Monday, June 30, 2008

Arzhang Ends his Hunger Strike

Arzhang Davoodi finally ended his marathon hunger strike, after his demands were accepted by the prison governors at Rajaii Shahr prison.

Deputy Attorney, Salarkia, also promised Davoodi's wife that Arzhang will be returned to Evin prison if he ends his strike.

Last week some of Iranian ex-political prisoners, in an open letter, pleaded with Arzhang to end his hunger strike.

Does Hana Deserve 5 Years in Prison?

Hana Abdi was arrested by Islamic security officers in the City of Sanandaj, Kurdistan Province, Iran, on 4th November, 2007 after she left her grandfather's house. She was charged with taking part in a gathering and colluding to commit a crime against, yes you guessed it, 'NATIONAL SECURITY'. Hana was put through a series of psychological and physical tortures for two months until she was sent to Sanandaj prison, waiting for her sentence.

Last week Hana was finally sentenced to 5 years. Below is a letter by Hana's mother, Maliheh Asghari, to the women of the world:

'I have not just been Hana's mother, I have also been like a friend who has always stood by her side. Hana used to talk to me about women's rights and helping the poor and illiterate women, had become her objective. All the women who know Hana, also know Hana's objectives and her kind nature. Hana used to hold literacy classes for women and with the donations she received she would help the needy ones. After a while she set up the Azarmehr Women's Association, and many women joined up. Hana, her friends and I were always together.

Hana's friend, Ronak, who is also suffering a similar outcome, was always with Hana too. They took their first step by putting together a small library. They would go to the surrounding villages and gather women in schools and mosques and teach them how to read and write. They would also invite lawyers as guests in their meetings and they would explain to the women their rights. They held classes and workshops which taught women about the history of women's struggles and held ceremonies and celebrations on woman's day and mother's days as part of their activities.

Hana was only 21 when she was arrested, but since she has gone, I see older women who were her students, and they say to me, 'since Hana is gone, we feel we have lost our mother'.

I now know that I have only one daughter called Hana, but she has thousands of daughters who are waiting for her.

I have only talked about a minute part of the help Hana offered to the needy women in this letter, but at the end of this letter, I want to ask the women of the world,
Does Hana Deserve 5 Years in Prison?'

Friday, June 27, 2008

Amnesty Concern on Arzhang Davoodi's Condition

Amnesty International have issued the following statement raising serious concerns on Arzhang Davoodi's deteriorating conditions as a result of his marathon hunger strike.

Arzhang has been a staunch supporter of Fakhravar and yesterday, a group of Iranian ex-political prisoners including my Iran-Iraq war veteran friend, Hamid Alizadeh, urged Arzhang in an open letter to end his hunger strike.

'PUBLIC - AI Index: MDE 13/087/2008 26 June 2008 UA 183/08 - Fear of torture or other ill-treatment/Medical concern/Prisoner of conscience IRAN - Arzhang Davoodi (m), aged 56, teacher and writer Political activist Arzhang Davoodi has been prevented from appealing to the Supreme Court against a 15-year sentence handed down as punishment for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression. He has been tortured.

Arzhang Davoodi, a writer and the Director of the Parto-e Hekmat Cultural Education Center in Tehran, was arrested in October 2003 for being involved in the production of a TV documentary called Forbidden Iran in which he spoke out about human rights violations in Iran. He was held in a detention facility run by the Revolutionary Guards until March 2004, spending over three months in solitary confinement. He was then moved to Evin Prison in Tehran, where he was severely beaten and tortured: his jaw and shoulder were broken. Arzhang Davoodi was not charged for at least a year.

In a letter from prison dated July 2005, he said that he had been sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment and 70 lashes by a Revolutionary Court, which deals with crimes against national security. His appeal was rejected. He was convicted on charges of establishing and directing an organisation opposed to the government; writing and publishing a book opposed to Iran's system of government, called Manifesto for a Secular Iran; organizing action to undermine the state; and involvement in the production of the TV documentary.

