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July 06 2015
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Iranian Activist Appeals Six-Year Prison Sentence for Her Membership in Peaceful Political Group

- Civil and political activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi has launched an appeal against the six-year prison sentence she received for her peaceful activism. Ms. Langroudi was convicted on charges of disturbing national security and propaganda against the state, based on her activities with a peaceful group that is critical of government policies. - 7/6/15

"No Legal Basis" for Charging Iranian Lawyer with Shaking Hands with Female Client

- Iranian defense lawyer Mohammad Moghimi, who spent four days in detention for shaking hands with his female client, insists there are no legal grounds for the charge against him. "I hope they will stop pursuing this matter because the charge leveled against me does not have any legal basis. It's laughable," Moghimi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 7/5/15

Iran sports body invites female reporters to cover volleyball showdown

- With only two games of the world volleyball league championships left to be played in Iran, Iran's Volleyball Federation has called on female reporters to arrive at Azadi Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights to cover the matches between Iran and Russia. - 7/4/15

Law to let volunteers enforce morality worries Iranian administration

- Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa PourMohammadi says the legislation regarding the Islamic tenet of "Enforcing Good Behaviour and Forbidding Bad" is breaking rules about the branches of government and their jurisdictions. - 7/3/15

No Official Reason Given for Arrest of Former Professor and Activist by Security Agents in Tehran

- The family of former chemistry professor and activist Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, has not been given an official explanation for why he was arrested and imprisoned nearly two weeks ago. - 7/3/15

Mansoureh Shojaee' letter to the Chief of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran

- In protesting the unlawful action that has taken place in processing my lawsuit in the Revolutionary Court, I Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist, researcher, woman's activist, address this letter to you. At the present time, I am a resident scholar at Hague, Netherlands, a research scholar in the area of social justice, human rights, and gender studies. - 7/2/15

Amherst University Reverses Ban On Graduate Students

- Facing a backlash from international students, the U.S. state of Massachusett's flagship university said it is lifting a ban on Iranian nationals in certain graduate programs. Instead, the university said it is instituting monitoring measures to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran. - 7/2/15

Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

- As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage. Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly four years. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 7/2/15

Iran's Communications Minister says Telegram not restricted by government

- Following reports of disruptions in access to Telegram social networking site, Iran's minister of communications denied any involvement from government censorship in blocking the site. ISNA reports that Mahmoud Vaezi the communications minister said on Tuesday the ministry has no plans on restricting social networking sites. - 7/1/15

Iran: Police and Basij crackdown on eating, drinking during Ramadan

- Shiraz and Hamadan officials reports that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 600 people in total have been arrested in the two cities for breaking their fast in public. - 7/1/15

Iranian Teachers' Leader Arrested, Pressured Over Protests

- The head of the Iranian Teachers' Association, Esmail Abdi, was arrested when he reported to court in response to a summons. The Kaleme website reports that Abdi tried to board a plane to Armenia last week and only then did he realize he was under a foreign travel ban. - 6/30/15

Iran: Draconian amendment further erodes fair trial rights

- The Iranian authorities have put another nail in the coffin of justice by making a retrogressive amendment in Iran's new Code of Criminal Procedures which limits the right to access an independent lawyer of one's choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases, including those related to national security. The authorities must immediately amend the law to ensure that any person charged with a criminal offence has access to a lawyer of their own choosing from the time of arrest. -Amnesty International - 6/29/15

Dastan Ensemble shuns Iran over concert cancellations

- To protest the cancellation of concerts in Iran, the Dastan Music Ensemble says it will no longer schedule any concerts in Iran. The Etemad daily reports that ensemble member Saeed Farajpouri said: "Although we were planning on holding a number of concerts in Iran in the coming year, in light of the recent problems with concerts, we decided that we will not hold concerts in Iran for the time being." - 6/29/15

Iranian human rights lawyer succeeds in reducing licence suspension

- After months of protest, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has finally managed to reduce the suspension of her licence from three years to just nine months. Sotoudeh's Facebook page reports that because nine months have elapsed since the order was issued, she will be applying for her licence at the Bar Association in the next few days. - 6/28/15

U.S. To Continue Rights Sanctions Against Iran, Regardless Of Nuclear Deal

- The U.S. State Department says sanctions imposed against Iran in response to its violations of human rights will remain in place regardless of any nuclear deal brokered by Tehran and six world powers. Tom Malinowski, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, made the announcement on June 25 in Washington during the presentation of the State Department's 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. - 6/27/15

