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    Iran’s Government Faces Protests ‘On the Tarmac’

    Iran's Government Faces Protests ‘On the Tarmac’
    Iran’s Government Faces Protests ‘On the Tarmac’

    By Jubin Katiraie

    The expression ‘on the tarmac’ has in recent years been added to Iran’s political culture. The term is used as a replacement for ‘protests and uprisings’ by government officials.

    In recent years, and especially in the last four years, the Iranian political scene has witnessed protests and uprisings against the entire government in Tehran.

    At first glance, these protests may seem to have an economic basis, but looking more closely at the protests of recent years, it becomes clear that the main nature of these protests is political.

    The December 2017-January 2018 uprising ostensibly began in protest to the high prices in Mashhad, but a few days later, the slogan “Reformist, Hardliners, the game is over” in the University of Tehran showed that the entire clerical system had been targeted by the people and students.

    Relatively sporadic protests continued in 2018. But the November 2019 protests clearly confirmed the political direction of the protests.

    Iran: A Society That ‘Will Undergo Major Changes’

    The story began with a threefold increase in the price of gasoline. But within a day, the slogans “Death to Khamenei”, “Death to the principle of Velayat-e-Faqih” and other radical slogans against the integrity of clerical rule showed that the Iranian people had moved beyond their protest over the bad economic situation; their main target was the government.

    By focusing on this formula, any statement of this kind can be analyzed. Whenever there is talk of the ‘on the tarmac’, one should expect to see mass uprisings and popular protests in the country’s social arena in the near future, even if an underlying economic issue also exists.

    The latest example of the use of this keyword is by an economic expert and professor at the University of Tehran.

    Albert Baghzian, who spoke in an interview with Entekhab daily on September 13, emphasized the prospect of an uprising in Iranian cities.

    Describing the country’s economic situation, he told Entekhab daily: “Inflation and rising prices have become a great pain and suffering for the Iranian people. For example, the rising of butter prices in the market has caused great controversy at the macro-level of society. In general, from the stock market as the largest capital market to a minor commodity such as butter, the situation is unfortunately not favorable. This issue has now led to widespread mistrust in society, which of course will not be easily reversed.”

    The Present Situation in the Country Has Nothing to Do with the Sanctions

    Pointing to the country’s sanctions, he added: “Many of the current issues in the country have nothing to do with sanctions. For example, the difference between the factory price and the market price of a car has nothing to do with sanctions. Most of the country’s problems should be assessed in the government’s irresponsibility and disregard for the country’s macroeconomic issues.”

    Attacking the government’s wrong economic policies, he added: “The wrong policies of the economy, which led to an abnormal decline in the Iranian stock market, have had a profound effect on reducing citizens’ trust.”

    Iran’s Stock Market Devours the Wealth of Lower Classes

    Baghzian also pointed to another contradiction within the government. “Reducing of the unemployment rate” and the government’s claims about it: “Is it possible to talk about reducing the unemployment rate without any documents? Such positions will definitely lower people’s trust more than ever.”

    In the end, part of the reality of the whole clerical system is heard from Baghzian as he said: “The other government is completely disappointed with the reform of things.”

    Finally, all these parameters force Baghzian to express the discussed expression as he said: “‘On the tarmac’ means not seeing any government.”

    Entekhab daily wrote, On the tarmac which means not seeying any government
    Entekhab daily wrote, On the tarmac which means not seeing any government

    This shows that the people who were ‘on the tarmac’ do not recognize any government and do not differentiate between the reformists and the conservatives. The situation is clear enough. Not the government, but the entire system is responsible for the current miserable situation, after more than four decades of rule in Iran. And finally, everything will be dictated to the clerical system ‘on the tarmac’.

    Ten Pharmacists Die of Coronavirus in Iran

    Iranian pharmacists meet the government’s inattention to their living and working conditions and are accused of hoarding while they are the victims of the IRGC’s profiteering policies
    Iranian pharmacists meet the government’s inattention to their living and working conditions and are accused of hoarding while they are the victims of the IRGC’s profiteering policies

    By Pooya Stone

    On Monday, September 14, Iranian media outlets reported that ten pharmacists have lost their lives to the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, in recent weeks many doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers fell victim to this ominous disease. However, these selfless people also suffer from authorities’ inattention to their working and living conditions.

    In this context, the government has yet to provide sufficient health equipment and essential protective items for medical staff. Instead, officials generously donate Iran’s national resources to build advanced hospitals in other countries and providing ventilators, face masks, and gloves for their infantry in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and other war-torn countries.

    Inside the Systematic Hoarding of Face Masks in Iran

    In a press conference with the managing board of Pharmacists’ Union of Western Azarbaijan province, Hojjatollah Yazdan-Shanas, the chief of the Iranian Pharmacists Assembly, explained parts of his colleagues’ sufferings and problems.