On 20 September 2005 he was sent into internal exile in Bandar Abbas Prison, Hormozgan Province, 1500 km south of his home in Tehran. He was told of his sentence, but never given a written copy of his sentencing order, though this is required by law. His sentence was passed behind closed doors and his lawyers, who have yet to see the court’s sentencing order, were not allowed in. Arzhang Davoodi's appeal is now due to be heard by the Supreme Court, but this cannot be done without the sentencing order, which he is also obliged to sign.

Arzhang Davoodi was sent back to Evin Prison in December 2007, for questioning. On 14 April 2008 he was put into solitary confinement, for reasons unknown, and began a hunger strike on 18 April. Ten days later he was transferred to Section 6 of Reja'i Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj, 20 km west of Tehran; this section of the prison is for violent criminals, including murderers.

In a DATE radio interview with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle his wife, Nazanin Davoodi, said that she had last been allowed to visit him in May 2008, when he was in Reja'i Shahr Prison. On 6 June she had spoken to him by phone, and found that he was too weak to talk for long. The Evin prison authorities have threatened to move Arzhang Davoodi back to Bandar Abbas unless he stops his hunger strike.

The TV documentary Forbidden Iran was filmed secretly and illegally. It was widely broadcast in northern Europe in December 2003 and in North America in January 2004. Arzhang Davoodi had assisted in the making of the documentary and was one of those interviewed on film. During his interview he spoke about political prisoners and the death in custody of Canadian-Iranian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi. The documentary can be seen at '

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Student Suicides in Iran

Two Iranian students in separate incidents in Lahijan university and Sistan university, committed suicide last week as a direct result of constant harassment by the Herasat - The body of informants who spy and report in universities and government work places in the Islamic Republic.

The female student in Lahijan was being interrogated by the Herasat in their office, on the fourth floor, when she could take no more and jumped out of the window and chose to end her life instead.

The student in Sistan took an overdose after repeatedly having been informed on by the Herasat. This is the second student to have committed suicide in this university in recent months.

Farinaz, a 21 year old medical student in Shahrekord, also recently committed suicide after constantly being harassed, beaten up and detained by Herasat because her hejab observance did not meet the Herasat requirements.

Amirkabir News website, which is run by AKU students, states according to official figures, there are 4200 suicides amongst Iranian students every year.

Ahmad Nasseri, the vice chancellor of Sistan university reacted to the recent suicides by saying "We all know things need improvement, but things will not become ideal until the Hidden Imam
appears to us again."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

There was so much happening in Iran in the last two weeks which was not being fully told in the mass media, that I didn't get a chance to write about this powerful and captivating book by Khaled Hosseini. I purchased the book in the airport before flying to Sardinia two weeks ago. It turned out to be one of those books that you just can't put down when you start reading them. In fact when I got to the page where the little girl is being taken to the orphanage and yet shows so much grace in her darkest hour, my heart sank and I had to read the rest of the book to the very end there and then.

I met Khaled Hosseini at the US embassy in London during a screening of the Kite Runner. He seemed a very amiable and kind natured chap, and I hope through his books he can continue to alert the world attention to the terrible plight of Afghanistan and particularly how the Afghan women have suffered and continue to suffer from the male driven religious ignorance and tyranny.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ahmadi-Nejad's Brother Denies Palizdar's Claims

President Ahmadi-Nejad's brother, Dawood, head of the President's Inspectorate Commission, condemned Palizdar's allegations in a press conference, saying when someone's false allegations unsettles the stability in the country, silence is not condoned.

Iranian president's brother said 'Palizdar's claims that there was also a problematic case against me but it was ignored because I am related to the president is not true.'

Some Western media wrongly reported Palizdar as an ally of president Ahamdi-Nejad who is championing the fight against the corrupt clerics.

Meanwhile Fatemeh Ajorloo, the Karaj representative to the Islamic Majlis, threatened to disclose documents she has on the sale of university entrance exam questions by high ranking officials in the Islamic Republic. Ajorloo who is related to Abbas Palizdar and worked with him on the Judicial Inquiry and Research Commission, made the threats after her house was searched by the Law Enforcement Forces in relation to Palizdar's disclosures.

