Friday, September 29, 2006

Visiting HRW

I am now in New York, and today had the opportunity to visit the Human Righs Watch offices which is on the 34th floor of the Empire State building. Hadi Ghaemi, Iran researcher with Human Rights Watch, was kind enough to show us around the offices and talk about how the HRW works.

All I can say is that there were a lot of very nice people there, doing a lot of good work. The world is a better place because of these good people.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Veteran Outside the Senate

I always have a lot of respect for people who sacrifice themselves for their country, and it is always heartbreaking for me when I see war veterans not taken care of, wherever they are. They have done their bit and the politicians and civilians must do their bit to help them. This is my humble opinion.

I took this picture outside the US Senate with this Vietnam war veteran. He was protesting that his representative in the Congress, was not even willing to see him. Immediately I warmed up to him. He seemed like a nice friendly chap, who despite his bitter experience in life, still loved his country.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tell everyone About my Plight

Mossavi Khoeini, Iranian human rights activist, attended the 40th day of his late father's funeral. Despite being escorted by agents of the Islamic Republic, he managed to shout "Tell everyone about my plight. I am being interrogated 5 times a day. I sleep with my hands handcuffed and my feet chained every night."

After this incident the agents bundled Mossavi Khoeini in the car and took him away.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I am in the USA, for the next three weeks. As usual, I did not have an easy time with the US immigration officers. Really can't understand why they think I am a threat to US security. It took nearly two hours for me to get the clearance to go through. But I am really enjoying my time now. Will be visiting several places and have a hectic program ahead.

Probably wont be able to do many posts while I am in US. Please be patient with publishing your comments.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Opportunity for NUS to Save Ahmad Batebi

Ahmad Batebi was an Iranian student whose picture was published on the cover of the Economist. Batebi was then identified and sentenced to 15 years during Khatami's presidency.
Batebi has been elected twice since, as the honourary vice-president of National Union of Students, NUS in Britain. Batebi is still in prison and currently on hunger strike. At the same time former Islamic Republic president, Ayatollah Khatami is visiting St. Andrews to receive an honourary PHD.

This is an opportunity for NUS to save Ahmad Batebi. His release from this unfair sentence can be demanded as a pre-condition to Khatami's visit to St. Andrews.

Otherwise this is how the story reads:
NUS misses a golden opportunity to save their former elected honourary vice-president. At a time when secular academics and students in Iran are being expelled and a second "cultural revolution" is taking place in Iran, NUS and Scottish academics rather than standing by their colleagues in Iran are rewarding a representative of an anti-student, anti-academic religious apartheid.

After a US tour where Khatami was given a platform to mislead his audiences by fancy slogans like "dialogue amongst civilisations", he now seems to get another opportunity to mislead another audience in Scotland. Once again those who are giving him this platform are doing so without giving an opportunity for a dialogue to the Iranian victims during his presidency.

Monday, September 18, 2006

14th Anniversary of Mykonos Assassinations

On 17th September, 1992, Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders Sadegh Sharafkandi, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan and their translator Nouri Dehkordi were assassinated at the Mykonos Greek restaurant in Berlin, Germany.

Several Lebanese Hezbollah members were amongst the assassination squad. Lebanese, Abbas Rhayel, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Two other Lebanese Hezboallah members, Youssef Amin and Mohamed Atris, were convicted of being accessories to murder. Another Lebanese Hezbollah member, Abu Jafar aka as Abu Heydar was the driver of the get-away car.

Only one Iranian dissident present in the restaurant, Parviz Dastmalchi, survived the ordeal and showed immense courage in pursuing the truth.

Now how many times have you heard "Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation but a liberation movement"? How does assassinating Iranian opposition figures in a Berlin restaurant make Hezbollah a liberation movement? How does assassinating Iranian opposition serve the Lebanese people in any way?

Friday, September 15, 2006

This was One Western Journalist that Had Guts

Oriana Fallaci, is dead at the age of 77 after a long battle against cancer. I read two of her books, "Nothing, and so be it" - translated into Persian as Life: War and Nothing Else - and her "interview with history" when I was a child in Iran.

She must have been the only woman ever to have taken off her chador in front of Ayatollah Khomeini.
In an interview with Khomeini after the 1979 revolution, she asked him “How do I swim in a chador?” Khomeini's reply was that she was not obliged to wear one, because it was a garment for proper Islamic women only. She tore off her chador, and Ayatollah Khomeini stalked off :))

As a former anti-Fascist partisan during World War II, I am not surprised Fallaci had guts. She wrote a series of articles and books, critical of Islam and Arab culture, that have surprise surprise angered the Muslims, who seem to be the only people allowed to be offended! Since 9/11, Fallaci dedicated herself in the fight against "the greatest threat to Western civilization since the Cold War, Islamofascism".