    He mentioned that, along with medical staff, these hard-working people rushed to help needy citizens since the first days of the health crisis. However, they received no attention. Yazdan-Shenas implicitly pointed out to systematic corruption and the role of government-linked gangs in this sector. His remarks reveal how the state-backed mafia, i.e. the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC), has taken hostage the lives and health of millions of citizens in the past seven months.

    Shortage of Pharmacy and Pharmacists

    “There is only one pharmacy per 4,500 people across the country,” Yazdan-Shenas said. However, he did not explain that many poor and needy citizens in impoverished areas lack clean water, let alone pharmacies, and this rationing belongs to the rich and middle-class districts in metropolitan areas. Moreover, nearly 60 million Iranians live below the poverty line and this population is growing every month based on official statistics.

    The chief of the Pharmacists Assembly also highlighted the shortage of human resources. “Given the growth of population, merely 600 persons have added to the country’s pharmacists annually. This is a very insignificant number for an 83-million population,” he added.

    Yazdan-Shenas also spoke about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on pharmacists’ living and working conditions. “In Western Azarbaijan, 12 pharmacists were infected with the Covid-19. Fortunately, there were no fatalities in this province. However, regrettably, ten pharmacists have passed away in the fight against the ominous coronavirus across the country so far. This is a major loss for the pharmacist community of Iran,” he said.

    Iran’s Extremely Confused and Upset Situation Over the Coronavirus Pandemic

    The IRGC’s Role in Hoarding Necessary Hygienic Items

    According to credible evidence, the IRGC immediately monopolized all health-product factories simultaneously with the start of the coronavirus crisis in the country. The supreme leader Ali Khamenei and his office completely supported the IRGC in this effort. Meanwhile, the IRGC formed a “base” to counter the pandemic based on Khamenei’s order. They also exercised military parades in the streets and patrolled to “fight the Covid-19!”

    Many citizens believed and openly said that authorities intend to counter the people’s rage against their mismanagement rather than containing the disease. In this respect, many netizens mocked the ridiculous steps by IRGC forces in Tehran and other major cities.

    However, the IRGC used its authority and managed to control the market of health and hygienic equipment. On the other hand, factories were forced to deliver their products to IRGC-controlled institutions. Following this issue, citizens face the lack of essential sanitizing and health items, pushing them to provide their needs through the black market.

    In this respect, Yazdan-Shenas blamed authorities for banning pharmacies from selling alcohol. He also expressed his fury against the state-run propaganda that frequently provided reports about sealing pharmacies for hoarding health items. “Just show me one violator pharmacy that has hoarded something,” he said.

    In reality, in a profiteering trade, the Iranian government and IRGC tried to use the coronavirus as an opportunity to line their pockets with the money of millions of desperate people. However, they are now meeting growing fury and rage among their agents, let alone the ordinary people.

    After Wrestler’s Execution, Sport Authorities Still Avoid Banning Iran from Competition

    The execution of Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari prompted many athletes across the globe to demand imposing sanctions and banning the Islamic Republic from international sports bodies
    The execution of Iranian wrestling champion Navid Afkari prompted many athletes across the globe to demand imposing sanctions and banning the Islamic Republic from international sports bodies

    By Pooya Stone

    Last Saturday, the Iranian judiciary carried out the execution of Navid Afkari, the celebrated champion wrestler who had become the subject of numerous domestic and international appeals after the news broke that his dual death sentences had been upheld despite evidence that his murder conviction was based on a false confession elicited under torture. In the days following his hanging, international appeals have continued but have begun to shift focus toward international sports authorities and other entities that are in a position to impose sanctions on the government for this defiance of basic human rights standards.

    On Tuesday, a German sports organization known as Athleten Deutschland issued a statement calling for Iran to be formally banned from the Olympic Games that are scheduled to take place next summer. That statement echoes a number of appeals that had been issued while Afkari’s execution was still pending, in hopes that the International Olympic Committee would unequivocally commit to this outcome and pressure Tehran to not move forward with the death sentence.

    On one hand, the IOC officials did contribute to the advance appeals to spare Afkari’s life. But on the other hand, they stopped short of a firm commitment, then specifically indicated in the wake of the execution that Iran would not face serious consequences at their hands. The IOC has taken the official position that Iran’s exclusion would unfairly punish individual athletes who compete under the Iranian flag, effectively holding them accountable for their residence in a theocratic dictatorship that they may very well oppose.

