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Dec. 20, 2010: Regime fire-bombs car of opposition group leader in Madrid. This morning, unknown assailants attacked the car belonging to Mohsen Ebrahimi, chairman of the Organization of the Iranian People's' Fedaii Guerrillas in a fire-bombing the group attributed to regime agents. The Fedaii claimed they had identified Iranian intelligence officers working out of the Madrid embassy who had been following Ebrahimi around Madrid. They called the car-bombing an attempted "assassination," and said that Ebrahimi was using his car less and less because he was aware of the plot. The Spanish police have collected fingerprints and other evidence from the bombed-out car. If they discover hard evidence linking the attack to the Iranian government, the attack could signal a new willingness on the part of the regime to resume the wave of assassinations that decapitated the opposition in exile during the 1980s and 1990s. FDI calls on the Spanish authorities to vigorously investigate this attack and to rapidly make the results of their investigation public.

Dec. 17, 2010: Iranian Jewish groups demand protection of Queen Esther's Mausoleum. 
The Iranian Jewish Public Affairs Committee (IJPAC), Council of Iranian-American Jewry, Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran (CRMRI) and the Center for Iranian Jewish Studies (who led the worldwide efforts to save the lives of 13 Iranian Jews in Shiraz and Isfahan 10 years ago) condemned threats by a bassiji group to blow up Queen Esther's mausoleum in Hamadan. In a statement released yesterday in Los Angeles, the groups called on UNESCO and the Iranian regime to protect the Mausolem of Esther and Mordechai, following threats last week from a group calling themselves the Bassiji student of Abu Ali Sina University in Hamadan threatened to destroy the shrine. "We will hold the person of Ayatollah Khamenei, the supreme leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President, Saddeq Larijani, the chief of the judiciary, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majles and the members of the Iranian Majles personally responsible shall there be any destruction to the mausoleum," the groups said. "The governor, the mayor, the police and the bassij force of Hamadan are directly responsible for the security of the site and we admonish them to fully protect and defend the mausoleum."

• Top advisor to Israeli deputy PM says Ahmadinejad is "not a clown." Uri Lubrani, the grandfather of Israel's Iran-watchers, told a U.S. audience recently they should take Ahmadinejad seriously when he threatens America and Israel and destruction. "Ahmadinejad is not a clown. He is a clever, sophisticated, son-of-a-b—-.” Lubrani was speaking at an Iran conference in Washington hosted by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which Newsmax wrote about on Dec. 10 (see below). A summary of Lubrani's remarks can be found on Joel Rosenberg's blog.

Dec. 16, 2010: Iranians step up protests to U.S. Navy regarding renamed "Arabian Gulf." History is clear: the Strait of Hormuz leads into the Persian Gulf, not some kind of "Arabian" Gulf. And yet, the U.S. Navy recently instructed units in the region to rewrite geography, a move that has got plenty of Iranians angry. The movement against the U.S. Navy's exercise in creative geography is being spearheaded by Marzeporgohar, Iranians for a Secular Republic, but has attracted a wide following among diverse groups on Facebook and elsewhere on the Net.

Dec. 15, 2010: Join FDI at a conference to mark Human Rights Day in the Capitol Hill Visitors Center tomorrow, Dec. 16.
FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman will talk about actions Congress can take to help the pro-freedom movement in Iran and to protect Iraqi Christians, victims of daily persecution from jihadi groups.

Dec. 12, 2010: Christian pastor in Iran receives death sentence for alleged apostasy. A Christan pastor in Iran has been sentenced to death on the recommendation of an Iranian cleric for allegedly renouncing his Muslim religion. 32-year old Youcef Nadarkhani, a member of the Church of Iran ministry and pastor of a 400-member congregation in Rasht, north of Tehran, was born into a Muslim family but told the court he had "no religion" until he became a follower of Jesus at age 19. Despite the fact that the Islamic Republic penal code does not recognize the "crime" of apostasy, it gives discretion to Islamic judges to impose penalties based on their  and another faces a possible indictment on the same charge of apostasy, according to a prominent activist group working for human rights in Iran. “It is the low point of any judicial system to sentence a person to death outside of its own legal framework,” said Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for  the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

