Shahrivar 28 1399 - September 18 2020
Honour killings and violence against women in Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic

The incidence of violence against women has increased worldwide since lockdowns to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 were implemented.1 Iran already had high levels of violence against women, with a reported 8000 so-called honour killings between 2010 and 2014. -Bijan Pirnia, Fariborz Pirnia & Kambiz Pirnia, The Lancet 9/18/20

US sanctions 'ruining lives', Iran tells United Nations court

Iran urged the UN's top court on Wednesday to hear its bid to overturn US nuclear sanctions, saying they were destroying the Iranian economy and "ruining millions of lives". The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague is hearing arguments this week from Tehran and Washington before deciding whether it has jurisdiction to deal with the case. -Al Jazeera 9/17/20

Iranian journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni begins 7-year jail term

Iranian authorities should release journalist Khosrow Sadeghi Borojeni immediately and cease arbitrarily jailing members of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On September 9, Borojeni, a freelance columnist, was taken to Tehran's Evin Prison to begin a seven-year jail term -Committee to Protect Journalists 9/16/20

Iran: 'Secret execution' of champion wrestler 'deeply disturbing' - UN rights experts

A group of five independent UN human rights experts have strongly condemned the summary execution in Iran on Saturday of a former champion wrestler convicted of murdering a security guard during anti-government protests in 2018. The Special Rapporteurs raised the alarm on Monday that Navid Afkari's execution marks the latest in a series of death penalty sentences handed down in relation to protests in 2018 and 2019. -United Nations 9/16/20

European Union condemns execution of Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari

The European Union says it condemns "in the strongest terms" the execution of Iranian champion wrestler Navid Afkari. Afkari was executed in Iran on Saturday, according to Iran's state-run news agency IRNA, despite a high-profile international campaign calling for the sentence not to be carried out. -CNN 9/14/20

The Man Who Refused to Spy

In the spring of 2017, an Iranian materials scientist named Sirous Asgari received a call from the United States consulate in Dubai. Two years earlier, he and his wife, Fatemeh, had applied for visas to visit America, where their children lived. The consulate informed him that their requests had finally been approved. The timing was strange: President Donald Trump had just issued an executive order banning Iranians from entering the U.S. on the very kind of visa that Asgari and his wife were granted. -Laura Secor, New Yorker 9/14/20

Iranian PhD scholarship recipients granted Australian student visas after waiting on average a year for response

Hundreds of Iran's brightest minds have been waiting for more than a year to take up their university scholarships in Australia but after enquiries from SBS News, many have now been granted their visas. -Catalina Florez, SBS News 9/11/20

World medical community, by its oath, has a duty to help lift Iran's sanctions: Health Minister

In a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki called for a global call to remove Iran's drug and food sanctions, noting that the world medical community, by its oath, has a humanistic duty to take action in this regard. "Despite our all-out fight against COVID-19, Iran is facing a unilateral, unlawful, and flagrant violation of international laws by the U.S. government, which withdrew from JCPOA, to initiate extensive, comprehensive and cruel sanctions against the citizens of my country." Namaki wrote. 9/10/20

Celebrated Artists and Authors Join Online Campaign to Free Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh

Prominent global artists and authors have united in an impassioned call to free the renowned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is imprisoned in Iran for her defense of civil and political liberties. Joining the campaign to free Sotoudeh and the many other political prisoners in Iran are Olivia Colman, J.K. Simmons, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Juliet Stevenson, Nazanin Boniadi, Shirin Neshat, Nina Ansary, Azar Nafisi, Maz Jobrani and Simon Rix. -CHRI 9/10/20

Iran is having its #MeToo moment

Across the past three weeks, dozens of Iranian women of various backgrounds have taken to social media, in their own #MeToo moment, to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The police have announced they have taken action against at least one suspect. Many women hope this will be just the beginning of a broader movement against sexual violence. -Tara Sepehri Far, Al Jazeera 9/10/20

As a Wrestler Faces Execution in Iran, World Sports Groups Galvanize

An Iranian wrestler accused of murder after taking part in anti-government protests two years ago may be executed soon, international sports groups fear as they intensify a last-ditch campaign for clemency. "We really are at one minute to midnight," Brendan Schwab, executive director of the World Players Association, which represents 85,000 professional athletes, said Tuesday. -Eric Nagourney, NY Times 9/9/20