    Iran Acts with Impunity in Executing Navid Afkari

    But Athleten Deutschland and other advocates for Navid Afkari have dismissed these excuses, noting that those athletes could still be given the opportunity to compete under a neutral flag, or as part of other national teams. Over the years, a number of Iranian competitors have left their national team on their own accord, in the midst of disputes related to a number of issues that violate international sports authorities’ bylaws and principles. Yet these decisions have rarely been made in response to disciplinary action from those authorities themselves.

    A number of commentators have now pointed to patterns of inaction as likely contributing factors in the international community’s inability to influence Iran’s decisions in the Afkari case. Christopher Becker, a sports reporter for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said that organizations like FIFA and the IOC should have “enforced their rules long ago,” and that if they had, “there would have been a chance to use influence” in subsequent disputes related to Iran’s mistreatment of its own athletes.

    As it stands, the lack of enforcement is apparently so prevalent that Iranian authorities fell comfortable challenging rare instances of exclusion from international competition, even in the midst of a highly visible backlash against actions that could have resulted in more of the same. On Wednesday, Deutsche Welle reported that the Switzerland-based Court of Arbitration for Sport had begun hearing an appeal from the Iran Judo Federation over a ban imposed by the International Judo Federation in October 2019.

    That ban relates to the frequent trend of Iranian athletes being pressured by their own governments to intentionally lose matches or withdraw from competition under false pretenses in order to comply with a longstanding but unwritten rule against Iranian athletes engaging in friendly competition with Israeli opponents. Last year’s inciting incident involved a judo practitioner named Saeed Mollaei, who succumbed to pressure by deliberately losing a semi-final match, but then fled from his team and relocated to Germany in hopes of competing under circumstances of freedom.

    Wednesday’s report named Mollaei as one of three Iranian competitors who were slated to testify at the CAS, alongside several other witnesses. Collectively, they appear to offer clear-cut evidence for the legitimacy of the ban, making the IJF’s reinstatement extremely uncertain unless international organizers decide for some reason to adopt a softer approach to enforcing their rules. This is perhaps made less likely by the international furor over Afkari’s execution, although that conclusion is also called into question by the apparent aversion to serious action by organizations like the IOC.

    That question is further amplified by the long history of what one former international soccer player, Craig Foster, criticized as a “well-worn path of soft diplomacy and behind-closed-doors conversations” regarding Iranian violations of rules for international competition. FIFA, the world’s soccer authority, has repeatedly come under fire for issuing warnings and deadlines to the Islamic Republic regarding its ban on female attendance in stadiums, only to allow those deadlines to lapse without consequence.

    Iranian National Athletes Leave the Country

    Many rights activists both inside Iran and throughout the world have insisted that Iran’s national soccer and volleyball teams should be immediately subjected to similar bans as its judo federation. And now, with Afkari’s high-profile execution, those demands are sure to proliferate with respect to these and all other sports in which Iran competes internationally. Yet even in spite of an incident that is widely regarded as a transparent violation of human rights principles, there is reason to believe that those appeals will continue to face resistance from the powers that be.

    Iran Policy Summit Calls for Sanctions to Hold Regime Accountable

    Online conference by the NCRI – September 18, 2020
    Online conference by the NCRI – September 18, 2020

    By Jubin Katiraie

    On the eve of the UN General Assembly summit, on 18 September 2020, the Iranian opposition (NCRI) and its supporters in the USA and other countries around the world hold a conference about the latest situation in Iran and the ruling regime. The key points of the conference were the necessity of the sanctions on Iran, as the continuing of the arms embargo of the regime to protect the people of Iran as well as the people of other countries in the Middle East, auditing the regime for its global terrorism and human rights violations, especially to preventing the regime to be able to execute more people, with a high priority the execution of arrested people and youths in the last protests in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

    Prominent political figures and members of parliament from various countries (the United States and Europe) spoke at the conference.

    Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York at the conference said: “The regime is showing every indication that they’re on their last legs. Everyone knows they are a regime of terror. From the late 1970s until now, every year has been terror and slaughter. They have the worst record in killing their own people. But they continue to receive support from countries that should know better.

    “For too long, the United States was sympathetic to Iran. It seemed to be a priority to keep a dangerous nuclear agreement. Why? There is no reason for it. Nor is there any reason for European governments to not support sanctions against the regime.

    “The regime is killing people. They are a regime that is desperate, and the best indication is that they are striking out hard. The situation is getting worse in Iran. They recently executed wrestling champion Navid Afkari for protesting. He was protesting the barbarity of the regime. Mostafa Salehi was executed for the same charge.”

    David Jones, British MP and former Secretary of State of Wales about the situation in Iran said: “Iran is at a pivotal moment in its history. The people of Iran demand genuine democracy and regime change. The regime responds with repression, execution, and torture. The regime resorts to terrorism against the Iranian opposition. They continue to defy international opinion, including the global outcry to stop the execution of wrestling champion Navid Afkari.”