Dec. 10, 2010: Obama Iran Policy is a Failure, experts say. The Obama administration’s approach toward Iran's nuclear ambitions has been a failure and must include a credible threat of using military force, independent experts told a Washington think-tank on Thursday. “The primary goal of the sanctions is not to harm Iran’s economy, but to change the Iranian leadership’s mind about proceeding with a nuclear program,” said Orde Kittrie, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) and a law professor at Arizona State University. “The sanctions thus far are arguably a failure in that regard,” he said. Read the full story at

Dec. 7, 2010: VOA Survey shows nobody believes its shows. VOA has now opened an on-line opinion survey about who was behind the latest murder and attempted murder of two nuclear scientists in Tehran. 20% of those who responded said they agreed with the regime (and VOA) version that foreign intelligence services were "sending a warning" to Iran over its nuclear program, while 79% said the attacks were "the work of the Islamic regime" to serve as a warning to its own scientists...The poll is here

Dec. 6, 2010: Regime hands down death sentence to website developer.
Canada's National Post newspaper reports today that a regime court has sentenced to death an Iranian website developer who emigrated to Canada in 2004. Saeed Malekpour was arrested in 2008 when he returned to Iran to visit his ailing father and has been held in Evin prison ever since. He has told his lawyers that groups of interrogators have tortured him and forced him to make false confessions. According to the National Post, Malekpour’s supporters in Canada have petitioned the House of Commons to work for his release.

• VOA aids the Iranian regime - again...
It's just the latest in a series of broadcasts where VOA's Persian News Network carries water for the Iranian regime, but it's significant because it reveals the success of the regime's disinformation efforts.  In a Nov. 29 show hosted by Siavash Saadatian, two outside "experts" blamed Israel and the MEK for the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist and the near-miss attempt on a second one. Reza Taghizadeh, a so-called "expert" in economics and politics (although he sometimes appears with a different speciality), blamed Israel for the assassination. The second "expert, Mohammad Reza Yazdan Panah, a journalist with Rooz online, a website associated with the Rafsanjani family, accused the MEK. Neither expert presented any evidence. Yazdan Panah also raised the possibility that the scientists were killed by rival elements of the regime, who felt they were "spent" because their identities had been "blown" to the United Nations, who mentioned them in a recent UN Security Council resolution.

After a similar case last year, when nuclear researcher Massoud Ali Mohammadi was murdered in Tehran, VOA commissioned an outside analysis that revealed Mohammadi's close ties to the opposition Green Movement, and that placed blame for his murder on the Iranian regime.  It is far more likely that these latest assassinations are another case where the regime  prefered to murder its own scientists rather than run the risk of a leak from within its nuclear establishment. So why was PNN so quick to put the blame on Israel and/or the MEK, without even evoking the more likley hypothesis that the murders were a regime hit?

Nov. 19, 2010: Watch video of FDI president's presentation at the National Press Club.
(Download video here). In a separate interview with Newsmax, former CIA agent inside Iran's revolutionary guard corps, Reza Kahlili, urges the United States to do more to help the pro-freedom movement before it is too late. “It is essential for us to understand that the establishment ruling Iran is truly committed to belief in the end of times and the reappearance of Imam Mahdi, the 12th Shiite Imam,” Kahlili said. “Iran’s rulers believe Islam will conquer the world and kill all the remaining nonbelievers.”

Nov. 17, 2010: Expert panel examines Iran options.
FDI CEO and advisory board members joined Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch today to examine policy options for the new
Congress toward Iran. We will report more on this and post YouTube videos as they become available.

Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey compared Iran's situation today to that of Germany in 1936, when the West still had a chance to stop Hitler. Ambassador Alan Keyes blasted the Obama administration for failing to safeguard U.S. national interes
ts. Rep. Michele Bachmann urged the administration to support the pro-freedom movement in Iran. Former CIA agent and IRGC officer Reza Kahlili warned that without help for the pro-freedom movement, Ahmadinejad and the 12th imam cult of the ruling elite would launch a nuclear holocaust "and millions will die."