The Judiciary spokesman, Alireza Jamshidi, said 11 arrest warrants have been issued against people connected to Palizdar.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Islamic Republic Judge Commits Suicide in Prison

Its hard to keep up with all the news of corruption and immoral behaviour by the Islamic Republic officials these days. On the one hand protests by the Zanjan students have resulted in the removal of the vice chancellor of the university after he was caught red handed sexually soliciting a student girl, and on the other hand Islamic Police Chief Commander Reza Zareii is quietly released after having been caught in a brothel with six prostitutes.

Iranian blogs reported an Islamic Judge by the name of Fallah in the city of Bijar committed suicide in prison. Judge Fallah was arrested a while ago for raping a 13 year old boy along with two other accomplices in a residential house in a drunken orgy.

As we say in Persian, you put salt on things which rot, pity the day that salt itself rots. The rot within the Islamic Republic, which was supposed to have been a utopia of decency and moral behaviour, is so deep it is simply unstoppable.

The Al-Yassin Followers

First time I met Ramin Ahmadi, it was during a conference in London. We were sitting at the back of the room and bored to the point of going to sleep listening to the older generation of Iranian opposition ranting on about the same stuff we had heard over and over before from them. Then the chair introduced Ramin Ahmadi, a professor of internal medicine, a human rights activist who had represented Physicians for Human Rights in Chechnya where he had investigated and documented human rights violations as well his work in East Timour etc...

Just the impressive introduction of Ramin's previous activities was enough to wake us up. The 'organisers' had told Ramin Ahamdi that his presentation will be in English but at the last minute they told him to do it in Persian. Still composed, Ramin Ahmadi, grabbed our attention because he was not just telling us that the Islamic Republic was bad, which we all knew any way, but actually what can be done about it. I have never seen Ramin Ahamdi since but have kept in constant contact with him and he is one of those trusted circle of friends whose opinion I value and often ask for.

Few days ago, I came across an article titled 'Who is scared of the Ale-Yassin' by Ramin Ahmadi on a Persian website. As I have always said, I am not a spiritual person, I had decided at a very young age, years before the 1979 revolution that I will spare myself the burden of organized religion of my elders. Not being a spiritual person, I knew nothing about the Ale-Yassin society other than Yasin was some weird chapter in the Koran, which I had glanced through a few times and then had asked myself why did I waste my time and not do something more practical or worthwhile instead?

Having said all this, I have also come to the conclusion that although many individuals like myself may feel comfortable without the need for spiritual fulfilment, society as a whole needs religion. I believe anything which is force fed to people will be vomited back. Look at the Socialist countries who for decades tried to force their people to become atheist and yet the churches were stronger in Poland and Russia than in Western Europe. Similarly but in reverse, ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, the Iranians, particularly the youth, have converted away from Islam on a scale never seen before. There is a youtube clip of a fiery Shiite cleric in Iran which shows him saying, 'Don't worry about converting others into Islam this year, it will be more than enough if you make sure the Shiite youth in Iran have not converted into Zoroastrianism'.

Of course society needs a pure untarnished spiritualism, this is something that the current corrupt, decadent and brutal version of state Islam in Iran can not provide. Thus a society which is placed in a free fall of moral values, looks for new spiritual leaders, new sects and even new religions become an alternative for those who demand something beyond this material world.

Ramin Ahmadi writes about a spiritual group, the Ale-Yasin Society, whose 35 year old leader, Payman Fattahi known to his followers as Master Ilia, was jailed last year in the notorious section 209 of Evin prison. Fattahi suffered 150 days in solitary confinement as well as 104 interrogation sessions, as a result of his tortures, Fattahi suffers from a variety of physical ailments. His brother Ramin Fattahi died in mysterious circumstances in Evin prison and the regime even arrested his pregnant wife. The Islamic Republic now wants Fattahi to recant his activities in front of the camera or face execution.