Public eating during Ramadan sparks crackdown in Tabriz

- Tabriz police have arrested 92 people for eating in public during the fasting month of Ramadan. The detainees were eating at the Shahryar Hotel coffee shop. Eastern Azerbaijan police told the Fars News Agency on Wednesday that the Shahryar Hotel had been serving food since the beginning of Ramadan and has been shut down by judicial order. - 6/26/15

Iran: Mass firing of ILNA labour reporters draws criticism

- Following the mass firing of the reporters in the labour section of the Iranian Labour News Agency, a group of teachers, activists and workers has issued a letter protesting their dismissal. The reporters of the Labour section of ILNA say they have had constant tension with ILNA management, the House of Workers and the Ministry of Labour over the past five years. The reporters were also prevented from fully covering teacher protests. - 6/25/15

National Iranian broadcaster denies reports of gender segregation

- The Public Relations Manager of Seda va Sima radio programming says reports of gender segregation in the national broadcaster's offices are not true. ILNA reports that Ali Akbar Khodabakhsh said on Tuesday June 23: "Do you think Seda va Sima is a school where you can separate the genders." - 6/24/15

Sistan Baluchistan MP lists distressing stats about province

- Seventy percent of people in Sistan Baluchistan province are living below the poverty line, the Khash representative to Parliament reports. He added that in that past three decades, the province has been ranked last among the country's 31 provinces in terms of development. The reports adds that unemployment remains very high. Two-thirds of the province's population does not have access to drinking water, and only 50 percent of students continue their education. - 6/24/15

Report: Child Refugees Face Obstacles in EU, Iran

- An international rights organization has called on European Union nations to better provide for children from Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations seeking asylum in Europe. Human Rights Watch released a report saying many children who have fled Afghanistan to avoid recruitment by the Taliban or conscription by the Syrian army are traveling alone to refugee centers, where they can be held for weeks while awaiting space in children's shelters. - 6/23/15

High Hopes, Tempered Expectations: Views from Iran on the Nuclear Negotiations

- Civil society in Iran remains steadfast and unequivocal in its support for the nuclear negotiations, and its members hope for an agreement that will end years of sanctions and isolation, according to a new study by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 6/22/15

Female Iranian Official Attacks Volleyball Ban

- A female Iranian vice president has criticized what she called "sanctimonious" men's groups, whose threats prevented women from watching Iran play the USA in a volleyball match. Although about 200 tickets were reportedly reserved for women at the Azadi sports complex in Tehran, security personnel around the stadium refused to allow any of them to see the match. - 6/21/15

National-Religious activist on hunger strike in Evin prison

- Reports indicate that Hossein Rafii, an Iranian Nationalist-Religious activist in Evin Prison, is in a grave state of health.A National-Religious website reports that Rafii is refusing food and medicine to protest the failure of authorities to provide him with due process. - 6/21/15

Iranian Child Rights Activist's Mother Pleas for Help for Son's Ten-Year Prison Sentence

- Ten months after his arrest, children's rights activist Omid Alishenas has been sentenced to ten years in prison for "assembly and collusion and propaganda against the state," and "insulting the Supreme Leader." Mr. Alishenas' mother told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the family is in shock following the sentencing. "This sentence is unfair and cruel. Omid's activities should not have brought him 10 years in prison," she said. - 6/20/15

Controversies haunt Iran's volleyball victory over US: Women barred from stadium

- Friday's game stirred controversies regarding the presence of female spectators in stadiums. Despite assurances from Hassan Rohani's advisor on Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, that women would be allowed to watch the game in the stadium, last week the minister of the interior announced that the ban on women in stadiums is still in effect. - 6/20/15

Extraordinary bail gets ill Iranian blogger released from jail

- Jailed activist and blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was temporarily released on the exorbitant bail of 1.4 billion toumans (about 500 million dollars) after repeated requests for his release due to health complications. - 6/19/15

Iranian Lawyer and Client Accused of "Illegitimate Relations" for a Handshake in Prison

- Mohmmad Moghimi was charged with "non-adultery illegitimate relations" for shaking hands with his female client. He had gone to Evin Prison to meet Ms. Faraghdani and to prepare an appeal request for her 12-year prison sentence. - 6/18/15

Iranian Hard-Liners Protest Women's Presence in Sports Stadiums

- Iranian hard-liners demonstrated in front of the Sports Ministry in Tehran on June 17 to protest the possible presence of women in sports stadiums. The protest followed reports that a limited number of Iranian women could be allowed to attend two upcoming international male volleyball matches, including one on June 19. - 6/18/15