Timmerman urged Congress to establish an Iran Security
Review panel, modeled on the China Security Review Commission, and to "name and shame" foreign companies helping the Iranian regime. He warned that Voice of America's PNN "has become a disgrace and a disservice to U.S. policy. It is helping the regime in Tehran and and not furthering the goals of freedom, not furthering the values on which this country was established, not furthering the charter of VOA itself...." (For more, see Timmerman's article in today's Washington Times on Voice of America).

9/11 first responder Vincent Forras, who is suing Imam Faisul Rauf to halt construction of the Ground Zero Mosque, criticized New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Obama Justice Department for concealing the source of the mosque's funding. "We chose to unmask the mosque," he said.

Freedom Watch founder Larry Klayman criticized President Obama for turning his back on the pro-freedom movement in June 2009. If the King of France had behaved in a similar manner in America's time of need in 1776-1780, we would still be British colonies, he argued. "Barack Obama prefers to go on a political jihad around the world to promote Islam rather than support the people of Iran," he said.

Nov. 15, 2010: Join FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman, and advisory board members R. James Woolsey and Reza Kahlili at the National Press club at 9 am on Wednesday, Nov. 17.
FDI will be joining Larry Klayman and Freedom Watch to discuss a new approach toward Iran. Also appearing will be former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Alan Keyes, former Reagan administration Pentagon official, Frank Gaffney, and former Miss Canada Miss World runner-up, Nazanine Afshin-Jam, a prominent human rights activist. download the press release. This event is free and open to the public, as well as the media. For more information, contact or go to the Freedom Watch website.

Nov. 3, 2010: Former Revolutionary Guard (and FDI advisory board member): Iran wi
ll bomb Israel. Speaking on Arutz Sheva radio today, former IRGC officer Reza Kahlili, author of the new memoire A Time to Betray, warned that the Tehran regime leaders will not hestitate to use nuclear weapons on Israel once they they acquire that capability.

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government] will use the nuclear bomb against Israel, they will use it against Persian Gulf countries, and they will use it against Europe," Kahlili said, "to bring about that last hadith that calls for total chaos, lawlessness, and havoc in the world, which creates the circumstance for Imam Mahdi (the Islamic messianic figure) to appear."

Kahlili joined the advisory board of FDI earlier this year.

Nov. 1, 2010: Soros funds University of Maryland Iran conference.
It wasn't much of a surprise to see the Soros funding, given that the lineup at this conference consisted with few exceptions of advocates and activists promoting the "reform" of the Islamic Republic. ('Reform' is the "dead parrot" still favored by the State Department and the White House).

Among the more scandalous moments of the three day conference: a vicious diatribe by former Islamic Republic of Iran UN ambassador Mansour Farhang against the United States. Among the better moments: an address by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, in which she called on the U.S. government to champion the cause of political prisoners in their interactions with the Iranian government, just as President Reagan did every time he met with Soviet leaders. (Ebadi directly countered  Farhang and former Radio Farda director Iraj Gorgin who argued against any U.S. government involvement in human rights advocacy.) Gorgin had the effrontery to suggest that the U.S. government might fund an independent "human rights radio," after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on Radio Farda and the Persian News Network of Voice of America, both of which have consistently failed to highlight the regime's human rights abuses. It

Another high point of the conference: a terrific panel on Sunday morning of Iranian artists, including Parastou Forouhar, daughter of Dariush and Parvaneh Forouhar, who were brutally murdered in 1998, and the Iranian-American singler Haale Gafari, who was terrific even with a cold. FDI published classified Iranian government documents on the Forouhar murders last year.

Oct. 28, 2010: More reporters arrested.
The intelligence ministry arrested two more reporters last week, as part of its crackdown on journalists. The Oct. 22 arrest of Mohammad Reza Moghisseh and Jila Bani Yaghoob came the day after Reporters Without Borders released its annual press freedom index, which ranked Iran 175th out of 178 countries. The group has launched a campaign targeting Ahmadinjedad as "Predator of Press Freedom."

