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Nov. 24, 2008: Regime cuts Tehran phone line during VOA broadcast. The regime's intelligence ministry cut the phone line of Parastou Forouhar in Tehran, as she was being interviewed live on Voice of America by Bijan Farhoudi on Saturday, Nov. 22. The VEVAK action shows the continued sensitivity of the regime to any mention of the Forouhar murders, which continue to provide a rallying point for opponents of the regime.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the INP and Marzeporgohar (Iranians for a Secular Republic) hosted a memorial service for the Forouhars that attracted official participants from the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, the Pan-Iranist Party, and the National Movement of Iranian Resistance, the movement launched by former prime minister Shahpour Bakhtiar.

Nov. 21, 2008: Forouhar commemoration in Tehran.
Hundreds of Iranians gathered for the annual commemoration of the 1998 "serial murders" at the Tehran home of Dariush and Parveneh Forouhar, the leaders of the Iran Nation's Party (INP) who were brutally hacked to death by regime agents in their own home. The commemoration was hosted by Arash and Parastou Forouhar, with the active collaboration of the INP and Marzepor Gohar. This year's celebration was complicated by Los Angeles-based Channel One TV, run by Shahram Homayoun, who called on his audience to gather
at the main Tehran cemetary at the same time of the planned Forouhar commemoration, to honor the victims of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

Nov. 20, 2008: People's Fedayan critical of Obama. The self-described Marxist-Leninist Organization of Iranian People's Fedaii Guerillas have issued a harsh statement condemning president-elect Barack Obama for his stated willingness to find an accomodation with the Islamic Republic, and called any U.S. rapprochment with the Islamic Republic as "against the interests of the people of Iran." They reminded the president-elect that the Islamic regime in Iran "has sent hundreds of thousands of opposition forces to the firing squads in the last three decades," and warned that a closer U.S.-Iran relationship "is going to leave the regime in Iran with a nuclear bomb." The full statement is here [pdf].

Nov. 19, 2008: NIAC attempts to silence critics.
FDI has received emails from a number of Iranian-Americans who tried to attend the NIAC event on Tuesday, but were turned away when they tried to register online on the pretext the event was "overbooked." However, NIAC set up a special line at the entry to admit friends of NIAC who had not pre-registered. NIAC goons also attempted to prevent a credentialed reporter unsympathetic to their views from entering the conference room, only to be rebuked by a staff member of conference organizer, Sen. Thomas Carper (D, DE). To prevent embarassing questions (for example, about NIAC's alleged violation of its grants from the National Endowment for Democracy), NIAC staff turned off the microphones positioned at the back of the room, so that unmiked questions from the floor could be screened by Parsi and rephrased to his liking.

Nov. 17, 2008: Newsmax.com: Suspect Group Asks Obama to Stop Pressuring Iran. Excerpt:
Among those who will present the proposals on Tuesday is Joseph Cirincirone, an arms control advocate identified as an “advisor to the Obama transition team,” and Trita Parsi, a pro-Tehran activist who has been lobbying Congress for several years to lift sanctions against Tehran and end U.S. support for the pro-democracy movement. [...]

“It is deeply concerning that a discredited group within the Iranian-American community, with blatantly obvious connections with the Islamic Republic, should be allowed to freely influence Washington's political circles to the detriment of the American peoples' and ultimately, the world community's interests,” the Progressive American-Iranian Committee said in an editorial published on Saturday.

“It is also shocking and difficult to explain that a group labeled by the Iranian regime as the 'Iranian lobby' could so easily penetrate the U.S. Congress,” they added, referring to Parsi’s National Iranian American Council, which is sponsoring Tuesday’s event.

Condemnation of the NIAC conference have come in from all sides. FDI has received statements from monarchist, nationalist, center-left and independent groups. NIAC critic, Hassan Dailoleslam, told FrontPage magazine on Monday he believes the Obama administration will be forced by reality to reject NIAC's capitulationist entreaties and "adopt a more robust policy than what President Bush has been pursuing. Shortly after, those who favor Iran will portray the Obama administration as being under Israeli’s orders and infiltrated by Neocons."

Nov. 14, 2008: Update. Next Tuesday's meeting will begin at 2:30 PM in room 902 of the U.S. Senate Hart building. It is being sponsored by Sen. Thomas Carper (D, DE), who will also give a keynote address, as will Rep. John Tierney (D, MA). NIAC, which is organizing the event, is attempting to prevent Iranian-American activists from attending this meeting, by requiring prior registration. (RSVP to Hormoz Rashidi at
rsvp@niacouncil.org or (202) 386-6324). This is typical for NIAC, and for NIAC president Trita Parsi, who knows that his capitulation policies are deeply unpopular with Iranian-Americans. Parsi has refused to debate with critics such as Hassan Daioleslam or with FDI.
ACTION: Call Sen. Carper's office: 202-224-2441, and Rep. John Tierney's office 202-225-8020 using the script below.

URGENT ACTION:  Nov. 13, 20008: PROTEST NIAC CAPITULATION PLAN

Call Sen. Carper's office: 202-224-2441, and Rep. John Tierney's office 202-225-8020 using the script below

NIAC is at it again. Now they are working together with pro-Tehran regime policy analysts, to propose a disastrous “new” policy for the incoming Obama administration toward Iran.

According to a report from the Associated Press today, they will present their proposals next Tuesday in Congress. Key among the proposals: the U.S. should "back off" on economic and military threats.

"Threats are not cowing Iran and the current regime in Tehran is not in imminent peril," according to a copy of the report obtained by The Associated Press.

The NIAC-sponsored report, written by former U.S. ambassadors Thomas Pickering and James F. Dobbins, Columbia University scholar Gary G. Sick and 17 other experts, calls on the new administration to  "open the door to direct, unconditional and comprehensive negotiations at the senior diplomatic level,” the AP reported.

Recall that Pickering and Dobbins have been working for many years with another pro-regime lobbyist, Hooshang Amirahmadi, and his discredited American-Iranian Council. As for Gary Sick, he coordinated Iran policy in the White House of Jimmy Carter – a credential that ought to disqualify him from uttering the name of “Iran” ever again.

Amirahmadi was recently humiliated during several trips to Tehran by regime government ministers who ridiculed him for trying to curry favor in Washington and Tehran.

URGENT ACTION: CALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO PROTEST THIS GATHERING.

Suggested script:

I am calling to urge you to oppose a new plan being proposed to the Obama administration next Tuesday, that calls for negotiations without preconditions with the clerical dictatorship in Iran.

This plan is being proposed to you by a group of well-known pro-Tehran lobbyists, with no claim of representing the Iranian people or their aspirations.

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran and other pro-democracy groups strongly reject negotiations with the Tehran regime. Negotiations will only embolden the regime to continue its support for terrorism abroad and repression at home. Negotiations are the wrong policy at the wrong time.

[And if you have more time, you can include this]:

Instead of loosening sanctions, as NIAC and the pro-regime lobbyists are urging, I urge you to support stronger, multilateral sanctions at the UN Security Council, and continued financial  sanctions through the U.S. Department of Treasury.

A senior French government official, recently visiting Washington, urged the new administration to abandon the folly of negotiations with Tehran.

“We’ve been negotiating with the Iranians since 2003,” said French nuclear advisor Therese Delpech. “We came to the conclusion that they are not interested at all in negotiating, but in buying time for their military (nuclear) program.”

PLEASE CALL:

The Good Guys:
Call these members to urge them to intervene with their colleagues to cancel this meeting:

• Sen. Joe Lieberman (D, Conn).
Since the report will be presented by law professor Richard Parker of the University of Connecticut, Sen. Lieberman needs to be kept in the loop and can help. Tel: 202 224-4041. Key staffer on Iran: Joe Goffman and Vance Serchuk.
• Rep. Eric Cantor (R, Va).
202-225-2815. Chief of staff, Rob Collins.

• Rep. Trent Franks (R, Az).
202-225-4576 Key staffer: Rebeccah Heinrichs.
• Rep. Brad Sherman (D, Ca).
202-225-5911. Key staffer for Iran: Don MacDonald.
• Rep. Steve Rothman (D, NJ).
202-225-5061. Key staffers: Bob Decheine and Shelly Stoneman
• Rep Steve Israel (D, NY).
202-225-3335. Key staffer, Michael Ryan.
• Rep. Roy Blunt (R, Mo).
202-225-6536. Retiring as minority whip but staying in the House. Key staffer: Brian Diffell.
• Rep. Paul Broun (R, Ga).
202-225-4101

The Bad Guys:
Call these members to shame them for supporting a radical, terrorist regime that continues to murder Americans in Iraq, that represses its own women, jails its journalists, and murders its children.