    US General James Jones about the regime’s terrorism said: “There’s no question that Iran is the number one supporter of terrorism in many parts of the world. There is no question their ultimate goal is to develop nuclear weapons. This regime has identified itself as the enemy of the people.”

    Pandeli Majko former Prime Minister of Albania: “Iran has turned the Middle East into a battlefield. The aggravated economic situation in Iran could have consequences. In this situation, we should be cautious and prepared. It is clear that any vacuum left by the West will be filled by Iran. This could elevate the status of Iran in the Middle East.”

    U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, about the regime’s human rights violations said: “It is an absolute necessity that we hold the regime’s officials to account for their crimes against humanity. There is no outrage the regime will not commit. They tortured a confession out of Navid Afkari and they executed him. We must hold them to account for this crime.”

    And about the regime’s terrorism, he added: “Iran’s regime continues to finance terror and endangers the security of us and our allies. The snapback denies the regime resources and slows the nuclear program. Iran has consistently been in violation of nuclear restrictions before, during, and after the negotiation of the deal.”

    U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “The government in Tehran continues to commit gross human rights violations in Iran and in the region. It has destabilized countries and prevented peace across the Middle East. At home, peaceful activists and human rights activists are arrested and tortured.”

    Joseph Lieberman, former U.S. Senator: “We have tried everything to change the behavior of the regime of Iran. It’s time for a conclusion. The regime will not change. We must change the regime in Iran. That is what we mean when we say freedom for the people in Iran. Sanctions must be extended. We must convince our allies in Europe to join us.”

    Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the US House of Representatives: “The dictatorship is getting more and more desperate and the public is getting more and more unhappy. The fact that the killing of Soleimani did not result in an explosion of terrorist action is indicative of the mullah’s power waning. But we still have a distance to go until we reach a free and peaceful Iran.”

    Ambassador Robert Joseph: “The Resistance Units are the true beacons of freedom. You have endured suffering at the hands of the regime for standing up for democracy and a secular republic. Your sacrifices and your success will inspire the next generation in Iran.”

    Sheila Jackson Lee, member of the U.S. House of Representatives: “I rise to be able to support the fighters in Iran for human rights, and to stand with those like Madam Rajavi, who want human rights and the fights against the abuses, the horrible abuses that people are facing in Iran who just simply want justice, equality, and human rights.”

    Fatmir Mediu, leader of the Republican Party: “The people want life and freedom, they don’t want nuclear bombs. The regime is massacring the people. We should think about what we can do about that. Iranian people are against terrorism. It’s important that everyone knows what the Iranian regime is doing in Albania, in the Middle East, and around the world. It’s time to stand for the right thing.”

    British MP Bob Blackman:

    “In the coming days, world leaders will gather for the UNGA. There should be three pressing issues regarding Iran:

    – Extending the UN arms embargo on Iran

    – Reimposing international sanctions on the regime. Allowing the regime to legally buy sophisticated weapons will not bring about peace in our lifetimes. Appeasing the theocratic leaders in Tehran will not bring about moderation or reforms.

    -Time to hold Iran’s regime accountable. The international community must establish an independent inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.”

    Brad Schneider, member of the U.S. House of Representatives: “Your activism and engagement on this issue are critical as our democracies hold the Iranian government accountable for its egregious human rights record.

    In recent protests against the government over the past 18 months, as many as 1,500 protesters have reportedly been killed for their activism. The Iranian people deserve our support in recognizing the 1988 massacre and other tragedies of the past and their voices deserve to be heard today, as the Iranian people continue to voice their opposition to the Iranian regime.”

    Read More:

    Iran: A Society That ‘Will Undergo Major Changes’

    Tehran’s Desperation Against Economic Crisis

    Iranian authorities pretend that they pursue the country’s industrialization while there is no reliable roadmap
    Iranian authorities pretend that they pursue the country’s industrialization while there is no reliable roadmap

    By Pooya Stone

    “Several people think that the country had rapidly moved toward development in the monarchic era, but intellectuals prevented the government from achieving its economic goals… These people may not know that the developing of consumption and distributing money would not result in a real development—a modern industrial society— in a non-developed society.”

    This is a clause of a prominent interpreter Daryoush Ashouri who worked at the Planning and Budget Organization of Iran during the Shah’s tenure. In his book titled “Memories of the Planning and Budget Organization at the Shah’s time,” he highlighted a number of reasons for the monarchic regime’s failures in the economic aspect.

    “The Shah had a problem in understanding the sophisticated concept of development and its methods… The Shah imagined that he could purchase economic development with financial power, but he was negligent over other respects of the issue,” he wrote.

