based on “gender apartheid”. The “moderate” Rafsanjani or the “reformist” Khatami did little to change the scandalous situation in which women are still repressed. Iran is not a member of the U.N. Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. There is impossibility for the regime to sign and ratify a convention that is exactly the opposite of its judicial system. Article 1 of this convention explains that “The term ‘discrimination against women’ shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other fields.” The Ayatollahs' Islamic legislation is based on misogyny, restriction of fundamental laws, discrimination and inequality…If globalization could spread violations of women's rights worldwide, the opposite should also be true. Women rights are a sensible issue in Iran but also in the whole Islamic world. Sheri Ebadi, Maryam Rajavi and other activists in Iran are working toward a more “feminine theology”, or at least a profound rethink of the misogynist interpretation of the Qur’an. This feminist movement is also active in other Islamic country. The Moroccan sociologist, Fatima Mernissi, attacks the “age-old conservative focus on women’s segregation as mere institutionalization of authoritarianism”, and the “manipulation of sacred texts”. An outbreak of feminism in those countries would have a deeper and more profound effect than any international interventions to protect women. Such an intervention would be qualified of “neo-colonialism” and would diminish the power and influence of an inner Islamic-world consciousness on the importance of Women (and their fundamental rights). [See Full Text]


Maryam Rajavi outlines the Iranian Resistance's platform for future Iran

Iranian Gathering in Paris, France

NCR Site

July 1, 2006

We are standing at a very extraordinary juncture of Iran's history: The turning point for a major birth and a magnificent destiny toward which we are being steered. Today, all the paths to ensure the survival of the velayat-e faqih regime have reached a dead end. Neither the deceitful spin game of reform nor the policy of appeasement bore any fruit. Propelling Ahmadinejad to power submerged the regime in its entirety in a mortal crisis. Today, the sun for the future of our nation is on the horizon. The terrorist label (against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran) has become a source of shame for the appeasers and the June 17 dossier has discredited them further. The waves of victory and freedom rush ahead in the declaration of 5.2 million Iraqis, in the ruling by the Paris Court of Appeals and in the spate of uprisings in Iranian cities. So, with a voice louder than ever, we again say, the only option, the only correct path and the only correct answer to the Iranian problem is the establishment of democracy. We say no to war, no to appeasement, yes to the third option: which is democratic change by the Iranian people and their Resistance. We say that the great nation of Iran itself has the capability and the capacity to change its own destiny to achieve democracy. And it undoubtedly will. The National Council of Resistance of Iran is the longest-running political coalition in Iran's contemporary history which has proven its genuineness and steadfastness in the most complicated international and regional circumstances. This perseverance reflects the NCRI's prowess. The Iranian Resistance drives its strength from the sacrifice of 120,000 martyrs and the pain and suffering of hundreds of thousands of political prisoners and the endeavors of the Mojahedin, its combatants and the vast network of its supporters inside and outside Iran for the establishment of freedom and democracy in the country and building a prosperous and independent Iran. Accordingly, I will present the outlines of the Resistance's program for the Iran of tomorrow. This program reflects the Iranian people's historic aspirations. 

1. In the future Iran the natural and inalienable human rights of every Iranian must be respected. The rights to life, freedom, and security of every citizen of the Iranian nation will be considered equal under the law regardless of their gender, race, religion, ethnic makeup, and dialect. We are committed to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

2. In the future Iran all individual freedoms will be recognized. These include freedom of speech, clothing, marriage and divorce, employment, travel, choosing one’s residency and citizenship.

3. The litmus test of the legitimacy of the country’s political and legal makeup is the universal suffrage. In the future Iran the right to make key political decisions in society and the people’s right to change the government will be respected and various councils will be set up in all spheres of society in order to uphold and guarantee democracy.

4. We seek a pluralistic republic, in which complete freedom of parties, associations and unions are guaranteed.

5. In the free Iran of tomorrow we will defend the abolition of the death penalty. This is our response to the ruthless killings and brutality with which the mullahs have ruled clutched on to their reign. Torture will be banned under any circumstances. There will be no room for cruel and degrading punishments under whatever pretext, including under the cloak of religion.

6. The Iranian Resistance is committed to the separation of church and state. In the Iran of tomorrow the principle of freedom of religion will be respected. The country's laws will not ban any religion. No religion will enjoy privilege over another and no citizen will be subjected to any personal or social privilege or privation in their individual or social rights because of their belief or non-belief in any religion.

7. We are committed to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. In the Iran of tommorow, men and women will enjoy equal rights in all political, social and economic sectors. Women will have equal participation in the political leadership of the country.

8. In the Iran of tomorrow all forms of sexual exploitation of women will be prevented. Polygamy will be banned. Physical, sexual and psychological violence against women will be considered a crime.

9. In the Iran of tomorrow oppression, discrimination and lawlessness concerning children and child labor will be banned.

10. The judiciary of the future Iran will be founded upon a uniform system of justice. It will be a two-tiered system based on the presumption of innocence, the right to defense, the right to seek justice, the right to be tried in open courts with the presence of the jury. In this system, their will be no discrimination on issuing judgment. The complete independence of the judges and the Bar Association will be guaranteed.

