Labor activist Nasrin Javadi, serving a 7-year sentence in Iran
UPDATE, AUGUST 18:
An appeals court in Tehran has confirmed the prison sentences of five “health care defenders” who tried to sue Government officials over mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic and hindrance of vaccine rollouts.
One of the defendants, lawyer Mostafa Nili, said his four-year sentence was upheld, s were the four-year term for activist Mehdi Mahmoudian and two years for lawyer Arash Keykhosravi.
The six-month sentence of Mohammad Reza Faghihi and 95-day punishment of Maryam Afrafaraz were also maintained.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JULY 4: Amid nationwide protests over economic conditions, Iran’s authorities are imposing lengthy prison sentences on more lawyers and labor activists.
Before and after its repression of the mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election, Iranian officials have tried to bury dissent with the imprisonments.
See also Iran’s Currency Nears Historic Low as Nuclear Talks Stall
In the latest wave of sentences, three lawyers and two civil rights activists were condemned over their criticism of the Government’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.
A Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced lawyer Mostafa Nili and activist Mehdi Mahmoudian to four years in prison. Lawyer Arash Keykhosravi was given a two-year term, lawyer Mohammad Reza Faghihi six months, and activist Maryam Afrafaraz 95 days.
The “health defenders” tried to file a lawsuit against senior Iranian officials, including the Supreme Leader, for banning the import of COVID-19 vaccines made by US and British pharmaceutical companies; forbidding the publication of reliable data about the extent of deaths and infections, and mismanaging the response.
The Supreme Leader’s high-profile ban on vaccines from the US, UK, and France delayed the rollout of a vaccine program until long into Iran’s deadly pandemic. Critics claim that mass vaccinations — using Chinese, Russian, and domestic vaccines — only began after Ayatollah Khamenei’s chosen candidate, Ebrahim Raisi, won in a managed election and took office in August 2021.
See also After Supreme Leader’s Command, Iran Halts Import of Pfizer’s Coronavirus Vaccine
Iran’s official Coronavirus death toll is more than 141,000, although medical personnel and activists say the actual number is far higher.
7 Years for Labor Activism
Nasrin Javadi, 64, is the latest labor activist to be put behind bars, ordered to begin serving a 7-year sentence last Saturday.
Javadi, 64, was first arrested on May 1, 2019 when security forces swept up a number of protesters outside the Parliament building in Tehran. She was released four weeks later after posting bail.
Subsequently a Revolutionary Court condemned for “gathering and conspiring to act against the security of the country,” “disturbing public order and peace”, and “propaganda against the regime”.
She was returned to prison despite medical documents of “numerous illnesses” which make it impossible for her to serve time.
See also Another Labor Activist Handed 8 1/2-Year Prison Sentence
Iran security forces have also detained teachers who held regular protests this spring.
“The Supreme Leader’s high-profile ban on vaccines from the US, UK, and France delayed the rollout of a vaccine program until long into Iran’s deadly pandemic. Critics claim that mass vaccinations — using Chinese, Russian, and domestic vaccines — only began after Ayatollah Khamenei’s chosen candidate, Ebrahim Raisi, won in a managed election and took office in August 2021.”
The vaccine rollout was never delayed by this prohibition on vaccines never approved. Iran started importing Russia, Chinese and Indian vaccines from February 2021 and received its first batch of COVAX in April which dispatched Astrazeneca vaccines produced in Asia. There was no effort to prevent the importation of these (safer) vaccines into the country. There just seemed to be a delay between the purchase, delivery and distribution of vaccines.
Of course, this is nonsense — the Supreme Leader’s ban in early 2021 delayed a mass vaccination program because Iran had no alternative to the US- and UK-developed vaccines at the time.
And you fail to note that the delivery from COVAX, the international coalition, included some of the banned vaccines!
In any event, even a glance at Iran’s vaccination rates show only a few percent of the population was covered before August 2021, when Khamenei’s guy Raisi was inaugurated as President.