Oct. 21, 2010: Dissident cleric beaten in jail after he challenges Hezbollah leader over Iran aid.
Dissident cleric Ayatollah
Kazemeyni-Borujerdi was beaten in Evin prison on Oct. 17, just days after he sent a caustic message to Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrollah. Like other political prisoners, Borujerdi is occasionally allowed to use the telephone in the prison courtyard to communicate with his family members. (Cellphones are strictly forbidden to political prisoners in Evin, despite the claims of at least one former prisoner that he managed to smuggle one in).

In his message, Borujerdi mocked Nasrollah. "Which is more harmful to faith in the Divine and his Prophet: religious dictatoriship, or the State of Israel? Which has caused more people to turn away from God's religion: the acts of injustice and violence perpetrated by the colonial Islamic regime of Iran, or the behaviour of the state of Israel?"

Borujerdi was jailed four years ago because of his public calls for the separation of politics from religion. (See below)

Oct. 19, 2010: Stuxnet attack is first battle in Cyberwar. The Stuxnet worm that appears to have damaged Iran’s Busheir nuclear reactor is “the first real cyberwar operation in history,” says German cyber-security expert Ralph Langner. Read more about Langner's analysis, and the Cyberwar declared by the opposition MPG party, at

Sept. 22, 2010: Get ready for tomorrow's protest in front of the Hilton Hotel, which has disgracefully ignored calls to boycott the boy dictator and take tainted money. Join FDI and others at 304 E. 42nd Street (corner of 2nd avenue and 42nd street) starting at 2 PM.

Sept 20, 2010: Watch the first round of protests. Highlights from the Iran180 press conference in front of the United Nations in New York on Monday.  Speakers include: Allen Jaffe, U.S. Senator  Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY),  Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi of Planet-Iran, Rep. Anthony Weiner, and more....

Don't negotiate with Iran, says Iran expert. Harold Rhode is a former Pentagon analyst who is among the youngest of former U.S. Officials to have spent time in Iran before the 1979 revolution. A student of Bernard Lewis, he has spent years trying to understand Iranian history, culture, and negotiating strategy. Here is a Newsmax summary of his latest paper, published by the Jerusalem C. (The full report is here).

Sept. 19, 2010: Protests of Ajad visit begin. Iranian activists launched the first protests of Ahmadinejad's sixth visit to New York today, as they marched closed to his hotel wearing duct tape across their mouths to symbolize the lack of free speech and other freedoms inside Iran. In their hour-long interview with Ajad, where he failed to admit any responsibility for the crackdown on opposition forces since the June 2009 elections, the Associated Press noted that protesters could be seen across the street from the hotel across America. Protestors organized by "Stand With Us" gathered at Columbus Circle earlier in the day.

Related events:

- United Against a Nuclear Iran is calling on Americans to Shame the Hilton hotel chain for hosting Ajad in New York and has launched a local advertizing campaign on New York buses and kiosks against the Ajad visit.

- In Los Angeles, Marzepor Gohar is organizing an Iranian heavy metal concert to coincide with the Ajad visit, which has generated extensive media in Los Angeles.  Featuring the Iranian-American heavy metal impressario Metal Sanaz, or more information, see Facebook page they have set up for the event or Sanaz's own site, Metal Revolution for Iran.

Sanaz has attracted a wide following inside Iran among metal groups and fans. Last year, more than a hundred fans were arrested as "devil-worshippers" by the regime police in Shiraz, just two days after Sanaz made her first appearance in an interview with Voice of America's Persian service. In announcing the arrests, the IRGC said: "We see the hand of our
enemy using the youth as a missile against us," and called the young people
under arrest "unholy beats" and "Devil worshippers." The VOA interview with Metal Sanaz is here and here. (To see an English-language You-Tube of Meta Sanaz explaining her taste in music and her Iranian heritage, go here).