    Subsequently, Ashouri narrated that “the Shah became upset and left the meeting” when he heard economists’ warnings and concerns about “money-spraying” in the society. “Then he summoned the organization chief Majidi and threatened him. “I seal the organization if [your] economists reiterated these words,” the Shah had said.

    According to familiar experts, defective implementation of five developing plans amplified economic crises and paved the way for the 1979 revolution in Iran. All the while, the clerics not only did not refine the country’s economic sectors but also show many disastrous performances in this era. For instance, they have handled six defective developing plans so far.

    Why Developing Plans Remain Fruitless in Iran?

    There are enormous reasons to prove the insufficiency of the government and principal defects in economic plans. “It seems that regardless of passing three decades from the country’s developing plans, there is not a complete consensus among officials over the manners of planning and implementing them. The stats show that goals of the first, second, third, and fourth development plans have not yet been achieved,” said a government-linked expert in an interview with Shahrvand daily on June 25, 2016.

    “False predicting and miscalculating the goals may be the first reason for non-achieving the plans’ desires. Several experts described some of these goals unreal,” the expert added.

    In this context, the Majlis (Parliament) Research Center has not recognized the sixth developing plan as an economic plan. This body has described the “plan” as an “innovation” due to its “principal and basic defects,” “the lack of figures and charts,” “non-specifying the priorities and disproportion between permissions and economic crises.”

    The codification of industrial strategy is one of the most critical parts of each country’s planning task. Contrary to its name, this issue comprehensively responds to the most significant dilemmas and sets the best orientation and proper methods for developing the country.

    According to state-link economists, the government had not planned or implemented any industrial strategy so far. Therefore, no one knew what the government must have done with huge oil, gas, and petrochemical incomes. Worse, no one knows how did the government spend or stockpiled this asset? Of course, on May 20, former chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Affairs Commission Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh revealed that Iran had granted $20-30 billion to Syria.

    Poor Families Sell Babies in Iran While the Government Spends $30 Billion to Syria

    Meanwhile, Iranian authorities try to style the “strategical plan for the industry and mines” as the “industrial strategy for development.” However, they are two different concepts and documents with different results. The codification of a strategic document for industrial development needs politicians’ will and determination to develop the country.

    The manner of making industrial relations with the world is the most important criterion for industrializing a country. Notably, the industrialization is not synonymous with forming and having enormous factories. In this respect, a country must be industrialized in all aspects, including political affairs.

    For instance, the related government should have an interactive foreign policy. Inside the country, it cannot monopolize all means of power. It should also define the technological orientations and manage micro-level financial firms and holdings across the country.

    The Strategy of Survival

    Over the past four decades, Iranian rulers not only did not implement basic principles and methods for developing the country but also their catastrophic functions put Iran’s industry on the verge of collapse. In this respect, the ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) spent billions of dollars on expansionist policies in the Middle East region rather than resolving the country’s economic dilemmas.

    Based on official stats, today, the rest of Iran’s population has met unbridled poverty and many families struggle not to fall below the misery line. Every day, the national currency is devaluating against the U.S. dollar and other foreign exchanges. The social gap is constantly deepening between rich classes—including officials and their relatives—with middle and low-income society classes.

    “Today, we need a strategy for exiting this status quo. It would be a strategical mistake if we consider that we can step the development path, investment in the private sector, and interactive communications with the world, through the U.S. returning to the JCPOA, Iran nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and lifting restrictions,” quoted Donya-e Eghtesad daily Massoud Nili, a former aide of President Hassan Rouhani, as saying on September 12.

    “Is there any institution, whether in private, public, or research sectors, can tell how we should exit these conditions? I believe that the country’s problems and obstacles would remain even if foreign sanctions be lifted. Statistics declare that since 2008, our GDP per capita had stopped. In the past ten years, the investing growth was negative. The government faces a massive budget deficit. We had never met such an accumulation of dilemmas in the past. The country’s priority must be finding a way for exiting these conditions,” he added.

    These facts flagrantly show that the Iranian government has spent all its strategic preserves and today suffers from a

    Dangerous Gap Between Iran’s Society and Regime

    lack of an appropriate response to breathtaking dilemmas across the country. On the other hand, authorities cannot leave their tribble policies in the region and across the globe. Instead, they try to cover up their domestic weakness with hollow ambitions abroad.

    However, nowadays, Iranian authorities face a complete stalemate as a result of 41 years of mismanagement and corruption, as well as suppressing the people’s grievances and exporting terrorism. In such circumstances, the ayatollahs must change themselves and their irresponsible policies or be changed by fed-up citizens, who frequently criticize high-ranking officials, including the supreme leader Ali Khamenei, for their luxury lives. The second path, of course, is closer to reality.

