Bahman 6 1398 - January 26 2020
U.S. border officers were told to target Iranian-born travellers, officer alleges in email

U.S. border officers working at multiple Canada-U.S. border crossings were instructed to target and interrogate Iranian-born travellers in early January, said a U.S. border officer in an email obtained by CBC News. The allegation follows reports that up to 200 people of Iranian descent travelling from B.C. - many of them Canadian or U.S. citizens - were detained and questioned for hours at the Peace Arch Border Crossing in Blaine, Wash., during the weekend of Jan. 4. -CBC 1/24/20

Brooklyn's Iranian diaspora feels the pain of war at home

Makaremi and other anti-war activists helped organize a protest in Foley Square on Jan. 9 to denounce the prospect of a U.S. war with Iran and end sanctions that have left his mother struggling to get the proper dosage of her heart medicine. "By policy there are rights of me that are being nullified," Sadra Shahab said. "I'm a U.S. citizen, but my mom cannot visit me in my own country, that means I'm just not like any other citizen." On his way to the protest in Foley Square, Shahab commented, "I'm not sure there's ever a good time to be an Iranian, but it's a bad time to be an Iranian." -Paul Frangipane, Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1/23/20

It's Not Just Washington State. Iranians Are Stopped At Borders All Over The Country.

Earlier this month, soon after President Donald Trump ordered the killing of a top Iranian government official and the nation vowed to retaliate, news broke that U.S. border agents held nearly 200 people of Iranian descent without explanation at the Washington state border with Canada. U.S. Customs and Border Protection disputed the claim that officers detained Iranian Americans at the Peace Arch border crossing, but dozens of news reports described otherwise. -Rowaida Abdelaziz, Huffington Post 1/23/20

Neither war, nor sanctions, are solutions in Iran

I was surprised to meet Ghanimat Azhdari in Geneva last June. When I was asked to speak at a gathering of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' Indigenous Fellowship Programme. She was a young woman from the Indigenous Qashqai community, and despite the obstacles she had most certainly faced on her way, she was at the top of her field. She told me about her work promoting biodiversity and that she was headed to Canada for her PhD. So talented and ambitious. I was heartbroken to find Ghanimat's face among the victims of the Ukrainian Airlines flight 752 that crashed in Iran on Jan. 8. -Leila Arakami, The Star 1/23/20

The Zaghari-Ratcliffes' ordeal: a story of British arrogance, secret arms deals and Whitehall infighting

In the case of Zaghari-Ratcliffe, it seems that she is a pawn in a 40-year dispute between Britain and Iran. This dispute concerns a long-standing 400m pounds debt Britain owes to Iran: the advance payment for a shipment of tanks that was never fully delivered. Quite why that debt has never been paid is a story of British arrogance, secretive arms deals, American sanctions, Whitehall inertia and infighting at the highest level of government. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 1/23/20

The US Sanctions on Iran Are Causing a Major Humanitarian Crisis

The reality of life here under the devastating impact of the US "maximum pressure" sanctions campaign is the one big story from Iran that's mostly missing in the headlines. If you haven't heard about this, you are not alone. Nobody, certainly not the main protagonists, seems the least bit interested in talking about the devastation of human life in Iran today. It is as if a conspiracy of silence has been cast over the whole issue. -Ahmad Jalalpour, The Nation 1/22/20

A Northeastern University student from Iran was removed from the US despite an emergency stay

An Iranian student planning to attend Northeastern University was flown out of the United States despite an emergency stay, and Customs and Border Protection said it was not aware a court had temporarily blocked the student's removal. Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein, 24, was refused entry to the United States on his student visa when he arrived at the Boston Logan International Airport on Sunday. -CNN 1/22/20

NIAC Letter Regarding Etsy's U.S. Sanctions Compliance Policies and Discriminatory Treatment Towards Iranian Americans

The National Iranian American Council has sent a letter to Etsy concerning its apparently discriminatory treatment of an American vendor selling "Persian dolls" on its website. These dolls appear to have been made in America with American materials by an American, and under no circumstances should have been flagged as a prohibited item. -NIAC 1/22/20