How is it that a young man and his followers who have no interest in politics, no interest in overthrowing the regime or even offering any political alternative and whose sole pre-occupation is to live a 'purer' and more spiritual life are subjected to such state crackdown and brutality?

'Are youngsters who instead of turning into drugs, alcoholism and prostitution, the very traits which have become instutionalised in Iranian society by the regime itself, have turned to meditation, reciting Rumi's poetry, debates and discussions of self awareness and such like a threat to the Islamic Republic?' Ramin Ahmadi asks in his article and answers:
'Sadly the answer is yes. A society facing a crisis of legitimacy and credibility where its religious leaders are deeply submerged in corruption and immoral behaviour, becomes sensitive towards all new sources of spiritualism which appeal to the public.
The ruling cast blatantly says, if you do not accept me and my interpretation of religion as the only source of the truth, then you are a non-believer and immoral.'

I tend to agree with Ramin here. The Islamic Republic itself is a product of exploiting the faithfuls beliefs, it knows full well the overwhelming power of this phenomena, this is why the punishments handed out to religious dissent, whether it is the Bahaiis, the Christians, the MeK, followers of Ayatollah Shariatmadari or Boroujerdi or the Sufi sects etc. has been so ferocious and so draconian.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Great Qelich on VOA

I hadn't watched VOA Persian for a while, its stupidity and too much irrelevant foreign news while there is so much going on in Iran often makes me annoyed and agitated, but today I got some idle time to myself and while channel hopping through my satellite channels, suddenly I came across Parviz Qelichkhani as the guest on Bijan Farhoody's program.

Seeing the Great Qelich (Qeliche Kabir as we called him then), on the program, rekindled my childhood memories from Iran. A time when I had no interest in politics, instead it was sports and mainly football, wrestling and boxing which were my greatest pass times. Parviz Qelichkhani, the captain of the Iranian national football team was one of my sporting idols whose pictures I often cut out from my weekly issues of Kayhan Varzeshi and cherished them in my collection books of great sporting moments.

How I used to look forward to going along to Amjadieh or Aryamehr stadiums and support our natioanl team, and most of all the excitement and the euphoria of watching Iran v Israel matches in the finals of Asian Nations championships. I had an older distant cousin, himself a talented football player, who always took me along with his mates to those matches. Even to this day its hard to pin point memories which match the exhilarating moments of being amongst a crowd of 100,000 shouting 'bacheh ha motshakerim' - thank you team - when Iran won and the exact opposite feelings of great disappointment from defeats which made me count the days until the next opportunity for national glory in sporting events came along. I learned the power of crowd psychology and the feeling of invincible strength in great numbers in those very days.

It was not until things turned upside down in Iran and politics unwillingly became a part of my life that I learned Qelichkani was a Communist sympathiser, but to me the Great Qelich still remains a football hero and as long as he did not betray our country for his ideology, I was still grateful for all those proud joyous gifts that his legendary free kicks and skills had provided me.

In fact unlike many of the misguided Iranian Communists, the Great Qelich, did not co-operate with the regime and to my knowledge always opposed the take over of Iran by the Ayatollahs.
Watching him on VOA today won my admiration once again for this humble sporting champion.

The Great Qelich mentioned the names of many of our sporting heroes and his colleagues who were executed by the Islamic regime during the massacres of 1981 and 1988. So many talented individuals, assets to our country who were eliminated by the anti-Iran Ayatollahs simply because they did not bow their heads to the new usurpers and remained loyal to our people.

The great Qelich slammed the present day collaborators and traitors in sports like Ali Daiis and Rezazadehs, who go over board to lick the shoes of the corrupt mullahs.

'No one expects you to publicly denounce the regime or go to prison, no one expects you to take part in the protests against the regime, our women, workers, teachers and students are doing all that and they are paying the price but you can at least not get so involved with the regime, you can at least not let the regime exploit you for its own advantages, you must remain loyal to the people or else your fame will be fake and temporary' said the Great Qelich in his interview with Farhoody.

