Save Bita Ghaedi From Deportation

Update: European Court of Human Rights has overturned UK govt on case of Bita Ghaedi! Deportation May 5th has been cancelled.

NB. This is not an endorsement of the PMOI/MEK/MKO who I find reprehensible, but there is no doubt Bita Ghaedi if returned to Iran would be at severe risk of human rights abuse (which makes this attempted deportation against the stated policy of the government, try and act surprised).

URGENT: THE UK HAS RESCHEDULED BITA’S DEPORTATION FOR MAY 5.

ACTIONS:

1) Make Bita’s case VISIBLE: the media refuses to cover these illegal deportations to Iran. Ensure that the world knows what the British government is doing. Bita is but one case: there are many lined up behind her in the UK alone, including Nadia Arzane & Bashir Foris, and Kiana Firouz. What happens to Bita paves the road for the others. Post about Bita in every blog, in every comment section that you can. Raise the visibility.

2) SEND EMAIL. Send a clear, strong message to the responsible parties. Sample text and addresses are below:

To whom it may concern, regarding Bita Ghaedi, HO Ref G1149090/5:

As a citizen of xx, I am disgusted by how Britain is handling Bita Ghaedi’s asylum case. I am appalled that despite global outcry, the UK Border Agency has chosen to cold-bloodedly pursue the deportation of Bita Ghaedi now set for May 5.

Ghaedi sought refuge in the UK with viable grounds for establishing refugee status. In Iran, Ghaedi’s life was circumscribed, bound, tortured, and scarred by pervasive gender-based violence. Her refusal to submit to gender-based oppression in Iran ensures that she will be under threat of the barbaric practice of stoning if she is returned to Iran. Furthermore, her political activities with PMOI/MEK/MKO mark her as an opponent of the present regime; thus it is also on political grounds that she will face certain execution upon return to Iran.

Your office received over 2700 petition signatures to stop this atrocious human rights violation, and you have been the target of protests in the UK and the US. The UK is very well aware of the current human rights crisis in Iran, marked by a rapid rate of executions occurring over the past few weeks. Your response has been to deport Ghaedi in clear violation of the law. This is criminal.

I demand that this illegal act by the UK, which violates international principles of non-refoulement, be halted and Bita Ghaedi be granted asylum and refugee status.

Understand that England will be held publicly accountable for the fate of Bita Ghaedi.

Sincerely,

Mail to:

UKBApublicenquiries -at- UKBA.gsi.gov.uk
CITTO -at- homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
Privateoffice.external -at- homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

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Posted in Human Rights. Tags: , . 6 Comments »

An Iran Quiz

Via Juan Cole, this Iran Quiz by Jeffrey Rudolph is a counterpoint to the pro-attack narrative for a broad (US) audience but it’s worth a spin wherever you are. As our leaders use Iran as a prop to measure their military and foreign policy election race  particulars it is relevant here -what Washington wants Washington gets- and anyway our ruling class has form when it comes to Persia. I have rejigged the original format so each answer appears after the question, however to maintain a challenging air of mystery the answers are in white, so to see them you have to highlight the text (anyone remember the teletext reveal button?). So, just a bit of fun as they say

Iran Quiz by Jeffrey Rudolph

What can possibly justify the relentless U.S. diplomatic (and mainstream media) assault on Iran ?

It cannot be argued that Iran is an aggressive state that is dangerous to its neighbors, as facts do not support this claim. It cannot be relevant that Iran adheres to Islamic fundamentalism, has a flawed democracy and denies women full western-style civil rights, as Saudi Arabia is more fundamentalist, far less democratic and more oppressive of women, yet it is a U.S. ally. It cannot be relevant that Iran has, over the years, had a nuclear research program, and is most likely pursuing the capacity to develop nuclear weapons, as Pakistan, India, Israel and other states are nuclear powers yet remain U.S. allies—indeed, Israel deceived the U.S. while developing its nuclear program.

The answer to the above-posed question is fairly obvious: Iran must be punished for leaving the orbit of U.S. control. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Shah was removed, Iran, unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, acts independently and thus compromises U.S. power in two ways: i) Defiance of U.S. dictates affects the U.S.’s attainment of goals linked to Iran; and, ii) Defiance of U.S. dictates establishes a “bad” example for other countries that may wish to pursue an independent course. The Shah could commit any number of abuses—widespread torture, for example—yet his loyalty to the U.S. exempted him from American condemnation—yet not from the condemnation of the bulk of Iranians who brought him down.

The following quiz is an attempt to introduce more balance into the mainstream discussion of Iran.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Imperialism, Iran, Media. Tags: . 1 Comment »

Happy Norooz!

