Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Omid Mir Sayafi, Another Death at Evin

So soon after the death of political prisoner, Amir Heshmat Saran, another prisoner and blogger, Omid Mir Sayafi died earlier today in the notorious Evin prison. Omid Mir Sayafi was given an overdose of tranqualisers which lowered his blood pressure to a critical level but despite this, he did not receive medical help and died.

Omid meaning hope in Persian, was not a political activist, his passion was music which was the subject of most of his posts.

He was sentenced to two and half years prison after he wrote a one off on his blog saying
'Mr. Khamenei love me as much as you love Sheikh Nasrollah's son'

Instead of celeberating the Iranian New Year Nowruz, our national day, Omid's family will now mourn the death of their son.


Winston said...

مرگ بر این رژیم جنایتکار

Anonymous said...

The answer to the question, 'Mr. Khamenei, can yo love me as much as you love Sheikh Nasrollah's son?'

evidently not! The turban heads love the Arabs more than the Iranians.

Anonymous said...

Very few times will you find me agreeing with Winston. It's just hard not to in this case.


p.s. The last sentence of your post got to me; it was very heart-felt.

Aryamehr said...

Azarmehr said...

So Barmakid, what are you and the Tritta Parsi organisation going to do about it?

Anonymous said...


What can I do??

But I would say that if the U.S., U.K., and Iran had open relations they would have a lot more leverage on the I.R.I. Right now, all anyone (outside of Iran) can do is protest or make public denunciations. Which have the opposite effect on the I.R.I. than they're intended to have.

Maybe if we had some trade relations, or security cooperation deals the U.S. could use that as leverage to prod the I.R.I. into taking a chill pill, so to speak.

Or what if tourism revenue for Iran went up because of Western tourists after relations were softened? That could be the most powerful thing to curtail human rights abuses in Iran because it would threaten a direct line of revenue. Who's revenue? The bazaaris! And we are all familiar with the kind of power they wield.

We have to think about these things, and not just let our thoughts emanate from our hate and resent for the I.R.I. Our families depend on it, our countrymen depend on it, WE depend on it.

And you, my friend, have a powerful voice inside the expat blogger community - you should put it to this use. It's time you guys come out of your chrysalis of hate and disgust for the I.R.I. We are all disgusted by such actions, but hate and resent never bore fruit in any political movement. Just look at Cuba, Venezuela, and Burma. And not to mention, Iran!!

The revolutions trajectory was largely defined by hate, resent, and fear. Where has that gotten us?

Nowrouz is a time for renewal, and "sagacity in thy affairs," as Steven Colbert said:)

Sale Nou Hojastebad,

p.s. I'll leave you with Obama's nourooz message, in which he quotes sadi and speaks Persian. Enjoy!!

And after you watch it, I think we can all release a sigh of relief that Sarah Palin is no where near the White House:))

Anonymous said...

No response jenab agha Azarmehr? Do you disagree with me?

Azarmehr said...

No I think you do deserve a response, just been busy because of Nowrooz and the terrible employment situation in UK.

Here is my problem with your suggested approach and your proposals:

1. Evidence suggests that public protest and raising international awareness of IR crimes in fact does help, contrary to what you assume that 'it has the opposite effect'. Just see how many international campaigns have resulted in prisoners being released and how many lesser known prisoners like Omid Sayyafi have been quietly eliminated.

2. You do have a point however that if US had a presence or as you say 'open relation' with Iran it could exert more leverage. Lets assume that this could be the case, I will also argue that it may not be the case.

First of all the US and in particular the State Dept, remember I was there and talked to them, want a presence in Iran and want an open relation with IR more than anything else. They ar after all careerists and this kind of thing creates more employment for them. Therefore the campaign by the likes of Trita Parsi and his rival Amir-Ahmadi, I know they can't stand each other now, is targetting the wrong audience. It is in fact the hardliners in Iran who have no interest in normalising their relations with US. They want to be the champions of the Islamic world not the friend of US. So rather than focusing your activities in US somehow you should focus on how to weaken the power of the hardliners who vehemently oppose the normalisation.

2.1 The assumption that if US has a presence in Iran then we could then have a better human rights record is wrong. In fact if the US normalises its relation with IR, then it will probably have less of a reason to rock the boat and care about Human Rights situation in IR.
Examples are many where US has a presence but the countries have a terrible human rights record, worse than IR in fact, for example, Turkemanistan, Uzbeckistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia ....

2.2 The assumption that dictatorships where US does not have a presence always remain in power is wrong. Albania under Anvar Xoje and his successors for example.