Iranian students face hardships at home and abroad

Iranian students at Purdue are feeling the ramifications of recent conflict between the United States and Iran, even while on campus. One graduate student, who requested to remain anonymous for fear of potential consequences on future petitions for immigration or jobs, hasn't seen his family in six and a half years. His parents were able to visit his brother, who's living in Canada, but they weren't able to obtain visas to visit him due to the travel ban. And he couldn't go to Canada without having to reapply for a visa. -Sean Murley., The Exponent 1/22/20

The New McCarthyism

That is exactly what Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas and two other Republican senators, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Braun of Indiana, have done with a letter calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) for possible violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, accusing NIAC of acting on behalf of the Iranian regime. This call is baseless, in addition to trying to make the Justice Department even more of a partisan political weapon than it already has become under William Barr. There is no indication, and the senators provide none, that NIAC works on behalf of the Iranian government or any other foreign government. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 1/21/20

"Feverish Climate" at Tehran University After Students Arrested in Dormitory Raid

University of Tehran personnel assisted a raid by state forces on a dormitory that resulted in at least eight students being arrested as they gathered for a protest, an eyewitness told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The attack on the dormitory by the plainclothes security agents has only further intensified the recent feverish climate at the university," said an eyewitness who resides at the Student Martyrs Dormitory where the raid took place on January 16, 2019. -CHRI 1/20/20

Cut off from family, unable to travel: how US sanctions punish Iranian Americans

ollowing the US assassination of a top Iranian general earlier this month and Iranian airstrikes against US military bases in Iraq, Donald Trump once again imposed biting sanctions against the regime in Tehran. To Iranian Americans, many of whom have lived under sanctions in Iran or have family members there suffering through economic hardship, the fresh round of penalties is a painful reminder of the collateral consequences of escalating conflict. -Sam Levin, Guardian 1/20/20

Sanctions, Scarcity, and the Depressing Reality of Iranian Healthcare

When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety-longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder-caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace. 1/18/20

Letter of Solidarity Standing with NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), and its sister organization NIAC Action, are American civil-society organizations working on behalf of members of the Iranian-American community and the broader American public. At a time when our nation is bitterly divided, NIAC is an important voice in our public debate on issues of enormous consequence for all Americans - and particularly for Americans of Iranian heritage - including heightened tensions in the Middle East and the risk of war, policies like the Muslim travel ban and extreme vetting, the rise in domestic hate crimes, and the protection of civil liberties. 1/18/20

Why This Time the Protests in Iran are Different

Though it is unclear how the coming months will play out, what is amply foreseeable is the maelstrom that is sure to occur were a dramatic collapse to occur. Conflagration, not implosion, is the more likely outcome in Iran. For every Iranian who loathes living under the Islamic banner, there are plenty who count themselves as the nezam's devoted constituency, its willing defenders, unto death, unto the release of martyrdom. -Shervin Malekzadeh, Responsible 1/18/20

Opposition Leader Under House Arrest Punished for Blaming Plane Downing on Supreme Leader

After putting blame on Iran's Supreme Leader for the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, new restrictions have been imposed on Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under extra-judicial house arrest in Tehran for nearly nine years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. In an open letter on January 11, Karroubi, 82, said as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was responsible for the tragedy. 1/18/20

Iran's President Rohani Slams Disqualification Of Candidates Ahead Of Parliament Elections

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the disqualification of hundreds of people from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying Iranians "need diversity." In televised remarks during a cabinet meeting on January 15, Rohani called for "all parties and groups" to be allowed to run for office, saying the country "cannot be governed by one political wing alone." -RFE/RL 1/16/20

Students Assaulted, Arrested in State Crackdown on University Protests

Protesters were physically attacked and arrested at universities in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 14, 2019, the fourth consecutive day of protests that had erupted in the country after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) admitted to accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger plane. "The front entrance of the University of Tehran was full of security agents," one eyewitness who requested anonymity for security reasons told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 1/16/20

NIAC Responds to Baseless Accusations by Senators Cotton, Cruz, and Braun

In response to a letter sent by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) to the Department of Justice baselessly urging an investigation into NIAC and NIAC Action, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement: "At NIAC, we are proud of the work we do for our community. We will never stop working to advance peace and diplomacy or fighting for equitable immigration policies and the civil rights of all Americans. 1/15/20