- In New York and Jerusalem, Clarion Productions, the producers of "Obsession - the Film" about Islamist ideology, are preparing to release a new feature-length documentary on Iran's nuclear weapons program, entitled Iranium. FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman can be seen in the trailer and in the film commenting on the origins of Iran's nuclear weapons program and the regime's intentions.

Stayed tuned for more information on the Ajad visit and protests by Iranian-Americans and other groups in New York.

Join FDI President Kenneth Timmerman on Thursday, Sept. 23 in New York.... Check here for details.

Sept 17, 2010: Borujerdi condition worsens. The condition of emprisoned Ayatollah Kazemeyni-Borujerdi has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, with reports that he may be suffering from a brain tumor after months of torture. His regime interrogators have been trying to get him to make false video-taped confessions with the intention of airing them on Iranian state television, but until now the dissident cleric has refused, family members tell FDI.  Borujerdi was arrested at his family compound on Oct. 8, 2006. As a dissident cleric, his case is being handled by the  Special Court for the Clergy, an entity established after the 1979 revolution that "operates outside of any conventional legal framework," according to Reporters Without borders. For background on Borujerdi, go here.

July 21, 2010: FDI Advisory Board member slams Washington Post blogger.
FDI Advisory Board member Reza Kahlili, author of "ATime to Betray," slammed Washington Post blogger Jeff Stein for "dishonest" reporting on his recent appearance at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Kahlili notes that Stein didn't even appear at the event, and yet Stein "quotes unnamed guests who claimed they rolled their eyes during my speech." (FDI saw the rolling eyes, and they belonged to a pro-regime agent and to a pro-regime journalist, either one of whom could have been Stein's source). Kahlili expanded on comments made last week at the International Spy Museum. Kahlili's Pajamas Media post includes links to audio of the Washington Institute event, where he called on the U.S. administration to stop negotiating with Tehran and described in some detail his career as a CIA spy inside the IRGC.

July 20, 2010: "Rescue Committee" may have helped Shahram Amiri.
A shadowy "Komiteh Nejat" (Salvation Committee) that provides assistance to potential defectors from the Iranian regime helped alleged nuclear researcher Shahram Amiri escape from Iran and find refuge in the United States, according to former IRGC officer Amir Farshad Ebrahimi, now a well-known human rights activist based in Europe. The Nejat Committee is an informal association of former Iranian intelligence officers, private NGOs (including FDI), and U.S. government officials.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Persian language Radio Farda, Ebrahimi said he had been contacted by Amiri while the Iranian nuclear researcher was still in Medina, Saudi Arabia last year, but initially didn't think much of it. Amiri reached out to Ebrahimi because Amiri had "heard that I had helped Ali Reza Asgari. He wanted me to help him too," Ebrahimi said.

Ebrahimi was arrested in Turkey and on the verge of deportation to Iran because of his involvement in General Ashgari's defection, when FDI and other elements of the Nejat Committee helped win his release and repatriation to Germany. (See our entry for April 1, 2008 and earlier, as well as the link to the interview with Ebrahimi that appeared at, where he first revealed the existence of the Salvation committee).

In his latest interview, Ebrahimi told Radio Farda that he reached out to U.S. government officials at Amiri's request and arranged for Amiri to meet with someone at the U.S. embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who eventually arranged for his travel out of Saudi Arabia to the United States. In similar cases in the past, the U.S. will expedite a potential defectors application for political asylum so they can travel on a temporary refugee travel document. This would explain why Amiri's Iranian passport has no exit stamp from Saudi Arabia or entry visa into the United States, and why Saudi Arabia has stated officially that it has no record of him leaving Saudi Arabia.

Separately, Debka is reporting wildly contradictory rumors that 1) Amiri started provided U.S. intelligence with information on Iran's nuclear program in 2004, and 2) that he was an Iranian double-agent. This could explain the highly-unusual public comments by U.S. intelligence officials to the Washington Post in recent days claiming that the United States put $5 million in various accounts for Amiri as a reward for providing the U.S. with information on Iran's nuclear program, but that by returning to Iran he would no longer be able to access the money.

