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July 23 2014
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The Lying Game: Failing in Gaza

- On or around August 6, 1945, US Air Force jets dropped copies of two leaflets on Japanese cities, including Nagasaki, according to the Harry S. Truman Library. Both included a similar message: You saw what we did to Hiroshima. If you don't want the same thing to happen to you, overthrow your emperor. Failing that, flee your cities. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/22/14

Iran revising Internet-control bill

- The Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance announced on Sunday that Iran's bill on controlling Internet websites is being amended by a team of experts and officials. The amendments are aimed to legalize Iranian users' access to some online social network services such as Facebook and twitter, and other internet services such as WhatsApp and Viber, which are currently illegal in Iran. - 7/22/14

Wave Of Forgiveness Washes Over Iran

- Last week alone, according to the reformist "Shargh" daily, nine individuals sentenced to death were pardoned by victims' families. Observers say a concerted publicity campaign is at play, but money is also a factor. Artists, television celebrities, and rights activists have been publicly calling on citizens to spare the lives of those sentenced to death and the media have been sympathetic in their coverage. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/22/14

Fear, Love and Iran's Favorite Internet Enemy (it's Facebook)

- Throughout its 35 years of existence, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not tolerated free expression or public gatherings beyond its control. Facebook offers some semblance of both of these things on an easy-to-use platform. -Mahsa Alimardani and Fred Petrossian, Global Voices - 7/22/14

"Indiscriminate" Bombing in Gaza Pushes Death Toll Beyond 500

- In the Gaza City suburb of Shuja'iyya on Sunday, more than 120 Palestinians-at least 40 of whom where women and children-were killed during intense and reportedly "indiscriminate" bombing by Israeli forces. The Ma'an News Agency reports that overall, 150 Palestinians were killed across the territory on Sunday. -Jon Queally, Common Dreams - 7/21/14

Prosecutor agrees to jailed Iranian activist's demands

- Jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi has ended his 50-day hunger strike after the Tehran Prosecutor agreed to his demands. Reports indicate that one of prosecutor's deputies, Mehdi Khodabakhshi, visited Shahabi in hospital on Sunday July 20 and accepted his demands for ending his strike. - 7/21/14

Iran: Families, friends of Kahrizak victims call for justice

- A gathering was held to mark the fifth anniversary of the victims of the Kahrizak Detention Centre, with families and activists calling for a follow-up into the deaths of the detainees in custody. - 7/20/14

'Death and horror' in Gaza as thousands flee Israeli bombardment

- Palestinian government condemns attack on Gaza's Shejaiya neighbourhood as 'war crime' as Israel widens ground offensive -Guardian - 7/20/14

Bill Criminalizing Birth Control is "Against Citizens' Rights," Critics Say

- Two prominent Iranian lawyers have questioned the legitimacy of a bill approved by the Iranian Parliament on June 24, 2014, which calls for punishment against those who perform birth control procedures such as vasectomy and tubectomy. The bills are part of an official drive to boost the country's population. - 7/18/14

Gender segregation considered for Tehran parks, city staff

- Tehran's deputy mayor for Staff Maintenance announced that a plan to segregate park benches is being considered to make sure young men and women do not sit too close in public. Meysam Amroodi said provisions could be made to have a table in between seats to allow for appropriate distance between men and women. - 7/18/14

Covert war against Iran's nuclear scientists: a widow remembers

- The wife of the first scientist to be assassinated speaks about her husband's growing fear of a net closing around him - and of meeting his Israeli-trained assassin before his execution. -Scott Peterson, CSM - 7/18/14

Iranian journalist jailed for sending letters to her father in prison

- Sajedeh Arabsorkhi, an Iranian activist and journalist, has been transferred to Evin Prison to serve out a one-year prison sentence. According to the Kaleme website, she is accused of propaganda against the regime for writing letters to her father, Feizollah Arabsorkhi, a political prisoner at the time. - 7/17/14