Iran's FM Zarif Admits People Are Angry For Being Lied To About Plane Crash

Iran's Foreign Minister on Wednesday a dmitted that Iranians are angry because they were lied to regarding regarding the real cause of a plane crash January 8, that killed 176 passengers and crew. While the Iranian military knew it had shot down the plane, authorities kept denying they fired an anti-aircraft missile, for three days. 1/15/20

'They treated me like a terrorist': the vetted Iranians deported on arrival to the US

Mohammad Elmi was on his way to fulfill a lifelong dream. On 13 December 2019, the 31-year-old Iranian boarded a flight to Los Angeles to join his wife in the United States and start a PhD program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sixty-five hours later, he was back in the Iranian capital, Tehran, refused entry to the United States by immigration officers at the airport. -Caleb Hampton, Guardian 1/15/20

"They Were Everywhere" Footage, Eyewitnesses Reveal Violence Against Ukraine Plane Crash Protesters

Iranian security forces used what appeared to be live ammunition and tear gas to repress protests in Tehran on January 12, 2020, over the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) "unintentional" downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, according to video footage sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and later verified by the AP. Protesters mainly in the capital and at least one other city (Amol in Mazandaran Province) who chanted slogans against the IRGC and called for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to relinquish power faced a heavy security presence, according to eyewitnesses. -CHRI 1/14/20

Iran announces arrests over plane crash as Rouhani warns those responsible will be punished

Several people have been arrested in Iran over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that those responsible would be punished. Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, was quoted by the semi-official FARS news agency Tuesday as saying that an investigation into the crash had started and several arrests had been made. He did not provide details on how many people had been arrested or what their roles in the incident may have been. 1/14/20

Iranian police fired live rounds to disperse protesters, say witnesses

Iranian authorities fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in Tehran, wounding several people, according to witness accounts provided to the Guardian and footage circulating on social media. Hundreds of protesters on Sunday defied a heavy security presence in the Iranian capital to hold vigils and demonstrations throughout the day and march in the evening on Azadi Square in the centre of the city. -Guardian 1/13/20

Iran Film, Theater, Music Artists, Broadcasters Boycott State TV, Festivals

An increasing number of Iranian filmmakers, performing artists, and musicians have been boycotting an annual state sponsored festival as Iran is overwhelmed by a new wave of protests during the past days. Meanwhile several presenters and actors have left the state TV in protest to the downing of a civilian passenger aircraft that claimed 176 lives and the state-controlled media's disinformation to divert attention from the revolutionary guards (IRGC) as the culprit behind the crash. 1/13/20

'We are captives': Iranian actor criticises Tehran government

One of Iran's most popular female actors has bluntly criticised the government in Tehran in a post on Instagram, telling her almost 6 million followers that "we are not citizens" but "captives". Taraneh Alidoosti - who has appeared in an Oscar-nominated film and acclaimed TV dramas - made her comments on Sunday, as Iranians took to the streets in a series of anti-regime protests. -Guardian 1/13/20

PHOTOS: Protesters In Tehran Call For Justice Over Iran's Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

Protesters outside a university in Tehran have called for justice after Iran admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8. "Resignation is not enough," protesters chanted outside Amirkabir university on January 11 while demanding a trial for those responsible for the downing of the plane that killed all 176 people on board. 1/12/20

Iran's Government Should Allow People to Mourn, Protest Without Threat of Violence

The Iranian people should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to peaceful assembly without the threat of violence, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) after crowds that had gathered in Tehran following the government's announcement that it had "unintentionally" shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane were met with armed state forces and tear gas. -CHRI 1/12/20

Iran plane crash admission triggers international calls for full investigation

Iran's admission that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane has been met with international demands for a full investigation into the disaster, in which 176 people died during a period of soaring tensions between Tehran and Washington. A statement carried on Iran's official IRNA news agency on Saturday morning said the military had made an "unforgivable mistake" in targeting Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 shortly after it took off from Tehran's international airport on Wednesday. -Guardian 1/11/20

Iranians React With Anger After Tehran Admits Downing Ukrainian Plane By Mistake

Iran's admission that it was responsible for the January 8 downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet, which killed all 176 people on board including many Iranians and Iranian-Canadian citizens, has led to anger and accusations of recklessness and incompetency against the country's leaders. A January 11 Iranian military statement said the Ukraine International Airlines flight was mistaken for a "hostile target" after it turned toward a "sensitive military center" of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 1/11/20

