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Are NGOs Returning to Iran?

Source: The HAND Foundation

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) began to thrive in Iran under the presidency of Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005). A plethora of organizations sprung up to work on a variety of issues, from the environment, to women’s issues, to poverty, to protecting child laborers. However, with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005 NGOs took a big hit in Iran. The label “NGO” took on a political connotation during the latter half of Khatami’s presidency, and into Ahmadinejad’s two terms in office. Any kind of civic engagement, particularly after 2009, was not tolerated, and most NGOs had already been forced to close down by that time. For those activists who stayed in Iran during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, and continued to work on social issues, many shifted their focus either to the environment, or to creating charities that support the sick and disabled.

Although civic leaders were buoyed by the election of president Hassan Rohani in June 2013, no significant changes have taken place in Iran in regards to safeguarding NGOs and those who work with them. The most active NGOs in Iran today remain those who consciously label themselves as charities and not necessarily NGOs. Hopefully NGO’s can be reassured of concrete changes their doors will open again.

... Payvand News - 07/15/14 ... --

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