•Sen. Chuck Hagel (R, NE).
Hagel is retiring after this term, but has been a strong NIAC supporter.202-225-4224.
 Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD).
Van Hollen has helped NIAC in the past and is the chair of the DCCC.  Tel: 202-225-5341. Chief of Staff: Karen Robb.

• Rep. Jim Moran (D, Va).
Moran is arguably NIAC’s biggest supporter. He needs to be shamed.202-225-4376. Chief of Staff: Phil Sunderland

On the Fence:
Call these members to urge them to get involved.

• Rep. Howard Berman (D, CA).
Rep. Berman is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee. 202-225-5021 Key staffer for Iran: Alan Makovsky.

Sept. 25: Demonstrations continue at Ahmadinejad dinner. Blogger Atlas Shrugs has pictures of this protest, across from the Grand Hyatt in New York (which is owned by Obama's National finance chair, heiress Penny Pritzker). Spearheading this protest were the 911 Families, ACT for America, the alliance of Iranian Women, Concerned Women of America, the Center for Security Policy, StandWithUs, and two dozen other organizations. A full list of the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Shame (the guest list) is available from www.925rally.org.

In a glowing report entitled "My Dinner With Ahmadinejad," Wall Street Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi revealed shocking comments made by the bearded boy wonder to a room that periodically (according to Fassihi) burst into sympathetic applause.  "If you don't fix your attitude," Ahmadinejad warned the United States and the West, "then Iran will uproot all the equations in the world and replace it with justice."

Sept. 24: Assadollah Morovati dies in Los Angeles. A figurehead of the iranian exile community in the United States passed away on Thursday. Assadollah Morovati, who arrived penniless in America after the Islamic Revolution, displayed the resourcefulness and patriotism that is the hallmakr of the Iranian-American community. After turning a significant profit on a small real estate investment, Mr Morovati invested his earnings not in self-indulgent pleasures, but in building Radio Voice of Iran (KSRI), whose satellite broadcasts into Iran became a voice of freedom for Iranians. FDI mourns the loss of a man who was a patriot to his home country and to his adopted homeland here in America, and dedicated himself to freedom as few people ever do. RIP.

Sept 23, 2008: FDI joins human rights groups in letter to UN chief, protesting treating of political prisoners.

In a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, FDI joined other 11 human rights organizations and two Iranian political organizations in demanding that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran "release all Kurdish and Iranian political prisoners of conscience." The letter came after 29 days of an "unlimited" hunger strike that began on Aug. 25, 2008 by more than 200 Kurdish prisoners of conscience in Iranian jails. Most of these prisoners "have been subjected to severe torture,  arbitrary arrest, and denied the right to an attorney," the letter states. "Many have signed forced confessions under torture, and are ill treated in prison, where their dignity and civil rights are being violated on a regular basis."

Among the signatories were the Leadership Human Rights Council, the American Kurdish Association, the Kurdish American Education Society, the Ahwaz Human Rights Organizaiton, the Society for Human Rights in Iran, Willing Heart Mission, american Friends of Baluchistan, and the Free Life Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PJAK).

Sept 22, 2008: Mass protests of Ahmadinejad visit to the UN in New York. Over 20,000 protesters gathered in New York on Monday, Sept 22, on the eve of this year's visit to the UN by Ahmadinejad, at an event across from the UN.. The protest organizers had initially invited Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY) and Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin to address the rally. But after the Obama campaign urged Hillary Clinton pulled out, Jewish Democrats "disinvited" Sarah Palin and the demonstration was a dud. (The New Yortk  Here was a great opportunity for a display of bi-partisan determination to stop the Islamic Republic from going nuclear, sabotaged by Democrats for partisan political purposes.

Aug. 6, 2008: Opposition journalist executed in Zahedan. A 28-year old Iranian Baluchi journalist, Yaghub Mehrnehad, was executed in public in the capital of Iranian Baluchestan on Monday. Mehrnehad was a member of the secular nationalist Marze Por Gohar party, but was accused by the regime of ties to Jondollah, a violent group based in Pakistan that has slaughtered Iranian policemen and Revolutionary Guards soldiers after taking them hostage. In a statement released in Los Angeles today, MPG called the allegations that Mehrnehad had ties to Jondollah "a smear," and called him "a true patriot."

"In the Islamic Republic of Iran, dissidents destined for conviction and execution, are usually charged with numerous and outrageous offenses in order to prevent human rights organizations from coming to their defense," an MPG spokesperson said.

According to Amnesty International, Mehrnehad was arrested in May 2007 after an article he wrote in the reformist newspaper, Mardomsalar ("People's Rule"), angered the regime. Mehrnehad also had founded an NGO called Sedaye Edalat ("Voice of Justice").

July 27, 2008: Opposition group demonstrates at Tehran funeral. Supporters of Marze Por Gohar, a secular nationalist party inside Iran, demonstrated at the funeral of prominent Iranian actor Khosrow Shakibai in Tehran last week, in defiance of regime officials. MPG supporters carried anti-regime political posters, with the MPG logo clearly in evidence, and booed a regime official when he attempted to read a message from president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (Go here for more pictures from the funeral). Shakibai, who made his first film in 1982, became a cult figure when he starred in the 1989 film, Hamoun. (Read the Wiki bio of Shakibai here).

The Iranian regime is starting to pay attention to the activities of MPG, whose founder, Roozbeh Farahanipour, was a key figure during the 1999 student uprising in Tehran. At the time, Farahanipour worked closely with Khosrow Seif, who succeeded Darioush Forouhar as secretary general of the Iran Nation's Party after Forouhar and his wife Parvaneh were brutally murdered in their Tehran home in November 1998.

During this year's anniversary of the 1999 uprising, Farahanipour appeared with Khosrow Seif and other leaders of the 1999 student uprising on a day-long satellite program beamed into Iran by PARS TV, based in Los Angeles. According to PARS TV president, Amir Shadjareh, the Iranian regime responded immediately to the broadcast by jamming PARS TV signals in the following days so the channel could not be seen inside Iran. The jamming was "no accident," Shadjareh said. "This act of terrorism happened immediately after the special program commemorating the 18th of Tir [July 9th] Student uprising of 1999...."

June 19, 2008: NIAC  reportedly spent U.S. Congressional funds on regime-affiliated agencies in Tehran! In stunning revelations that appeared in Frontpage magazine today, Iranian research Hassan Daioleslam reveals that the National Iranian American Council used money from a 2002 grant from the National Endowment for Democracy to train officials at an Iranian state-affiliated agency in Tehran, contrary to the stated purpose of the NED grant. While the money was appropriated by Congress to promote civil society in Iran, NIAC "spent these funds on trivial activities aimed at enhancing false-flag Iranian NGOs, that were in fact managed and controlled by Iranian Deputy Ministers or high level officials - making a mockery of the term “Non-Governmental," Daioleslam writes. Among the Tehran-based "NGO's that were assisted by NIAC under the NED grant was an outfit called Hamyran, which "is not an NGO but a government initiated false flag agency... managed by the deputy minister and undersecretary of health, Hossein Malek-Afzali," Dailoleslam added. A second "NGO" aided by NIAC under the NED grant was the Family Planning Association, also headed by Malek-Afzali and Iranian government official Safieh Afshari.

June 1, 2008: The latest report from the IAEA secretariat to the Board of Governors shows that Iran is rapidly expanding its uranium enrichment installations in Natanz. In the report, the IAEA says Iran has operated its first 3,000 centrifuge "unit" for the past year, and is in the process of isntalling four other similar-sized units. (A single 3,000 centrifuge unit has the capability, if so used, to produce enough highly-enriched uranium for a bomb per year, according to most estimates). Since February 2007, Iran has fed 3,970 kg of UF6 into the cascades.

The report also includes an appendix listing the documents IAEA received - and now has shown Iran - relating to alleged  nuclear weapons work and design of a nuclear-capable warhead for the Shahab-3 missile.

The full report can be downloaded here.

May 29, 2008: Monarchist reportedly faces imminent execution in Tehran. Dr. Forood Fouladvand,  a self-styled monarchist who disappeared along with two associates on the Turkish border with Iran on Jan. 17, 2007, now faces imminent execution by the Iranian authorities, Iranian exiles in London tell FDI. According to these sources, Dr. Fouladvand will be executed tomorrow. "He is like the Robert Spencer of Iran," one supporter in London said. "He has been studying Islamic texts and using them to convince people to leave Islam" on radio and satellite television broadcasts from London.