2.3 The kind of policies that you are trying to encourage the Obama adminsitration to do, i.e. reapproachment with IR, have all been tried, tested and dusted under the Clinton administration.
Madeline Albright almost fell to her knees and kissed the arses of the IR officials and didn't get anywhere. Are you therefore proposing that even more than arse kissing should be carried out? If so be explicit in saying how far you should go?

and finally:
3. UK does have full and open relationship with IR already to the extent that the Queen even sends a message on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution and calls it the Iranian National Day,12,00019593

barmakid said...


Here is a truncated version of my response. The numbers correlate to the numbers you used to distinguish your responses to my various arguments.

1. I think you're right if those protesting are not heads of state or government officials, particularly the United States or the UK. Any such protests from these individuals serves as fodder for the "hardliners."

2. Your argument might have been acceptable prior to the invasion of Afghanistan and the currently ongoing escalation of military and civilian personnel in that country by the Obama Administration (which I think is a critical mistake on Obama's part, but that's a different argument). The hardliners, as well as the whole foreign policy establishment has an immense interest in containing the Taliban (you cannot eliminate them). Given this situation, Iran and America have mutual (and profound) interests in the region. The escalation of this war gives the hardliners no choice; in fact, it's an opportunity for them to counter sunni militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as Baluch separatist inside Iran (you must recall how the IRI foreign policy establishment authorized high-level security discussions with the U.S. after the U.S invaded Afghanistan - only to have the Bush administration include them in the so-called "axis of evil.")

2.1 Countries like Pakistan and the others you listed present different cases. Their is virtually no cultural exchange between the U.S. and the aforementioned countries. As opposed to the natural cultural harmony between Persian and Western countries. The cultural channels have recently been lubricated with trip of a Holly Wood film producing delegation to Iran to meet with Iranian film makers. Also, the demographics of Iran naturally promote this cultural exchange.

And as far as tourism, what tourists do you know that would go to Jalalabad rather than to Tehran, Kish, or Isfahan if they were assured they would be secure?

The establishment of a new line of revenue would further empower the bazaaris as well as give them in interest in maintaining the influx of tourists dollars. And throughout Iranian history (including during the reign of the IRI) they have had a largely independent and effective power base. Do you recall how they IRI recently tried to increase their taxes unsuccessfully??

And as far as increased influence on human rights abuses, this would come with participation in the WTO, IMF, and other international institutions. As well as the influence of civil society groups, not the U.S. government itself.

2.2. I never made this assumption.

2.3 I am not referring to "arse kissing." Madam Albrights apology was not an overture. It was a hollow gesture; what good is it to say those things while you have sanctions in place and are not even considering abolishing them? All the while Iranians pay inordinate prices for milk, sugar, onions etc.

The same goes for Obama's recent nou rooz message. It was hollow, for two-days later Secretary Gates reaffirmed their dedication to sanctions and other forms of containment. Iranians take this as an insult to their national pride and independence.

3. The UK does NOT have open relations with Iran. The Queen is a joke, just like her statement. Full and open relations come with free-trade or fair-trade agreements. For its these kinds of relations that prevent warfare and other forms of military hostility; as well as lubricating tensions. This would also increase the power-base of the bazaaris who in turn can exert influence on the government (and effectively so).

I'm at a coffee shop and my battery is about to die and I've been writing very quickly, so I didn't get to say everything I wanted to, but I will be looking forward to your response.

Be Salamat,

Azarmehr said...


1. You are wrong and not just in your grammar, I think you mean 'if those protesting are heads of states'. For example no heads of state protested at Faraj Sarkouhi's disappearance, it was the united action by protesting Iranian ex-pats that shook the regime. As Faraj's case had become a common denominator which was uniting a divided Iranian ex-pat opposition. Or even recently when Nahid Kalhor was arrested. ALso at the end of the day what moves heads of states to protest, they only react when they feel there is a strong public reaction. So for you and your beloved Tritta Parsi to say oh we cant do anything lets just open up an embassy is really defeatist and shameful.

2. 'The hardliners, as well as the whole foreign policy establishment has an immense interest in containing the Taliban' :))

IR actually arms Taliban for your information. IR's interest is to create havoc for US and not to have relations with US.

Immediately after the revolution, Carter's administration bent over backwards to the full extent to accomodate the mullahs, there were no sanctions against IR then, Carter's envoy to UN was referring to Khomeeini as a saint and as Iran's Gandhi, yet despite this the natural dislike of the mullahs towards US was obvious. The two are opposing cultural points. Realise this before you make more mistakes.

2.1 Don't make me laugh, at least you should admit that there is cultural exchange between Turkey and US and there were terrible abuses of human rights in Turkey during the military rule in the early 80s. In fact there are still terrible abuses of human rights in Turkey today especially against Iranian refugees.

