|Friends of Humanity Newsletter|
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We did not publish a newsletter last week due to technical difficulties with our mailing system. I hope that we will not have any problems from now on.
Now let us see what has been happening in the past two weeks.
New Government Fails to Address Human Rights
On February 16, Amnesty International released a new report about Iran under the new government of Ahmadinejad. In this report Amnesty expresses concerns that the standoff between Iran and the West may distract attention from this countryâ€™s human rights abuse record.
"The Iranian government should take concrete steps to improve the human rights situation in the country," said Amnesty International. "The current standoff regarding the country’s nuclear program must not distract the government or the international community from addressing the country’s long- standing human rights problems."
Before the referral of Iranâ€™s nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council, government jail officials warned families of political prisoners that their loved ones will be executed if and when the file was sent to the Security Council. Iranian mullahs say that the whistle on their nuclear activities was blown by the Iranian opposition so they should take revenge by executing political prisoners.
Last week a longtime political prisoner, Hojjat Zamani, disappeared from a government jail. After a few days the families of Mr. Zamani were told that he had been executed. Jail officials, after one week, still refuse to return his body to the family.
Similar reports of intimidations are following in from other prisoners whom their families fear for their lives now.
Amnesty report also expressed deep concerns about the status of freedom of expression and the safety of journalists. â€œIranian legislation severely restricts freedom of expression and association and human rights activists often face reprisals for their work.â€ Amnesty report says adding,â€Harassment, intimidation, attacks, detention, imprisonment and torture of activists and journalists has continued under the new government.â€
According to â€œReporters without Bordersâ€ Ms. Elham Afrootan, 19, a young journalist is currently in a coma after a suspicious attempt to commit suicide in a prison. Ms. Afrootan was arrested after her publication, Tamaddon Hormozgan, published an article claiming that the HIV virus found its way into Iran at the same time Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, entered the country in 1979.
Amnestyâ€™s report continues to ask the authorities in Iran to â€œdemonstrate their respect for the inherent right to life by ordering a moratorium on executionsâ€ and invites this government to take â€œconcrete measures to ensure that the fundamental human rights of all persons in Iran are protected irrespective of their gender, ethnicity and faith."
Who benefits the row over Mohammad Cartoons?
Last week while the international community was busy reprimanding Iran for trying to acquire nuclear weapons, by referring it to the UN Security Council; demonstrations erupted throughout Middle East and Europe condemning the publication of cartoons of prophet Mohammad 4 months earlier in a Danish news paper.
While many Muslim community leaders invite their followers to calm and peaceful protests, Iran and Syria seem to be busy trying to become the heroes of the Muslim world (read fundamentalists) by pumping fuel to the violence.
Speaking to Iranian air force personnel, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said yesterday â€œthe Westâ€™s publication of the prophet Muhammad cartoons was an Israeli conspiracy motivated by anger over Hamas’ win in the Palestinian elections.â€
To get even, an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, has announced a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust. The newspaper made it clear that the contest was a reaction to European newspapersâ€™ publication of cartoons of the prophet and â€œto test whether the West will apply the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide against Jews as it did to the caricatures of the prophet Mohammad.â€
Clearly it seems Tehran is fishing for an opportunity to divert international attention away from its nuclear ambitions which seems like the tactics Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, used to reinforce his power strongholds.
After eight years of war with Iraq in the 1980s, during which Khomeini constantly declared that Iran would continue the war until Bethlehem was conquered (he wanted to conquer Iraq first and from there go to Israel,) when he had to end the war, to divert attention from his failure, he created mayhem by digging up a year old, not so popular book called â€œthe Satanic Versusâ€ from almost nowhere. He issued a religious decree that the book is blasphemous and that the author, Salman Rushti, should be killed for writing the book.
The controversy raised by the decree, although internationally created chaos for Iranâ€™s already troubled diplomatic relations with the West, created so much sympathy in between Muslims world (read fundamentalists) for his regime that it diverted the attention from him losing the war he promised he would fight for ever if he had to.
Although the original publication of Danish cartoons may be simply an irresponsible and unthoughtful act of a newspaper publisher ignorant to sensitive issues, the reprints throughout Europe do seem suspicious, and the violence and attacks and Embassy burning are definitely directed by the Grandfather of fundamentalism and terrorism, the Tehran mullahs.
Dreaming of Iranian-American Relations
A comment on: "Can the U.S. Use Iraq to Get Through to Iran?"
Sleepwalking into Iranian-American relations, in his article in February 8th, International Herald Tribune, Roger Cohen complains of opportunities lost and warns about dangers of an â€œinternational anomalyâ€ with regards to Iran.
More specifically, Cohenâ€™s lost opportunity, the Iranâ€™s former president Khatami (the moderate!) in reality turned out to be a perpetrator. After all, under whose cover did Iran develop such vast nuclear program for 18 years while it fooled the world to look the other way? Remember, Ahmadinejad was only elected a few months ago and all this time the so called moderates were covertly directing the program.
Further on, the author assumes that along side with the United States, Iran also â€œwants Iraqâ€™s experiment to achieve stability.â€ But if he had only bothered to read the news especially during the last elections in Iraq, Mr. Cohen would have notice that Iran has been the major supporter and actively participant of disturbances and terrorist activities in Iraq and the chief fraudster in the elections.
Once again on the subject of U.S. presence in Iraq, Roger Cohen naively assumes that Iran does not â€œwant the United States to leave Iraq and deliver the country into a civil war of unpredictable outcome.â€ By simply checking the Iranian dailies, the author would have noticed that they are filled with wishes of Americans to leave Iraq. Iranâ€™s mullahsâ€™ know for certain that they would be the winner of any absence of central power in Iraq.
Roger Cohenâ€™s fictional strategy for U.S. will surly deliver Iraq into the hands of warmongering mullahs in Iran ensuring the expansion of fundamentalism throughout the Middle East creating the biggest â€œinternational anomalyâ€ the author has ever encountered.