And never mind that iri kicked out the crew from Doctors Without Boarders who had arrived to help right in the beginning
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Simon Tisdall delivers an extraordinary invective against the Iranian leadership from the pulpit of the Observer (a liberal newspaper): https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/aug/21/iran-gloats-america-plots-but-even-a-nuclear-deal-will-not-tame-tehran
“As Khamenei crows over Rushdie, Biden seeks a revived pact. But make no mistake: this poisonous regime will always need its Great Satan…..The black-turbaned ayatollah’s bigoted, blinkered outlook has been poisoning the well of Iranian politics and society since he first took power in 1989….Such callous gloating reveals a country whose leadership has wholly lost its way, the promise of the 1979 revolution despoiled by a ruling elite’s reactionary and avaricious incompetence….. The question now, as the US and Europe contemplate a revived nuclear deal with Tehran and an end to sanctions, is can this rotten regime be trusted to keep its word? …..? Khamenei’s harshly anti-western, anti-American stance, rooted in questionable theology (scholars dispute his religious credentials), deep paranoia and profound personal ignorance of the world, is Tehran’s dominant political brand…. No matter, apparently, that it impoverishes and isolates Iranians while endangering their neighbours. Israeli leaders are sceptical that so malign and shambolic an adversary will stick to any nuclear agreement.”
Wow! An extraordinary diatribe from a man who blames Iran (mostly) for the region’s woes and absolves the West and Israel of virtually all guilt. Written as a 19th century British imperialist would see the world. Just a few points in response:
1. Iran did keep its word on compliance with the JCPOA and so it is unwarranted for Mr. Tisdall to question Iran’s commitment to the nuclear deal.
2. The reaction in Iran to the Rushdie attack is shared by many Muslims all over the world. Strangely, Mr. Tisdall does not lament the deaths of children in Gaza.
3. Iran helped prevent the disintegration of Syria at the hands of ISIS, the FSA and Al Nusra. It also saved Baghdad and Erbil from falling to ISIS also (with the help of the Americans).
4. Khamenei’s religious credentials as Leader (Vali-e-Faqih) have nothing to do with his stance towards the West.
5. Iran has had crippling sanctions placed on it for pursuing a civilian nuclear program whilst countries like India, who have developed nuclear weapons, have faced no consequences at all. Iran isn’t sanctioning free trade with the West. The United States has done that. Iranian leaders cannot be blamed for sanctions.
Perhaps needless to say, there are factual errors in your reply, notably over the nuclear deal and over Syria.
What the US gets wrong about Iran: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/08/12/opinion/iran-america-nuclear-policy.html
““US-Iran normalisation could prove deeply destabilising to a theocratic government whose organising principle has been premised on fighting American imperialism.”
The article claims Iran needs America as an enemy. Here’s why the United States is a real enemy, not one of political expedience:
1. Not condemning Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in1980 and then, from 1982, supporting the Iraqi dictator .
2. Attacking Iranian oil platforms in 1987 and shooting down and Iranian airliner in 1988 (and blaming Iran).
3. Applying sanctions on the country since 1979, including ramping them up to affect ordinary Iranians.
4. Seeking to isolate and condemn the country as much as possible.
5. Supporting terror groups like PJAK and Jundallah and providing sanctuary for the MEK in Albania.
6. Supporting propaganda against Tehran (like Radio Farda) and regiime destablization in general.
7. Greenlighting cyberattacks and assassinations by the Mossad.
8. Threatening the country with military actions for two decades.
9. Attempting to rename the “Persian Gulf” the “Arabian Gulf”
10. Attempting to seize Iranian overseas assets.
None of those points address the New York Times analysis by Karim Sadjadpour, but thank you for the list.
According to Sadjadpour, Iran needs America as an enemy but also implies that America is not really one. I am merely pointing out that US behaviour towards Iran does show that Washington has been consistently hostile to Tehran over the years. The Iranians have repeatedly tried to repair their relations with the Americans, including sending a message in 2003 that they wanted a grand bargain to address all outstanding issues but Cheney rebuffed it. Khamenei reportedly gave his approval: https://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0118/p99s01-duts.html
Presidents Reagan and Obama at least had a vision for a post-Khomeini and post-Khamenei relationship, respectively, but it never went anywhere for domestic reasons. Clinton tested the waters, but only did so as a lame duck president. Had Trump not pulled out of the JCPOA, and embarked on a campaign of maximum pressure, relations now would be a lot better.