2.3 'All the while Iranians pay inordinate prices for milk, sugar, onions etc.'

The kind of targetted sanctions we are asking for and actions like travel bans on prominet human rights abusers in IR, have nothing to do with INORDINATE PRICES for MILK and SUGAR! If you want to know why people high prices for sugar, you should go and find out what people mean when they refer to Sultane shekar and who this Ayatollah Sugar is and how he fixes the prices.

3. UK does have full open relationship and if you do not accept that at least you should accept Germany does and is a main partner with Iran, yet very little influence on making things better, in fact the IR embassy in Bonn prior to the Mykonos assassinations was the main HQ for IR agents plotting against Iranian dissidents in Europe. It was this very huge trade with Iran that had made Germany so weak in standing up to IR abuses both in Iran and in Europe.

Finally when you say in 2.3
'Iranians take this as an insult to their national pride and independence.'
Don't ever equate the Iranian people with the IR officials

barmakid said...

Listen, I can't respond to your arguments seriously if the first thing I read is that I made a grammatical mistake. It's heads of state, not heads of states. Second of all, you are severely misguided if you think the IRI funds the Taliban. YOU KNOW NOT OF WHAT YOU SPEAK.

You seriously are referring to something the Carter administration did?? I mean, seriously?? You know nothing about American Politics so you shouldn't make broad conclusions based on what a politician who was losing his reelection bid in 1979 decided to do. Have you even read a book since 1979? OR were they all burned before you had the chance?

When you can stop sounding like a blind right-winger who doesn't understand that the Taliban and the IRI are arch enemies who almost went to war in 1998 I'll talk to you like a grown-up. The IRI arms the Taliban, HA!!

And as far as the sanctions, again you know not of what you speak. It's not just travel bans and whatever else you said that was not worth reading. The U.S. exerts pressure through different methods, ways that are intended to make the public discontent economically so they can prod them into taking political retribution. Stop reading David Cameron Press releases and maybe you'll learn something.

And I specifically left out Turkey because you're predictable; in your attempt to simply counter me you failed to realize how everything I said has displayed the results we desire in Iran in Turkey. Sure it didn't happen immediately, nothing like this does, so you can keep your examples of 1980s human rights abuses in your pocket. It's not enough to remember a 25 year old CNN report without having read a book since.

And finally, if you think I am referring to IRI officials when I say Iranians take this as an insult, then you, in all honesty, no nothing about your country right now and how your people think; NOTHING.

Our population is young and very nationalistic, which in this case means supporting their government when another government threatens them. Just like your generation did when the War with Iraq started. But of course you wouldn't know this because you haven't been to Iran since the books you never had a chance to read were burned in front of you.

This is what happens when you rely on the Spirit of Man blog for your information.


p.s. you degenerated this exchange with your language, so I had to bring myself down to your level, buddy.

Azarmehr said...


I think you only read books. I won't ask you to get a life and get some real experience as that would be too much to ask. But while you are in the comfort of your armchair, watch a documentary or two or read some newspapers as well as books by Trita Parsi:

barmakid said...


Listen to yourself; you're criticizing me for reading books... Haha! You don't even know what I do for a living and what experience I have. If what you mean is that you want me to go break the windows of the Bank of Scotland, well then, I'll leave that up to you English hooligans.

Btw, you had a lot to say about the PEACEFUL protests by Palestinian supporters and opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but nothing about these people huh??

And here's a snippet from today's New York Times about Turkey (and what I was saying we should try with Iran): "The Justice and Development Party scored an important re-election in 2007 after pursuing market-oriented policies that brought ECONOMIC GROWTH AND MORE TRADE TIES WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION. THAT CONSERVATIVE MUSLIM PARTY ALSO EXPANDED HUMAN RIGHTS AND BROUGHT TURKISH LAW CLOSER TO EUROPEAN STANDARDS."

This is why we can't rely on your generation any longer. You are blinded by your emotions and foolhardy passion. You don't even have it in you to have a legitimate discussion (and even criticize someone for reading books. Books I say!).

I know, maybe I should burn my books and have a pointless shout-match with some old Persian guys at some pointless conference set up by some idiots who actually think the Shah's son has a chance of returning to power.

People and organizations like Trita Parsi and the NIAC are looking toward the future, while people like you and Winston are stuck in the past. Maybe that's why you think Trita Parsi is the devil incarnate, because you simply don't have the capacity to understand what that organization is trying to do.

Don't you think it would be better to focus your ire on something else besides the only Iranian-American organization that has produced results on a national scale?

Omidvaram ke edalat va haghighat perooz beshavan (like Mehrtash dubiously claims), vali motma'inam keh pasokhet ghabeleh khoondan nakhahad bood,