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April 28 2016
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Public Outcry in Iran Over Plan for Increased Morality Police Prompts Review

- Deploying 7,000 undercover morality police in Tehran contradicts the principle of the presumption of innocence, Iranian lawyer Ali Rambod told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "We should move towards interpreting laws on the basis of innocent until proven guilty," he said. "It appears this principle has been overlooked in regards to the undercover police force." - 4/28/16

Human Rights Groups Condemn Journalists' Prison Sentences in Iran

- U.S. human rights groups are condemning the sentences imposed by an Iranian court on four journalists who were arrested late last year. The four were accused of "paving the way for U.S. infiltration of the country."The Iranian judiciary has handed down sentences of five to 10 years in prison to the journalists who were arrested last November in the period leading up to parliamentary elections. - 4/28/16

Minister intervenes in plot to block winning Isfahan candidate

- Iran's interior minister has written to the head of the country's three branches of government to say the Guardian Council's cancellation of the votes obtained by parliamentary candidate Minoo Khaleghi's is "an error" that needs to be examined by Parliament. - 4/28/16

Hadi Heidari, creator of controversial "Blindfold" cartoon, finishes serving sentence

- In September of 2013, several Iranian MPs maintained that the cartoon was intentionally released during the week of Holy Defence, which is the term used in Iran to refer to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. They maintained that the blindfolds reflect the black headband worn by Iranian soldiers and that the cartoon suggests the soldiers went to war blindly. - 4/28/16

Four Iranian Journalists Jailed For 'Acting Against National Security'

- Four Iranian journalists have been given prison sentences of between five and 10 years on charges of acting against Iran's national security. Lawyers for the journalists announced the sentences to Iranian state media on April 26. - 4/27/16

Revolutionary Guards' Cyber Attacks Now Directed at Rouhani Cabinet Members

- Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who have long waged cyber attacks against the country's activists and journalists, have extended their hacking attacks to Rouhani administration officials, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned, including close associates of President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members. To date, the Rouhani administration has not publicly criticized the Guards' cyber attacks. - 4/27/16

Iranian Judiciary insists ailing physicist's sentence for espionage is final

- The spokesman for Iran's judiciary says Omid Kokabi's sentence is final and he is "being provided with all necessary facilities". ISNA reports that on Sunday April 24, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said that Omid Kokabi, the physicist who has served five years in jail, was tried for espionage and his 10-year sentence is final. - 4/26/16

Iran Said Ready To Release Jailed Cartoonist Farghadani Soon

- A lawyer for prominent jailed Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani has said that the authorities will soon release his client. In June 2014, a court sentenced her to 12 years in prison for a cartoon that depicted Iranian politicians who passed a law limiting women's access to birth control as goats and monkeys. - 4/26/16

Health care denied to jailed Iranian cleric who championed internet

- Jailed Iranian cleric Mohammadreza Nekounam is suffering from health problems, and the special court for the clergy refuses to let him to be hospitalized. Nekounam was arrested entenced to five years in jail after he reacted to statements by Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi declaring high-speed internet service was "haram" (religiously forbidden). - 4/25/16

Mehdi Karroubi: Despite Five Years of House Arrest, He Continues to Speak Out against Abuse of Power in Iran

- Former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, who has been living under extrajudicial house arrest for over five years for contesting the result of Iran's widely disputed 2009 presidential election, has written an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani calling on him to convince the "ruling dictatorship" to allow Karroubi to stand trial. - 4/24/16

Iranian Women's Issues Advisor Says Mothers Fear "Morality Police"

- Shahidokht Molaverdi, the Iranian president's advisor on women and family affairs, says the new plan to deploy 7,000 "undercover morality police" on the streets of Tehran is causing serious concern for families. - 4/24/16

Public demand cited as reason for undercover morality policing in Tehran

- The Tehran police chief says the deployment of undercover morality police has been initiated due to public demand. Hossein Sajedinia said on Wednesday April 20 that the public expects the police to act against "harassment in the streets" and "inappropriate behaviour and hazardous traffic acts". - 4/23/16