Dr. Fouladvand heads a group called Anjomane  Padeshahi Iran (API), the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, which advocates restoration of the constitutional monarchy abolished by the Islamic Republic in 1979. He had gone to Iran, apparently lured by promises from an opposition group that was either infiltrated by the regime or that had been cooped by the regime.  Fouladvand was traveling with a fake passport under the name of Jahangir Irani and disappeared along with two supporters, identified on his website as Simorgh and Kouroshe Lor.

Over the past few years, The Kingdom Assembly of Iran has staged a number of high-profile protests against the regime in Europe, prompting the British authorities to raid Dr. Fouladvand's offices in London on June 17, 2005, the day of the Iranian presidential elections, According to the official police report, Scotland Yard issued a search warrant under the Terrorism Act of 2000 on the grounds that "Fouladvand has been been campaign for the overthrow of the Iranian government via satellite broadcasts" and was "raising money to facilitate this action" on television. In addition to beating Dr. Fouladvand and several supporters, and confiscating computers and other documents, the British authorities seized a briefcase containing £7,262.41 in cash which they claimed had been raised "for the unlawful overthrow of the Iranian government." So far, the British government has not apologized for its action or returned the money.

May 15, 2008: NIAC and Parsi file lawsuit against critics. The National Iranian American Council and its president, Trita Parsi, have filed a civil lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia against Hassan Daioleslam, alleging that recent articles he has published defamed and harmed their reputation. In a press release today, NIAC claimed that Daioleslam "mischaracterized NIAC's anti-war and pro-diplomacy activities as serving the interest of the Iranian government." (Gee, if this were true, it sounds like what the New York Times does with Republicans every day!). "[D]despite NIAC's efforts, Daioleslam has continued to do nothing but defame NIAC through defamation," the press release states. The group, which Daioleslam has called "the Iranian lobby" in the United States, then tossed out a piece of malicious slander of its own, alleging that Daioleslam "has been identified by former members of the terrorist-listed Mujahedin organization as a member of the group's executive committee," an allegation which they know is demonstrably false.

In the complaint, NIAC claims that factual assertions made by Daioleslam "are false," even though Daioleslam backed up those assetions with documents made available through Internet links so that readers could judge the merit of his claims. NIAC and Parsi take issue with Daioleslam's account of how NIAC was founded, its relationship to Iranian oil consultant and middle man, Siamack Namazi, the efforts of former Iranian deputy foreign minister Sadegh Kharrazi to encourage the creation a pro-Tehran lobby, and Parsi's part in releasing to the public a 2003 negotiation offer by the Iranian regime, which Washington rejected after Tehran was caught backing the May 2003 al Qaeda attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

In a recent interview with Frontpage magazine, Daioleslam describes in detail the Iranian government strategy to create a pro-regime lobby in the United States, and attributes that strategy to Sadegh Kharazzi.  Trita Parsi and Siamak Namazi used precisely the same logic in a 1999 paper they co-authored and presented at an international conference, in which they advocated the creation of an "Iranian-American lobby... needed in order to create a balance between the competing Middle Eastern lobbies." (Daioleslam's response in Persian is here.)

In recent months, Iranian-Americans have protested NIAC events in California and elsewhere. So far, Iranian-Americans have responded overwhelmingly in Daioleslam's support. "We should treat this lawsuit as if we were all sued by NIAC," one UCLA student wrote. "It should be treated like a political campaign, where Mr. Daioleslam should not have to worry."

Update: Dr. Mohammad Parvin, director of MEHR, has  taken apart NIAC's recent efforts to recast themselves as a human rights organization. "Being exposed and on the run, NIAC has discovered that to remain an active promoter of IRI, a little lip service to human rights doesn’t hurt," Dr. Parvin writes at FrontPage magazine.

May 14, 2008: Protests in Tehran and Bandar Abbas over bad blood. A group of Thalassemia patients who receive blood every month have protested poor health conditions and tainted blood in Iranian hospitals in Bandar Abbas and Hormozogan province. (The slogan on the yellow jersey worn by the young woman at left reads "Clean Blood.")

Yesterday, a patients rights group presented a letter of protest to Minister of Health and Treatyment, Dr. Kamran Bagheri Lankarani, requesting that the ministry correct problems that led to patients contracting Hepatitus and HIV from tainted blood. "Mr. Minister, these are some issues of great concern which we humbly request you to act upon; but if you cannot do anything for us Thalassemia patients of Iran and in particular of the Hormozgan province, then we demand your resignation." Dr. Lankarani has agreed to meet with representatives of the Thalassemia patients this Saturday. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that makes patients anemic and that is normally treated through regular blood transfusions.

For more coverage, including photographs of slogans carried at the demonstration in Bandar Abbas, go here.

April 7, 2008: Iranian-Americans petition Sen. Feinstein to withdraw from NIAC event. The Mission for the Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR) has launched an on-line petition, asking Sen. Diane Feinstein to withdraw from tomorrow's NIAC event on Capitol Hill. Noting the Senator's reputation as a human rights advocate, MEHR said, "NIAC is a group that lobbies for the unconditional relations  with the religious dictatorship in  Iran  and for making this possible has tried hard to de-emphasize the daily human rights violation in  Iran. Reza Pardisian has included full contact information for Sen. Feinstein. And Dr. Saeed Ganji has faxed a more detailed letter to Sen. Feinstein, urging her to withdraw from the NIAC. event.

Dr. Mohammad Parvin and Hassan Daioleslam reveal in "Flirting with the Mullahs" that an Iranian-American Democrat party activist, Afshine Afshar, has played an active role in the "Iran lobby," setting up the Iranian Trade Association in 1997 to introduce U.S. oil companies to senior Iranian government offi8cials.

April 4, 2008: Death sentences commuted for Ayatollah Borujerdi followers. Ten followers of dissident cleric Ayatollah Borujerdi, initially sentenced to be executed this May, have been given jail sentences ranging from two years to five years by the Special Court of the Clergy in Tehran. While none of the ten are clerics themselves, their "offense" was supporting Ayatollah Borujerdi's belief in secular government. The ten were:

  • Masood Samavatian: five years exile to a prison in Khorram Abad city
  • Ali Reza Montazer Saheb: 4 years exile to a prison in Kermanshah city.
  • Ali Shahrabi Farahani: 4 years exile to a prison in Kerman city.
  • Habib Ghovvati: 4 years exile to a prison in Hamedan city.
  • Ahmad Karimiyan: 4 years exile to a prison in Semnan city.
  • Majid Alasti: 4 years exile to a prison in Zanjan city.
  • Mehrdad Sori, Mohammad Reza Sadegi, Hassan Harischiyan, and Ali Arbabi: 2 years prison in Tehran
April 3, 2008: Commerce Department fines British group for exporting U.S. planes to Iran.  The Iranian Web of Influence in the United States, by Hassan Daioleslam, describes the ties between Balli Group in the United Kingdom, key influence brokers in Iran, and the pro-Iran lobby in the United States.

NIAC, the most prominent pro-regime lobbying group in the United States, will be lobbying Congress next week to "reassess" U.S. policy toward Iran and to "break the U.S.-Iran stalemate" - as if U.S. actions had caused the Islamic Republic to deny basic human and political rights to its own citizens, develop nuclear weapons, and murder Americans in Iraq. The NIAC event on Tuesday, April 8, 20008, will be hosted by Sen. Diane Feinstein (D, CA). California residents and other concerned citizens can contact Sen. Feinstein at 202-224-3841, or by fax at 202-228-3954. Download a sample letter sent to Sen. Feinstein by Dr. Saeed Ganji of the National Union for Democracy in Iran.

April 1, 2008: Dr. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi reveals "Salvation Committee" to help Iranian defectors. In an interview with Newsmax.com, Dr. Ebrahimi describes his role in the escape of Gen.Alireza Ashgari.  Ebrahimi said that Asghari later expressed concern that U.S. intelligence analysts were "cherrypicking" his information, to make it appear that Iran had stopped its nuclear weapons program, when this was not the case. He urged Ebrahimi to help other defectors to escape Iran, and effort that FDI applauds.

March 31, 2008: More on Ebrahimi release. Since returning to Germany, Dr. Ebrahimi reconfirmed to FDI that the Iranian authorities were seeking his extradition in connection with his role in facilitating the defection of former deputy defense minister Gen. Alireza Asghari, who fled Iran early last year and provided key details of Iran's involvement in international terrorism and its nuclear weapons programs to the West. The LA Times has written about this story here.

Ebrahimi thanked the Foundation for our efforts in obtaining his release. "I appreciate the work FDI and other organizations did  to help me during this difficult time," he said.