Reformist son of Iranian clergy member released after hunger strike

- Iranian political prisoner Mehdi Khazali was released after going on a hunger strike for 24 days. Khazali was arrested early last month and immediately began a hunger strike. Since then, he has reportedly suffered two heart attacks and is in grave health. - 7/15/14

Jailed Iranian reporter Siamak Ghaderi released

- Siamak Ghaderi, an Iranian reporter who used to work for IRNA, was released from prison on Monday July 14 after serving his sentence. Reports from Iran indicate that Ghaderi was released on a roadside in order to avoid any gathering of his supporters in front of the prison door. - 7/15/14

Two Iranians Flogged Publicly For Eating During Ramadan

- Two men were flogged in public in the south-central Iranian city of Shiraz for eating during fasting hours in the holy month of Ramadan. Fasting in Ramadan is considered a religious duty for Muslims. - 7/15/14

Iranian Facebook Activities Draw Harsh Prison Sentences

- Eight people have been handed heavy prison sentences for their activities on Facebook. The charges against them range from "assembly and collusion against national security" and "anti-regime activity" to "insulting sanctities and government officials." - 7/14/14

Israeli Propaganda and the Politics of Revenge against Gaza

- Well, the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip are 80 percent refugees--80 percent of them are descended directly from those who were forced off their land in what is now Israel in 1947 in 1948. And now they're being told to leave again. And they have nowhere to go. There are no bomb shelters in the Gaza Strip. There is nowhere for these refugees to flee. -The Real News Network - 7/14/14

US Backing Israeli War of Choice In Gaza

- The moral high ground is always a tenuous piece of property. It is difficult to obtain and is easily lost. It is seen, however, as crucial because most people, all over the world, cannot accommodate the notion that life is composed of shades of grey; they desperately need to see black and white, good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains, in every situation. Nowhere is this truer than in the Israel-Palestine conflict. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/12/14

Noam Chomsky calls on Iran to release imprisoned journalist Marzieh Rasouli

- The US philosopher Noam Chomsky has called on Iran to release the female journalist Marzieh Rasouli who was jailed last week to endure a sentence of 50 lashes and two years in prison. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 7/12/14

New Wave of Arrests and Prison Sentences Against Iranian Journalists

- The prominent journalist Marzieh Rasouli was summoned to Evin Prison on July 8, 2014, for the implementation of her sentence of 50 lashes and two years' imprisonment, she announced on Twitter, even though Rasouli has not yet received confirmation of the initial sentence from the appeals court. - 7/11/14

Fatal explosion kills two Iranian miners

- An explosion in a red granite mine in Northeastern Ardakan has killed two miners and injured three others. ILNA reports that Yazd Province labour officials announced that the incident occurred on Monday July 7 and the injured workers are being treated for burns. - 7/11/14

Iranian journalists call for release of jailed colleague

- Eighty-two Iranian journalists have spoken out against the continued detention of Serajeddin Mirdamadi, an Iranian journalist who has been in custody since May 10. Kaleme reports that a statement from the journalists denounces Mirdamadi's continued arrest and the judiciary's refusal to release him. - 7/10/14

On Israel-Palestine and BDS

- The misery caused by Israel's actions in the occupied territories has elicited serious concern among at least some Israelis. One of the most outspoken, for many years, has been Gideon Levy, a columnist for Haaretz, who writes that "Israel should be condemned and punished for creating insufferable life under occupation, [and] for the fact that a country that claims to be among the enlightened nations continues abusing an entire people, day and night." -Noam Chomsky, Nation - 7/10/14

Wave of Hunger Strikes in Iranian Prisons; Are We Aware?