“Europe is no longer Europe,” she told The Wall Street Journal in 2005. “It is ‘Eurabia,’ a colony of Islam, where the Islamic invasion does not proceed only in a physical sense, but also in a mental and cultural sense. Servility to the invaders has poisoned democracy, with obvious consequences for the freedom of thought, and for the concept itself of liberty."

However, it was not so much the Islamiofascists that raged against her, it was the Left in Europe, that hated her more. Although she was their darling during the Vietnam war for her reports and her interviews with the likes of Henry Kissinger, suddenly she became their hate figure, because she dared to side with American and Western democracies against Islamofascists, the gravest sin ever for the European Left.

Her sentence of two years imprisonment, for insulting Islam, by the Italian judicial system, will remain a shameful stain on the Italian judiciary forever.

Iranian Journalist Condemned to 74 Lashes

I wonder how those Western journalists who are mesmerised and duped by the Islamic Republic officials would feel, if they were to receive 74 lashes from the Islamic courts?

Young Iranian journalist, Massoud Bastani, has been in prison before. Last year, Massoud Bastani refused to ask for a pardon and was imprisoned amongst ordinary criminals in Arak.

"Even though living in prison is difficult, but I am not willing to ask for a pardon, for a sin that I have not committed. Freedom is sweet, but its price is more important" Bastani's reply to the offer of a pardon.

Now Bastani is waiting for the rest of his senetnce, 74 lashes. His mother has offered to sell all her gold to save her son from this inhumane punishment. His wife is anxious that her husband will not be able to tolerate 74 lashes, and as it has happened before, die under the burden of the Islamic lashes.

Its pointless to ask what his crime is? For in the Islamic Republic, punishment is not related to having committed a crime, but related to a refusal of being servile to the authorities and the self appointed representatives of Allah on earth. Yet, it is appropriate to ask where are the Western journalists? Should they not be standing by their colleague?
Forums like Open Democracy who see it as appropriate to give known Islamic Republic agents ample platform to disseminate their malicious accusations against Iranian academic, Ramin Jahanbegloo, are silent about a journalist about to receive 74 lashes in the 21St century.

Go to and search for Massoud Bastani, there is no news about him. The Western journalists are simply not interested, they rather give a special column to a blogger with obvious ties to the Islamic regime. Thats their democracy.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

What Destroyed the Hungarians in 1956

I still had some of the Sunday supplements left to read yesterday, and I came across an article which caught my eye. The article is a review of Viktor Sebestyen's fresh look at the events of 1956. The story of the 12 days of Hungarian uprising which led to the Soviet invasion and the death of 2700 Hungarians.

Sebestyen describes how the CIA information about the country was obtained by Western diplomats, journalists and so called academic experts on Hungary. These people however had very few interactions with ordinary people. In June of 1956, the president of the American Motion Picture Association visited Budapest and presented the embassy with a list of Hungarian artists, writers, actors and academics to invite to a cocktail party being given in his honour. He was rebuffed, with the official statement being "We never meet with these people socially."

It was on the basis of such information that a CIA paper concluded in June, 1956 - four months before the uprising - "There really is no underground movement in Hungary at all".

The official American policy was ambivalent too. The Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, spoke frequently of the need to "liberate the captive nations of Central Europe". Radio Free Europe broadcast fierce anti-Communist programs, and the US intelligence agents released balloons carrying anti-Communist pamphlets over the Hungarian countryside. The pamphlets proclaimed "The regime is weaker than you think and the hope lies with the people."
Many in the State department however thought it was wiser to take a more step by step approach and not rock the boat too much.

The result of this rhetoric and ignorance was confusion. When the uprising actually happened, American officials dithered about what to do and ultimately stalled by tabling a protest at the United Nations. In London the Foreign Office advised strongly against saying anything which "might encourage hotheads in Budapest" - compare this with the speech of Tam Dalyel, British MP in Parliament after the student uprising of July 99, in Iran :
"Julys are normally very hot in Iran, this has been one of the hottest Julys for years, it is no wonder that under such heat, tempers can be tinder dry"

By the fourth day of the uprising, Dulles despite his own liberation rhetoric had publicly and pointedly declared that the American government did not look upon the nations of Eastern Europe as 'potential allies'. That point was then repeated by the American ambassador to Moscow and President Eisenhower himself, just to make sure that the Soviets got the point.
At the same time Radio Free Europe continued with its attack, supplying the listeners with instructions on how to make bombs and stop tanks.

The result of this dithering, duplicity and confusion was 2700 Hungarians dead and more than 20000 wounded.

Has anything changed since? Are we not witnessing the same misinformation supplied by diplomats, academics and "Iran experts"? The same mixed confusing messages? Hungarian uprising took place 60 years ago but none of its lessons appear to have been learned.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Why Khatami's Visit is Wrong

I am all for dialogue and engagement with one's worst enemy. In every conflict an avenue for dialogue must be kept open. There are more than enough examples in history for me to mention here, where opposite forces have sat across the table and talked. Engagement, after all, is not endorsement.