EU Must Not Ignore Iran's Human Rights Record, Says Former Political Prisoner

- Saeed Razavi Faghih, a reformist journalist who was released from Evin Prison on April 6, 2016 after serving two years for his political beliefs, has issued an open letter urging the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to not "sacrifice human rights for commercial greed" during her April 16, 2016 trip to Tehran. - 4/23/16

Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Loses Kidney to Cancer, Must Be Released Permanently

- Omid Kokabee, the young physicist who has been imprisoned in Iran for over 5 years for his refusal to work on military research, underwent surgery on April 20, 2016 to completely remove his right kidney, which was in an advanced stage of cancer. - 4/22/16

Former French embassy employee held in solitary in Tehran's Evin prison

- Nazak Afshar, a former staff member of the French Embassy in Tehran who was arrested upon returning to Iran last March for a visit, is reportedly being held in solitary confinement for questioning in Evin Prison. Also, Sabri Hassanpour, the executive and host of an online network has reportedly been arrested in Iran. Hassanpour, who currently resides in the Netherlands, had reportedly travelled to Iran to visit relatives. - 4/21/16

Rouhani clashes with Iranian police over undercover hijab agents

- Iran's president criticized the use of thousands of undercover morality police in Tehran to report on young women who are not wearing a full Islamic hijab or those who play loud music in their cars. -Reuters - 4/21/16

U.S. Senate Effort to Lift Dual Nationals Restrictions Blocked

- Washington, DC - The Senate voted Tuesday afternoon to approve legislation authorizing the Federal Aviaton Administration, but an amendment authored by Sen. Jeff Flake that would repeal discriminatory Visa Waiver Program (VWP) restrictions on certain dual nationals was blocked from consideration. - 4/20/16

NIAC and PayPal Take Steps to Address Payment Concerns Within Venmo

- The National Iranian American Council ("NIAC") and PayPal Inc. issued the following joint statement regarding certain difficulties Iranian Americans were having using Venmo during the Persian New Year - 4/20/16

Killing Of Afghan Girl Prompts Outrage In Iran

- In Iran, which hosts at least 1 million Afghan refugees and seasonal laborers, the fate of an Afghan migrant doesn't normally make media headlines. The slaying of a 6-year-old girl outside Tehran is a tragic exception. -RFE - 4/20/16

Imprisoned Young Iranian Physicist Stricken with Cancer after Years of Denied Medical Care

- Prisoner of conscience Omid Kokabee, the young physicist who has been imprisoned in Iran for over five years for his refusal to work on military research for the Islamic Republic, has been diagnosed with kidney cancer after years in which prison authorities denied him treatment for his kidney illness. - 4/19/16

Iran Launches Undercover Morality Unit

- Iranian authorities have launched a new undercover police unit that will be tasked with monitoring citizens' morality in the Iranian capital and reporting transgressions to authorities. - 4/19/16

Iranian Political Prisoner in Critical Condition Vows to Continue Hunger Strike

- Prisoner of conscience Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who has been on dry and wet hunger strikes since March 26, 2016 to protest being denied crucial medical treatment, is in critical condition, but has vowed to continue until his situation changes. - 4/19/16

Tehran Police Prevent Commemoration For Murdered Afghan Girl

- Police in Tehran have reportedly prevented a planned gathering in front of Afghanistan's embassy in memory of a young Afghan girl who was raped and murdered earlier this month in Varamin, near the capital. - 4/19/16

Business Leaders around the World Call for an End to Iran's Closure of Baha'i Businesses

- In a signed statement addressed to Iran's supreme leader, 54 leading business people and economists from countries around the world asked Ayatollah Khamenei to stop the harassment and discrimination against Baha'i business owners in Iran. - 4/18/16

