The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is concerned that a sweeping new security law voted by the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) on October 17 adds a new threat to the human rights of ordinary Iranian citizens. The new law criminalizes a wide variety of non-violent political activity, and creates broad categories of "seditious" behavior that are punishable by law. It also creates a sweeping new "national security" provision, which can be used against political opponents both inside and outside Iran. This new law goes far beyond existing statutes in the Islamic Republic and suggests that recent riots in South Tehran and labor strikes in major factories may have destabilized the regime much more than previously thought.
The law imposes a penalty of two to ten years in prison for anyone, regardless of ideology, who forms or leads a group of more than two members, in Iran or abroad, with the aim of threatening the country's security, Tehran radio reported. For defendants who are found by an Islamic court to be "mohareb" - infidels - the penalty is death.
Under this provision, the Islamic Republic could claim legal justification in kidnapping political opponents living outside of Iran. A first instance of this appears to have occurred on September 27, when Ali Tavassoli, a former central committee of the Fedayeen (Majority) Organization, was reportedly kidnapped by Iranian government agents in Baku. Mr. Tavassoli had traveled to Azerbaijan from Britain for a business meeting. According to the Fedayeen he had retired from their active leadership in 1989.
Other provisions of the new law raise the intimidation level against ordinary Iranians for any contact with foreigners or fellow citizens suspect of contact with foreigners.
The new law:
imposes a maximum ten year jail sentence on anyone convicted of passing "confidential" information on Iran's domestic or foreign policies to unauthorized persons;
imposes a maximum ten year jail sentence on "attempts to demoralize the armed forces and the police," including appeals to soldiers to desert;
a maximum five year jail sentence for foreign nationals caught spying in Iran on behalf of a foreign state;
This sweeping new security law is a clear violation of the fundamental human rights of Iranian citizens. The Foundation vigorously condemns these efforts by the Iranian regime, and calls on Iran's Majlis to rescind the law before it goes into effect.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran is a private, non-profit corporation registered in the State of Maryland. Contact: Kenneth R. Timmerman, Executive Director (email@example.com). FDI materials, including the FDI Newswire, are available free-of-charge via the Internet at http://www.iran.org/.