Similarly, if Khatami's visit to the US was merely a channel for dialogue with the Islamic Republic, or it was a way of passing on a message to the mullahs, then I would not have a problem. Who knows what is happening behind the scenes, but Khatami's visit is more than that. Khatami is given a platform to publicise and broadcast Islamic Republic propaganda. It wasn't enough for Khatami to have fooled the Iranian people with a lot of nonsense for 8 years, now the Western powers are giving Khatami a platform to fool their own population. Then they wonder why they have a home grown terrorist problem?!

Khatami is giving lectures and holding press conferences, with his cunning smiles and words, he bombasts his usual rhetoric to the unaware and naive audiences, "dialogue amongst civilizations"; what claptrap! In these press conferences he is not confronted with the Iranians who were imprisoned for their beliefs during his 8 year reign, he is not confronted with those Iranians who lost their loved ones. No one asks him "why don't you have a dialogue with those who suffered during your time?". Let Khatami face his victims of eight years of presidency, lets see how he holds a dialogue with them.

I hear some of the victims of Khatami's 8 year presidency gathered in the National Press Club, but how much coverage did they get? How many national newspapers covered their plight and their side of the story?

In one of my previous posts, I warned of the dangers of second "cultural revolution" in the Islamic Republic, but what do Western universities and academics do? Do they stand up for their colleagues in Iran? Do they care that university academics are being purged in Iran for being secular? No they invite Khatami to St. Andrews university and plan to offer him an honorary PHD this coming October!

The notorious Islamic Republic Judge, Mortezavi, comes to Geneva and heads a human rights delegation! Cocksure and undisturbed. Mostafa PourMohammadi, Minister of Interior in the Islamic Republic, implicated in grave human rights violations will also be going to New York later this year.

Then they wonder why they have a "home grown" problem in their own back yard!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

BBC Persian, Mouthpiece of the Islamic Republic

There was a good reason why we staged the hunger strike called by Akbar Ganji, right outside the BBC Persian HQ in London. We were not surprised either when the likes of Behnood and some other BBC Persian employees were not happy with our decision. "The police will not allow it" was what one of them told us,when we already had obtained the police permission! :)

Here is an example of how the BBC Persian employees regurgitate the Islamic Republic word by word without giving a glance to other facts.

The BBC Persian reported the death of Iranian political prisoner Feyz Mahdavi only yesterday, repeating the story disseminated by the Islamic Republic that Feyz Mahdavi has committed suicide and he was an MKO supporter who was caught bringing explosives from Iraq to Iran.

Yet the BBC Persian employees completely ignored Mahdavi's attorney, the respected lawyer, Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, who has confirmed his client was on hunger strike.
According to Mr Dadkhah, the Intelligence section of the Islamic revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) came to Gowhardasht prison with a camera crew and tried to force a number of prisoners to say in front of their camera, Islamic Republic's version of Mahdavi's death. None of these statements are included in the BBC Persian's report on Mahdavi's death.

This is how I always remember one of BBC Persian's reports during the 1979 revolution that led to the mullahs seizing power in Iran:
".. And as one of the injured female protesters in Mashad was carried off on a stretcher, her young daughter was clutching to the makeshift stretcher shouting Mother, Mother, while her mother's blood was dripping on to her dress."

Now during the reign of mullahs, so that BBC employees can continue to go back and forward to Iran and enjoy their cheap holidays, the death of a political prisoner is summed up as " .. Feyz Mahdavi was an MKO terrorist who carried explosives from Iraq and died as a result of committing suicide."

Imagine if an Iranian revolutionary guard was captured taking explosives to Iraq and was imprisoned by the Americans. Then went on hunger strike and died 10 days into his hunger strike. The BBC would have a field day, no?

Feyz Mahdavi was under death sentence for 5 years. His membership of the MKO was already refuted by the revolutionary court, yet he was still kept in prison. He went on hunger strike, to demand basic human rights. The right to see his lawyer, the right to know what he is charged for, teh right to a fair trial. None of these are reflected in the BBC Persian report.

I have no doubt that the British government is serious about combating terrorism, but they need to be made aware of how British license payers' money is spent on making yet another propaganda tool for the terrorists. The fight against terrorism must start from the BBC.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cultural Revolution Once Again?

"Our academic system has been influenced for 150 years by secularism,'' the official Islamic Republic News Agency cited Ahmadinejad as telling a group of students today. ``We have started to make change happen but we need special support for it,"
"Students should shout at the president and ask why liberal and secular university lecturers are present in the universities"
Ahmadi-Nejad told a group of Hezbollahi students.
See Iran's Ahmadinejad Urges Purge of Secular Academics

So the jigsaw puzzles are one by one fitting in now. In June, 40 professors at Tehran University were forced into early retirement. Central part of Jahanbegloo's forced confessions was "US is looking to recruit from amongst the Iranian academics", and now if there was any shred of doubt that the Islamic Republic is thinking of a second "cultural revolution", it has been removed by Ahmadi-Nejad's own blatant statement.