Yes that is my favourite spelling! Admittedly as Naj also recounts it is a bittersweet affair, the revolutionary establishment have embraced tyranny, the Iranian people caught amidst international intrigue, power games and domestic repression. I think Juan Cole is far too generous in accepting Obama’s public pronouncements, we know he says good things publicly, but we also know he does backroom deals and continues imperial policy out of the public view, healthcare, Dennis Ross, bunker busters(?). Interestingly Counterpunch reports Joe Biden making a semi public/ semi private statement that was not for US consumption-

So here’s the vice president of the United States of America,standing with all the injured dignity of a man who has just had a bucket of sewage dumped over his head and who amid his discomfiture, actually did use the word “condemn” and “Israel” in the same paragraph. The next day Biden heads for Tel Aviv university and confides to the audience that he is a Zionist and that, “throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.” Get that: “the center of my work.” This mission statement is not quoted in the U.S. press.

I’m sure he was playing to the crowd, but can you imagine a US VP saying in Tehran ‘I am a supporter of the Islamic Republic…throughout my career, Iran has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.’ I’m guessing that might make the papers back in The Homeland. There is little difference now between the two governments, both are playing games to placate their own elite friends and empower themselves, Iran has detained many dissidents although the more visible abuses have seen some redress –Iran tries suspects in protester prison deaths– their overall treatment is appalling (I suppose at least there is a case, no torture cases in the US even when they admit it proudly on TV). This however does not make a case for military attacks or blind sanctions designed for other agendas. So Happy New Year, bittersweet as it is.

Economic Warfare Against Iran Intensifies

FT.com:- The world’s largest oil traders have quietly stopped supplying petrol to Iran in a clear sign that the threat of sanctions and Washington’s behind-the-scenes efforts to convince companies not to sell to Tehran are paying off. However, the decision by Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura is unlikely to cut Tehran off completely from the global petrol market as traders said Iran’s long-standing suppliers were being replaced by small Dubai-based and Chinese companies. Although Iran is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, its refineries are dilapidated and it suffers from runaway petrol demand because of generous subsidies.

Energy executives said Vitol, Glencore and Trafigura, which have hitherto sold Iran half of its petrol imports of 130,000 barrels a day, stopped supplying Tehran because of mounting political risk. “The political and public relations problems more than outweigh the business rewards,” said one executive. The sale of petrol to Iran by non-US companies is legal as fuel imports have yet to be included in sanctions against the country. The companies declined to comment.

Vitol’s decision is particularly important as the company is by far the world’s largest oil trader. One executive familiar with Iran’s trade said “Vitol consciously decided not to participate in Iran’s tenders” at the start of the year. Trafigura, the Switzerland-based oil and metals trader, stopped selling to Iran about three months ago, an industry executive said. “They have concluded that there’s too much political and financial risk,” the executive said. Glencore stopped supply in late 2009, breaking a relationship with Iran of more than three decades.

Oil groups such as Total of France, Lukoil of Russia, Petronas of Malaysia and Royal Dutch Shell also sold petrol to Iran last year. Chinese oil traders, including the secretive ZhenHua Oil, began supplying fuel to Iran in 2009 and now provide up to a third of its imports.

This happened even as media trumpeted that over the last decade not every corporation on Earth had done what war pimps in Washington & the Knesset wanted and may even be interested in profit, shock horror!!! It is also worrying that the propaganda has worked- 71 percent of Americans believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons. Shirin Ebadi a Nobel Laureate like Mr. Obama has said-

FT.com:- The United Nations should focus on pressing the Tehran regime to restore democracy and human rights rather than imposing economic sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programme, says Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian opposition activist.“A military attack or economic sanctions would be to the detriment of the people of Iran,” she said, adding that the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad had ways to circumvent further economic measures and their unintended impact might be to rally people behind the regime.

She called, however, for action against western companies that she said were supporting actively the censorship and repression of the opposition movement…{she} named Nokia-Siemens and France’s Eutelsat as among a number of companies she said were helping the regime.

But instead they stop fuel, used for transport, energy and heat, it will increase prices for all goods, create a greater need for independent nuclear power (which is their right and the weapons issue is the means to deny this civil program), while continuing to create the conditions (poverty, anger) that will provoke reactionary repression which can be reported by media and spun by governments into the need for military action on humanitarian grounds to conflate with the nuclear issue ie. WMD panic!!!!!™ Power wearing the humane mask that people fall for still. Trita Parsi-

Under these circumstances, the embattled Iranian government is unable to set a new course for its foreign policy. In a state of paralysis, Iran’s behavior is primarily driven by two forces: bureaucratic inertia and a willingness to take only those decisions that are deemed low-risk within Iran’s internal political context. That does not include compromise with Washington and the International Atomic Energy Agency on the nuclear issue. From the Iran-Contra scandal onwards, Iran’s history is ripe with examples of Iranian politicians losing their careers after trying to create an opening to the U.S. Iran’s opposing political factions fear that rivals would reap the political benefits of an end to the U.S.-Iran enmity. From the standpoint of those in the regime, the low-risk course is to respond to pressure by opting for confrontation and escalation. Iran’s hard-liners are more comfortable and astute at handling an easily defined threat such as a combative Bush than they are an elusive and indefinable Obama.