Iran cracks down on journalists again in response to UN report

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the latest crackdown on the media in Iran, in which at least five journalists have been targeted just weeks after the UN published a damning report on 21 July by special rapporteur Javaid Rehman on the appalling situation of human rights, including the freedom to inform, in this country. -RSF 9/9/20

Iran airs televised confession of wrestler after Trump tweet

Iran, which has a history of broadcasting suspected forced confessions, aired a statement by a wrestler who faces the death penalty and whose case recently drew a critical tweet from President Donald Trump. The television segment and authorities accuse Navid Afkari, 27, of stabbing a water supply company employee in the southern city of Shiraz amid demonstrations against Iran's Shiite theocracy in 2018. -AP 9/7/20

Human rights award for Iranian lawyer on hunger strike

The Iranian lawyer and women's rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is apparently in acute danger of death, has been honored with the human rights award of the German Association of Judges (DRB). Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike for three weeks.She has been imprisoned again in Tehran's Evin Prison since 2018 and was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in 2019; she had already served in prison from 2010 to 2013. -Der Tagesspiegel 9/4/20

'We are part of the tapestry': Black Iranians launch collective

Education campaign touches on topics such as Iran's history of slavery, which was only abolished in 1929: The animated series Siyaa Zibaast (Black is Beautiful) is one of many works that will be featured by the Collective for Black Iranians, a newly launched group which focuses on amplifying representation of Black and Afro Iranians - something that is long overdue, explains the founder, Priscillia Kounkou-Hoveyda. -Behdad Mahichi 20 hours ago, Al-Jazeera 9/3/20

Death Sentence for Champion Wrestler Based on False Evidence, Torture and Forced False Confessions

The Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari has been sentenced to death for allegedly killing a security man in Shiraz, Fars Province at the time of the summer 2018 protests in the province-despite evidence that he did not commit the alleged crime and that he was tortured during interrogation into giving a false "confession." "The Iranian authorities are increasingly using death sentences to terrorize the population into remaining silent and end any further participation in peaceful protests," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). -CHRI 9/3/20

Mohammad Mosaed, CPJ 2020 awardee, sentenced to more than 4 years in jail in Iran

Iranian journalist Mohammad Mosaed was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison, a two-year ban on journalism activities, and a two-year ban on using all communications devices by Branch 26 of Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Court, according to a tweet from Mosaed earlier today. Mosaed, who will be honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2020 International Press Freedom Award in November, wrote that he will be compelled to serve at least four years of his prison sentence. -Committee to Protect Journalists 9/3/20

Iran: Trampling Humanity - Mass arrests, disappearances and torture since Iran's 2019 November protests

In response to nationwide protests in November 2019, the Iranian authorities waged a campaign of mass repression that led to the arrest of more than 7,000 men, women and children. Following its documentation of unlawful killings carried out during the protests, Amnesty International has investigated the actions of the Iranian authorities since then and concluded that they have committed further widespread patterns of serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment, and flagrant breaches of the right to a fair trial. -Amnesty International 9/2/20

Critical Deterioration in Nasrin Sotoudeh's Health as Hunger Strike Hits Three-Week Mark

The health of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has become critically threatened by a hunger strike she began on August 11, 2020 to call for the release of political prisoners severely endangered by the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Iran's overcrowded prisons. In an interview with CHRI on August 31, 2020, Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan said: "Nasrin has become extremely weak and her physical condition is not well. The prison clinic staff say she needs an injection of serum but Nasrin hasn't agreed to it and refuses to take it." -CHRI 9/1/20

Health of Iranian Activist Hunger Striker Nasrin Sotoudeh Deteriorating: PEN America

Nasrin Sotoudeh, a renowned Iranian writer, human rights lawyer, and activist, is reportedly in critical condition after being on hunger strike in Tehran's Evin prison for over two weeks. PEN America today calls for her and other political prisoners' immediate release and for an end to judicial and legal harassment of her and her family. 8/31/20