Principle and Pragmatism, Here and Abroad

- In a story out of Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani, who in the Iranian political context merits the labels "reformist" and "moderate", is being pushed by others in the reformist camp who believe he has not been aggressive enough in challenging Iranian hardliners across the full spectrum of issues that separate hardliners from reformists. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 4/18/16

Lawyer Released from Prison in Iran Describes Grim Conditions for Political Prisoners

- Mohammad Seifzadeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who for years defended political prisoners in Iran and railed against the inhumane conditions of their incarceration, was freed on March 10, 2016 after serving his own five-year prison sentence, and spoke at length about the harsh conditions he experienced first-hand as a political prisoner. - 4/15/16

EU Restrictions on American Travel Delayed, Congress Must Act

- NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the European Commission delayed a decision to suspend the Visa Waiver Program for American travelers by three months - 4/14/16

Half of schools in Iran's Sistan-Baluchistan province need rebuilding now

- The director-general of Sistan-Baluchestan School Revitalization says 56 percent of schools are in immediate need of complete rebuilding. Alireza Rasheki told Tasnim News on Saturday that 576 schools in need of rebuilding are mud buildings and are in constant danger of collapsing. - 4/14/16

Iranian VP Summoned to Judiciary for Commenting on High Execution Rate of Drug Traffickers

- Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, Iran's vice president for Women and Family Affairs, has been summoned to the Judiciary to explain a comment she made in February about all the men in a village being executed for drug offenses. - 4/14/16

End Visa Waiver Discrimination!

- "We strongly urge Congress to vote in favor of the new 'Flake amendment' to ensure that other countries do NOT reciprocate and treat American travelers as second-class citizens!" - 4/12/16

Iranian opposition leader Karroubi petitions President Rohani for day in court

- Mehdi Karroubi has reportedly written an open letter to Iranian President Hassan Rohani calling on him to compel the establishment to comply with the Article 168 of the Constitution and give him his day in court. Karroubi, who has been under house arrest since February of 2011 for challenging the 2011 elections and triggering mass protests - 4/11/16

Iran: Two political prisoners pardoned by Supreme Leader

- Iranian political prisoners Mostafa Azizi and Payam Bastani Parizi were released on Saturday April 3 after a receiving a "pardon from the Leader", according to HRANA. Azizi, a 53-year-old television producer, was arrested in 2015 when he returned for a visit to Iran from Canada, where he had been residing since 2010. - 4/11/16

Police use cameras to enforce Islamic codes in Tehran cafes and parks

- The Tehran police department says it has installed surveillance cameras in parks and coffee shops in the city's western neighbourhoods. The Tasnim website reported on Thursday April 7 that all parks, coffee shops and hookah cafes will be under surveillance to assure compliance with Islamic codes of behaviour. - 4/9/16

Fate of detained Iranian journalist remains unknown

- The situation of Afarin Chitsaz, an Iranian journalist who was arrested in Iran last November by the Revolutionary Guards, remains completely in the shadows. A knowledgeable source has informed the International Campaign for Human Rights In Iran that in the more than five months since she was arrested, Chitsaz has not even had access to a lawyer. - 4/9/16

Disqualification of Elected Female Reformist MP Sparks Heated Debate in Iran

- Two weeks have passed since Minoo Khaleghi's election to Parliament in Iran's recent elections was nullified without an explanation by the Guardian Council, the body charged with vetting candidates. - 4/8/16

Iranian political prisoner released from Evin after protests

- Iranian political prisoner Saeed Razavi Faqih was released from Evin Prison on Wednesday April 6, 2016. Razavi Faqih had been on a hunger strike over the lack of adequate medical treatment given to him in prison. The Zeytoon website had earlier reported that the political prisoner had also sewn his lips together to protest the unjustified extension of his prison sentence. - 4/8/16

Rights group champions prominent Iranian activist Nargess Mohammadi ahead of her court date

- Amnesty International has called for the release of jailed human rights activist Narges Mohammadi. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that according to Amnesty International, Mohammadi's court appearance is scheduled for April 22. - 4/6/16