Inside the US Navy's mistaken shooting of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, which killed 290 people

The USS Vincennes was in the middle of a skirmish with Iranian gunboats when it saw Iran Air Flight 655 on its radar and confused the Airbus 300 for a fighter jet. After it failed to respond to the Navy's distress signals, the US shot it down with a missile. Everyone on board was killed. Yet despite this shocking mistake, it's often forgotten in the US. In Iran, it remains a national outrage. Many don't believe that it was a mistake, but a warning from the US. -James Pasley, Business Insider 1/10/20

Federal civil-rights office opens investigation into Canadian border stops

The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is opening an investigation into the many reports of people being stopped and questioned for hours over the weekend at the Canadian border, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The civil-rights office verbally confirmed the investigation Wednesday, and said it is sending investigators to Washington state, according to Subhan Cheema, Jayapal's spokesman. -Seattle Times 1/9/20

How anti-terrorism laws equip law enforcement to crack down on Iranian Americans

That the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani will reorder the Middle East is obvious - Iraq's parliamentary vote to expel U.S. forces, along with Iran's declared restarting of its nuclear arms program with "no limitations," offers proof enough. But that the killing will have repercussions within the United States, rattling the lives and liberties of many U.S. citizens and residents, is also a strong possibility - one that's no less ominous. -Aziz Huq, Washington Post 1/8/20

Coalition Statement on Reports of Mass Detentions of Iranians and Iranian-Americans at the Washington/Canada Border

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and its Iranian American coalition partners today issued the following statement following the recent reports of mass detentions of Iranians and Iranian Americans at the Washington/Canada Border: We write to share extremely disconcerting news and to share important information with you regarding new immigration incidents affecting Iranian Americans and Iranians in the U.S. Please read the below carefully and share this information with your friends and family. 1/7/20

Iran-Born Ivy League Professor Detained and Grilled About Soleimani at JFK

Until Sunday morning, University of Pennsylvania academic and historian John Ghazvinian-who left Iran as a baby with his family more than four decades ago and grew up in London and Los Angeles-traveled in and out of the United States with the same freedoms as any other U.S. citizen. But when he arrived from Cairo at John F. Kennedy International Airport via an Air France connecting flight from Paris-two days after the U.S. military killed one of Iran's top generals on orders from President Donald Trump--all of that changed. -Lloyd Grove, Daily Beast 1/7/20

Iranian-Americans Questioned at the Border: 'My Kids Shouldn't Experience Such Things'

Arriving at the United States border in Washington State early Sunday morning after a skiing trip to Canada, Negah Hekmati and her family were pulled out of line for further questioning by Customs and Border Protection agents. The family found itself in a room filled with fellow Iranian-Americans, many of whom had already been held for hours. -New York Times 1/7/20

Iranian Americans reportedly questioned at U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia

Mona Zabihian was on her way back to Washington after a Persian pop concert in Canada late Saturday night when she and four other Iranian Americans were pulled aside at the border. As their van slowed at the checkpoint, the U.S. citizens were asked a series of standard questions. Then they were given a slip and told to go inside, she said Sunday. The 27-year-old said she waited for about an hour before officials called for her questioning. -Los Angeles Times 1/6/20

Iranians Flood Twitter With Photos of Favorite Cultural Sites as Trump Threatens Them With Destruction

Ordinary Iranians on Saturday responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's monstrous threat to strike sites "important to Iran and the Iranian culture" with an outpouring of photos highlighting their favorite mosques, museums, monuments, and other stunning architecture. "Fastest way to unify all political factions in Iran against you is to assassinate the general who led Iran's fight against ISIS," tweeted Independent correspondent Negar Mortazavi. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 1/6/20

Donald Trump's belligerent threats to Iran's cultural sites are grotesque

Donald Trump's threat to destroy the sites of ancient Persia should send a shiver down the spine of any civilised person. How can anything justify American bombing of Persepolis or the mosques of Isfahan? Only the demented can see them as "threatening America". It is on the same ethical plane as the Islamic State vandalism of Palmyra and Mosul. -Simon Jenkins, Guardian 1/6/20

Killing of Iranian general stokes fears of heightened surveillance in U.S.

The killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani stoked fears Sunday that people of Iranian descent in the United States would come under heightened surveillance and led to reports that Iranian Americans were being detained at the U.S.-Canada border, which Customs and Border Protection denied. -CNBC 1/6/20

"Iranian-American, Past Present Future"

On September 24th, 2019, in his UN address President Trump defended the United States' economic sanctions against Iran by invoking language that has become so familiar to us we fail to hear its ruthless and genocidal resonances. After stating that it was his duty and priority to "defend America's interests," Trump cited "Iran's blood-lust," its "menacing behavior," its "traffic in monstrous antisemitism," and accused Iran of single-handedly destabilizing the Middle East. The use of abstract and degrading terminology to discuss Iran has a long history in American politics. -Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi 1/5/20

"They Know That Moving Her to This Prison Could Kill or Paralyze Her (Iranian Human Rights Activist Narges Mohammadi)"

By transferring prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi from Evin Prison in Tehran to the Central Prison in Zanjan, 178 miles west of the capital, Iran's Intelligence Ministry is deliberately trying to place her in a perilous condition, her husband told the Center for Human Rights (CHRI). "They beat up Narges and transferred her to the prison in Zanjan without her personal belongings," said her husband Taghi Rahmani, who lives in France with their two children, in an interview conducted on December 26, 2019. -CHRI 12/28/19

After US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, restored sanctions put cancer patients at risk

Limited access to medicine has frustrated Iranian patients and their families, especially after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018. The U.S. withdrawal led to the return of economic, trade and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. While humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, medication manufacturers in Iran face many challenges because of other sanctions, including banking and transaction restrictions. -Somayeh Malekian, ABC News 12/27/19

Iranians Honor Dead Protesters, Amid Vows to Fight On

Forty days after the first protesters were killed in Iran's worst unrest in decades, Iranians took their grievances against the government to cemeteries on Thursday, marking both the end of the traditional mourning period and their determination not to back down. Over four days of protests in November, security forces shot and killed up to 450 people, human rights organizations estimate, and in the weeks leading up to Thursday, some of their survivors called on the public to join them in yet another act of defiance: at the graveyards of their loved ones. Iran's leadership was not having it. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 12/27/19

Iran Restricts Internet Access Ahead Of Possible Protests

Iran has shut down mobile Internet access to overseas sites in several provinces, a day before possible protests. Iran's semi-official news agency, ILNA, reported that the shutdown on December 25 was ordered by "security authorities," quoting a source at the country's Communications and Information Technology Ministry. -RFE/RL 12/26/19

Iran Arrests Family Of Slain Protester Pouya Bakhtiari

Iran has arrested the family of a young man killed during last month's protests, which were triggered by a significant rise in the price of gasoline and spread to more than 100 cities and towns. The family of Pouya Bakhtiari had been invited for talks with the authorities, the semiofficial Mehr news agency said on December 24, citing what it called an informed source. -RFE/RL 12/26/19

Iran's EB patients: The most oppressed victims of U.S. sanctions

Although food and medicine are claimed to be exempted from U.S. sanctions, financial and banking sanctions have limited the life-saving medicine trade which harshly targeted the patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease that causes painful blistering of the skin. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 12/24/19

Australian, French Academics Held In Iran Call For Christmas Eve Hunger Strike

Two female academics held in Tehran's Evin Prison called for international solidarity as they announced that they would be denying food and water indefinitely as of Christmas Eve. Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert and Iranian-born French academic Fariba Adelkhah are striking for the freedom of all researchers and political prisoners in Iran who've been "unjustly imprisoned on trumped-up charges," according to their open letter sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) by a source with contacts inside the prison. -CHRI 12/24/19

Three years of waiting: Trump travel ban bureaucracy keeps Iranian couple apart

Every morning, Hedieh Yazdanseta gets up by 5am and pulls up the US state department's website on her phone, tapping in a case number made up of 13 digits and letters she has long memorized. She holds her breath as the page slowly loads, but disappointment quickly settles in when she sees her case is still in "administrative processing". For the past two years, those words have kept Yazdanseta and her husband, Mohsen Rahmani, thousands of miles apart and unable to start the life they want to live together -Lauren Aratani, Guardian 12/24/19