Outcry in Iran at nine-year sentence for man who beheaded daughter

An Iranian man who beheaded his 14-year-old daughter has been sentenced to only nine years in jail, in a case that has sparked outrage at the way Iranian law appears to enshrine supposed male rights over women's lives. Rana Dashti, the mother of 14-year-old Romina Ashrafi, expressed fury at the lenient sentence in an interview with the Iranian Labor news agency (Ilna) on Friday and said the court's ruling had "caused fear and panic for me and my family". -Guardian 8/31/20

Iranian musician Mehdi Rajabian arrested for working with women

Iranian musician Mehdi Rajabian says he is facing trial over working with female singers and dancers. The 30-year-old, who has already been imprisoned twice on charges relating to his music, says he was arrested two weeks ago over his latest project. The album, which is not yet complete, is due to include female vocalists - who are effectively banned in Iran. -Mark Savage, BBC 8/26/20

Iran's #MeToo Moment: Women's Tweets Highlight Alleged Sexual Abuse, Rape By Prominent Figures

For 14 years, former Iranian journalist Sara Omatali kept quiet about the time she says a prominent painter sexually assaulted her. Last week, the U.S.-based educator broke her silence on Twitter, detailing the alleged abuse that took place in the summer of 2006. Omatali is one of many Iranian women who have in recent days taken to social media to tell their stories of sexual harassment and rape, breaking years of silence about an issue that remains taboo and is often swept under the rug in Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 8/26/20

Veteran Journalist Reporting to Prison To Serve Three-Year Sentence

The veteran journalist and political activist Keyvan Samimi must report to Evin Prison to begin serving a three-year prison sentence for his peaceful activism and reporting. On August 21, Samimi posted a screenshot of an electronic summons from the judiciary ordering him to report to Evin Prison on August 24, 2020. -CHRI 8/25/20

UK delays Zaghari-Ratcliffe release for fear of offending Trump, lawyers claim

The British government has deliberately delayed taking steps necessary to secure the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - including payment of a 400m pounds debt owed to Iran - for fear of offending the Trump administration, lawyers acting for the British-Iranian woman have alleged. -Guardian 8/25/20

The man who said no: how Iran coerces expats to inform on friends

In 14 June, Behdad Esfahbod, a Facebook software engineer, received a text from a strange Instagram account, supposedly from "a friend of your aunt's son". But he knew exactly who it was. Esfahbod had been bracing himself for weeks, knowing it was inevitable. The "aunt's son's friend" was the intelligence division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the message was a prearranged code. -Julian Borger, Guardian 8/21/20

#Don't_Execute: viral campaign to stop Iran protester hangings

A campaign on a rare scale uniting activists and personalities inside Iran and out is pressing Tehran not to execute men detained over anti-government protests, but faces an uphill struggle. In the face of a furious outcry, symbolised by the viral hashtag #Don't_Execute (#Edam_Nakon in Persian), Iran's judiciary last month halted the executions of three young men arrested over demonstrations in November 2019. -AFP 8/14/20

Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates Iran's child abuse problem

The Iran Welfare Organization (IWO), a state agency tasked with women and children's affairs, has repeatedly warned of a sharp surge in domestic violence amid the pandemic, as people are encouraged to stay home. An article in the Tehran daily, Hamshari, speculated that the number of child abuse cases has grown by five times since the coronavirus pandemic began. -Khosro Kalbasi, Atlantic Council 8/14/20

Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer begins hunger strike

A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer has begun a hunger strike seeking better prison conditions and the release of political prisoners amid the pandemic, her husband said Thursday. Reza Khandan told The Associated Press his wife Nasrin Sotoudeh began the strike Tuesday and he feared it would exacerbate her chronic gastrointestinal and foot problems. -AP 8/13/20

Iran Threatens Musician With Jail for Encouraging Women to Sing, Dance

Iranian composer Mehdi Rajabian lives with the constant threat of prison hanging over his head. The 30 year old has already been jailed once for his work, but on Tuesday he was taken to court and arrested again over his latest project: an album featuring music from across the Middle East. The album includes songs by female singers and features dancing by fellow Iranian Helia Bandeh. -Newsweek 8/13/20