In addition, the Foundation has received a letter of appreciation from "Bahram," the spokesman for the Organization of the Iranian People Fedaii Guerillas, applauding our "courageous and timely decision" to intervene with the Turkish authorities on Ebrahimi's behalf. "I feel obliged to appreciated your continue[d] support, sense of responsibility, and humanitarian spirit," Bahram wrote. [PDF file of the Fedaii letter].

March 28, 2008: FDI thanks U.S. government for its help in securing the release of Dr. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, who was returned to Germany this afternoon. After several hours in a German hospital, where his bruises from being beaten by the Turkish airport police were treated, Amir Farshad is now free ....A special thanks to the foreign service officers who labored throughout the night to secure Amir Farshad's release. We have just learned that instead of putting him on the 8 AM flight to Tehran, as the Islamic Republic representatives in Istanbul had demanded, the Turkish authorities allowed him to fly back to Germany on Turkish Airways flight 1723 this afternoon.

“Under international law, if the Turks do not want to admit him to Turkey they are required to send him back to Germany, where he was a political refugee, and not to Iran,” a U.S. official told FDI. “This was handled at a very high level,” the official added.

Without these efforts, and the pressure from human rights groups in Los Angeles, Stockholm, and elsewhere, Amir Farshad would be back in Iran and undoubtedly dead within days. Instead, he is now back in Germany, where he remains under close surveillance by both the German authorities and by Iranian intelligence. We also want to thank the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC, which transmitted letters of concern from FDI and from other human rights organizations to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara, and the U.S. regional security officers who worked beyond the call of duty.

FDI is concerned not only with the case of Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, but with other political refugees now living in Germany who live in a state of constant fear, under double harrassment from the Iranian regime and from the German government. We have seen several other cases where refugees with legitimate travel documents have been denied the ability to board aircraft by the German authorities, on the pretext they had not cleared their travel first with the German government. As the Soviet era demonstrated so clearly, freedom of movement is one of the first requirements of a free society. FDI calls on its partners and friends to use their influence to convince the U.S. government to make it easier for Iranian political refugees to come to this country, where they can live freely and without fear.

UPDATE 9 PM Eastern, March 27, 2008: In a subsequent call from his mobile, Dr. Ebrahimi said that a Turkish lawyer he had called for help had come to the airport, but was not allowed by the Turkish authorities to visit him. After she tried to reach him, Dr. Ebrahimi says that he was beaten by the Turkish guards, then locked in a bathroom in the detention center. According to Pooya Dayanim, a Los Angeles-based activist who spoke to Dr. Ebrahimi later in the evening, the Turkish authorities were planning to deport him on the 8 AM Iran Air Flight to Tehran on Friday, March 28.

March 27, 2008: URGENT APPEAL. Iranian Human Rights Arrested in Turkey, threatened with deportation to Iran.  Turkish authorities arrested an Iranian human rights activist on Thursday as he was getting off a plane from Germany at Istanbul airport, and are threatening to deport him to Iran. The activist, Dr. Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, fled Iran in 2003 and has become an outspoken opponent of the Tehran regime. FDI reached him shortly before 6 PM Eastern time on Thursday on his mobile phone while he was in a holding cell at the Istanbul airport. Dr. Ebrahimi confirmed that an Iranian intelligence officer, who identified himself as Mohammad Taghi Esfahani, had just arrived in the holding area and had presented an official document to the Turkish police demanding that Dr. Ebrahimi be immediately deported to Iran. See the reporting on Dr. Ebrahimi's plight at Newsmax.

FDI has no doubt that Dr. Ebrahimi will be tortured and executed if he is returned to Iran, and calls on all activists and human rights organizations to immediately contact the Turkish embassy in Washington, DC, and Turkish consulates elsewhere in the United States and Europe, as well as the German embassy and consulates. Dr. Ebrahimi is a political refugee and is a legal resident of Germany.

March 20, 2008: Rev. Guards Air Force overflies northern Iraq. Reports from FDI sources inside Iran and from northern Iraq this morning confirmed that Rev. Guards aircraft have been conducting surveillance flights inside northern Iraq this morning in areas controlled by PJAK guerillas. This is the first time that Iranian government aircraft are known to have violated Iraqi airspace in recent years. Meanwhile, Rev. Guards artillery units continued to shell PJAK-controlled areas near Qalat Dizeh this morning, according to local reports and PUK media.

March 15, 2008: Tehran police chief arrested in sex scandal. You thought it only happened in Miami Vice? Or with Eliot Spitzer in New York? How about Tehran human trafficking? The commander of Tehran police, Gen. Reza Zarei, was quietly arrested earlier this month after he was found in a house of disrepute, naked, in the company of six prostitutes. (Hat tip to Yari in Los Angeles and to the reporting of Rooz-online). The news of Zarei's downfall surfaced two days ago in a student newsletter at Amir Kabir university who reported that Judiciary chief Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi personally ordered the arrest out of fear that Zarei was being protected by chief Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortezavi. One rumor currently making the rounds is that Shahroudi has 60 hours of video-tape of Gen. Zarei in various states of undress with both female and male prostitutes. Given that the rumors of Zarei's behavior were circulating widely around Tehran, the Judiciary chief reportedly feared massive popular unrest if Zarei's actions were allowed to go unpunished.

March 13, 2008: Iran and Turkey resume joint shelling of PJAK areas in northern Iraq. FDI sources in Iran and in northern Iraq report this morning that Iran and Turkey have resumed joint artillery attacks on PJAK-controlled areas in the Qalat Dizeh area of northern Iraq along the Iranian border, hundreds of kilometers to the east of the area invaded by Turkish troops near Dohuk last month. (The photo at left shows a Kurdish village that was hit by shelling in the same region last August. ) Plans for this latest coordinated Iran-Turkey attack on anti-Iranian regime Kurds were finalized during a two-day visit to Ankara by Iranian deputy foreign minister Alireza Sheikhattar last week, FDI sources in Tehran reported. Iranian revolutionary guards units are preparing for a "new round of major military operations against PJAK," our sources added. Last night, the Mehr news agency, which is affiliated with the Tehran regime, reported that two teams of PJAK rebels clashed with regime forces inside Iran and quoted the deputy Governor General of Kurdistan province as claiming that all members of the PJAK teams had been killed. From FDI's own experience with PJAK fighters (see below), the Iranian government claim appears to be wildly exagerated. PJAK repatriates slain fighters and buries them in a special cemetary in the Qalat Dizeh region. (Photos Copyright©2007-2008, Kenneth R. Timmerman).

March 10, 2008: On the eve of sham elections, Iranian parliament hears apostasy law. The Iranian Parliament is considering legislation that would make apostasy a crime punishable by death. While similar provisions are in force through Shari'a law courts in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the new law if adopted will become part of Iran's penal code. Article 5 of the proposed law institutes the death penalty for anyone who is born of Muslim who professes another religion after the age of majority and includes an extraterritoriality provision that enables Iran to hunt down "apostates" around the world. "This proposed law goes against all human rights norms and standards, including international treaties that Iran itself has agreed to," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. "The text uses the word Hadd, meaning that it explicitly sets death as a fixed punishment that cannot be changed, reduced or annulled," said Ms. Dugal. "In the past, the death penalty has been handed down -- and also carried out -- in apostasy cases, but it has never before been set down in law. Click here for a Persian language PDF of the draft law; here for an English translation.

March 2, 2008: Smuggled video footage of mass pro-freedom demonstration in Tehran. Cellphone video footage of "Arya Shahr" pro-freedom march in Tehran in early march, 2008. Demonstrators chant, "We don't want this Islamic theocratic rule!"

Feb. 14, 2008: New footage of group hangings smuggled out. Activists working with Marzeporgohar, a nationalist party operating clandestinely inside Iran, have smuggled out video footage of a group hanging that took place last month in the city of Sanadaj.

Feb. 11, 2008: Torture of students continues at Evin Section 209. Scores of students arrested over the past three months continue to be tortured inside the notorious "political section" of Evin prison, aaccording to the Iranian Political Prisoners Association. Some have have exhorbitant amounts, ranging from $53,000 to $107,000, to get temporarily released on bail. Student activist Emada-Aldin Baghi was tortured so severely that he was transferred to the prison hospital on Dec. 26, 2007.

Feb. 6, 2008: In testimony before the Senate Select committee on Intelligence today, the Director of National Intelligence, Admiral Mike McConnell, appeared to walk back the most dramatic conclusions of the much-disputed NIE on Iran released in December. Under questioning from skeptical Senators, McConnell said, “I think I would change the way that we described the nuclear program. I would argue, maybe even the least significant portion — was halted and there are other parts that continue.” Democratic Senator Evan Bahr excoriated the NIE for “unintended consequences that, in my own view, are damaging to the national security interests of our country.”