Bahrain's Latest Sham Trial and Conviction

- Now that the Bahraini regime has exacted its revenge by sentencing Sheikh Ali Salman, secretary general of the predominantly Shi'ite pro-reform al-Wefaq party, to four years in prison, the al-Khalifa ruling family should decide which of the two available paths to take. It could remain on the current path of repression and increasing international isolation. Or it could explore creative, peaceful strategies to engage the Shia majority on the basis of human dignity, respect, and fairness. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 6/18/15

Three Concerts Cancelled by Iranian Police and Judiciary despite Protests by Rouhani

- In his latest reaction to consecutive cancellations by the Iranian Police and the Judiciary of music concerts, President Hassan Rouhani condemned the cancellations and said such actions violate the people's rights. - 6/17/15

US House Resolution Urges Iran to Free Detained Americans

- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a resolution calling for Iran to release three American citizens being held in custody. The non-binding resolution, which passed late Monday by a vote of 391-0, urged Tehran to free Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Pastor Saeed Abedini and Amir Hekmati. - 6/17/15

Iran's Interior Minister announces persistence of ban on women in stadiums

- ISNA reported on Monday June 16 that according to Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, no new directives have been issued regarding women attending sports events in stadiums, and the authorities will continue to deal with the matter as they have in past. - 6/17/15

Iranian children's rights activist arrested once again

- Solamz Ikdar, the Iranian journalist and children's rights activist, was arrested on Monday June 15 after complying with a summons to appear in court. Ikdar works for the Farhikhtegan daily and also has a history of journalistic activities with the Shargh and Bahar dailies. - 6/17/15

Iranian students to sue Norway over nuclear claims

- Two Iranian students plan to take the Norwegian government to court after Oslo blocked university access for many Iranian students under the pretext that they might be learning nuclear weapons-related technology, Press TV reports. - 6/16/15

Banned Iranian journalists' group blasts Labour Minister

- The Association of Iranian Journalists has accused Labour Minister Ali Rabii of preventing the reopening of the organization. HRANA reports that a statement from the association alleges that the minister is using indirect policies to prevent the organization from resuming its activities. - 6/16/15

A New Round of Intimidation, Arrests, and Prosecution of Social Media Users in Iran

- Iranian Cyber Police and Judiciary officials reported a new wave of arrests of Internet users this week. Colonel Gholamreza Kazemzadeh, Chief of Iran's Cyber Police, told reporters on June 8 that an individual he claimed managed 23 groups on the WhatsApp and Line social media networks had been arrested. - 6/16/15

Iranian MP requests reason for media ban on former reformist president

- Iranian MP Ali Motahari has called on the Tehran Prosecutor to announce the grounds and produce the warrant for the media ban on former president Mohammad Khatami. On Saturday, President Hassan Rohani told a news conference that the media ban on Mohammad Khatami is by no means warranted by the National Security Council. - 6/16/15

Head of Iranian police defends barring women from stadiums

- "These days we are being criticized for preventing women from entering sports stadiums or canceling concerts, while many of these actions are carried out under legal warrants and we are merely acting within the limits of the law," Ashtari said in a meeting with Ayatollah Makarrem Shirazi, a senior member of the clergy. - 6/15/15

Iran's President Says He's Following Washington Post Reporter's Case

- Iran's president says he is following the case of the American-Iranian bureau chief for The Washington Post who is accused by Iran of espionage and propaganda. President Hassan Rohani told a June 13 press conference that he is committed to ensuring the rights of all Iranians and 39-year-old Jason Rezaian's case is no exception. - 6/15/15

The United States Department of Justice Turns the Clock Back Sixty Years to Reinstate "Separate but Equal"

- DOJ's disqualification of Judge Tabaddor from all cases involving Iranians is premised on Judge Tabaddor being a member of the Iranian American community and her participation in community service and professional activities outside the courtroom. -Leila Golestaneh Austin & Soroush Richard Shehabi, Huffington Post - 6/14/15

Iran: Hardliners to work against lifting of ban on women in stadiums

- After years of debate over the attendance of Iranian women at sports venues to watch athletic events, and recent announcements by the administration that the ban against their presence is now lifted, extremists in the Islamic Republic establishment have begun a campaign to exclude women from entering sports stadiums. - 6/13/15

Acclaimed Iranian Musician Denied Tehran Concert In Brewing Culture Row

- An iconic U.S.-based Iranian musician was set to delight music lovers in Tehran this week in what reportedly would have been his first concert in the country of his birth for several years. For fans of Kayhan Kalhor, it sounded too good to be true. And unfortunately for them, it was. - 6/11/15