Political Prisoners in Iran Contracting COVID-19 at Alarming Rate

Political prisoners in Iran-including prominent labor leaders Esmail Abdi and Jafar Azimzadeh, the human rights attorney Amirsalar Davouudi, the journalist Majid Azarpey and others-are contracting the COVID-19 virus at alarming rates. Twelve prisoners in Evin Prison's Ward 8 have contracted COVID-19, Monir Abdi, the wife of the teachers' rights activist Esmail Abdi, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 10, 2020. -CHRI 8/12/20

Iran shutters newspaper after expert questions virus numbers

Iran shut down a newspaper on Monday after it published remarks by an expert who said the official figures on coronavirus cases and deaths in the country account for only 5% of the real toll, allegations rejected by the Health Ministry. Mohammad Reza Sadi, the editor-in-chief of Jahane Sanat, told the official IRNA news agency that authorities closed his newspaper, which began publishing in 2004 and was mainly focused on business news. -AP 8/10/20

Prosecutor Denies Ban On Women's Cycling In Iranian City

The prosecutor in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi has denied that women in the provincial capital, Mashhad, have been banned from cycling. Prosecutor Mohammad Hossein Doroody was quoted on August 5 by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying that the judiciary had not issued any ban in this regard. -RFE/RL 8/6/20

Australia: British-Australian woman in Iran prison 'is well'

Australia's ambassador to Iran has visited a British-Australian academic who was convicted of espionage before being moved recently to a notorious Iranian prison, and found that she "is well," Australia's government said Tuesday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran's Evin Prison in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. -AP 8/5/20

Iran women's podcast gives voice to victims of abuse

Maryam's voice trembles as she tells what happened when her husband attacked her in public. "People's reaction was like it was normal to see a man beating his wife. There's no law, there are no safe houses, and even the police can't do much. Some families also act like they're so modern and they say, 'Oh it's a private matter'." Her story is a rarely heard one in her home country of Iran, but since the creation of a new podcast, many more women like her are coming forward to share unflinching accounts of their experience of domestic violence. -BBC 8/4/20

Family tells AP: Iran abducted California man while in Dubai

A California-based member of an Iranian militant opposition group in exile was abducted by Iran while staying in Dubai, his family said Tuesday. The suspected cross-border abduction of Jamshid Sharmahd appears corroborated by mobile phone location data, shared by his family with The Associated Press, that suggests he was taken to neighboring Oman before heading to Iran. -AP 8/4/20

UN's Bachelet alarmed by threats against prominent Iranian NGO

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said today she was alarmed by the Iranian Government's increased pressure on a prominent civil society group working on poverty and social protection, and the arrest of its founding member. Iranian authorities have pressured Imam Ali Popular Students' Relief Society (IAPSRS) to change its structure, in what appears to be an attempt to close down the organisation. 7/31/20

Iranian and Turkish women join black-and-white Instagram challenge

Iranian Instagram feeds have been overrun with black-and-white photos of women joining an international online campaign against gender-based violence, using the hashtags #WomenSupportWomen and #ChallengeAccepted. The campaign follows an outcry against a number of high-profile "honor killings" in Iran over the last two months. -ABC News 7/31/20

Iran: Leaked official letters reveal state denial of COVID-19 crisis in prisons

The organization reviewed copies of four letters signed by officials at Iran's Prisons Organization, which operates under the supervision of the judiciary, to the Ministry of Health, raising the alarm over serious shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products, and essential medical devices. The Ministry of Health failed to respond, and Iran's prisons remain catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks. -Amnesty International 7/31/20

Iran struggles to buy food in a world wary of touching its money

Iran, creaking under the impact of U.S. sanctions, a collapse in oil sales and a severe COVID-19 epidemic, is scrambling to buy food and medicine to avoid a supply crunch. But it's a struggle. Despite such supplies being exempt from sanctions, banks and governments are reluctant to transfer or take Iranian money because they fear unwittingly breaching the complex U.S. restrictions, according to five trade and finance sources. -Reuters 7/30/20

Iranian Communities Should Stand With Black Lives Matter

As federal police pour into U.S. cities, the Trump administration's crackdown on racial justice protests has taken its most authoritarian turn yet. At the same time, during a global pandemic, the Trump administration has continued to ratchet up devastating sanctions on Iran, while edging toward more overt military confrontation. Iranian-Black Solidarity is a must now more than ever. -Niloofar Adnani, FPIF 7/30/20