Dec. 11, 2007: Germany ignores protests, frees assassins. Reuters is reporting today that the German government  has granted early release to two men given life prison sentences for the 1992 Mykonos restaurant killings of Kurdish dissident leaders despite widespread protests. Germany's Chief Federal Prosecutor Monika Harms decided in October there was no legal reason to delay the early release of Iranian Kazem Darabi and his Lebanese accomplice, Abbas Rhayel. German government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said both men had been released and were being flown out of the country.

The two were released on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. "This was a slap in the face of the people who were killed," said Iranian dissident Sardar Hardar. "This just sends the wrong message, a message of weakness to Tehran."

Here is the latest reporting on the disputed National Intelligence Estimate on Iranian nuclear weapons development:

• Dec. 10: The Daily Telegraph quotes sources who say the CIA "was hoodwinked" by Iran on the NIE
• Dec. 8: In Tehran, Iranian intelligence official Hossein Shariatmadari, who writes a regular commentary in intelligence-ministry-owned Kayhan daily, "reveals" in his column today that FDI president Timmerman, "who heads the Iran desk at CIA," is following a "four-layer plan" to topple the regime in Tehran. (We couldn't invent this stuff if we wanted!)
• Dec. 7: Ken Timmerman reports at Newsmax of mounting skepticism over the NIE, including scathing comments from Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House inteligence committee. In a Commentary piece in the Washington Times, Timmerman writes of "nuclear deceptions" giving rise to a false sense of "peace in our time" with Iran.
• Dec 6: John Bolton critiques the NIE in a Washington Post oped.
• Dec. 5: Tom Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard questions the involvement of former State Department official Thomas Fingar in writing the NIE.
• Dec. 4: Ken Timmerman at Newsmax says that US intelligence was "possibly duped by Iran." Bill Gertz at the Washington Times says the NIE was based on reports from Iranian defector Alireza Asgari.

Nov. 8, 2007: "This Pretty Much Kills the Iran Democracy Program," former State Department official Scott Carpenter tells the New York Sun. In a stunning interview, Carpenter warned that sending the $20 million set aside for Iran democracy programs to the newly-created Office of Iranian Affairs office "pretty much kills the Iran Democracy Program." He also revealed the intense, behind-the-scenes battle at State to scuttle the program from the get-go.

"From the beginning there was a concern among the foreign service that was magnified when David Satterfield when took over as principle deputy assistant secretary, that the Iran democracy program was not being coordinated well enough with the rest of Iran policy. They thought it was too provocative and too forward leaning," Carpenter said. "It would complicate the relationship, even the prospect of a relationship, with Iran."

David Satterfield was hastily sent to Iraq in 2004 after he was identified as a "person of interest" in the AIPAC/Larry Franklin case, thus making him unavailable to federal prosecutors eager to identify government officials who may have provided classified information to individuals not authorized to receive it.

Nov. 6, 2007: FDI letter a success. Turkish Prime Minister declared himself "happy" with his White House meeting yesterday with President Bush, but State Department officials said the President refused to give Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan a green light to invade northern Iraq. According to FDI sources, the President told Prime Minister Erdogan that invading northern Iraq "would only benefit Iran," and would "harm U.S. interests" in Iraq, and told the Turkish Prime minister such a move would jeopardize U.S.-Turkish relations.

Nov. 5, 2007: FDI has sent a letter to President George W. Bush, urging him not to give Turkey a green light to invade northern Iraq. In the letter, delivered via National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, FDI presented the President with the conclusions from a recent fact-finding tour of Iranian Kurdish bases in Northern Iraq, and warned against the military and strategic alliance between Turkey and the Islamic Republic to fight the Kurds. "A Turkish invasion of northern Iraq will not only destabilize a peaceful, prosperous, and pro-American region of Iraq: it will directly benefit the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran," FDI wrote.

Turkey and Iran are claiming that the Party of Free Life of Iranian Kurdistan, commonly known as PJAK ,s the Iranian "branch" of the PKK. "Indeed, it is our opinion that Prime Minister Erdogan, is acting as a stalking horse for the Islamic Republic of Iran in this matter," the letter states.

The letter describes PJAK as the "only Iranian opposition group that has launched a comprehensive political and military struggle against the Iranian regime.

Furthermore, the letter describes PJAK as "an independent, pro-American group, totally separate from the PKK, that has served America’s strategic interests since 2003 by preventing the infiltration of Iranian-backed insurgents and weapons into Iraq from Iran in the areas of the Qandil mountains under their control."

The FDI letter was co-signed by the Hon. David Beasely (former Governor of South Carolina), Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, and the leaders of ten other organizations. Download the complete letter here. Read the letter on the web.

Ken Timmerman reported on his trip to PJAK rebel bases in northern Iraq at Newsmax.com, and wrote in detail about the origins of PJAK.

Nov. 4, 2007: Masoume Mansoori, a student at Amir kabir University, was detained on Oct. 25 while collecting her father's belongings from the public prosecutor's office. Her arrest follows the arrest of her father, and threats to other family members not to speak about the detentions. (Thanks to the Iranian Political Prisoners Association).

Sept. 26, 2007: Two Kurdish students at Tehran university transferred to Section 209 of Evin prison. The Iranian Political Prisoners Association announced today that the two students,  Hedayat Ghazali and Sabah Nasri, were sent to Evin's notorious political prisoner block after 55 days of confinement and torture in Sanandaj.

Sept. 25, 2007: Elisa Davidovitz tears up her Columbia journalism school diploma to protest Columbia University's invitation to Ahmadinejad yesterday. Click here for the story. Go to Newsmax.com for more coverage. (Photo by Kenneth R. Timmerman/Newsmax.com)

Sept. 22, 2007: Join FDI and dozens of other groups at Columbia University on Monday, Sept. 23, 2007 from 1-3 PM (W. 116th and Broadway)

FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman will be speaking  at the rally and on CNBC's Power Lunch at 1:40 pm Eastern. (Please note: Because of the rally, we will not be updating this site  on Monday).

Read Timmerman's column on the Ahmadnejad visit in Monday's edition of FrontPage magazine

FDI will also be joining the World Council for Cedars Revolution and the Reform Party of Syria at  Dag Hammarskjold Plaza  -  Across from the UN, 12 Noon; (2nd Avenue at 47th Street).



STUDENTS ATTENDING THE AHMADINEJAD SPEECH: HERE are a few suggestions of "how to behave" with Ahmadinejad from the Yari National Group:

1. If you know of a streaker....

2. Female students who are attending, please dress as little as it is possible to dress, expose much of your body.

3. Have pages of "Satanic Verses" by author, Salman Rushdie re-printed and give it as handout/gift to his entourage attending his speech.

4. Female students, remember 1970's women's liberation Movement? Please do burn your bra's  front of Mr. Ahmadi Nejad! This action will be in support for your bonded sisters in Iran who are constantly being beaten, tortured and imprisoned for requesting equal rights with men.

5. All of you try your best to shake hands with Ahmadi Nejad. Specially the female students. This action will also break his fasting and will bring major protest from his Mullah Bosses in Iran.

Please try to do your best to make it very uncomfortable while he is among you. Show him what true democracy is all about.
 
After all, back home, for simplest student complaint, they will land in jail and sometime hanged!

Sept. 21, 2007: Columbia University speech is on. Bloomberg News service apparently confused last year's cancellation by Columbia of Ahmadinejad with this year. The Monday afternoon speech is on - and has been cleverely scheduled to correspond with the main anti-Ahmadinejad demonstration at UN Plaza in New York organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Newt Gingrich revealed on FoxNews this morning that the New York Times editorial board will host Ahmadinejad for lunch at the Four Seasons hotel on Monday.  "That is like hosting Adolf Hitler to lunch in 1940," said Dave Bossie of Citizens United.

Update: Hotair.com said this afternoon that the NY Times luncheon was a "joke," but Ahmadinejad is planning to meet the press - via a live video-link with the National Press Club in Washington, DC. And this one does NOT appear to be a joke!

Sept. 20, 2007: • Update, 4:41 PM: Ahmadinejad tells Scott Pelly of CBS 60 Minutes he is "amazed" that Americans are upset about him going to Ground Zero, and hints he may drop that part of his trip. But don't bet on it. You can send an email to the US Secret Service, who will handle his security (now that NYPD says it won't), to protest their action.(More phone numbers, here)

Michelle Malkin links to this hotair.com soundbite from Sen. John McCain, who says Ahmadinejad should be "physically restrained, if necessary" to prevent him from desecrating hallowed ground.