- A widescale hunger strike is currently underway among Iranian political prisoners yet we are unaware of its details and are not doing anything about it. We won't until we hear the news of the death of one of them. -Issa Saharkhiz - 7/9/14

Jailed Iranian journalist speaks to her family after weeks

- Saba Azarpeyk, the Iranian journalist who has been under arrest since late May, has contacted her mother for the first time in more than 40 days. Meanwhile, journalist Marzieh Rasouli says on her Twitter page that she has been summoned to serve out her sentence of imprisonment and fifty lashes. - 7/9/14

New Report Reveals Iranian TV's Continued Human Rights Violations

- he United States should reinstate sanctions on Iran's state TV and radio broadcasting agency, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), for the continuation of its widespread human rights violations, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. The US Treasury had issued a six-month waiver of IRIB sanctions in February 2014, which expires in August. - 7/8/14

Protests Continue Over Ban on Iranian Women's Presence at Sporting Events: Rouhani's Deputy on Women's Affairs is "Conservative"

- While the ban on women's presence at sporting events continues in the Islamic republic, a group of women gathered at the building of the capital's provincial center building to display their unhappiness where they signed a petition and submitted it to the governor of Tehran in which they demand the authorities to provide a justification for banning women from watching volleyball at the country's largest stadium complex, the Azadi Stadium. -Niusha Saremi - 7/7/14

Israeli Police Caught On Video Beating Palestinian U.S. Citizen

- It is a nightmare day for the Khdeir family, in East Jerusalem and in Tampa, Florida. It's worth taking a close look at the conditions they are facing in light of crimes committed against some of their youngest members that most of us will, thankfully, never have to come close to experiencing. -Mitchell Plitnick - 7/6/14

Let Freedom Ring: U.Va. Professor Rediscovers Sacred Story Behind Jefferson Statue

- Jehovah. Allah. Brahma. Ra. Atma. Zeus. God. Names given by people across time and culture to represent a divine creator, a source of ultimate power and will. They've been used to inspire generations to connect with something greater than themselves, as well as to fuel centuries of holy wars, religious persecution and terrorism, excuses for death and division within a world of different belief systems. -Lauren Jones, University of Virginia - 7/4/14

Iranian journalist group seeks to re-establish itself

- Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, the head of Iran's disbanded Association of Journalists, has called on the Minister of Culture to take the last step to resurrect the association. Shamsolvaezin told Shargh that since Culture Minister Ali Jannati has said that he has no problems with the activities of the association, then he should take the last step and get the judiciary to reopen it - 7/3/14

University reprimands Tehran morality police for going on-campus

- The head of Tehran University of Art, Gholamreza Akrami, says the police do not have the right to enter the university campus, and following a discussion with them, "they have apologized for the recent incident." - 7/1/14

Activists urge volleyball group to support Iran's female fans

- More than 130 women's rights activists have written an open letter to the head of the International Federation of Volleyball demanding support for the right of women to watch volleyball matches in stadiums. - 6/30/14

Morality police clashes with university campus security in Tehran

- A student at the Applied Arts University has been arrested by Iran's morality patrol, referred to as an Ershad Patrol. The Kaleme opposition website reports that campus security tried to prevent the Ershad Patrol from returning to the campus after the student's arrest, and a serious conflict arose between the two groups. - 6/30/14

Tehran police to enforce Ramadan fasting rules

- Greater Tehran's Police Chief announced on Sunday June 29 that with the commencement of the month of Ramadan, his forces will respond to public displays of eating and smoking. - 6/30/14

UNHCR Praises Iran for Supporting Foreign Refugees

- Head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s Office in Tehran Sivanka Dhanapala praised Iran's performance in hosting and aiding foreign refugees, specially the Afghans. - 6/29/14

Yet Another Round of Arrests: Filling Prisons with Iranian Journalists

- The last two days witnessed a new round of court summons and arrests of media and civil activists in Iran. Mashaollah Shamsolvaezin (a prominent journalist and member of Association of Iranian Journalists) was summoned and banned from leaving the country, Reyhane Tabatabai (another journalist and former reporter for pro-reformist Shargh newspaper) was arrested and sent to Evin prison,... -Fereshteh Ghazi - 6/26/14