Again, while some of your historical points have validity, you misrepresent Sadjadpour’s analysis, the core of which is here:
“Under Mr. Khamenei’s leadership, anti-Americanism has become central to Iran’s revolutionary identity, and indeed few nations have spent a greater percentage of their finite political and financial capital to try and topple the U.S.-led world order than Iran. On virtually every contemporary American national security concern — including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Chinese threats against Taiwan, nuclear proliferation, and cyberwarfare — Tehran defines its own interests in opposition to the United States.”
Personally, I think this is a bit simplistic regarding the Iranian system, in which there are a range of views on relations with the US. But I think it does capture the prevalent view among Khamenei and his inner circle — and that group is the one which has the primary, if not the sole, decision-making position.
“Personally, I think this is a bit simplistic regarding the Iranian system, in which there are a range of views on relations with the US. But I think it does capture the prevalent view among Khamenei and his inner circle — and that group is the one which has the primary, if not the sole, decision-making position.”
With regards to Iran’s foreign policy, yes, we saw under Khatami and Rouhani major outreaches to the West. Khamenei did not obstruct these efforts even though he was very skeptical of them. We know he is currently wary of Raisi’s policy of detente with Iran’s Gulf Arab neighbours, but respects the new government’s electoral mandate. Khamenei’s worldview (anti-Zionist, anti-globalist, anti-imperialist, anti-corporatist) is one share by most Muslims worldwide.
Your assertion that “Khamenei’s view is shared by most Muslims worldwide” is speculative, to say the least….
Khamenei is accused of anti-semitism on account of his anti-zionism. The ADL has apparently found that 74% of the Muslim-majority MENA (60% in Iran) hold “anti-semitic views”: https://global100.adl.org/map/meast
The top 5 countries that hate America most are Muslim countries: https://time.com/60466/9-countries-that-hate-america-most/
Btw, regarding decision making, I think you’ll find that Iran is not the one-man dictatorship it is often portrayed as. Take a look at the current JCPOA talks. It is clear that the SNSC, chaired by Raisi, and the Majlis, presided by Qalibaf, are going to decide whether to make an agreement or not: https://www.iranintl.com/en/202208176055
Major decisions in Iran are made on the basis of consensus, with the Leader providing his final approval/assent (as according to the constitution).
Wow — you’re struggling here. You’ve cherry-picked an opinion from the ADL (whom you normally denigrate) and then a *2014* poll which is about “US leadership”, not “America”.
And it’s nice to see you finally recognize the multiple actors in Iran — I’ve been telling you for years about the tensions within the Iranian leadership over the nuclear deal.
Do try harder next time.
If so many muslim nations are in agreement with iri why is it the only friends you have are Russians, chinese, Venezuelans and Cubans? And just about every muslim country is in some form of political dispute with you? Even iraq and syria don’t want you on their soil.
“(anti-Zionist, anti-globalist, anti-imperialist, anti-corporatist)”
Tell it again, who owns entire telecommunications industry in iri, who sits on top of “boniyad alavy”(khamenei’s piggy bank of $200 bln) in iri. Who has monopoly in pertro chemical, who are spepah “khatam al anbia” ( a branch of irgc) that no one dares to bid against.
UN Rights Experts Call On Iran To Stop Persecution Of Baha’is, Other Religious Minorities
“Wow — you’re struggling here. You’ve cherry-picked an opinion from the ADL (whom you normally denigrate) and then a *2014* poll which is about “US leadership”, not “America”.
I have no love lost for the ADL, but they did conduct a scientific poll asking questions relating to Jewish influence. Regarding the distinction between Americans and their leaders, I think that is something Khamenei (a big fan of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and black emancipation) appreciates. These are the words of Imam Khomeini, the first leader of the Islamic Republic:
“Iranian feelings are not against the American people, but against the American Government. When they refer to America in their slogans and denunciations, they mean the U.S. Government, not the U.S. people” http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,923858-2,00.html
Personally, I don’t make such a clear distinction since a large section the American people (especially evangelicals) support confrontation with Muslims.
In fact, Khamenei has repeatedly denounced “America” in its entirely — anti-Americanism — beyond criticism of the US Government. His supposed admiration of Uncle Tom’s Cabin has only been to denounce “America” as an inherently unworthy society, given the history of racism and slavery.
Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures