Sunday, November 22, 2009

Newsletter for Saturday 21st November 2009

Student Information Center (SIC)

Newsletter Issue 132 - Saturday November 21st, 2009                                                                                                                                                              

Future Plans:
--Iranian-style protests, Thursday evening, go to parks and around in the city with family.
--Accompanying mothers of the green movement victims in Laleh Park – every Saturday afternoon.
--Attending Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar's memorial service on Sunday, November 22, 3-5 pm; No. 18, Moradzadeh St, Hedayat St, Tehran
--Spreading the word about Dec 7 (Azar 16th) demonstrations on the anniversary of Student Day in private and public universities across the country; inviting people and students to attend these  ceremonies in universities.

Summary of the News

-- JARAS: In his second interview via internet with "Kalameh", Mir Hossein Moussavi discussed the events in the aftermath of the election, the bill for targeted subsidies and its economic and social implications. He also commented on the vast number of security forces confronting people of Nov. 4th, implying that "such efforts are aimed at threatening people and instilling fear in the society". In this interview, he emphasized on the constitution as a minimal anchor around which all the forces of the green movement should gather. He also highlighted the fact that the people should refrain from violent clashes, even if they're treated harshly on the streets. (The complete text of this interview is attached online).
-- BBC: The UN General Assembly human rights committee adopted a resolution that condemned Iran for human rights violations against its citizens who protested during the highly disputed presidential elections. The resolution censured Iran for its human rights record, including the arbitrary arrests, detentions and the disappearance of Iranians who protested after the elections this year.
-- BBC: The United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has called the death sentences imposed by Iran for five people in connection with protests following the country's disputed presidential election, "distressing and very unfortunate". Mrs. Clinton made these comments in Kabol, where she is to attend Hamid Karzai's inauguration.
--JARAS: The families of the political detainees in a recent statement condemned the continued detention of their family members and stated that they will hold a rally in front of the office of public prosecution in Tehran on November 23rd.
-- JARAS: Pictures released by Mehr News Agency shows a cold reception of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by the people of Tabriz. Despite high levels of publicity, a population of 10,000 from the 1,000,000 people of Tabriz gathered in the Baghshemal stadium to welcome the president. The number of people was not high enough to even cover half of the grass.
-- BBC: The "office of strengthening unity" (Tahkim-e-Vahdat), has reported widespread arrests of student activists as December 7th (16 Azar) approaches. They have also released a statement in response to the detentions of Abbas Hakimzadeh, a member of this office in Amirkabir University. According to this statement, Mr. Hakimzadeh and a number of other students were detained for four and a half months last year while being tortured and coerced for false confessions. In this statement, the members have also voices their "serious" concern regarding the detentions of many students from Khaje-Nasir, Azad (Tehran and Tafresh), Sharif, Amirkabir and Elm_o_Sanat universities.
-- JARAS: Shirin Ebadi, the peace nobel laureate, in an interview pointed out that she's been repeatedly threatened by the security forces of the Islamic Republic. She deems these threats to stem from an effort to minimize her human rights activities. She mentioned that "her espouse and her family have been told that she'll not be safe, no matter where she is in the world". She mentioned, however, that these tactics would not be effective.
-- Radio Zamaneh: The Webby Awards, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, released its list of the Top 10 Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade. Among the top 10, is the use of Twitter during the Iranian election protests (2009). The New York-based International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences which bestows the annual Webby Awards (a.k.a the "Oscar of the internet") since 1996.

News of the Detainees, Martyrs and Missings
-- Deutsche Welle: More than 15 student activists were arrested in Tehran and other cities on Nov 19th. It seems that these detentions are aimed at controlling potential demonstrations on Dec 7th. A member of the "office of strengthening unity", however, believes that the demonstrations are driven by the student body and not the leaders. (SIC: the news snippets below contain the names of some of these detainees).
-- Advar News: Moahammad Ali Abtahi has been sentenced to 6 years in prison. Given the verdict, Mr. Abtahi's lawyer is going to prepare his bail. A primary version of Mohammad Atrianfar's verdict has also been announced but the sentence is not made public yet.
--Advar News: In continuation of the arresting of the student activists, Alireza Mousavi, Ahmad Mirtaheri, Alireza Zargar, Hamin Ghahvechian, Amir Kazempour and Yaser Masoumi were arrested on Thursday night in a coffee shop.
-- Advar News: Saeed Habibi, the chairman of the former Tahkim Vahdat organization and human right activist has been sentenced to three years in prison for advertising against the Islamic Republic regime and action against national security.
--Advar News: A group of current and former liberal activist university students in Tehran were arrested after a meeting they had in one of the group member's apartment. These activists include Mehrdad Bozorg, Soorena Hashemi, Alireza Mousavi, Farzan Ra'oufi, Ehsan Dolatshahi, Sina Shokoohi, and Alborz Zahedi.
--Advar News: Thursday afternoon, Neda Eskandari and Khadijeh Ghahremani were arrested by the security forces in Shiraz University.


-- A summary of a report by Mehdi Hassani, entitled "An increase in the number of detained students; incompetence of the regime in handling the student movement", published in JARAS: Everyday, we hear of students being arrested all across the country. Nevertheless, the appearance of the supporters of Ahmadinejad in the universities is accompanied by mass reactions from the student body. Demonstrations, which started from a number of key universities, is now going rampant in many universities, including Azad universities that lacked independent student committees. As we approach December 7th, the day that may mark the demonstrations of the "green" students, pressure on the students is drastically increasing. In the meantime, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ezheyi, the chief public prosecutor, cautioned the opposition that "from now on, the Islamic Republic of Iran would firmly act against any action deemed deranging". A student activist tells JARAS, "...In the past several months, many students from universities such as Isfahan, Babel, Tehran, Shaharmahal, Beheshti, Shiraz, Amirjabir, RAzi, Ghazvin, Elmo Sanat and Mazandaran have been summoned to disciplinary committees or security institutes. But did they get any results? Have the demonstrations subsided? Has Saffar Harandi and those like him been able to enter universities and say whatever lies they want? or they've been massively confronted by the students?". the "office of strengthening unity" has released a memo stating that "as we approach Dec 7th, the widespread arrest of students in many universities (e.g. Khaje Nasir, Azad Tehran, Sharif, Amirkabir, Azad Tafresh and Elmo Sanat) and the chaotic behaviour of the official forces in controlling the protests has only resulted in a competition of social clashes and impediment". This statement adds, "what you see is the unified rage of the whole nation against the cruelty that you've served them in the name of religion. Sacrificing those whose words have always been in the framework of critique and enlightenment, would never benefit those in power".

Recommendations and Warnings:

--In his video broadcast on Thursday, Mohsen Sazgara mentioned the following points:
    -He re-emphasized that since November 4 rallies, Regime has adapted a strategy of pushing the Green Movement into violent activities, and this is something that we should be cautious about [especially] on December 6th Rallies. He added that the best way to stand against the suppressive violence [of Regime operatives] is for [the protestors] to stick together and stop beatings and detentions [by forming concentrated patches of crowd). He also emphasized that for December 6th rallies it is important to decide the location of protests [and gather altogether in those places].
    -Sazgara also emphasized that all Green Movement activists should specify a replacement for themselves to assume their responsibilities in case of their arrest or inability to perform their duties. He also added that he has already specified a replacement for himself since he continues to receive several threats every now and then; his replacement will be announced by his family if necessary.

On his video broadcast on Friday, Sazgara mentioned the following points:
    -He talked about Ahmadinejad's recent trip to [the northwestern city of] Tabriz , a trip which he sees as a blunder for Ahmadinejad since despite his supporters efforts to mobilize one hundred thousand people in welcoming him in Tabriz Stadium, only a few thousand showed up in his speech. This was such a shame that his supporters had no choice but to fabricate pictures of his visits [showing fake huge crowds welcoming him].
    -Sazagara also talked about the arrest of Abbas Hakimzadeh, Mehrdad Bozorg, Surna Hashemi, Ehsan Dolatshahi, Farzam Ra'ufi, Alborz Zahed, SIna Shokuhi and Alireza Mousavi, all student activists and emphasized that the Regime is still under the illusion that the December 6th rallies can be stopped by arresting student activists; however incidents of the last five months have shown that this [huge] popular movement with extensive human networks organized from the bottom is never hurt by such arrests and will continue working despite them.

In his video broadcast on Saturday, Mohsen Sazgara mentioned the following points:
    -He mentioned that the passage of a UN resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran with a wider margin this year shows that the international community has a close eye on what is going on in Iran.
    -He also talked about the widespread strikes in Kurdistan Province on Wednesday; however he complained about lack of photos/videos from those events. He emphasized that every act of protest, big or small, successful or unsuccessful, should be captured on camera since such photos/films can be used both to inform people and educate protestors.
    -At the end, in his response to a question, he mentioned that weakening the country's economy will handicap the Regime and will reveal their incompetence in being in charge. Despite possible difficulties that might be inflicted on ordinary people [in the short run], such an economic weakening is in the interest of people and the Green Movement in the long run.

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