Iran's Judiciary Has Blocked Prominent Jailed Lawyer's Bank Account, Husband Says

Iran's judiciary has blocked the bank account of prominent imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in a move aimed at adding pressure on her and her family. Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was sentenced last year to 38 years in prison over her defense of political prisoners 7/29/20

Iran: UNSC, ICAO must break silence on US aerial terrorism

President Hassan Rouhani has denounced the US harassment of an Iranian civilian flight over Syria as an act of "aerial terrorism," calling on the UN Security Council, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and regional states to break their silence on Washington's "dangerous mischiefs." On Thursday, two US F-15 warplanes conducted a dangerous maneuvering close to Mahan Air's Flight 1152 that had taken off from Tehran and was heading to Beirut. -Press TV 7/29/20

Kylie Moore-Gilbert: Lecturer jailed in Iran moved to remote prison

A British-Australian woman serving a 10-year sentence in Iran for espionage has been transferred to a notorious prison in the desert, officials say. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a lecturer at Melbourne University, has been in jail since September 2018. She was tried in secret and strongly denies all the charges against her. -BBC 7/28/20

Passengers injured as US fighter jet comes close to Iranian plane

Several passengers on an Iranian airline have been injured over Syria after the pilot changed altitude to avoid collision with a US fighter jet, according to Iranian media, but the United States military said its F-15 kept a safe distance. -Al Jazeera 7/24/20

Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 pandemic

This week, Iran announced its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in February. The uptick in cases and deaths is the result of a new wave of infections that began May 3rd, two weeks after the gradual easing of the country's partial lockdown in mid-April. Coincident with the upsurge has been a drop of 13% this past month in the value of Iran's currency, reflecting not only the economic impact of the virus, but a disinclination by exporters to repatriate their foreign currency. -Roxane Farmanfarmaian, ELN 7/24/20

Iran urged to release rights activist with COVID-19 symptoms 'before it is too late'

A group of independent UN human rights experts has called for Iran to urgently release an activist who reportedly is ill with COVID-19 symptoms "before it is too late". They said Narges Mohammadi appears to have contracted the virus in Zanjan Prison, located in the capital, Tehran, where she is serving a 16-year sentence stemming from her work on human rights. 7/23/20

Iran stays execution of anti-government protesters on death row

Iran's supreme court has agreed to suspend the executions of three men on death row for their participation in anti-government protests in November, whose sentences sparked an online outcry last week. Lawyers for the men - Saeed Tamjidi, 26, Mohammad Rajabi, 28, and Amirhossein Moradi, 26 - said in a statement on Sunday the country's supreme court had agreed to examine the men's application for a retrial. -Guardian 7/20/20

'My only desire is to hold my son': the grief of indefinite detention

Iranian refugee Masoumeh Torkpour with her son Daniel, in the last picture they had taken together. They have not seen each other in 10 years and Daniel lives in Canada. Masoumeh, who is now 60, says: 'My only happiness is having a phone and waiting for my son to call me'. A 60-year-old Iranian refugee has spent more than eight years in Australia's immigration detention system despite a court ordering her release. -Saba Vasefi, Guaedian 7/20/20

Iran makes arrests over last week's anti-government protests

Iranian police say they have arrested a number of people behind protests that broke out last week in the southwest of the country, state news agency IRNA reported on Monday. "All the perpetrators of an illegal and norm-breaking gathering in Behbahan [city] were identified and arrested," Khuzestan province's police chief, Heydar Abbas Zadeh, was quoted as saying. -Al Jazeera 7/20/20

Internet disrupted in Iran province as police disperse rally

Police dispersed protesters in southwestern Iran angry over the Islamic Republic's anemic economy amid a U.S. sanctions campaign, a news report Friday said, and internet access to the wider region was disrupted as demonstrators shared videos of the rally. Internet-access advocacy group reported the disruption affecting Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province late Thursday. -AP 7/17/20

Yara Shahidi Has Been Preparing For This Moment Since Birth

"A lot of the work that I'm hoping to do is about pointing people toward the organizers and the people on the front lines of this (Black Lives Matter) movement." -Kaitlyn Greenidge, Elle 7/16/20