Young Woman's Quest for Higher Education Exposes Iran's Discrimination Against Baha'is

- Rouhie Safajoo, a student banned from Iranian universities because of her Baha'i faith and arrested for her online activism, was released on March 27, 2016 on 500 million rials (about $16,500 USD) bail, nearly three weeks after her arrest. - 4/4/16

Actress among activists arrested for animal rights protest in Tehran

- Iranian actress Hediyeh Tehrani and 16 other environmental activists were briefly arrested for participating in a protest at Tehran's Laleh Park in support of animal rights. The Reporters Club reports that Hediyeh Tehrani and the activists were arrested on Friday April 1. - 4/3/16

Female Air France Cabin Crews Protest Head Scarves On Iran Flights

- Some female Air France flight attendants have been protesting an airline rule that they must cover their hair when Air France resumes flights to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on April 17. - 4/3/16

Iran's Election Office challenges Guardian Council over disqualification of female lawmaker

- Mohammad Hossein Moghimi, the head of the Election Office, says it is in a legal dispute with the Guardian Council over the disqualification of Minoo Khaleghi, an Isfahan parliamentary woman candidate who won the third-highest number of votes in the February 26 election. - 3/29/16

Canadian Resident Sentenced to Three Years in Jail Shortly After Returning to Iran

- Political prisoner Mostafa Azizi, one of many emigres who returned to Iran following assurances of their safe return by the Rouhani administration, has been sentenced to three years in prison and a fine of 70 million rials (approximately $2,300 USD). - 3/29/16

Iran increases punishment for keeping kids out of school

- Iran's Ministry of Education says the penalty for failing to register one's children in school has been increased to one million toumans in fines and up to three months in prison. - 3/28/16

Iranian Judiciary Took No Action despite Formal Complaint Detailing Torture of Baha'is in Prison

- Details of torture inflicted upon twelve Baha'is by interrogators three years ago at Amir Abad prison and detention centers in Iran's Golestan Province-and the Iranian Judiciary's complete lack of any response to the formal letter of complaint that was sent in 2012 by the victims of that torture to the head of the Judiciary of Golestan Province, were recently revealed to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 3/28/16

Iranian Kurds appear targeted for arrests during Norooz

- A number of Iranian Kurdish citizens have reportedly been arrested in various regions of Kurdistan province during Norooz festivities. Political activists had warned earlier of the increasing security-laden atmosphere in the province. - 3/27/16

"Blood Money" Frees Imprisoned Iranian Ranger Who Killed Poacher In Self-Defense

- Gholam-Hossein Khaledi, an Iranian park ranger sentenced to death for killing a poacher in 2010, was released on March 18, 2016 after paying 12 billion rials (about $400,000 USD) diyah ("blood money") to the victim's family. - 3/27/16

Disqualified candidate casts shadow over Iranian women's political progress

- The Isfahan governor has confirmed the disqualification of Minoo Khaleghi, the third candidate elected from Isfahan in the parliamentary election of February 26. He also reported that the candidate has filed an appeal of the decision. - 3/25/16

Prominent Iranian Journalist Remains Hospitalized After Delayed Health Care

- Severe health problems are keeping prisoner of conscience Issa Saharkhiz , a prominent reformist journalist, under observation in the hospital he was transferred to from Evin Prison on March 9, 2016. - 3/25/16

Families stage "Norooz" sit-in for political prisoners kept in Evin

- Families of Iranian political prisoners who were not granted a furlough for Norooz spent the first hours of the New Year on March 20 staging a sit-in outside Evin Prison to be closer to their relatives. - 3/23/16

Isfahan candidate disqualified despite voter support

- Nasim Online reported on Tuesday March 22 that Minoo Khaleghi, a leading candidate in Isfahan, was disqualified by the Guardian Council. Her name had been on the list of candidates endorsed by reformists. - 3/23/16