FDI has learned from our own sources that Amiri got into trouble when he made an unauthorized telephone call to his 7 year old son in Tehran earlier this year that was intercepted by Iranian intelligence, who then began to apply pressure on the son and on Amiri's estranged wife in Tehran. Amiri eventually cracked under the pressure and tried to find a ruse for returning home. "He would have been better to just keep quiet and keep the Iranians guessing as to what had happened to him," a member of the Nejat Committee tells FDI. "It's unlikely that they would have harmed his family if they couldn't prove that he was actually in the United States."

General Ashgari has not surfaced publicly since he disappeared in Turkey with help of the Nejat Committe in February 2007, and while the regime has interviewed his third wife and is likely still monitoring her communications, she has not been jailed.

July 8, 2010: Tehran merchants in third day of strike. With the Tehran bazaar shuttered for the third day in a row, the regime authorities are worried by reports that the protest is spreading to other cities. Even more worrisome: what began as a protest against a new government tax, which was rescinded after just the first day of the strike, is taking on an anti-regime tone. According to one report, hundreds of protesters gathered din the Tehran bazaar on Thursday and chanted anti-regime slogans, after a shopkeeper was stabbed to death by regime security agents. "The death spiral of the Islamic Republic seems to be gathering momentum," writes Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.The protests by the normally pro-regime bazaaris are "a very big deal, and everyone knows it.

Former CIA Agent in Iran Calls for Regime Change. Appearing with Ledeen and with Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi of Planet-Iran yesterday, a former CIA agent who worked for the United States inside the IRGC for more than a decade urged the Obama administration to support the Iranian people in their quest for freedom. “The last choice we have right now is to come out of our shells and vocally support the Iranians and their aspirations for freedom," said Reza Kahlili, author of a new memoir, Time to Betray. He urged the European Union to cut diplomatic, shipping, and air travel ties with Iran."Regime change is the only solution for the stability of the Middle East, for the future of the world, a better future. To think that we can contain these people and deter them once they obtain a nuclear bomb is another fantasy that is going to blow up in our face.”

Such moves will create “cracks” within the ruling elite and prompt top level officials to flee the country, paving the way for a popular uprising, Kahlili believes.

June 23, 2010: Who are the Terrorists?
While some in the U.S. Congress continue to support the MEK, few have raised their voices in support of PJAK, the one group on the ground inside Iran that poses a daily challenge to the regime. Read the comparison in today's Washington Times.

June 22, 2010: BP's Iran ties could haunt the oil giant. Even FDD was cheering BP's announcement in November 2008 to stop shipping refined petroleum goods to Iran. Now it turns out, BP continued extensive business ties to Iranian government oil company Naftiran and its subsidiaries all along. Read the full story here.

June 21, 2010: Iran hangs Jundollah leader.
The Iranian regime on Sunday executed Balouchi resistance leader Abdol Malek Rigi inside Evin prison, after capturing him, apparently with assistance from Pakistan's ISI, in February. (Read our entry, below). Some commentators had speculated that the regime had made a deal with Rigi to spare his life and that of his brothers, also prisoners of the regime, in regime for his televised confession.  Al Jazeera is reporting from Tehran that Rigi's execution of Rigi was “a severe blow” to Jundallah. “Iranian authorities [say] that an order has been issued, a kind of a pardon, to all the members of Jundallah who put down their weapons and come ask for forgiveness,” the Qatar-based jihadi network claimed. “We hear that more than 200 members of Jundallah have already done that after Abdolmalek was arrested. View al-Jazeera's English-language clip on Rigi's execution here.

June 20, 2010: Martial law atmosphere in Tehran on anniversary of Neda murder. Video footage shot in Tehran on Sunday shows a heavy security clamp-down on Tehran streets, to prevent an outbreak of protests to commemorate the first anniversary of the murder of Neda Agha-sultan. A documentary on Neda's life and death, produced by TehranBureau in conjunction with PBS Frontline, is here. TehranBureau has compiled a list of more than 110 Green movement activists murdered by the regime. In Toronto, Iranian exiles commemorated Neda' murder.