Lawyer Says Iran Could Halt Three Executions After #Don't_Execute Social Protest

Iran could overturn death sentences issued against three young men who were arrested at anti-establishment protests last November, one of their lawyers has declared. "Wait for the news that the implementation of the sentence has been halted," lawyer Babak Paknia tweeted late on July 15, adding that defense attorneys have been given complete access to prosecutors' files in the case. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 7/16/20

Outcry after Iran's judiciary upholds death penalty for three protesters

Iran's judiciary has upheld the death penalty for three men accused of involvement in last November's massive anti-government protests, sparking an outcry from human rights groups and a swell of activism against capital punishment on social media. The confirmation that their death sentences had been upheld on Tuesday sparked a surge of online protests including from prominent Iranian social media influencers, actors, film-makers, reformist politicians and athletes, who posted the men's names or the hashtag "Don't execute" in Farsi. -Michael Safi, Guardian 7/15/20

Death Sentences for Three Protestors Confirmed by Supreme Court in Iran

The death sentences against three young men for their participation in the November 2019 protests that swept through Iran have been confirmed. The sentences against Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi, which were upheld by Iran's Supreme Court on July 10, 2020, reflect the increasing use of the death penalty in politically motivated cases in the country. -CHRI 7/14/20

Q&A: UN's Agnes Callamard on drone strike that killed Soleimani

The United Nations's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary killings presented a new report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Agnes Callamard's investigation focused on the legality of armed drones including one that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani near Baghdad's airport on January 3. It concluded the United States acted unlawfully in carrying out the attack. The US, meanwhile, denounced her findings. -Al Jazeera 7/13/20

Canada should lift sanctions on Iran now

Canada's Liberal government is still sustaining economic sanctions on Iran despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As public health officials now struggle with rising infection rates in what appears to be a second wave in Iran, Canada's sanctions must come to an end. Economic sanctions are hindering the ability of Iran's public healthcare system to deal with the pandemic and have detrimentally impacted public health for years in key areas, including cancer care. -Stefan Christoff, 7/9/20

As Iran applauds BLM, Afghan minority short on rights

While politicians and intelligentsia in Iran often blame the US government for racism towards minorities, their track record at home is far from perfect. The Afghans' experience is a case in point. When American George Floyd was killed on the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late May, his death sparked a global movement demanding justice for minorities. However, the movement has not fully reached the Middle East in general, and Iran in particular. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor 7/9/20

Sweden Says Iran Agrees To Compensate Families From Downing Of Ukrainian Airliner

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde says Iran has agreed that it will compensate the families of foreign victims who died when a Ukrainian airliner was shot down after taking off from Tehran's main airport in January, killing all 176 people on board. -RFE/RL 7/3/20

Iran's Leader Said It Was OK To Criticize Him. So Why Was This Man Sentenced To Prison?

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei assured a doctoral student in a 2016 meeting that there was nothing wrong with criticizing the country's top official. "Speaking against me is neither [reprimandable] nor is it a crime, I've said it many times," Khamenei said at the July 2, 2016, meeting with a group of handpicked students, including Mohammad Ali Kamfiruzi. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 7/3/20

Iran upholds five-year jail sentence for French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah

Adelkhah's sentence, passed in May over "security charges including conspiring against national security", was upheld by the appeals court and "she is going to serve five years" including time served since her arrest, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a televised news conference. -France24 7/1/20

Iran's conservative parliament moves to ban Instagram

Iran's newly inaugurated hard-line parliament is pushing for a new ban on the country's already restricted social media, a campaign that critics view as a war on the free flow of information. 6/30/20

Iran sentences former journalist to death for fuelling unrest

Iran has sentenced to death Ruhollah Zam, a journalist-turned-activist captured abroad last year, for allegedly fuelling anti-government unrest in late 2017 on social media, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. The son of a pro-reform Shi'ite cleric, Zam headed Amadnews, which had more 1 million followers on social media before it was suspended by the messaging app Telegram in 2018 after Iran accused it of carrying calls for violence during the protests. -Reuters 6/30/20

Foreign Ministry: US sanctions block Iran's access to drugs needed for victims of chemical warfare

Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has once again slammed the United States for imposing 'inhumane' sanctions on the Iranian nation, saying Washington hinders Tehran's access to medicine needed for victims of chemical-weapon attacks and other patients. The Ministry made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday on the occasion of the National Day of Countering Chemical and Microbial Weapons. -Press TV 6/29/20