So here we go, 28 years later the Great Qelich is still my football hero, he is Left wing and I am not, but so what? as I always say it would be a boring world if we all thought the same way. So long as he maintains his integrity and practices what he preaches, I will salute him and respect him whatever his ideology.

Perhaps this is a good time to draw a comparison between the past and the present regimes. Despite all the misinformation about the 'brutal dictatorship' of the Shah's regime, the previous regime allowed a Communist sympathiser like Qelichkhani to be the Captain of the national football team, compare this with the current regime which has executed so many of our sportsmen and is hell bent on only allowing the most sycophants of them all to get anywhere near the championship sides.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mashad Protests on Youtube

Thank heavens for Youtube or we would still be relying on BBC correspondents sitting in their offices waiting for official newsfeed from the Islamic Republic for news about Iran.

See film footages of Mashad protests against the plunder of Iran by the financial mafia of the ruling clerics on you tube by clicking on the links below:

Up to 10,000 people were reported to have taken part in the Mashad demo.

Meanwhile around sixty relatives of those arrested in Tehran in demos against the financial corruption of the clerics, gathered outside the courts and demanded the release of their loved ones. Amongst the arrested are Saeed Aryan, 16 years of age and five of his brothers. They were arrested simply because the crowds who were fleeing from club wielding Baseej and plain clothes agents had seeked shelter in their shop which was nearby.

Document that Proves Palizdar was Head of the Commission

Nobody can lie with such audacity as the Shiite clerics in Iran can. If you have read Iran's history of the last two centuries or followed Iran related news in the last 3 decades or like people in Iran have experienced life under the mullahs, you will be left in no doubt as to how much and how blatantly these 'lizards' can lie. It is as if God himself created a breed of evil, lies and deceit which will not only lie in your face but not have an iota of shame either when they are caught out.

Perhaps one day the US State Department and the EU officials will also realise that as we say in Persian, 'to lie for these people is as easy as drinking water', but perhaps I am too optimistic and it will take them several generations.

Shortly after Palizdar's disclosures made the headlines, the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission denied Palizdar had anything to do with the commission. 'He was never anything to do with the commission' they said.

Today, the daily Entekhab printed a report by the government news agency, Mehr, from as far back as 3 years ago, where Abbas Palizdar is quoted several times in the news report as holding the position which the regime has denied ever existed! How could they possibly think they can make such denial when there is so much evidence from their own news agencies alone?

Tehran Friday Prayer leader, Ayatollah Imami Kashani, who was one of the 44 establishment figures mentioned in Palizdar's disclosures, implicitly defended himself by comparing himself to the prophet of Islam and how the prophet himself was often the target of false accusations by the unbelievers.

Meanwhile protests also errupted in Tehran's Mellat Park as well as in Mashad, where crowds chanted slogans against state corruption and demanded Palizdar's freedom.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Palizdar's Father Speaks Out

In an interview with Radio Farda, Abbas Palizdar's father, Safar, said he has no news of where his son is detained nor any news of his well being.

Contrary to the regime's denial that Palizdar was never a member of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission, Safar Palizdar said 'Not only my son has been working with the commission for a long time, his report had previously been presented to the deputies in Majlis and they were aware of it but no one did anything about it'

Safar Palizdar continued, 'My son volunteered and served in the front line during the war with Iraq when he was only 14 years old. He is a war veteran and cares for this country. He always remembers the blood of the martyrs. He has been next to the martyrs as they died. He had enough and couldn't take it any longer that in this country some can just do as they please. That's why he blew the whistle.'

When he was asked if he is worried about his son, he replied 'How can a father not worry about his son?'

Meanwhile people led by students in Mashad protested against the corrupt ruling financial mafia. Law Enforcement Forces were brutal in their crackdown, and plain clothes agents or what the regime likes to refer to as Unknown Soldiers of the Hidden Imam charged into the crowds arresting those they deemed as the ring leaders. Reports say the resistance by women protesters was impressive and many women were seen fighting the LEF and plain clothes agents.