- Iran tops world for exodus of journalists in 2010.
Iran tops the world for pushing the most journalists into exile over the past year. According to an annual report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, 29 Iranian reporters have been forced into exile in the year since June 1, 2009. 16 reporters have left Somalia, and 15 have left Ethiopia, the report said. Worldwide, at least 85 journalists fled their home countries over the past 12 months, CPJ found in its annual survey, which marks World Refugee Day, June 20, That is more than double the number forced to flee in the previous year.

June 11, 2010: Iranian opposition meets with French lawmakers.
Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Abdallah Motadi, secretary general of the Kurdish communist party, Komala, today address the French parliament on the status of the Green movement and the human rights situation in Iran. Meanwhile, a prominent Iranian dissident in Canada, Sayeh Hassan, explains why she won't be taking part in demonstrations to commemorate last year's presidential [s]election.

June 10, 2010: Sen. McCain calls for regime change in Iran. Speaking at the National Endownment for Democracy on Thursday, Sen. McCain said that the U.S. should give greater support to the people of Iran in their request to get rid of the Islamic regime. “My friends: I believe that when we consider the many threats and crimes of Iran’s government, we are led to one inescapable conclusion:  It is the character of this Iranian regime – not just its behavior – that is the deeper threat to peace and freedom in our world, and in Iran," McCain said.  "Furthermore, I believe that it will only be a change in the Iranian regime itself – a peaceful change, chosen by and led by the people of Iran – that could finally produce the changes we seek in Iran’s policies."

While McCain called on the Obama administration to allow Congress to complete sanctions legislation, he suggested the administration be better "to mobilize our friends and allies in like-minded countries, both in the public sphere and the private sector, to challenge the legitimacy of this Iranian regime, and to support Iran’s people in changing the character of their government – peacefully, politically, on their own terms, and in their own ways." Read the full text here.

June 9, 2010: Security Council fails to get unanimous vote in 4th round of Iran sanctions.
In an interview with Newsmax, Rep. Mike Pence, the third ranking Republican in Congress, said the administration demonstrated a "failure of leadership" at the United Nations. He also blasted the administration for holding up Iran sanctions legislation in Congress for over a year, and for continuing to seek to impose "waiver" authority that would gut any sanctions bill that emerges from the conference committee.

Paragraph 7 of UNSC Resolution 1929 bans Iran from taking a commercial interest in uranium mining activities, an apparent bid to thrwart Iran's ongoing prospection in the uranium-rich Orinco basin of Venezuela and to cut off reported purchases of uranium from Zimbabwe and Burma. In several annexes, the resolution names another 40 Iranian entities involved in nuclear or ballistic missile work, or associated with the Revolutionary Guards, and requests that member nations cease any commercial ties with them. The full text of the resolution, as well as statements by UN ambassadors, is here.

May 26, 2010: Changes at VOA.
VOA director Danforth Austin announced sweeping changes at the Persian News Network today, in response to intense criticism from FDI, the media, Congress, and from VOA whistleblowers. He removed PNN director Alex Belida, who had been roundly criticized by his colleagues for an authoratarian management style and for his lack of knowledge of Iran. He also accepted the "resignation" of Hida Fouladvand, PNN executive editor, criticized for incompetence by fellow workers. Temporarily replacing Belida is Maja Drucker, whom Austin described in an email to employees as "a 25 year VOA veteran who most recently has been South Asia program manager. Remaining, however, was Seyed Ali Sajadi, who arrogantly swept aside criticism that he is biased in favor of the regime in an April 30 interview with the PNN show, Parazit. Sajadi has been accused of transforming VOA into "a propaganda tool for Tehran" by former Iranian IRGC officer (and CIA agent) Reza Kahlili.