The Islamic Republic after one "cultural revolution" and 27 years of islamification of the Iranian education system, has failed to produce all Islamic, devoted revolutionary graduates. So the clerics ruling Iran are attempting a second "cultural revolution". The outcome will be another tragedy and disaster for the country. We must fight on all fronts to stop this. Iranian academics throughout the world must be at the forefront of this resistance backed by their colleagues and associates.

The enemies of knowledge are testing the waters again. Academics of the world do not stay silent this time!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Hoder on Jahanbegloo

After days of rumour that the Islamic Republic has made video tapes of Ramin Jahanbegloo's confessions, he was finally released. However instead of the video tapes, Jahanbegloo went straight to ISNA to hold a press interview!

The usual Islamic Republic methods of making taped confessions of political dissidents and then broadcasting them from state television is now so incredibly worthless for all Iranians. Everyone knows that all these "confessions" are made under extreme duress.
I remember when the provisional revolutionary government's prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan, fell out of favour with the clerics, or rather passed his sell by date, he pre-empted the possibility by saying in the parliament "If they ever show taped confessions of me later; please know that what I am saying now is what my own words are" :)

So Jahanbegloo's press interview seems to be a new method adopted by the Islamic Republic security forces. The prisoner is told to go and hold a press conference straight after his release! This way they probably think is more believable.

Yet the contradictions in Jahanbegloo's interview is so apparent. He says how in his solitary confinement he had access to TV and telephone to keep in touch with his family. Yet few paragraphs further he says he has not been able to talk to his daughter. So who believes that Jahanbegloo had a telephone in his solitary but did not think to ring his daughter with?

Yes, you guessed right, its Washington Post's favourite blogger, Yes its Mr. Baharloo of the VOA's "Hossein joon" - darling Hossein - i.e. Hossein Derakhshan, or HODER.....

Has anyone still have any more doubts on Hoder???

Another Political Prisoner Killed in Iran

I wrote about Feyz Mahdavi before. At the time he was facing execution. We all wrongly thought that the threat of his execution had subsided. Today I learned that he died in a similar fashion to Akbar Mohammadi, while staging a hunger strike. Right now while Khatami is trying to present a deceiving shop front window of the Islamic Republic to his credulous audiences in America, the security forces in the Islamic Republic seem to have devised a new method of killing political prisoners. If the world stays silent, there will be more such tragedies in the coming days.
After Akbar Mohammadi was murdered, I wrote to Clare Short. I asked her to gather a few MPs and protest to the Islamic Republic in the same way that the Swedish Liberal Party had done so. I was confident that the more international protest is made against Akbar Mohammadi's murder the less likely it would be for more such assassinations to follow.

Sadly Clare Short never replied again, and today one more young man opposed to the Islamic regime, was eliminated. Well, if Europe has no guts in facing the Islamic threat, if the Western media finds it more fashionable to write about Guantanamo prisoners than those opposing Islamic fundamentalism, why are they so surprised at their "home grown" threat??

18th Anniversary of the Massacre of Iranian Political Prisoners

Every September, I think about Bijan, Mohammad Reza and Nasser. My school friends from Iran who were executed in the September 1988 massacre of Iranian political prisoners.
I think about their last hour. I guess to myself what they must have been thinking about in the very last moments of their brief lives. They had a whole life ahead of them. We all wanted to do so many things in our lives. They were denied all of it, why? All they cared about was the prosperity of the people of their country. Is that a crime?

When I think about their last hours, I envy their courage and determination. Like all the other victims of the massacre, they were asked two questions that decided their fate, "Do you believe in Allah? Are you prepared to publicly denounce your organisation?". All three of them were the sort of fearless characters that would never bend their head to the oppressors.

Nasser was in my class and Mohammad Reza was his older brother. Being a few years senior to us, we used to look up to him. I remember Mohammad Reza telling me "Don't ever show any fear. Fear is the brother of death. Every time you show fear, you die."

Bijan too was extremely intrepid, he would never run away from a fight. He was also very intelligent. He wanted to become a doctor and treat the poor for free. I am sure he would have been a great asset for Iran and humanity. Who knows if our generation had a normal life and our elders hadn't got us in this mess, he may have found the cure for some ill and saved thousands of lives.

Rest in peace my friends, my thoughts at this time of the year will always be with you three and the other victims of the massacre. Mohammad Reza, I wish I could always be like you and never show fear. Nasser I miss all the fun and the mischief we had together. Bijan, you were a great loss for our nation. Bedrood to you all, my friends.