Photos of Teacher Traning College Students

Photos of Teacher Training College students celeberating their victory.

See more pictures here:,03,0009870

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Palizdar is Arrested

Abbas Palizdar who made the daring disclosures of corruption by key establishment figures in the Islamic Republic was arrested last night.

Total Victory for Teacher Training Students

All the demands made by the Teacher Training Students were met by the university administration after the students at this college went on hunger strike for 11 days. 120 students had taken part in the hunger strike and 3500 had joined the sit in protest in solidarity with the hunger strikers.

Forty other universities across Iran had threatened to join their hunger strike if the demands made by the Teacher Training College students were not met. Sixteen hunger strikers were taken to hospital after collapsing.

Negotiations between student representatives, the university officials and the university Herasat (university informers) which had been going on since yesterday morning came to a close at 10 pm last night after all the demands made by student representatives were met.

These demands were:

- Resignation of the university deputies
- Written apology by university Herasat (university informers) who had made threats against families of the students
- Maintaining minimum standards of dormitories
- Improvement in canteen food and hygine
- return of the use of central library facilities to students
- No disciplinary action against the protesting students

The Dean of the university had been insistent on bringing at least 8 of the protesting students before the disciplinary committee, but the student representatives remained adamant on all their demands.

There are lessons to be learned here, this total victory was achieved because the students remained united, resolute and did not waver. Other universities came to their support and threatened mass action across all Iranian universities. Their demands were reasonable and achieveable.

See Pictures:

Reactions to Palizdar's Disclosures

Official Islamic Republic dailies and websites have started printing the text of Palizdar's disclosures of massive corruption by the very pillars of the Islamic Republic after the CD version of his film became the top seller in the black market. The dailies however have refrained from printing the names and sufficed by using initials or using dotted lines in brackets instead. Some dailies and websites are disputing his position in the commission, which Palizdar claimed.

The student body in Hamedan which invited him has been suspended by the education ministry. Palizdar himself is standing by everything he said in Hamedan university and in a second speech in Shiraz university. Although there is no film footage of him in Shiraz as yet but partial transcripts are available.

In these transcripts, Palizdar says:
"After my previous speeches, I have been told should I continue with these disclosures, I will be stopped. Believe me that I am not scared for my life but I am scared that they will shut me up before I am able to say all I want to say in most places throughout Iran, so that more people can hear what I have to say. So I will be more cautious in what I will say next."

Palizdar continued:
"The Judiciary itself is the most corrupt institution and we have come to the conclusion that we can not fight corruption with the judiciary. In one instance where an official had broken the law, Hashemi Sharoodi (Head of the Judiciary) wrote him a letter and told him to sort himself out but he didn't and Shahroodi was aware of this. There can only be two explanations, either Shahroodi is incompetent or he himself is involved"

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mohtashemipoor's Attack on Messbah Yazdi

Hojat-ol-Islam Mohtashemipoor, member of the Combatant Clerical Society and the founder of Hezbollah in Lebanon, made a scathing attack on Ayatollah Messbah Yazdi and what he referred to as the "Messbahieh Cult", during a speech in the Grand Hosseineh mosque in Isfahan on the eve of Ayatollah Khomeini's death.

"The Messbahieh cult never even once took part in the front lines during the war, how is it now that they constantly praise the resistance and appear at Baseej bases? Messbah Yazdi never even once had any official position while Imam was alive and he never recognised Messbahieh Cult's way of thinking....You pseudo-pious people! once you saw Imam was buried, you suddenly appeared on the scene again... Are you not the same as those who pretended to be Muslim converts straight after the conquest of Mecca by the prophet?...You who have all this pretentious position and adulation, if it was still during the Shah's time, would you have had all this you have today? Have you forgotten how you were spoken to during the Shah? Don't forget that all you have today is because of Imam Khomeini? So how dare you insult his grandchildren?
...Is this not history repeating itself and pseudo Muslim converts acting against the prophet's own family after the prophet's death?....Imam was after pure Islam and not the Islam of the affluent and the wealthy..."