    Read More:

    Iran’s President Claims ‘Our Economy Shrunk a Little’

    Signs of Iran Regime’s Feebleness

    Iran regime’s stalemate
    Iran regime’s stalemate

    By Jubin Katiraie

    Like any other regime, the Iranian regime is trying to show a fake hold on power, which is not mainly to scare the outside world, but is more used to scare and create suffocation inside the country for the people.

    But sometimes the regime’s key elements, mainly its clerics, are forced to confess about the regime’s frailty, which is showing that this regime long ago lost its popularity and position by the people, mainly the poor and lower strata, which were the regime’s main base for its power and mobilization.

    Government cleric Mesbahi Moghaddam, in an interview with the Tasnim news agency on the subject of the 2021 elections, stated: “Our most important internal problem for the next elections is the issue of widespread distrust in the society towards the government, this distrust will affect the elections, and if there is no positive change in the economic dimensions of the country by the time of the elections, it is likely that we don’t see a glorious turnout of the people in the elections. Our current situation is not sustainable, except for despair and feebleness, nothing is seen in people, especially the young generation.

    “With the order that the country has been governed during these thirty years after the holy defense (Iran-Iraq war), it is not possible to govern the country from now on. During these years, we always had double-digit inflation, we always had large budget deficits, and we always had double-digit unemployment.

    “In addition to these issues, another thing that has happened is the widening gap between wealth and poverty. Unfortunately, during the seven years of this government, our national income figure, if we balance, is decreased from $400 billion to $165 billion, and this is very terrible.” (Tasnim, 15 September)

    The state-run daily Mostaghel wrote on Wednesday, September 16, wrote about the upcoming presidential election in 2021, while quoting Hadi Ghaffari, one of the regime’s main clerics: “The way to increase participation in elections is to deal with those who have a popular base and do not even think like parts of the government with open arms and without political games, and stop approving oversight and allow these people to expose themselves to the people.”

    He added: “If the status quo continues, the turnout will be low. For example, I obtained information that in some cities only one percent of eligible voters went to the polls in the second round of the Islamic Consultative Assembly elections.”

    Then referring to the approving supervision of the Guardian Council and his exclusion from the elections, he said: “I have a question for the Guardian Council about how a person like me, who served the revolution and the Islamic Republic on the battlefield for fifty years in the guise of a clergyman, has to deal with two issues: lack of practical commitment to Islam and disbelief in the Islamic Republic and the constitution.

    He warned the regime and said: “It is very dangerous that a military president takes the office because a military person has only military thinking and deals with things in a garrison manner. Our country does not need a garrison atmosphere, but we need a person in the country who is a president who knows the art of negotiation and acts according to the law.”

    Referring to the reason for the regime’s stalemate, he said that the reason is ‘vileness’ inside the country and added: “The reason for the current situation of the country in terms of livelihood is the existence of structural problems in the constitution. Unfortunately, the country’s economic relations with the world have reached a dead end because there has been a kind of vile in the country’s foreign policy. Unfortunately, there is a view that the whole world is bad and only we are in a position of good. We have to admit that today’s world no longer tolerates insults.”

    Read More:

    Iran: Systematic Corruption May Ignite New Wave of Protests

    Protests Continue Across Iran, Despite Regime’s Pressure

    People's slogan - people's broken backs under the burden of inflation
    People’s slogan – people’s broken backs under the burden of inflation

    By Jubin Katiraie

    More protests sprung up across Iran on Monday and Tuesday, featuring people from all different sectors of society with a variety of issues that needed addressing, but all of them united with the regime as the central cause of their problems.

    On Tuesday, September 15, retirees gathered outside the Pension Center Organization’s building in Kermanshah, western Iran, to protest low pensions that leave them in poverty, while regime officials are living the high life.

    They chanted:

    • “Retirees are living in poor conditions”
    • “We are empty-handed, but officials get high wages”

    Also, on Tuesday, retired workers in Ahvaz, southwest Iran, protested rally in front of the Social Security Department in Khuzestan province.

    On Monday, September 14, bakers in Yazd, central Iran, gathered in front of the governor’s office in the city to protest the “unrealistic” cost of bread when the current out-of-control inflation is taken into account.

    Because of the low bread prices, bakery workers are seeing a significant dip in their earnings versus inflation, more so than other workers.

    Also on Monday, workers from the Iran Tractor industrial group held a protest against the decision to transfer ownership of the company to the private sector. They also demanded their legitimate rights be met.

    Workers said that since the privatization, problems have doubled and paychecks have always been delayed for several months, which is making it impossible for them to survive.