• Update, 1:45 PM: The latest is that Ahmadinejad will attempt to desecrate Ground Zero at 10 AM on Monday....

• Earlier today: Despite the refusal by the NYPD, Foxnews reported this morning that Ahmadinejad still plans to come to Ground Zero on Monday, and will only be barred from the September 11 memorial area.

FDI will be there! Along with partners in the Washington, DC area, we will be chartering buses to bring freedom-lovers to New York on Monday to prevent Ahmadinejad from desecretating hallowed ground.

We need your financial support, and your bodies. Please email us directly if you can help or read more about our appeal and what we plan to do.

Here are a few additional steps you can take.

11:05 AM [breaking]: President Bush answering a question about the Ahmadinejad trip at his live press conference: "I can understand why [the NYPD] would not want somebody who's running a State sponsor of terror down there."

Sept. 19, 2007: Update to Ahmadinejad tour: The New York Times reported two hours after comments started streaming into to Mayor Bloomberg's office following our blast email (below) that the City has denied the Ahmadinejad request. Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, a Republican, and Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, vigorously denounced the proposed Ground Zero visit. But that didn't deter Columbia University from maintaining its invitation to the man who openly says his goal is to "destroy America" and to "wipe Israel off the face of the map." Major American Jewish groups are planning a mass protest of the Ahmadinejad visit. We will update our readers on protests planned by Iranian-Americans as more details become available.

Just Say No! to Ahmadinejad tour of Ground Zero. FDI is calling on all Americans, regardless of their origin or political beliefs, to contact the office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to oppose allowing Ahmadinejad to tour Ground Zero during his visit to New York next week.  NY City police commissioner Raymond Kelly announced today that the Mayor's office was "in discussions" with the Iranian regime's Permanent UN mission and the U.S. Secret Service to arrange the visit. FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman called an Ahmadinejad tour of Ground Zero an "unconscionable outrage to the memories of our dead," and warned that the Iranian president was seeking "bragging rights" with his terrorist friends. Download our full statement as a Word doc, or as a PDF file.

Sept 17, 2007: Iran cuts off Google and gmail access. In an apparent response to the recent Israeli airstrike on Syria, Iran confirmed today that it had cut off access to Google, gmail, and other international servers, the quasi-official Mehr news agency reported today. "I can confirm these sites have been filtered," said Hamid Shahriari, the secretary of Iran's National Council of Information.

- State Department releases religious freedom report. The State Department's annual report on the status of religious freedom around the world found continued repression on religious ground of minorities in Iran. The government in Iran continued to harass non-Shia Muslims and excluside them from universities and government employment, while offering to lift those restrictions if they abandoned their faith and converted to Jaafari (Shia) Islam, the report found. While President Ahmadinejad "called for an end to the development of Christianity in the country," nevertheless "Christian groups outside the country reported the growth of underground churches in the country during the reporting period." Read the report (PDF document)(hot link to State Department website).

Sept. 16, 2007: French foreign mininster Bernard Kouchner warned that Iran's leaders that war was coming if they didn't halt their nuclear programs.

Sept. 11, 2007: The Islamic Republic authorities have executed three Ahwazi activists, Ahwazi Iranian activists said today. Abdolareza Nawaseri, 34, who was put to death today was the older brother of another Ahwazi activist hanged in Ahwaz city in March 2006. Fifteen Ahwazi political activists have been executed in recent months, according to the London-based British-Ahwazi Friendship Society.

Sept. 6, 2007: Sen. Lieberman voices strong support for democracy program. In a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Joe Lieberman urged Congress to restore the full $75 million the administration had requested to fund pro-democracy programs in Iran. Lieberman blasted colleagues who sought to decrease funding for the programs, arguing that the money only provoked the regime."Do we give less to democracy advocates in Myanmar or Zimbabwe or Belarus when they are being harassed by the regime?  On the contrary, it is precisely when dissidents are under attack that they need more help, not less, from the United States," Lieberman said."Does anyone in this chamber seriously believe that, if we give less money to the civil society leaders in Iran that the Iranian regime will repress them any less?" Read Lieberman's full statement here.

Sept. 5, 2007: "Call It War, Mr. President." Column by FDI president details Iran's proxy war in Iraq.

Aug. 6, 2007: Killing spree. Ahmadinejad and the ruling clerics have gone on a rampage of executions in recent weeks, killing more than 118 people, including four who were stoned to death. A professionally-made video of the latest hangings was posted this morning. Amir Taheri, writing in today's Wall Street Journal, calls it the"largest wave of executions" since 1984, and quotes Said Mortazavi, the chief Islamic prosecutor, warning that at 150 more are scheduled to be hanged or stoned to death in the coming weeks.

Two Iranian Kurdish journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed "Hiva" Butimar, were convicted of spying for political parties and foreigners during a secret trial ten days ago, and have been sentenced to death. Hassanpour, 30, hails from Marivan and works for ASO, a bilingual Kurdish/Farsi newspaper. Boutimar, 29, is also from Marivan and was the founder of an environmentalist group.

French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner has appealed to the Iranian regime for their release, and on July 31, Rep. Frank Wolf (R, Va) sent a letter of appeal to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice [PDF file], asking her to urgently intervene. So far, the State Department has remained silent. Family members told the Leadership Council for Human Rights, chaired by Kathryn Cameron Porter, that the two men were "politically unaffiliated."

Download the LCHR petition in support of the two condemned men as a Word file, or sign the petition for their release on-line.

Aug. 3, 2007: Iranian scholar Hassan Daioleslam dissects the "disinformation campaign" by pro-Iranian regime circles in policy think tanks. Focusing on Ray Takyeh of the Council on Foreign Relations, Daioleslam argues that they have attempted to paint the regime as pragmatic, cooperative on terror, reasonable on nuclear issues, and no threat to U.S. security or regional stability. According to this view, "All US has to do is to offer more carrots to the Iranian regime to have them behave in a friendlier manner," he argues.

In earlier articles, Daileslam has exposed NIAC (see below) for championing the viewpoint of Tehran in Washington; most recently, NIAC has attempted to appropriate the issue of human rights, he wrote.

NIAC carefully filtered access to the July 26 event, preventing more than a dozen Iranian-American human rights activists from expressing their views. Among those prevented entry to the Congressional meeting room were Dr. Manouchehr Ganji and Manda Zand-Karimi.

See also Sen. Jon Kyl's policy prescriptions on Iran.

July 25, 2007: Policy alert: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and sponsors in Congress will host a panel this Thursday, July 26, that will be chaired by Trita Parsi, a Swedish-Iranian also known as the "mullah's voice" in Washington.

The informal hearing will take place from 12:00-2:30 PM in room B369 of the Rayburn House Office Building tomorrow. In a Frontpage magazine column this week, FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman explains that Parsi and his group have consistently opposed U.S. Assistance to pro-democracy groups in Iran, and have advocated in favor of expanded U.S.relations with the Iranian regime, making his presence at such a panel a travesty.

This is still time to prevent this from happening. FDI calls on supporters to call Alex Arriega at Amnesty International, the nominal sponsor of the event. She can be reached at 202-544-0200. Alternately, phone Amnesty' Middle East Advocacy director, Mr. Zahir John Mohammad, at 202-675-8755.

Please also call Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D, MD), who booked the room for this outrageous event. His office: 202-225-5341.

There are plenty of authentic victims of Iranian human rights abuses available in Washington, DC for such a hearing, as well as authentic spokespersons for those victims. Trita Parsi is not one of them.

July 25, 2007: Trita Parsi and NIAC are trying to silence independent writer and freedom activist Hassan Daioleslam, who for years had worked with the Liberation Movement of former Prime Minister Mehdi Barzagan, by sending threatening letters to Voice of America. As noted yesterday by Omid Biniaz at the American Thinker, Parsi and NIAC were attempting to use "bullying and intimidating tactics" against VOA by fake threats of legal action. Ms.Biniaz welcomed legal action by NIAC, since "Iranians would welcome the opportunity to hear Mr. Parsi, under oath, explain his relation with Tehran and a potpourri of felons close to them."

In a press release in April, NIAC openly slandered Mr. Dailoleslam by calling him "a Marxist Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MKO) supporter," because an MEK-affiliated website had picked up one of his articles exposing NIAC's ties to the Iran oil mafia. In fact, in a statement released today, Mr. Dailoleslam said that while many Persian-language websites picked up his article, "This by no means suggests I am affiliated to any of them." He accused NIAC of launching a "disinformation campaign to create a smoke screen hiding its disguised relations with mullahs," and stated categorically, "I have never been in MEK or worked with MEK."