Webinar: Iranian-Americans Conversation on Racial Justice

A conversation on racial justice with panelists Abdi Soltani, Executive Director of the ACLUNC, Mitra Jalali, St. Paul City Councilwoman, Tehran Von Ghasri, comedian and activist, and Cyrus Mehri, civil rights attorney. The conversation will be moderated by media anchor, reporter, and producer, Shirley Jahad. -PAAIA 6/26/20

Son Of Prominent Afghan Scholar Self-Immolates In Iran To Protest Discrimination

Celebrated Afghan scholar Najib Mayel Heravi has lived in neighboring Iran for nearly 50 years, penning scores of acclaimed books and other treatises on ancient Persian manuscripts, literature, and Islamic mysticism. The 68-year-old native of Herat in western Afghanistan has an Iranian wife, and both of his sons were born in Iran. But with only temporary residency, Heravi has lived for decades in constant dread of deportation. -RFE/RL 6/25/20

'The Salesman' Star Taraneh Alidoosti Given Suspended Prison Sentence in Iran

Taraneh Alidoosti, star of Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman" and one of Iran's most popular female actors, is set to receive a five-month prison sentence on charges of anti-government activism, BBC Persia has reported. -Variety 6/25/20

How outrage over killing of Iranian girl is helping women's rights

Just as a brutal killing in America is helping to change thought about racism, so has one in Iran, challenging traditions that have long devalued the lives and rights of women and children. -Scott Peterson, CSM 6/25/20

The new Iranian child protection law is holistic, but discriminatory

On June 7, the Guardian Council-an un-elected body responsible for oversight of laws and orders by parliament-approved a bill to protect children and adolescents in Iran. The move marked a historic day for children and children's rights activists in Iran. It was noteworthy particularly because children's rights activists have been waiting for a holistic law to protect all children in Iran since July 1994, when Iran ratified the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child. -Hamed Farmand, Atlantic Council 6/25/20

Three Arrested In Iran For Trying To Sell Babies Via Instagram

Police in Tehran say three people have been arrested for attempting to sell newborn babies via the social-media site Instagram. Tehran police chief Hossein Rahimi said on June 23 that a 20-day-old and a 2-month-old baby were found with the three individuals, who claimed that they had taken them from poor families for a "small fee." 6/24/20

No Lawyers, No Justice: Attorneys Imprisoned in Iran for Defending Human Rights

Two years after the prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested and imprisoned in Tehran, the Iranian judiciary's continuing prosecution of independent lawyers under manufactured charges is laying bare the state's disregard for international standards of law and due process. "The courts are colluding with intelligence agencies to go after lawyers so that any last hopes for defending due process are extinguished, with the tacit approval of Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and the Rouhani government," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 6/24/20

Parliament alone cannot stop honor killings in Iran

While legislation aimed at combatting honor killings in Iran is certainly needed, the country must also address broader issues involving policy failings and social norms. -Leila Alikarami, Al Monitor 6/23/20

Founder, Two Members Of Prominent Anti-Poverty NGO Detained In Iran

A prominent Iranian NGO that fights poverty says its founder and two other members have been detained. Imam Ali's Popular Students Relief Society said on June 21 that security forces had arrested the group's founder, Sharmin Meymandinejad, at his home. It added that the charity's media-relations director, Morteza Keymanesh, and senior inspector, Katayoun Afrazeh, were arrested, too. 6/22/20

Why Black Lives Should Really Matter to Iranian Americans

I work as the executive director of a civil rights organization, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. I am calling on Iranian-Americans to speak up and take action vigorously to support the Black community in the United States. -Abdi Soltani, PAAIA 6/22/20

Former Lawmaker In Iran, Parvaneh Salahshouri, Being Tried For Voicing Criticism

A preliminary court in Iran has found former outspoken female member of parliament guilty, and soon she will be put on trial. The case against Ms. Parvaneh Salahshouri, with numerous plaintiffs, and after preliminary investigations, has been referred to the court, Fars news agency reported June 14. Salahshouri is a sociologist and reformist politician who was a lawmaker representing Tehran. 6/15/20

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