    Company officials have also refused to deposit a part of the workers’ insurance premiums to the Social Security Department’s account since last March, which can make it hard for workers to get healthcare or retire.

    And finally, on Monday, the expelled employees of the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Company protested outside the governorate in Shush in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran. They demanded that their jobs be reinstated and that they be allowed to return immediately on permanent contracts.

    They had been fired after taking part in previous protests over a lack of job security due to the temporary contracts the new managers made them sign.

    Haft Tappeh workers have been on strike multiple times over the past few years.

    It is clear that the regime will do nothing to fix these problems and that the people’s protests will not stop until their rights are honored, so it appears the country is at an impasse. In 2017, The Congress of the International Federation of Food Workers, Agriculture and Services adopted a resolution criticizing the way the Iranian regime is dealings with the workers of the Sugar Cape Haft Tapeh and announced its support for the workers.

    Read More:

    Iran: August Marked by Hundreds of Protests

    Iranian Prison Guards’ Unprovoked Attack on Political Prisoners

    Iran - Urmia Central Prison
    Iran – Urmia Central Prison

    By Pooya Stone

    Over 20 guards raided the political prisoners’ ward in Urmia Central Prison on Tuesday, attacking inmates and looting their belongings, under the guise of a “routine inspection”, shortly after the prisoners had protested the dire living conditions, including constant water and power outages.

    The attack began at 1 pm local time and continued for three hours, with inmates doing their best to defend themselves and stand up to the heavily armed guards (six prison guards and 15 anti-riot guards) who were led by prison warden Sohrabi, the prison’s financial deputy Nouri, inspections officer Azar-Nia, and someone called Mohammadi.

    Nouri and prison security chief Karbalaie planned to place political prisoner Ahmad Tamuie in solitary confinement but other prisoners reacted quickly and stopped them.

    Many political prisoners were injured in the attack, while there was significant damage to the ward’s doors and windows, and it was reported that after the attack, anti-riot guards remained outside the prison, ready to attack again at the first sign of unrest.

    One informed source said that all 48 prisoners held on this ward protested the attack by launching a hunger strike and that many of the prisoners are in danger of losing their lives.

    The Iranian Resistance said: “Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi are responsible for the health and safety of political prisoners across Iran. The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is calling on the United Nations and all international human rights organizations to take swift action to save the lives of political prisoners in Iran, send an international fact-finding mission to visit Iran’s prisons, and meet with the inmates, especially political prisoners.”

    This call has been made by the Iranian Resistance, particularly NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi, on multiple occasions, increasingly since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Since the threat of the coronavirus became unmistakably clear in March, the regime has failed to take the appropriate action to protect any of its people, let alone prisoners. The mullahs refused to allow non-violent prisoners furlough, to allow for social distancing among remaining inmates, and allow others to be at home with their families. They have even denied, as is typical of the regime, sanitary items, such as soap and bleach, to prisoners and prevented them from seeking adequate medical care. They are using the pandemic to thin the herd of political prisoners and this must be stopped.

    Read More:

    Political Prisoners Attacked in Iran’s Qarchak Prison


    Female Political Prisoners Suffering in Iran

    Simultaneously with the government's misogynistic measures against Iranian women, many female political prisoners, human rights defenders, and social activists suffer intolerable suffering in prisons
    Simultaneously with the government’s misogynistic measures against Iranian women, many female political prisoners, human rights defenders, and social activists bear intolerable suffering in prisons

    By Jubin Katiraie

    The health of three Iranian female political prisoners – Nasrin Sotoudeh, Fatemeh Mosanna, and Zeinab Jalalian – held in solitary confinement in Evin and Kerman prisons is said to deteriorating and there is much concern about their lives.

    On September 7, Mosanna was taken to Taleghani Hospital, where she was given an endoscopy and colonoscopy after suffering severe stomachache, diarrhea, and nausea, before being returned to Evin prison. She was not given proper medical care and the prison doctor only visited her a couple of times to inject serum.

    On August 31, reports from Evin Prison said that Sotoudeh, then on the 21st day of her hunger strike, wasn’t feeling well, but refused to take the serum. As of writing, she is still on the hunger strike.

    Jalalian, a Kurdish political prisoner, who is being held without trial, recently spoke with her family about the horrendous conditions and explained that she could only be transferred if she paid the costs. She’d previously contracted the coronavirus in Qarchak Prison and went on hunger strike to protest being moved from Khoy Prison, which is nearer her family.

    Meanwhile, political prisoner Sakineh Parvaneh, who is sentenced to five years and regularly subjected to abuse by Evin Prison officials, has been on the hunger strike since September 5.