Iranian Health Minister challenges law against birth control

- Iran's Minister of Health has challenged the new legislation passed by Parliament to criminalize vasectomies and tubectomies, saying the legislation is in violation of citizens' rights. - 6/26/14

UN Criticizes Iranian Executions Of Juvenile Offenders

- The UN's high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, has spoken out against the large number of executions in Iran, specifically mentioning the planned execution of a minor in the Islamic republic. In a June 26 statement, Pillay brought up the case of Razieh Ebrahimi, who was convicted of killing her husband when she was 17 years old. - 6/26/14

Iranian Official Dressed Down Over Revealing Women's Leggings

- Skin-tight leggings popular among Iranian women have sparked an uproar in the Islamic republic's parliament, where the interior minister was dressed down over the female population's fashion choices. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/25/14

Iran outlaws birth-control methods, promotion

- Iran's Parliament has passed legislation criminalizing "abortion, sterilization, vasectomies, tubectomies and any promotion of childbirth reduction" under penalty of two to five years in jail. - 6/25/14

Sports, Shorts A Recipe For Rape In Iran

- Women attempting to attend World League volleyball matches being held this month in Tehran learned from the national police chief that their presence "was not in the public interest," while a female lawmaker argued that women at sporting events was a source of "disrespect and rape in society." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/25/14

Scholar Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Criticizing Iran Nuclear Program and the Judiciary

- The Iranian Judiciary has sentenced Sadegh Zibakalam, a Tehran University scholar, to one and a half years in prison for his criticism of the Iranian nuclear program and of the Iranian Judiciary on charges of "propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime," "publishing falsehoods to create public anxiety," and "insulting judges and Judiciary officials." - 6/23/14

Iran's Repressed Religious Minorities Using Internet To Practice Faith

- A new report by the London based non-profit group Small Media says the Internet is playing an "essential role" in empowering Iran's repressed religious minorities who are banned from public places and platforms. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/23/14

IRAN: Eleven Internet Professionals Sentenced to One to Eleven Years in Prison

- Yadollah Movahed, the Prosecutor for Kerman Province General and Revolutionary Courts, said at a press conference on June 19, 2014, that the eleven individuals were arrested and prosecuted for "designing sites, websites, and creating content for media hostile to the regime." - 6/22/14

Iranian authorities once again bar women from stadium

- Reports from Iran indicate that on Friday June 20, police and security forces once again prevented women from entering the stadium to watch a volleyball match between Iran and Italy, and a number of them were even arrested. - 6/21/14

End the Pressure on Iranian Activists

- A new round of pressure tactics have been launched against civil and political activists. The merciless attack on Ward 350 of Evin Prison and the arrest of a number of civil activists and journalists, and the execution of Gholamreza Khosravi, a political prisoner who was executed amid wide domestic and internal protests by human rights activists, are all indications of this new judicial assault. -Nasrin Sotudeh - 6/20/14

Jailed Iranian Director Mahnaz Mohammadi Sparks Mounting International Outrage

- Concern is mounting in the international film community over Iranian director, actress and women's rights activist Mahnaz Mohammadi who on June 7th reportedly began serving a five year sentence in Iran's Evin Prison, on the outskirts of Tehran, on charges of "plotting against state security" and "propaganda" against the Iranian regime. -Nick Vivarelli, Variety - 6/19/14

Iranian: President Rohani calls for answers on banning of women from stadium

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called on his Minister of Sports and his head of women's affairs to find out why Iranian women were barred from entering a stadium to watch the volleyball match between Iran and Brazil. - 6/18/14

Panel discussion in San Francisco: Impact of War on Women and Children in the Middle East

- Senses Cultural is presenting a panel discussion on the Impact of War on Women and Children in the Middle East to be held on June 28th from 2-5 pm at San Francisco State University. - 6/18/14

Iranian Lawmakers Urge Rohani To Enforce Islamic Dress Code

- Iranian lawmakers have urged President Hassan Rohani to enforce the Islamic dress code that requires women to cover their hair and body with loose clothing in public. State media reported that 195 lawmakers sent a letter to Rohani on June 15, calling him to take measures against Western cultural influences, which - according to the lawmakers -- target Islamic values. - 6/16/14