Iranian official calls for day to promote abolition of child labour

- Shahindokht Molaverdi, the vice president of Women and Family Affairs, is pushing to include a date on Iran's official calendars to focus attention on the abolition of child labour. June 12 is registered on many countries' calendars as a day to mark the Abolition of Child Labour. - 6/10/15

Jailed Washington Post Reporter Defends Himself Before Secret Iranian Court

- The mother of detained Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian said on June 8 that Iran has charged her son for "reporting on a country that he loves," as he addressed the judge overseeing his closed-door espionage trial. - 6/9/15

Longtime Iranian television producer gets jail sentence

- Mostafa Azizi, the Iranian television producer who has been jailed in Iran since February, has been sentenced to eight years in jail. News of Azizi's sentence was confirmed on the Facebook page of his son, Arash Azizi. Mostafa Azizi is reportedly charged with "assembly and collusion against national security, acting against national security and insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic". - 6/9/15

More Iranians arrested due to social media activity

- The spokesman for Iran's judiciary announced that five people have been arrested for their activities on social media networks. Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei told a press conference on Monday June 8 that five individuals who used online networks and mobile phones to rally people to the streets have been arrested. - 6/9/15

Evin Memorial Campaign

- On Monday May 11, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the former Tehran police chief and current mayor of Tehran, made statements about the need for green spaces in the capital, then expanded on recent speculation about the transformation of Evin Prison into a public park. - 6/8/15

Iranian Health Ministry Interferes In Nursing Elections

- After a year of protests by the nursing community in Iran and the issuance of open letters and petitions, the ministry of health is now declaring a large number of nurses ineligible to participate in the College of Nursing elections. - 6/8/15

NIAC Welcomes Resumption of Services for Iranian Physicians by ECFMG

- National Iranian American Council (NIAC) welcomes the resumption of services for Iranian physicians by the the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), the primary organization that verifies educational credentials for Iranian physicians seeking to practice in the U.S. and Canada. - 6/6/15

Update on ECFMG Sanctions Issue Impacting Iranian Physicians in U.S.

- Since news broke that the Educational Commission on Foreign Medical Graduates ("ECFMG") has suspended processing requests from Iranian physicians regarding authenticating medical credentials, NIAC has been in contact with ECFMG, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") to urge a speedy resolution to this pressing issue. - 6/5/15

Iranian Nationalist-Religious Activist Given Heavy Jail Sentence

- Hossein Rafiei, a Nationalist-Religious political activist, has been sentenced to six years in jail and he is barred from political and media activity for two years. A Nationalist-Religious website reports that Rafiei was charged with "activity and membership in the Nationalist-Religious Council, propaganda activities against the Islamic Republic regime by giving interviews to anti-regime media and issuing statements threatening security and using satellite equipment". - 6/5/15

Congress and Political Prisoners: Condemning Iran, Helping Egypt

- On Tuesday morning, family members of three Americans held prisoner by the Iranian authorities and relatives of another, Robert Levinson, who disappeared there years ago, testified before Congress. These are the people who most miss Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, my friend Jason Rezaian-all dual Iranian-American nationals-and Levinson. "For over three years, our family has been living a nightmare," Hekmati's sister Sarah told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 6/5/15

Female genital mutilation practised in Iran, study reveals

- The first authoritative study into female genital mutilation in Iran has found the practice is being carried out in at least four major provinces while officials are silent on the matter. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 6/4/15

Young Iranian Activist Sentenced to 12.5 Years in Prison for Facebook Posts

- A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced artist and civil rights activist Atena Faraghdani to a total of 12.5 years in prison for drawings and content critical of the government that the young activist posted on her Facebook page. - 6/3/15

Families Of Americans Detained In Iran Want U.S. Action

- The families of four Americans detained or missing in Iran gave moving testimonies on June 2 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the plight of their loved ones while calling on the U.S government to do more for their release. - 6/3/15

Iranian Conservative Cleric Calls Iran's Veiling Policy Wrong-Headed

- A conservative Iranian cleric has sharply criticized enforcement of the obligation for women to wear the Islamic head scarf, or hijab, since the 1979 revolution and the creation of Iran's Islamic republic. Speaking last week on the compulsory hijab at a seminary in Qom, conservative home to many of Iran's senior clerics, Zaeri was quoted by Iranian news sites as saying: "I strongly believe that the policy of mandatory hijab has been totally wrong." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/2/15