    Political Prisoners Attacked in Iran’s Qarchak Prison

    Civil activist Azam Shirafkan was sentenced to 6.5 years in prison; five years for “assembly and collusion through inciting people to disrupt national security” and 1.5 years for “propaganda against the state”. The mother of one from Alborz Province is being imprisoned for protesting.

    Nurse Roghieh Ghadimi Nouran has been detained in Bushehr Prison without trial for 20 days now, after being arrested at the request of the Health Network and the Governorate of Tangestan.

    The volunteer treating Covid-19 patients suffers from cancer and diabetes, so her life is in danger whilst in prison.

    Political prisoner Elham Khamseh was forcibly moved to Aminabad Mental Hospital (Razi) on Saturday before being returned to Evin Prison the next day.

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Women’s Committee wrote: “Accusing political prisoners of mental disorder and relocating them to a mental hospital is commonly practiced by the clerical regime to intimidate and increase pressure on political opponents and their families. The dual-national prisoner Nazanin Zaghari, student activist Soha Mortezaii, and Kurdish political prisoner Sakineh Parvaneh have been among those who were either taken to a mental hospital or were intimidated with the threat to do so.”

    Iran Sacks Female Wushu Champion for Protesting

    Iranian Authorities Confiscate the Late Mostafa Salehi’s Home and Properties

    Iranian authorities try to silence upcoming protests by applying inhuman pressures on Mostafa Salehi’s family
    Iranian authorities try to silence upcoming protests by applying inhuman pressures on Mostafa Salehi’s family

    By Pooya Stone

    On September 12, Iranian authorities summoned the late Mostafa Salehi’s family to the Najafabad Court and threatened his widow and orphans with the seizure of their garden and home. They announced that these properties would be confiscated if they do not pay 5 billion rials (about US $21,700) as soon as possible.

    Mostafa Salehi was executed on August 5 for taking part in the anti-government Iran protests of 2018.

    In late August, Iran’s judiciary had ordered Mostafa Salehi’s wife to pay 4.25 billion rials (about $18,450) as “Blood Money.” However, on September 9 and 10, authorities summoned this grieving family to the Isfahan Revolutionary Court and announced that the “Blood Money” had increased to 5 billion rials.

    In response, this family complained, saying that Mostafa was killed despite being innocent of any crime and that his children had become orphans. However, the judge and court employees insulted this grieving family with obscene and vulgar language. They also threatened this poor family that their home, garden, and properties would be confiscated if they do not pay 5 billion rials.

    The blood money has been estimated based on injuries, including each scratch and even bruise. However, Mostafa had rejected all allegations during the proceeding period and complained against false accusations.

    All the while, Mostafa Salehi was frequently subjected to excessive and harrowing torture in custody, which had never been prosecuted. Notably, the judge had sentenced him based on torture-tainted confessions. However, it seems that Iranian authorities intend to retaliate from Mostafa’s family in addition to hanging him on August 5.

    Iran Issues More Execution Sentences

    A Glance at What Interrogators Exercised Against Mostafa Salehi

    According to a familiar source with the case, Bahrami and Arab interrogated Mostafa. They are intelligence officers and responsible for torture and other ill-treatment against this late protester.

    They had reconstructed the “crime” for Mostafa Salehi. Then Bahrami gave him a gun and made a film. However, when Mostafa rejected their fake scenario, they suggested that he make a televised confession and admit to shooting. If he did so, they promised not to have anything to do with him.

    Mostafa Salehi told Bahrami that I did nothing, and I will never admit to anything. You boast that you are security agents, therefore, find the murderer.

    Afterward, Bahrami slapped in the face of Mostafa twice and said, “I must execute you at all costs. I made an honored word to superiors to hang one person from Kahrizsang city, Mostafa’s hometown.

    “Mostafa Salehi was prohibited from speaking at the court. They had told him, ‘just shut up.’ The judge Morad Ali Najafpour only noted what Bahrami and Arab were saying. Afterward, they beat Mostafa to sign the proceeding accord,” the source said.

    “Also, there were some wrenches, welding machine, and a few electric scrapped appliances in a warehouse at Mostafa’s home. The state security forces of Goldasht district seized all of them after arresting Mostafa Salehi.

    “Later, when his family referred to Goldasht police station, the chief of station refused to hand over them, saying, ‘These appliances were our forces’ share and do not look for them.’ In fact, they had divided the tools that valued $800 between themselves,” the source added.

    In reality, Iranian authorities pursue to send a message to the outrage society that laid in an ambush to use any opportunity to release its fury against the entire ruling system like November 2019. However, the ayatollahs are practically fueling the people’s rage and expanding the current gap between their rule and citizens, putting further anti-establishment protests and uprisings on the horizon.

    Iran: Human Rights Situation for August 2020