Special Report: Iran's leader ordered crackdown on unrest - 'Do whatever it takes to end it'

After days of protests across Iran last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared impatient. Gathering his top security and government officials together, he issued an order: Do whatever it takes to stop them. That order, confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader's inner circle and a fourth official, set in motion the bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. -Reuters 12/23/19

Iranian Families Divided by the Trump Travel Ban Tell of Holidays Apart and Lives on Hold

With the holidays and a long school break almost here and many families gathering together, we reached out to those who have been affected by President Trump's travel ban to see how they and their relatives are managing. Most of the people we heard from were Iranian or had ties to the country. -Aidan Gardiner, New York Times 12/23/19

Locked Out: US sanctions are ruining online gaming in Iran

Iranian fans of the popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game League of Legends (LoL) encountered an almost insurmountable obstacle this summer - one that only the most powerful opponent in the physical world could throw at them. When they logged on to their accounts, they were greeted with the message: "Due to US laws and regulations, players in your country cannot access League of Legends at this time." -Aljazeera 12/23/19

Nine Iranian Labor Rights Activists and Journalists Sentenced to Prison Without Right to Appeal

Nine Iranian labor activists were each sentenced to five years in prison on December 14, 2019, on the charge of "assembly and collusion against national security"... The Campaign for the Defense of Haft Tappeh Detainees (CDHTD) identified the defendants as Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers' representatives Esmail Bakhshi and Mohammad Khanifar, activists Sepideh Qoliyan and Atefeh Rangriz, and journalists Amirhossein Mohammadifard, Sanaz Allahyari, Amir Amirgholi, Asal Mohammadi, and Marzieh Amiri. "What this verdict says is, 'We can and will choke you,'" wrote Rangriz in response to the court's decision. -CHRI 12/21/19

Families of victims of November protests in Iran continue to speak out

Families of the those killed in Iran's November 2019 protests, at least 304 according to Amnesty International, continue to talk and reveal details about the killings of their loved ones. Borhan Mansournia, 28-year-old veterinarian, was shot by a bullet in the back in the city of Kermanshah. Body of Ershad Rahmanian, 25-year-old with bachelor's degree in emergency medical services, was found in the Garan Dam near the city of Marivan. Alireza Anjavi, an architectural supply store owner, died after being shot in the forehead in the city of Shiraz... -CHRI 12/21/19

Inside the US-Iran prisoner swap, and what comes next

Bergman said he and Richardson were encouraged by a meeting they held with Zarif on the sidelines of the Doha Forum on Dec. 15 on the prospect of securing the homecoming of others held by Iran, including Navy veteran Michael White. They are also working on the case of former FBI agent Bob Levinson, who went missing on Iran's Kish Island in 2007. -Laura Rozen, Al-Monitor 12/21/19

"She Had a Right to Live": Nurse Killed by Bullet to the Heart Amid State Repression of Protests in Karaj, Iran

Azar Mirzapour Zahabi, a 48-year-old nurse and mother of four, was killed by a bullet to the heart in the Golshahr district of Karaj on November 16, 2019, while Iranian authorities were repressing protests there, her sister told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Zahabi's sister, who asked not to be named for privacy reasons, told CHRI that their family is well-known in the city and that state officials had offered condolences to them after saying Zahabi had been shot by "rioters." 12/20/19

European Parliament condemns violent crackdown on the recent protests in Iran

In a resolution put to the vote on Thursday, MEPs denounce the disproportionate use of force by Iranian security forces against non-violent protesters. At least 304 people have been killed, with many more wounded and thousands arrested after "tens of thousands of people from all over Iran and representing all segments of society have exercised their fundamental right to freedom of assembly.... in the largest-scale unrest in 40 years", warn MEPs in the resolution adopted on Thursday by show of hands. 12/20/19

Mothers of Iran Protest Victims Call for "Minute of Silence," UN Fact-Finding Committee

Sixteen mothers whose children were killed amid violent state crackdowns on street protests have called for Iranians to observe a minute of silence for the victims on December 26, 2019. "We, the mothers, will not remain silent," they said in a statement published on December 17, 2019, that also called on Iranian authorities to allow the UN to visit the country to establish a fact-finding committee on rights violations that were committed while major street demonstrations ravaged the country in November 2019. -CHRI 12/19/19