Mohtashemipour's speech was published in the Daily Entekhab, following which 200 0f Messbah's followers protested in Qom outside the newspaper's offices demanding for the paper to be closed down.

Today the factional fighting within the regime is reaching heights I have never witnessed before. If only there was a credible opposition, at a flick of a finger, this outdated theocracy would have crumbled. As some wise person once told me however, "The Islamic Republic is its worst enemy and the opposition and the media we have are its best friend".

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Plunder of Iran

These disclosures are not made by some disgruntled Iranian exile or dissident, this is a film footage of Abbas Palizdar, a member of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission in the Islamic Republic, speaking to students at Hamedan university about how Iran's wealth is being plundered on a daily basis by a powerful clerical mafia.

As we say in Persian when someone has had more than enough, 'the knife must have gone beyond his flesh and touched his bones', for him to make these courageous public disclosures and name names when the student audience insist he names the individuals.

This can only be the tip of the iceberg and how at a time when Iranian people could have been living in their most affluent times, the clerical mafia running Iran, is plundering the entire wealth and resources of a rich country for their own benefit, while their lackeys outside Iran continue to fool the European Left and academics that Islamic Republic is some kind of a champion state for the poor masses!

Below are translations of some of what Palizdar is saying in the film in bullet points:

1- One of the clerics came and said he has a disabled son and he wants to build a rehabilitation centre where he can treat his son there. We registered the centre for him. Then he asked for financial support, demanding the rights to Fars marble stone mines, one of the best in the world, and after a while he said this is not enough and asked for another mine in Zanjan. He now has ownership of four mines as an excuse to support his rehabilitation centre. At this point the students demand to know the cleric's name, Palizdar is reluctant first but finally caves in and answers 'Ayatollah Emami Kashani', member of the Guardian Council and one of the four Friday Prayer sermon Imams of Tehran.

2- Another Ayatollah came to the Supreme Leader and said he wants to build a law faculty in Qom for women. He got the permission and asked for the ownership of Dena Tyre making factory for financial backing of the faculty. Nematzadeh said they can have the factory for 126 Billion, the real value was 600 Billion. But they kept writing letters saying they want further discount, at the end a factory which was worth 600 Billion, was sold for 10 Billion. Even then they said we don't have all the money to pay now and will pay 80% of it by installments. It was agreed to but this wasn't enough discount for them either and after all that, they said we don't have the 20% to pay now either, we will pay it after we have sold the factory buildings.
'So as easy as that, the Ayatollah took ownership of the factory and then sold it off on the stock market. '
Again the students demand for Palizdar to name the cleric. Palizdar replies 'Ayatollah Yazdi, the previous head of the judiciary and the present secretary of the Clerical Association of Qom Seminaries. Responsible for the closure of so many publications during Khatami's era.

3- Carrying on with the same Ayatollah Yazdi, Palizdar continues, 'Again Ayatollah Yazdi writes a letter to Foroozesh, the Minister of Industries, saying my son, Hamid, is out of work at the moment. Can you facilitate things so my son can have a part in the export of timber made from Caspian forests. At the time Hamid Yazdi was a director at the judiciary, in other words he wasn't even out of work. Thus he plundered the Caspian forests. Then they went and arrested the local people who had perhaps stored only enough wood for their fire logs, which led to the protests outside the prisons.'

4- Car making factory, Iran Khodro, was forced to give new Persia cars to judiciary judges at half price, in instalments, and most didn't even bother pay their instalments. But this made many more to also want a piece of the cake. For example the Nahjolbalagheh Foundation, came and said why shouldn't we get 500 vehicles with the same facilities. Now who do you think this Nahjolbalaghe Foundation belongs to? It belongs to Nategh Nouri (Supreme Leader's former favourite candidate for presidency, Rafighdoost (Former revolutionary Guards commander and head of the Dispossessed Foundation, Asgaroladi (member of the super wealthy Bazaar Merchant Coalition Society), Hossein Dinparvar and Moezi.