Veteran Iranian Actor Implores Rohani To Free Opposition Leaders

- Ezzatollah Entezami has written a letter to President Rohani calling for an end to the house arrest of the opposition leaders detained for the 2009 election protests, MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi. In his letter dated February 21, Entezami writes that ending the house arrests will result in "confidence building and the strengthening of national unity". - 3/21/16

In Bid to Save Ailing Son, Political Prisoner's Father Threatens Hunger Strike

- The father of ailing political prisoner Hossein Ronaghi Maleki will launch a hunger strike in front of the Tehran prosecutor's office unless steps are taken to release his son. "Hossein has been in prison for six years based on an illegal and unjust ruling," Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "I have written to the authorities many times requesting his release, especially considering his illnesses." - 3/21/16

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Father, Son Jailed Without Charges

- The United States has called for the release of two Iranian-American citizens detained without charge in Tehran. Family members say businessman Siamak Namazi was arrested in October while his father Baquer, 80, was detained last month. Both men are believed to be in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. - 3/19/16

Iranian humorist Haloo released from jail

- Iranian poet and humourist Mohammadreza Alipayam was released from jail on March 16, 2016. Kaleme reports that Alipayam, who has been in jail since last May, was released on Wednesday. Alipayam, who published his poetry under the alias "Haloo", was arrested for the social and political commentary in his work. - 3/19/16

Baha'i Couples Welcoming Spring in Prison

- In the final days of the current year, in which Iranian families are preparing to welcome the New Year*, a Baha'i couple, Payman Kooshakbaghi and Azita Rafizadeh were arrested and sent to prison to start their long sentences. There are four Baha'i couples among political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. This report is an attempt to introduce them and to bring to light how they are welcoming the New Year far from each other and from their children. - 3/18/16

On eve of Iranian New Year, concern about fate of imprisoned journalists

- Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its concern about the conditions in which journalists are being detained in Iran, especially Afarine Chitsaz of the daily newspaper Iran, a young woman arrested at the same time as three other journalists on 2 November. - 3/18/16

Siamak Namazi Is a Good Man. Iran Should Release Him

- My friend, Iranian-American consultant Siamak Namazi, has been in Tehran's Evin prison for five months. His 80-year old father, Baquer Namazi - a former senior UNICEF official - was imprisoned three weeks ago. The motives behind these arrests have been lucidly explained, but news of detained Iranian Americans dies when there are no developments on the ground. -Reza Marashi, Huffington Post - 3/17/16

Iran Criticizes Australian Asylum Policy

- SYDNEY-Iran's foreign minister has criticized Australia's policy towards asylum seekers. Mohammad Javad Zarif also rejected continued scrutiny of Tehran's human rights record and its ballistic missile program during a visit to the country. -Phil Mercer, VOA - 3/17/16

Jailed Iranian activist teacher gets respite before exile

- Jailed teacher Ali Akbar Baghani, who is the deputy head of the Iranian Teachers' Association, was released on bail from Rejai Shahr Prison on Wednesday March 16 .The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that Baghani was released at the end of his jail term and has been given a furlough before going on to serve his time in exile in Zabol. - 3/17/16

Iranian women given parity with men in blood money insurance

- Rahim Zareh, the spokesman for parliament's economic commission, said on television that the bill to implement parity in the third person life insurance of men and women had been prepared earlier, and the commission is pleased to announced it was approved by the Guardian Council. - 3/16/16

Iranians Looking Abroad to Escape State-Controlled Internet

- Data privacy and censorship concerns are driving Iranian companies and individuals to foreign Internet servers because domestic providers are powerless to protect their customers against state spying and control. - 3/16/16

Iranian journalist, activist released from Evin prison for different reasons

- Jailed journalist Serajeddin Mirdamadi and jailed children's rights activist Saeed Hosseinzadeh were released from Evin Prison on Monday March 14. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that Mirdamadi has been granted a conditional release, while Hosseinzadeh has been released for medical reasons. - 3/16/16