Concern for Iranian activist Masoumeh Gholizadeh in Tabriz Prison

- 381 activists have issued a statement calling for the release of former student activist of Allameh Tabatabayi University Masoumeh Gholizadeh. Gholizadeh who has been pursuing a doctorate in philosophy in Turkey was arrested on May 21 while visiting in Iran and is currently being held in Tabriz Prison. The charges against her have not yet been announced. - 6/16/14

Iranian Journalist Put on Trial for Propaganda Against State

- The lawyer representing Hossein Nouraninejad, the Iranian journalist and member of the now-banned reformist political party the Participation Front, told ILNA News Agency that his client was put on trial on June 9, 2014, at Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati. - 6/15/14

Iranian Education Activist Released After Serving Sentence

- Iranian student and political activist Majid Dori was released from Karoon Prison in Ahwaz on Thursday June 12 after serving out his five-year sentence. Dori was expelled from Allameh Tabatabayi University and arrested in Qazvin in July of 2009 and was first sentenced to 11 years in prison in exile. - 6/13/14

Iranian Activists Arrested For Protests Over Dying Lake

- A number activists were arrested in Tabriz and Oroumiyeh by morality police, according to various local media reports. Photographs have been posted on social media showing protesters denouncing "negligent officials" for failing to save the lake, which is rapidly drying out. Protesters called for "the breaking of dams to fill up Lake Oroumiyeh." - 6/12/14

Iranian journalists rally around detained colleague

- 147 Iranian journalists have issued a statement calling for the release of Saba Azarpeyk, saying her arrest is "illegal." The Kaleme opposition website reports that their statement refers to the arrest of Azarpeyk and the failure of authorities to inform her family about her situation as "illegal and dangerous." - 6/11/14

The Dead Reporter

- It is probably true that Iranian hardliners are fearful of those who disseminate news, media activists, journalists and reports. Their outlook towards them is similar to what the archaic Americans believed in: The only good Indian is a dead Indian (words attributed to American General Sheridan in 1869). -Issa Saharkhiz - 6/9/14

Iranian Women's Rights Activist, Filmmaker Summoned To Evin

- Evin Prison has summoned Mahnaz Mohammadi, the Iranian filmmaker and women's rights activist, to serve out her five-year prison sentence. Mohammadi was sentenced in September of 2012 for "assembly and collusion against national security and propaganda against the regime." - 6/9/14

Iran: Establishment backlash grows against Rohani's statements

- President Rohani's statements about curbing overt government interference in people's lives have drawn more fire from the establishment, this time from Iran's Prosecutor General and spokesman for the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei. - 6/8/14

Female Musicians Banned from Stage in Isfahan

- Female musicians are not allowed to go onstage and give live performances in Isfahan. Mohammad Qotbi, the head of the Isfahan Culture and Guidance administration and also a member of the clergy, compared music bands to the national football team, saying that just as there are substitutes for players on the football team, music groups should also have substitutes for their females players. - 6/7/14

Former Iranian Leader's Memorial Disrupted By Chanters

- A number of people taking part in the Memorial Service for the late Islamic Republic leader Ayatollah Khomeini were arrested by plainclothes officers. The Islamic Republic daily reported on Saturday that people who had been chanting in support of President Hassan Rohani were arrested at the end of the ceremony. - 6/7/14

Dispute Over Heaven Rages In Iran

- Twenty-five years after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's death, the clerical establishment ushered in by the Islamic republic's founding father is at odds over how far its influence on Iranians' lives should extend. The debate pits powerful, hard-line religious conservatives against Iran's relatively moderate president, Hassan Rohani. And at the center of the debate is heaven, and the path leading to it. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/5/14