11. In the Iran of tomorrow the free market will be respected. Economic opportunity will be provided to the people equitably and all restrictions on self employment will be lifted.

12. We are determined to ensure that in the Iran of tomorrow every member of society will enjoy access to social services, including education, hygiene and athletic opportunities. Universities will be governed by independent councils elected by the faculty and students.

13. In the Iran of tomorrow the just right to autonomy of the people of Kurdistan will be recognized. We seek the eradication of dual discrimination against all ethnic minorities in Iran in the framework of the country's indivisible territorial integrity.

14. In the Iran of tomorrow, interference in the internal of affairs of other countries will be banned and others will be banned from interfering in our internal affairs. We demand peace, mutual respect in international relations, good neighborliness and the establishment of diplomatic relations with all countries of the world. The Iran of tomorrow will be a non-nuclear country and devoid of weapons of mass destruction. [See Full Text]


Opponents of Iran regime find their voice in Paris

By Craig S. Smith

The New York Times

July 2, 2006

LE BOURGET, France Thousands of Iranians from across Europe gathered here in support of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its leader, Maryam Rajavi, who was recently freed from French judicial restrictions that had limited her movement.
 Rajavi's message Saturday to the crowd of 10,000 or more just outside Paris was that Iran needed neither nuclear weapons nor nuclear power but rather secular democracy, presumably led by Rajavi herself or her husband, Massoud Rajavi, who is now presumed to be in hiding in
Iraq. But the meeting's deeper message was that the Rajavi organization was still alive and biding its time. The national council, which Maryam Rajavi heads, has been declared a terrorist organization by the United States because of the violent tactics of its military arm. The United States and the European Union have made the same declaration about the council's dominant military arm, the Mujahedeen Khalq, or People's Holy Warriors. Its militia in Iraq has been disarmed and confined to a camp north of Baghdad since May 2003. Rajavi's freedom to travel was restricted after a raid that July on the group's headquarters near Paris.

The organization has been lobbying to have the terrorist label removed and to be taken seriously as a viable opposition movement to topple the theocracy in Iran. Rajavi has built a loyal following among middle-class Iranian immigrants across Europe, primarily through an online network of Iranian women.

More women than men support Rajavi "because of the misogynist character of the Iranian regime," one woman at the meeting said. Most of the women were dressed in typical European summer fashions, in contrast to Rajavi's signature head scarf and matching suit, bright green on this occasion.

They arrived for the weekend event by bus from as far north as Norway and as far south as Italy. Some had their travel subsidized by local donations. "They are the only organization that can bring freedom to Iran," said Sofie Soroori, who came to the rally from Sweden. She dismissed talk of the organization's dark side, blaming the mullahs in Iran for misinformation.



Iran's fashion police put on a show of chadors to stem west's cultural invasion

By Robert Tait

The Gurdian

July 14, 2006

They are unlikely to grace any catwalk or adorn the figures of supermodels, but the latest in Islamic fashions got top billing from Iran's religious authorities yesterday in an exhibition aimed at promoting female modesty and countering the influence of western clothing. Tehran's Imam Khomeini mosque hosted the country's first Islamic dress fair, in which ankle-length manteaus, or overcoats, and all-covering black chadors supplanted the sexually daring styles favoured by European designers. The 10-day event is being organised by Iran's police force along with the commerce ministry and the state broadcasting corporation, IRIB, to promote the idea of women dressing stylishly in line with the values in the Qur'an. Hundreds of women, most wearing chadors or other forms of conservative dress, browsed an array of outfits, many of which appeared strikingly uniform in their dark colouring and full length. But representatives from the Tehran-based Superior Hijab Production Company modelled a blue chador that departed from tradition by coming with sleeves - solving an age-old practical problem. The sales pitch was reinforced by a fringe exhibition of quotes extolling the virtue of Islamic hijab. One, from the prophet Muhammad, read: "Any woman with faith in Allah and the resurrection day won't expose her adornments to any man except her husband. Any woman who does these things for other than her husband has betrayed her faith and provoked God's anger." The exhibition was a response to recent trends among many young Iranian women towards short, tight-fitting manteaus and headscarves pushed back to expose elaborate hair styles. Earlier this year Tehran city council ordered a police crackdown against women whose dress was deemed insufficiently Islamic. Hamid Reza Moniri, the exhibition's executive secretary, said it had been organised to help stem a cultural invasion from the west. "We believe that dressing in recent years has been influenced and damaged by non-Iranian fashions," he said. "Some international designers and television news channels have invaded our culture and influenced the morality of our youth and our nation. If you look at western countries, you never see statues of the Virgin Mary depicting her half-naked, but that is now the case with western dress. We don't want to end up like westerners." Rafighe Musapour, 65, dressed in a traditional black chador, welcomed the exhibition. "It's a good idea to persuade younger women to dress in a more Islamic fashion. We are Muslims and we should try to dress more appropriately," she said. But some young women were less impressed. "The designs here are not appropriate for the youth or people of my age," said Shakoofeh, 19, a student. "I came along out of curiosity to see what the authorities think we should wear. I would not wear hijab at all if it wasn't the law."

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Volume 26, July 15, 2006

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