5- Then the Persepolis football club run by Abedini and another Foundation also said we want half price cars. The said Foundation is owned by Hojjat-ol_Islam Fallahain, previous intelligence minister during the extra judicial killings of dissidents like Daryoush and Parvaneh Forouhar, and Ayatollah Alam Al-Hoda, who recently made the remark that 'Women who are not observing the Hejab properly are foot soldiers of America'

6- Twelve mines in Khorrasan province are owned by Ayatollah Vaeze Tabassi, whose own son is involved in what has become known as Al-Mokaseb case. A corruption case which was investigated by the Islamic judiciary for two years and all the accused including Ayatollah Tabassi's son were all acquitted.

7- Then Palizdar mentions the big time smuggler at Payam airport who has over 1100 cases of smuggling goods being investigated by the judiciary. Palizdar continues with frustration 'but we are still unable to arrest him, because he is under the protection of Ayatollah Nateq Nuri.'

8- Palizdar talks about tobacco and cigarette smuggling and how this large scale smuggling has grounded Iran's tobacco industry to a halt and forced thousands of its workers out of employment. Without naming names, Palizdar also talks about the extent of narcotics use in the Islamic Republic, and implicity talks about high ranking clerics also being involved in the distribution of narcotics in the country.

9- Palizdar then talks about two aviation crashes, which led to the deaths of war veterans Dadman and Kazemi. Dadman's revolutionary credentials were impeccable. He had taken part in the Tabriz riots against the Shah, taken part in the US embassy hostage taking, served in the front line against Iraqi invasion, even in the Islamic Republic led Mecca pilgrims protests which led to the Saudis killing 400 protesters as just a few points to mention in Dadman's revolutionary CV.

Palizdar says unequivocally that Dadman's crash was deliberate. He claims there is a 1000 page case held with the judiciary about the crash. (He does not however mention who was behind the crash). Regarding the crash that led to Commander Kazemi's death however, Palizdar said Martyr Kazemi had closed down the Hormoz mines for irregularities and although he says in this case he has no clear evidence, it was after the closure of the mine that his plane crashed. The Hormoz mines are owned by Ayatollah Khazaeli.

During the question time, Palizdar is asked why he has not talked about the corruption by the Rafsnjani clan, is it because he fears the power of Rafsanjanis? Palizdar replies that there is so much abuse of power by Rafsnajanis that he would need an entire meeting dedicated to this subject, but briefly mentions their interests in one third of the Kish island but more notably their interest in an oil company - owned by Rafsanjani's family including his sister who resides in Canada. He then apologises first to the female members of the audience before bringing up sexual exploits of Rafsanjani's son, Mehdi, saying that there is even a film footage of his acts with his female members of the staff available in the judiciary files.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Arzhang Davoodi Enters his 50th Day of Hunger Strike

Tehran Polytechnic news website reports on Arzhang Davoodi's ongoing hunger strike which is now in its 7th week.

Why is Arzhang, a school teacher in his fifties, enduring this hardship? It is the only way left for him to protest against the wrongs which he has suffered, extra-judicial sentencing, confiscations of his private belongings, threats of exile to remote prisons and worst of all, the Islamic authorities will not even issue him with a written statement of his sentence and what he has been condemned to!

Instead of meeting his simple and basic demands, the Evin prison governor's response to Arzhang's hunger strike was to transfer him to Rajayi-Shahr prison where he is now kept with violent common criminals.

How hypocritical of the Islamic Republic which re-named the street, where the British Embassy is located in Tehran, as Bobby Sands Street, after the IRA hunger striker.

Bobby Sands advocated an armed struggle when political campaigning was lawful and possible, he advocated bombing and killing of innocent civilians and passers by, women, children, and the elderly were all legitimate targets for Bobby Sands, and all Arzhang Davoodi wants is to know what he has been sentenced to and remain in a prison near where his family can visit him.

Yet the physical demise of Bobby Sands during his hunger strike made the news on a daily basis, Arzhang Davoodi however continues his protest in ambiguity, while his wife pleads with the world for help.