Iranian Minister Restates Support For Smart Filtering Over Total Site Censorship

- Iran's minister of communications has once again stressed that the administration is opposed to the complete blocking of internet sites. Mahmoud Vaezi told ISNA on Monday March 14 that it is not appropriate to block a whole site that provides beneficial information just because 10 to 15 percent of its content is problematic. - 3/15/16

Prisoner's mother rejects her own sentence of jail, lashes

- Simin Eyvazideh, the mother of political prisoner Omid Haghshenas, has been sentenced to 91 days in jail and 74 lashes. Eyvazzadeh told the campaign: "The charge against me has nothing to do with my actions; therefore, I do not accept the sentence and find it unfair and unreasonable and expect to be completely acquitted." - 3/14/16

Iranian university students feel impact of disciplinary crackdown

- Twelve student groups across Iran have issued a statement reporting that 160 students in the past two months have been summoned by the disciplinary committees at Tehran and Elm-o-Sanaat universities. - 3/12/16

Why is Venmo Targeting Norooz?

- Critics of the Iran nuclear deal have a lot of concerns. Some claim the Ayatollahs are now literally swimming in pools filled with sweet American cash. Others are distraught that Iranians may no longer be resigned to travel via flying coffins now that Airbus and Boeing are allowed upgrade the country's civilian airliners. -NIAC Action - 3/12/16

Mass Child Marriage Ceremony in Iran Denied by Local Officials

- Fifty high school students were married in a mass ceremony in the Iranian city of Parsian, according to local news reports. But city officials have been downplaying the event and distancing themselves from the idea of encouraging child marriage. - 3/11/16

Former Iran President Presses Rohani On Detained Opposition Leaders

- Former Iranian president and prominent reformist figure Mohammad Khatami has urged the Rohani government to honour its election promises, adding that the country's security-laden atmosphere does not befit the Iranian people. - 3/10/16

White House: Iran Committed to Finding Ex-FBI Agent Missing Since 2007

- The White House said Wednesday Iran is committed to helping U.S. authorities find missing FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007. Spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. takes Iran's promise "quite seriously" and is holding the Iranians to it. - 3/10/16

Harsh Sentences of Human Rights Activist and Wife Confirmed by Iran Appeals Court

- An Appeals Court in Iran has upheld the 15-year prison sentence of the student activist Arash Sadeghi for "collusion against national security," "propaganda against the state," "spreading lies in cyberspace" and "insulting the Founder of the Islamic Republic [Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]." - 3/9/16

The Bride Wore Green: What a Wedding Says about Iran's Future

- Wearing a flowing green gown and a string of pearls that hung, flapper-style, below her waist, Narges Mousavi was married Friday, in Tehran. The bride, a painter, was born into the revolutionary Úlite. Her father, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, was Iran's Prime Minister for eight years. -Robin Wright, New Yorker - 3/9/16

Iran Sets New Restrictions On University Concerts

- Iran has set new restrictions on concerts held at universities, as hard-liners dig in their heels after election gains for moderates who might seek to ease some of the Islamic republic's harshest limits on cultural life. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/8/16

Former Iranian Political Prisoner Gets One-Year Prison Sentence On Recycled Charges

- Navid Kamran, a former political prisoner, has been sentenced to one year in prison without any new evidence supporting the charge against him of "propaganda against the state," he told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 3/8/16

Iranian forest ranger spared from death sentence

- Asadollah Taghizadeh, a forest ranger who was arrested and sentenced to Qesas seven years ago for killing an illegal hunter in the Dena forest region, was released on Monday March 7 after the family of the deceased gave their consent. - 3/8/16

Police keep former Iranian president from wedding of opposition leader's daughter

- Iranian security forces prevented former president and prominent reformist figure Mohammad Khatami from leaving his home to attend the wedding of the daughter of Mir Hosein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard, the Iranian opposition leaders who have been under house arrest since 2011. - 3/6/16
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