It is also worthwhile noting most public references in English to the Mujahedin-e Khalq use the abbreviation MEK, but that the Iranian regime in its publications almost always refers to the group as MKO.

Mr Dailoleslam revealed in his statement that in addition to working with Barzagan in Iran, he was in charge of collecting donations in Europe along with two other members of Barzagan's Freedom Movement, an opponent of the MEK.

June 22, 2007: Human Rights Action Alert; Regime vows to execute dissident Ayatollah Kazemini Borujerdi on Monday, June 25.

Placed under house arrest in July 2006 after addressing a massive gathering of his followers, Borujerdi's family compound was assaulted by regime agents in October, who overpowered demonstrators who had gathered in his defense.

Borujerdi fell afoul of the authorities for refusing to acknowledge the role of Islam in politics, and for his rejection of the doctrine of velayat-e fagih, absolute clerical rule. Associates say he has received support from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq, Ayatollah Vahid Khorassani, and Grand Ayatollah Sadegh Rouhani, also under house arrest in Iran (and the brother of FDI founding board member, Dr. Mehdi Rouhani), who so far have been powerless to win his freedom.



After the assault pictured here, Borujuderi was seized along with his family and thrown into Evin prison, where he has remained ever since.

Tried by the Special Court of the Clergy earlier this week,
Ayatollah Borujerdi was accused of speaking against the word of the Koran, making up a false god, speaking against the Iranian government, holding illegal gatherings, and about 20 other allegations which his supporters tell FDI were "an excuse to cover up what they want to do to him." Apparently, the regime decided to stay his death sentence last Thursday because he was on a hunger strike, and rescheduled his execution for this coming Monday, June 25.

Go to this special page for more photos and links to Persian-language video-clips of Borujerdi, including the encounter with the security forces.

June 19, 2007: Reporting on the Paris conference of Solidarity Iran appeared in Newsmax, and in the New York Sun (Claudia Rosett). A follow-on piece in Newsmax featured interviews with KDPI deputy secretary general, Hassan Sharafi, and monarchist intellectual, Ramin Parham. We will post pictures as soon as we can. FDI board members sat in on the three-day conference as observers.

May 31, 2007: As more than 250 Iranians from a broad spectrum of society prepare to meet in Paris for a "Solidarity" conference, some Iranian opposition political figures continue to launch old-style attacks on their competitors. Thus Amir-Abbas Fakhravar,  a self-styled "student" leader who spent time in Evin prison with Ahmed Batebi, viciously attacked student leader Ali Afshari and former reformist publisher (and founder of the IRGC) Mohsen Sazegara today.

Fakhravar accused Afshari of being a "lackey" of the U.S. government because he had received a grant from the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), and alleged that Sazegara was beholden to Israel because he has been a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Curiously, his accusations were picked up word by word, along with the photo from Fakhravar's blog site, by asre-iran, the website run by Allah Karam, head of the pro-regime Ansar-e Hezbollah thugs in Tehran. Coincidence?

In Washington, DC, Michael Ledeen writes in today's National Review Online that the Iranian regime has taken five U.S. hostages - ironically, most of whom favor U.S.-Iran dialogue. "The Americans were taken hostage for the same reasons the regime has routinely taken foreign hostages from the first year of its existence: to resolve internal power struggles, to demonstrate to the Iranian people the hopelessness of their condition by directly challenging the infidels to do anything about the humiliation of their countrymen, and to impose their will on a Western world the mullahs view as feckless and paralyzed," he writes.

FDI President Kenneth Timmerman dissects the U.S. Iran talks in Baghdad in today's Frontpage magazine, and gives a foretaste of the upcoming Solidarity Iran conference in Paris.

May 19, 2007: 23 murdered in Tehran Security crackdown. 

Twenty-three persons were beaten to death last week in a security crackdown last week in the south Tehran neighborhood Sarsabel, FDI has learned from sources inside Iran.

The crackdown, ostensibly aimed at homosexuals, prostitutes, drug addicts,
pornographers and vendors of alcohol, was carried out by a special vice squad, who rounded up suspects on Molavi street and brutally beat them in front of witnesses.

In one of the photographs, shown below, a suspect has been collared with a red aftabeh, a clear sign of public humiliation. (The aftabeh is a device normally used in Iran to wash the anus after defecation.)Until now, no international news agencies have reported on these murders, although reports have appeared on the baztab.com website and with the Pars News Agency in Farsi.

News organizations interested in reporting on this massacre are invited to contact FDI for additional information and graphic photographs.

“This crackdown on so-called “alvats” [perverts] is a massive violation of commonly accepted standards of human rights,” said FDI chairman, Nader Afshar. “When coupled with the recent arrest of Haleh Esfandiari, who has long been an advocate of rapprochement between the United States and the Tehran regime, it shows that hard-liners are not only clearly in charge, but they are warning their opponents that no deviation from their policies will be tolerated,” Afshar said.

May 12, 2007: Voice of America's Persian TV service hosted a debate on Iran sanctions and the Divest Terror campaign between pro-regime activist, Rostam Pourzal, and Roozbeh Farahanipour, a leader of the July 1999 Tehran uprising and secretary general of Iranians for a Secular Republic.

Pourzal's Campaign against Sanctions and against Military Intervention in Iran refers to President Bush's January 2002 State of the Union speech as the "infamous Axis of Evil speech," calls the invasion of Iraq "illegal," and chides the United States for "war crimes" in Abu Ghraib, Falluja, and elsewhere. Farahanipour, by contrast, has been testifying in public on behalf of California State legislator Joel Anderson's Divest Terror legislation (see entry for April 24, below), and has called sanctions and divestment a middle ground between appeasement and war, both of which he opposes.

At the end of the hour-long debate, VOA host Bijan Farhoodi pointed out that for the past 27 years, the Voice of America had tried without success to invite a representative of the Islamic Republic to express their point of view. In Rostam Pourzal, he added, they finally had one.

May 4, 2007: In an unbelievable ad carried by the International Herald Tribune (April 25), the Economist (p111 of last week's edition), Iran Daily, and other newspapers, Iran's Atomic Energy Organization called for international bids to construct "two large-scale nuclear power plants"in Busheir. It requires bidders to make a non-refundable deposit along with their bid to an account with Austria Bank-Creditanstalt in Vienna, and to post a performance bond of twenty million euros "delivered to AEOI's representative office in Vienna" by Aug. 2, 2007. The United Nations Security Council has banned all nuclear trade with Iran. In an almost equally-unbelievable response to questions from journalists, the International Herald Tribune defended its acceptance of the advertisement, despite the fact that it cleared flouted international law.

As Claudia Rosett of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies noted in an oped today, at first glance the ad appeared to be a joke. "It smacked of Iranian nose-thumbing so extreme one had to wonder if it was a spoof. It's no joke."

May 3, 2007: May Day protestors in Tehran say No to nuclear work.

The banner reads: "We don't want nuclear energy, we don't want your minimum wages. We work to live but we don't want to live to work!" (Hat-tip to Winston)

Meanwhile, crunch time for Iran's economy will hit on May 21, when gas rationing goes into effect. Iranian drivers will be limited to three litres per day at the subsidized cost of 40 cents per gallon. They will be permitted to purchase more than the three litres, but anything beyond the limit will be at market prices, according to Resource Investor.

April 25, 2007:FDI Executive Director Kenneth Timmerman testified today in Columbus, Ohio in support of HB 151, an Ohio state bill to divest the state pension funds from companies doing business in Iran. For more on Timmerman's testimony, provided in his own name, see the April 27, 2007 edition of Frontpage magazine. The Ohio bill was crafted by Republicans Josh Mandel, a 29-year old Iraq war Marine Corps veteran, and Shannon

April 24, 2007: The California Assembly's Judiciary committee today passed unanimously (10-0) historic Iran Divestment bill. AB 221 now goes to the Appropriations committee, chaired by San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno early next week. Committee members Fiona Ma (D, San Fracisco) and Jose Solorio (D, Santa Ana) co-sponsored the bill authored by San Diego republican Joel Anderson.  Burbank Democrat Paul Krekorian has already voted for the bill in the Judiciary committee.

Speaking in favor of the bill was Roozbeh Farahanipour, chairman of Iranians for a Secular Republic, who described how he was tortured after the July 1999 student uprising using a technique called "chicken kabob.". Assemblyman Anderson called his testimony "gripping," and included excerpts in a press release on the bill.