Iranian teachers' group demands release of jailed executive member

- The Iranian Teachers Association issued a statement on May 28 protesting the arrest of executive member Ali Akbar Baghbani for criticizing the government's reaction to teacher protests and demands. - 5/30/15

Iran hardliners crack down on freedom of speech

- When Iranian pop star Mehdi Ahmadvand announced he would be playing two nights in the small south-western town of Mahshahr in May there was palpable excitement. Tickets for the 1,000-seat concert venue were snapped up fast. -Rana Rahimpour, BBC - 5/29/15

Iran: Education Ministry asks Judiciary to pardon jailed teachers

- Iran's Ministry of Education says it has written to the judiciary to call for a general pardon of all jailed teachers. Iranian teachers across the country have been staging demonstrations to protest their low wages and to demand the release of their colleagues. - 5/28/15

Dozens of Iranians arrested in Pardis for going to "corruption center" party

- Forty-seven women and 42 men were arrested in Pardis suburb of Tehran for attending a party, the Shahrvand daily reported on Wednesday May 27. - 5/28/15

US Urges Greater Transparency in Journalist's Trial in Iran

- The United States is pressing Iran for more information about Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who went on trial Tuesday on charges including espionage. The State Department, human rights advocates and Rezaian's family have expressed concerns about Iran's lack of transparency in the case. - 5/27/15

Rouhani clashes with Iranian clergy over women arrested for 'bad hijab'

- In his remark last year that "you can't send people to heaven by the whip", President Rouhani expressed a belief that citizens should not be forced into "good" behaviour, and in two recent speeches he skirted the issue of hijab, provoking a critical response from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and from senior members of the clergy. -Guardian - 5/27/15

Spy Trial of Washington Post Reporter Begins in Iran

- The espionage trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian began Tuesday in Iran with the proceedings closed to the public, and ended about two hours later, according to news media. The state-run IRNA news agency said the trial was being held in a Revolutionary Court, which typically hears cases involving national security. - 5/26/15

Israel and Iran: So much in common

- Israel has much to learn from its adversary about controlling its citizens' social media habits, but it's going in the 'right' direction. -Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz - 5/26/15

Iran: Female activists meet to protest Mohammadi's arrest, women's problems

- In an initiative by the Association of Women Citizens, a group of Iranian women calling themselves the "Friends of Nargess Mohammadi" gathered at the Tehran home of the prominent human rights activist to express their concern about her health in prison. - 5/23/15

Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi banished to exile after completing prison term

- Ahmad Zeidabadi, a jailed Iranian journalist who reached the end of his prison term on Thursday May 21, was immediately transferred to Gonabad to serve out the exile portion of his sentence. - 5/22/15

Iranian Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

- Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers' Association. - 5/22/15

U.S., Iranian Warships Shadowing Cargo Ship Near Yemen

- Iran has sent two warships to accompany an Iranian cargo boat delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen, and the United States has sent warships to shadow the Iranians. Those were the intriguing developments May 19 as the Iranian ships neared the Yemeni port of Hodaida, where Iran has insisted they will unload their cargo. - 5/20/15

Critic of Iran's Supreme Leader to spend another year in solitary

- Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent political prisoner and former deputy interior minister, was not released at the end of his six-year sentence and has to serve another sentence. The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on Monday that Tajzadeh's six-year prison sentence has ended. - 5/20/15

Iranian prisons inquiry in peril after MPs meet with security officials

- Only days after Parliament announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the state of prisons across the country, there is talk of canceling the initiative. - 5/20/15

Young Iranian Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Facebook Postings and Peaceful Protest

- A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 has been sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator's urging, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, for her Facebook postings and her participation in peaceful gatherings. - 5/19/15

Iran: Basij Militia Unveils Messaging App that Gives State Access to All Conversations

- The Basij paramilitary organization, a subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), announced the launch of its new messaging service for mobile phones, "Salam," which will give state officials full access to any content flowing across the service. - 5/19/15

Iranian Parliament to investigate unregulated detention centers

- Those detention centres are often run by a number of security institutions dealing with political prisoners and they are often accused by human rights activists of mistreating detainees. - 5/18/15

Israeli Defense Minister Invokes Hiroshima and Nagasaki In Response to Iran Question

- Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem nearly two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon invoked the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in World War II in response to a question about "dealing with a threat like Iran." -Ali Gharib - 5/17/15

Iranian Officials Re-Affirm Facebook Will Remain Completely Blocked in Iran

- Despite the Iranian government's stated intention to move towards the selective blocking of Internet content ("smart filtering"), a top government official proclaimed that the social networking giant Facebook would continue to be completely blocked in Iran. - 5/16/15
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