None of this bodes well for the U.S. Ratcheting up indiscriminate sanctions will likely close the window for diplomacy, leaving Obama in the same position as Bush placed himself. But Tehran’s tendency toward confrontation might lead to the situation spiraling out of control. Military confrontation, which no one in the Obama Administration favors, may become unavoidable.

I’d quibble that no one in the Obama administration wants to attack, but as he concludes, resistance, the ‘Green movement’ and progressives in Iran would be worst served by the course currently pursued by belligerents.

Jafar Panahi & Family Arrested In Iran

I just learned of this from Naj, Jafar Panahi an acclaimed filmmaker and his family have been detained-

Iranian security forces have detained Jafar Panahi, one of the country’s most internationally celebrated film-makers, as part of a continuing crackdown on supporters of the opposition Green movement.

Panahi was held with his wife, daughter and 15 guests on Monday evening, according to Kalame, the website of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims he won last June’s disputed presidential election.

In the first official comment on the high-profile arrest, Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi was quoted as saying that Panahi’s detention was “not political” and was linked to another case that was already under investigation.

The manner of arrest and all the other people and his support of protests does make this look like some very repressive mass arrests, it’s possible he is legitimately suspected of an actual crime but as yet the prosecutor has given no specific information. His film ‘The Circle‘ is a masterpiece (and ignore the simplistic characterisation in the linked Guardian article) when a government persecutes such artists rather than treasures them I see very little validity in that establishment. Of course the malign tactics used by our and other Western governments are not helping this situation at all, I see a lot of good people being crushed between the desires of competing tyrannies.

Posted in Culture(!), Human Rights. Tags: . Comments Off on Jafar Panahi & Family Arrested In Iran

The Faces Change, Imperial Foreign Policy Remains The Same- Obama’s War Pimps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday the United States expects to gain China’s support for imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has told an international conference that Iran has left the world little choice but to take harsher action to contain its nuclear program. Clinton told the US-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar that Iran has not lived up to its nuclear obligations.

See Simon Jenkins Imposing idiot sanctions on Iran is a direct route to war and below Alistair Crooke (former spook so be advised) in Asia Times Online assessing the terrain wrote in December-

But if sanctions on Iran are widely acknowledged – at least in private within the US administration – as destined to fail, this must be provoking some interesting self-questioning within the White House: The US is in the process now of withdrawal from Iraq, it is looking for the exit in Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is getting messier. None of these events seems likely to become particularly glorious episodes for the administration.

It is not hard to imagine White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel and White House senior adviser David Axelrod asking themselves, “why the president should want to risk another perceived failure” – as sanctions on Iran surely will be. “Why”, they may ask, “do sanctions and open ourselves to persistent Republican jeering at their inevitable failure and then ultimately force us to have to ask … well, what do we do next, Mr President”?

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22 Bahman (11th of February 2010)

Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to allow peaceful demonstrations, including by those opposed to the current government, on 11 February, the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Various officials from the police and the judiciary have warned in recent days that anti-government demonstrations will be not be tolerated.

Amnesty International fears that the comments made by officials, and the wave of arrests, unfair trials and executions illustrated below presage renewed violence on the part of the state, should people heed the calls made by unsuccessful presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to take to the streets to peacefully voice their opinions.

Amnesty International fully recognizes the Iranian authorities’ duty and responsibility to safeguard the public and maintain order but this does not justify the suppression of peaceful protests, as has happened repeatedly over recent months, nor violence by state forces against peaceful demonstrators. All policing must be conducted in accordance with internationally recognized standards relating to policing and the use of force, and should be conducted by appropriately-trained law enforcement personnel – not the politically-partisan volunteer Basij militia, which has a record of committing serious human rights violations and is neither trained nor equipped for proper police work. No one should be subjected to assault and strong-arm treatment by the security forces and any persons accused of violent acts, such as stone-throwing or criminal damage, should be charged and tried fairly in full conformity with Iran’s obligations under international law.

Naj reports early stories of the locking down of the capital and of dissenters. An interview with Mousavi last week, carried on the website Kalameh-

Mr. Mousavi, referring to himself as an ordinary man among tens of millions, emphasized that the Green Movement belongs to all strands of the Iranian nation and invited people from all walks of life to march peacefully on the 22nd of Bahman 2010 (11th of February 2010). He also asked all Iranians including the security services, police, Basij, and Sepah and all Iranians to respect each other and to refrain from violence as the international community is closely watching the development in Iran. Mr. Mousavi further stated that he had no representative abroad; however, he also added that, “The resilience of being in the Green Movement is that everyone is expressing their views in an atmosphere of contemplation and calm wherein I also express my views in our shared destiny.”

Twitter #22Bahman has reports of opposition supporters shouting Allahu Akbar across the rooftops of Tehran. Even as our governments continue to create theatrical events to discredit Iran, the key is people not government, I wish Iranians well and to those who seek to harm them within and without, we are sick of your power games. A small but interesting poll, that you can also vote in.

Posted in Iran. Tags: . 1 Comment »