April 23, 2007: FDI Executive Director Timmerman comments in Human Events on the growing unrest among Iran's oppressed minorities, but warns against encouraging ethnic conflict. "[I]t would a tragic error for this or any U.S. administration to encourage ethnic revolt [in Iran] because we would then alienate 95% of the pro-democracy forces in Iran." Instead, "what we need to be doing is finding a way to get all of these groups to work together rather than supporting separate wars.  What’s needed is a coordinated nationwide movement. A violent revolution will only open a Pandora’s box for a future dictator.”

March 27, 2007:  Pro-democracy activists will testify  in favor of California bill 221 to disinvest state pension plans from companies doing business in Iran. Reza Pahlavi also has sent a letter to the speaker of the California State assembly, Fabio Nunez, in support of the disinvest campaign. "This act will hearten Iranians by demonstrating Californian's solidarity with their plight and national struggle against tyranny, injustice and suppression," he wrote.

March 26, 2007: The California Assembly will hear legislation on Wednesday, March 28, at 9 AM, that would require the State pension funds to disinvest from companies doing business in Iran. The pro-Tehran group NIAC has come out against the bill. Why? Because it just might convince major multinational companies to rethink their business in Tehran. Four trade unions have already come out in favor of the bill.

Last week, legislators in Maryland introduced similar legislation. Here's a round-up of the current Disinvest Terror campaign,

March 7, 2007: On-line petition calling for international action in support of freedom in Iran. FDI applauds the efforts of Amil Imani and other activists in drafting a comprehensive list of steps freedom-loving nations can take to support the pro-democracy movement inside Iran. As we have been saying for many years, the United States does not need to send the 82nd Airborne or B-2 bombers to take out Iran's nuclear sites. A better course is to increase pressure from the outside through a package of sanctions and other measures described in the petition, and from inside Iran by support for the pro-democracy movement.

March 7, 2007: Rev. Guards General defects. Could reveal dramatic new information on Iranian nuclear program, Qods force, and more.

March 6, 2007: State Department releases Human Rights report. New to this year's compendium of horror under the Islamic Republic are accounts of "white torture" of political prisoners, as recounted by Amir Abbas Fakhravar; reports of a prisoner sentenced to have his eyes "surgically removed," a chronology of repression against ethnic Arabs, details of the persecution of Christians, and more. The State Department report noted the irony of the Tehran regime sending Interior Minister Mostafa Purmohammadi as its representative to a meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva in October 2006. "Purmohammadi has a history of human rights abuses, including participation in the 1988 mass execution of several thousand political prisoners at Evin Prison and the 1998 murders of writers and dissidents throughout the country," the report states. In presenting the report, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry F. Lowenkran told reporters pointedly that the administration would not take the advice of former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, who said last week the U.S. should support regime change in Iran. "I am focused on behavior change," Lowrenkran said.

Also today in Washington: Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns described the administration's efforts to ratchet up international sanctions on the Tehran regime, all the while opening a dialogue with Iran and Syria on Iraq. Burns told House Foreign Affairs committee Tom Lantos (D, Ca) that the U.S. opposed new legislation proposed today that would make mandatory U.S. sanctions on foreign companies that invested in Iranian oil and gas projects. After describing efforts to get Europe, Japan, Russia and China on board in stiffening UN sanctions, he said, "If the focus of our policy is to sanction our friends and not Iran... it might undercut that coalition."

The Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007 (H.R. 1400), introduced jointly by Lantos and ranking Minority commitee member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, also rescinds the Clinton exception to imports into the U.S. of Iranian dates and carpets (used some believe to finance Iranian intelligence operations in the U.S.), and places the IRGC on the terrorism list.

March 2, 2007: Know your friends - and your enemies. Sen. Chuck Hagel (R, NE) will address two events sponsored by the American Iranian Council today. The AIC is a lobbying group with 501(c)3 status that consistently takes positions in sync with the Tehran regime, which has been seeking to get the US to lift sanctions on Iran for years. Sen. Hagel has been a strong AIC supporter, as today's events show. In New York, Sen. Hagel is the featured guest at "an exclusive" closed-door AIC fund-raising luncheon. At 3:30 PM, he will address a public event, hosted by AIC at Rutgers university. AIC specializes in upbeat economic bulletins on the Islamic Republic of Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in an apparent effort to attract international investment to Iran.

Feb. 23, 2007: FLASH NEWS: Reports from FDI sources in Tehran say that Wednesday's demonstration (2/21) by Iranian teachers in front of the Majles buildings continues to worry government officials, who fear that the teacher's could make good on their threat of a general strike starting on March 6.

Demonstrating teachers called for improved salary and benefits, and lew legislation governing teaching standards. Regime media outlets reported that "hundreds" of teachers took part in the demonstrations, but strike organizers said more than three thousand teachers took part in the march, under the watchful eyes and batons of national police. MOIS agents filmed the demonstrators, FDI sources said.

At the end of event, demonstrators stated that if the government did not accept their requestss, they would launch a general strike on Tuesday March 6. In public statements yesterday, regime officials said they wanted to avoid an escalation of tensions that could induce other government employees to join striking teachers.

- Also today: FDI Executive Director exposes NIAC Dirctor Trita Parsi as "the Mullah's Voice," at Frontpagemag.com

- In a symposium with Michael Ledeen, Patrick Clawson, Andy McCarthy, and Steve Schippert, FDI Director Timmerman argues that the United States should increase pressure on the regime on human rights and other issues, roll up their networks in Iraq, and insist on compliance with UN Security Council resolutions without further negotiations. Read the details here.

Feb. 22, 2007: In its latest report on Iran's nuclear program, the IAEA released new test results taken from Iranian centrifuges, which showed particles from "another country" similar to those found on centrifuges removed from Libya. However, contrary to some press reports, the report found no evidence of cooperation between Iran and Libya. Rather, the particular contanimation showed that both Iran and Libya had purchased centrifuges and enrichment equipment from the same source: A.Q. Khan and his black-market network. Some of the equipment may have come from Pakistan, but some may have been manufactured in Khan factories in Malaysia. Read the full IAEA report in PDF format.

Feb. 16, 2007: In a briefing in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military presented new evidence of IRGC Qods Force involvement in Iraq. The evidence included Iranian-made weapons used by insurgents, Iranian-made IEDs, and IRGC identity cards captured from senior al Qods officers. You can download the PDF file (700 kb) of the 16-page briefing here.

Feb. 13, 2007. IRGC commentator acknowledges Iranian role in Karbala attacks. In a commentary (didgah) appearing in Sobh-e Sadegh, the weekly bulletin of the Islamic Republic Guards Corps dated Monday, Feb. 12, 2007, a senior member of the IRGC political bureau, Ali Rahimi, acknowledged Iran's responsibility in the Jan. 20, 2007 kidnapping and murder of 5 U.S. soldiers in Karbala, Iraq.

Based on internal IRGC analysis, "the security and intelligence strike against U.S. forces in Karbala prompted the Americans to act against elements they believed responsible," Rahimi wrote. Among those Iranian "elements" arrested by the Americans in retaliation for the Kerbala attack was "the second secretary of the Iranian embassy in Baghdad," Rahimi added. (The original can be found at http://sobhesadegh.ir)

Feb. 8, 2007: Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK) today released a bombshell report, finally saying out loud what many of us have been whispering for years:Voice of America's Persian Service TV broadcasts are actually harming U.S. national interests by giving "a significant amount of airtime to guests and content that undermine U.S. policy on Iran, often even supporting the propaganda of the Islamic Republic of Iran." For more, including links to Sen. coburn's documents, go here.

Jan. 8, 2007: Rafsanjani says road to be named after the "Martyr" Ahmadinejad. With Tehran swirling with rumors regarding the pending demise from cancer of Supreme Leader Ali Khamene'i, the ultimate power jockey, Hojjat-ol eslam Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, hinted recently that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could be forcibly removed from power if he doesn't resign voluntarily.

Following December's widely-boycotted elections, Rafsanjani has now taken over as head of the Assembly of Experts, the body that under the Islamic Republic constitution will name the Supreme Leader when Khamenei dies. In an otherwise fawning paeon to Khamenei ("whose death will have a shattering effect on the Iranian public, who idolize their leader and would largely view his loss as a catastrophe" [sic]), Stratfor notes that "[i]t might be no coincidence Rafsanjani, in a recent talk with journalists, described a new highway currently under construction in Tehran, as the "highway of Shahid (martyr) Ahmadinejad." Hat tip to Gary Metz for pointing out the Stratfor piece.

Jan. 7, 2007: Read "Impending Iran Crisis," by FDI Executive Director Kenneth R. Timmerman, in today's Washington Times.

 

 

 

 

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The Foundation for Democracy in Iran

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