Family Demands Justice for Iran Protest Victim: "The Person Who Shot Her Was on Top of a Building"

Golnar Samsami was on her way home after work when she was struck in the head by a bullet on Vali Asr St. in the city of Shahriar, Tehran Province, on November 17, 2019, her family member told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). According to the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity for security reasons, a video of Samsami's lifeless body is viewable on social media networks. The clip shows people gathering around a woman lying on a sidewalk as a man shouts, "She has a hole in her head. She's dead." -CHRI 12/19/19

Grieving In Iran: Mothers Brought Together By Tragic Deaths, State Pressure

Covered in black and holding a picture of her son, a blogger who died seven years ago in police custody, Gohar Eshghi trudged slowly with a cane into the home of Nahid Shirpisheh, whose son was shot dead in last month's violent crackdown on nationwide gas-price protests. Eshghi's son, Sattar Beheshti, was killed in 2012 while being detained and reportedly after being tortured by Iranian cyberpolice. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 12/19/19

23 Rights Organizations Urge UN to Take "Urgent Action" on Iran Protest Deaths

A coalition of international human rights organizations including the Center for Human Rights in Iran has called on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to launch an independent inquiry and demand accountability for the Iranian government's repression of last month's street protests, which resulted in at least 304 deaths. Among the thousands who were detained since the protests erupted throughout the country in mid-November 2019 are journalists, students, and human rights defenders who are at risk of further violations of due process, which would result in more cases of arbitrary detentions, torture, and other ill-treatment. 12/17/19

Landmine survivors feel the pinch of sanctions

An estimated 20 million anti-personnel landmines were planted on roughly 16,200 square miles along the 680-mile Iran-Iraq border during the bloody eight-year conflict. Though the war ended thirty-one years ago, it still continues to claim lives. According to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, by 2016, almost 10,000 Iranians had been indiscriminately killed. Still, the average Iranian isn't even aware that these killing fields exist in border provinces such as Ilam, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan. -Holly Darges, Atlantic Council 12/17/19

Blacklisted Tehran University Student Activist Detained Incommunicado

Iranian authorities have refused to provide information about the location or condition of student activist Saha Mortezaei since she was arrested a month ago at the University of Tehran's Fatemieh dormitory on November 17, 2019. Her family is particularly worried because university officials had previously threatened to subject the young woman to electric shock therapy at a psychiatric facility to punish her for refusing to halt her activism, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has been informed. 12/17/19

Iran: Thousands arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture in chilling post-protest crackdown

Iran's authorities are carrying out a vicious crackdown following the outbreak of nationwide protests on 15 November, arresting thousands of protesters as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students to stop them from speaking out about Iran's ruthless repression, said Amnesty International today. The organization has carried out interviews with dozens of people inside Iran who described how, in the days and weeks during and following the protests, the Iranian authorities have held detainees incommunicado and subjected them to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. -Amnesty International 12/16/19

Iranian artists speak up against deadly crackdown of protests

Prominent Iranian artists, inside and outside the country, have reacted to the brutal crackdown of recent protests in Iran. Actors, directors, and musicians have been speaking up in support of the protesters and against the violent response by the state. Dozens of artists living inside Iran published a statement in support of protesters, saying they will not forget the young faces of the dead, who were killed and then ignored by associating them with "foreigners". -Negar Mortazavi, Independent 12/16/19

Protests in Shiraz, Iran: "They Killed Our Boy with a Bullet on Our Own Street"

Iranian authorities pressured the family of Bahman Jafari, who died from a bullet wound to his heart on November 17, 2019, while state forces were trying to crush a protest in the city of Shiraz, to lie about his cause of death, Jafari's cousin told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Members of the Jafari family were also told to sign pledges of silence, and the authorities banned the family from holding a traditional funeral ceremony to evade responsibility for the young man's loss of life, according to his cousin Dina Jafari. -CHRI 12/15/19

Jailed Under Lengthy Sentences, Iran's Conservationists Suffer Ongoing Rights Violations