Iran: Ceremony for Ayatollah Taheri in Isfahan turns violent

- The attack reportedly happened after the gatherers began chanting "Ya Hosein! MirHosein!" in support of opposition leader MirHosein Mousavi, who has been under house arrest together with his wife Zahra Rahnavard since February 2011. - 6/5/14

Concern for jailed Iranian activist's health

- Iranian political prisoner Shahram Radmehr was transferred from prison for medical treatments for the second time this week, and his health remains precarious. - 6/5/14

Update on Iranians' Account Closures at Bank of America

- WASHINGTON DC - Bank of America has issued a response to NIAC's request for the bank to stop closing accounts of Iranians located in the US. In its letter, Bank of America states that Iranian accounts are being terminated in order to uphold the bank's "due diligence" obligations under US sanctions law. -Tyler Cullis - 6/4/14

Iranian Media Smears Champion Of Unveiled Women

- The world took notice when Iranian women used a Facebook page to openly defy the clerical establishment by posting pictures of themselves in public without a hijab. Now the country's hard-liners appear to be using more traditional media to hit back at the woman who set up the page through a smear campaign that accuses her of espionage, drug use, and immorality that led to her rape. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/3/14

Hassan Khomeini: No return to pre-Internet era

- Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of the Founder of the Islamic Republic, here on Monday said it is not possible to go back to the era before the Internet. "The domain of technology is such that we cannot stand still, but we should manage it," he said on Monday. - 6/3/14

Iran: Jailed reformist refuses to answer new charge

- Prominent jailed reformist Mostafa Tajzadeh has been sentenced in absentia to another year in prison. Kaleme reports that Tajzadeh has been confronted with new charges of "propaganda against the regime by writing letters to Ayatollah Khamenei Leader of the Islamic Republic from inside prison." - 6/2/14

Freed Iranian rights lawyer: 'I've a bad feeling about the women I left behind'

- The arrest and jailing of Nasrin Sotoudeh prompted an international outcry. Here she speaks of her ordeal -Simon Tisdall, Guardian - 6/2/14

President Rohani responds to critical Imams

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani responded to the attacks against him by the Tehran and Mashhad Friday Mass Imams, saying "Some are constantly concerned with people's religion and the judgement day without expert knowledge of either." - 5/31/14

Iranian Hardliner Rejects Rohani's Hands-Off Approach

- The Tehran Friday Mass Imam and Islamic Republic hardliner Ahmad Khatami took a jab on Friday at President Hassan Rohani's statements about avoiding government interference in people's private lives. - 5/31/14

Iranian activists object to hanging of chief fraud suspect

- Prominent Iranian cultural and civil activists in Iran have issued a letter denouncing the hanging of Mahafarid Amir Khosravi, the prime suspect in the $3-billion fraud, as ordered by the Iranian judiciary. - 5/29/14

Iranian Journalist arrested while at work at Tehran weekly

- Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk was arrested in Tehran on Wednesday morning. Mizan Khabar reports that security forces entered the offices of the "Tejarat-e Farda Weekly" and arrested Azarpeyk at work. - 5/29/14

Iran: Representative of families of political prisoners released

- hmadreza Haeri, a representative of the families of political prisoners, has been released after 10 days in custody. The Neday-e Sabz Azadi website reports that Ahmadreza Haeri, brother of political prisoner Saeed Haeri, was released on the night of Monday May 26. - 5/28/14

Briton among eight jailed in Iran for web insults

- Eight people, including an Iranian-born British woman, have been jailed in Iran on charges including blasphemy and insulting the country's supreme leader on Facebook. The opposition website Kaleme reported that two of the eight, identified as Roya Saberinejad Nobakht, 47, from Stockport, and Amir Golestani, each received 20 years in prison -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/28/14

Iranian government acts on complaints from laid-off pregnant workers

- President Rohani's deputy for women's affairs says each week they are handling 20 complaints from women who have been laid off following pregnancy. The Etemad daily reports that Shahindokht Molaverdi said a large number of pregnant workers are losing their jobs after pregnancy. - 5/27/14
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