Iranian authorities are refusing to transfer imprisoned conservationist Sam Rajabi to the hospital to treat a serious medical condition, and are continuing to hold three of his colleagues in solitary confinement without legal justification, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "It appears that the authorities are punishing them for objecting to the [preliminary] court's decision and insisting that they had confessed under pressure and deception," said Tehran-based attorney Mohammad Hossein Aghasi in an interview with CHRI on December 11. -CHRI 12/13/19

Iran Judiciary Continues Prosecuting Signatories Of Opposition Statement

Iran's Judiciary on Thursday summoned another signatory of a 77-signature opposition statement condemning the bloody suppression of November protests for "Propaganda Against the Islamic Republic". The family of Isa Saharkhiz, a reformist journalist, published an image of the court order today on social media platforms. Saharkhiz who has five days to appear in court has previously been imprisoned for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "propaganda" against the regime. -Radio Farda 12/13/19

New sanctions to ban humanitarian trade with Iran: US Treasury

The US Treasury Department has stressed that Washington's newly announced sanctions targeting Iran's air and maritime transport industries will lead to the restriction of trade related to humanitarian goods. "US persons will be prohibited from engaging in transactions involving Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) or E-Sail, including transactions for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices," the Treasury's guidelines on Iran sanctions read. -Press TV 12/13/19

Slain Protester's Mother Sentenced to Prison: "Today I Have Sons and Daughters Throughout Iran"

Less than a month after hundreds of people were killed in the Iranian authorities' crackdown on November's mass street protests, a court in Tehran summoned the mother of a victim killed in a 2009 crackdown to prison for demanding justice. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) learned that Shahnaz Akmali was summoned to prison after she visited the family of a protester who died from a gunshot wound in the city of Karaj, west of the capital, on November 16, 2019. -CHRI 12/13/19

"How Could They Shoot at a Kid?" Iranian Authorities Shirk Responsibility After Teen Killed on Way Home from School

Fifteen-year-old Mohammad Dastankhah was walking home from high school in the city of Shiraz, Fars Province when he was shot and killed by a bullet while local authorities were repressing street protests in his city. In an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), his sister Ghazal Dastankhah said the authorities had offered to pay his parents blood money, which according to Islamic law is paid as financial compensation to the victim or heirs of a victim in cases of murder, bodily harm, or property damage, but were vague about his cause of death to avoid responsibility. 12/12/19

Iran Protests: "My Brother Was a Passerby... We Want them to Tell Us Why They killed Him"

Reports of the shooting deaths of bystanders not involved in the recent protests in Iran in mid-November continue to grow, indicating the breadth of the indiscriminate firing of live ammunition into crowds of civilians by security forces intent on crushing the protests. Amirhossein Kabiri, was killed by a bullet, even though he was not a participant in a nearby protest. He was 33 years old. His death certificate states "weapons of war" as the cause of his death on November 19, 2019, in the Golshahr district of Karaj, west of Tehran, his sister informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 9. -CHRI 12/12/19

Outspoken Iranian Lawmaker Harshly Attacks Khamenei-Controlled Bodies

An outspoken lawmaker in Iran has attacked the entities under Khamenei's control for undermining the authority of the Parliament and warned that weakening the Majles can lead to the downfall of the regime. In a fiery speech in Majles on Tuesday Ali Motahari harshly criticized the involvement of entities appointed by Khamenei in legislation and called for the dissolution of the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) which consists of the President, Chief Justice and Majles Speaker. -Radio Farda 12/11/19

State Forces Buried Man Killed in Iran Protests Against Families Wishes

Hospital authorities in the city of Islamshahr, Tehran Province, transferred the body of Hamid Taheri to state security forces without his family's permission after he died from a bullet wound on November 16, 2019, his father-in-law, Rahim Ajari, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). The unnamed authorities buried Taheri, a 35-year-old carpenter who had recently become a father, in a cemetery against his relatives' preferences. His father and brother were also pressured to sign a "pledge" of silence, according to Ajari. -CHRI 12/11/19

China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt are world's worst jailers of journalists

For the fourth consecutive year, at least 250 journalists are imprisoned globally... Iran, which also saw significant protests in 2019, increased the number of journalists in jail to 11. Prominent economic reporter Mohammad Mosaed was arrested after tweeting during an internet shutdown intended to suppress news of protests against high gas prices, "Hello Free World!" and that he was using "42 different proxies" to get online. -CPJ 12/11/19

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