May 25, 2010: Makhmalbaf calls for changes at Voice of America.
A prominent spokesman for the Green Movement, film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, called for changes in the VOA's Persian News Network. In an interview with Newsmax in Paris, Makhmalbaf said that VOA's coverage of Iranian political events has been heavily skewed in favor of the regime, because of the bias of managing editor, Ali Sajadi. “The Voice of America could play a very important role in helping to introduce political prisoners to the people of Iran," Makhmalbaf said. "Many of these individuals, whose names are unknown to most people, are potential leaders of the Green Movement. We need help in getting their voices heard." Makhmalbaf personally criticized Seyed Ali Sajadi for censoring his appearances on air, because "he didn't agree with my views."

May 24, 2010: PJAK resumes military action.
The secretary general of PJAK tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview in Europe that his group has resumed military action against the regime, in hopes of deterring ongoing attacks against Kurdish political activists by the Revolutionary Guard and the bassij. Rahman Haj Ahmadi said that PJAK had suspended military action since last June and had focused on working with the Green Movement to expand non-violent protests against the regime, but was compelled to resume military action because of the regime's execution of PJAK activists.

After PJAK called for a general strike throughout Iranian Kurdistan to protest the executions, the IRGC responded by launching artillery and air strikes against PJAK camps in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq. In clashes inside Iran on May 14, PJAK claimed to have killed 16 IRGC troops.

May 9, 2010: Execution of Five Kurdish Prisons in Evin
. This morning the regime executed five Kurdish activists in Evin prison in Tehran, including a woman, Shirin Alam Houli. Four of the five were members of PJAK, the outlawed Free Life Party of Iranian Kurdish. The executions come as part of an intensifying regime effort to crack down on PJAK, for fear that the movement, which played a prominent role in last year's post-election protests in Tehran and in other cities, will spark a wider uprising among Iran's ten million + Kurds and beyond.

Just days before her execution, Ms. Alam Houli smuggled out a letter, describing the physical and psychological torture she was subjected to in prison. She also revealed that when she was interrogated three years ago after her arrest, she spoke no Farsi and could not understand the questions she was being asked.

"Why have I been imprisoned and why am I going to be executed? For what crime? Is it because I am Kurdish? If that’s the case than I must say I was born a Kurd," she wrote.

"My language is Kurdish, the language that I use to communicate with my family, friends and community, and the language that I grew up with. But I am not allowed to speak my language or read it, I am not allowed to go to school in my own language and I am not allowed to write it. They are telling me to deny my Kurdishness, but if I do, that means I have to deny who I am."

May 5, 2010: Is VOA editor pro-Tehran? That's a question many Iranians are asking themselves. Watch this video of VOA PNN editor Ali Sajadi and make up your mind.

Iran's ties to al Qaeda: In a commentary piece in today’s Washington Times, FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman provides new details of what the U.S. Government knows about Iran’s on-going and historic ties to al Qaeda. For reasons that are hard to comprehend, many in our government continue to deny such ties. But a recent Pentagon report to Congress on Iran has helped to dispel some of the myths.

"Tehran's support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran's strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders," the report continues.

Referring to the Quds Force specifically, the report makes this comment: "Although its operations sometimes appear at odds with the public voice of the Iranian regime, it is not a rogue outfit; it receives direction from the highest levels of government, and its leaders report directly, albeit informally, to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, employing complementary diplomatic and paramilitary strategies."

Also note that George Stephanpoulous of ABC News asked Ahmadinejad yesterday (in an interview broadcast on Good Morning America today) if Bin Laden was in Iran. Take a careful look at the transcript: Ajad repeatedly ducks the question, tries to change the subject, and Stephanapoulos comes back again and again without ever getting a straight answer.

In Islam, this is called “taqqiyah” - a practise of authorized lying to the infidel to protect Islam. In other words, Ahmadinejad has just confirmed in his initimitable way that bin Laden is in Iran. (Note: the exchange on Bin Laden appears at the end of the transcript).

May 3, 2010: Ahmadinejad at UN today.
The U.S., France, and the UK delegates all walked out on Ahmadinejad today, as he blasted the United States and possessing nuclear weapons. He added that Western nations had"not a single credible proof" that his regime is developing nuclear weapons.

- Iranian-Americans protest VOA's "pro-Tehran" tilt.
Iranian-Americans have become increasingly vocal about the perceived "pro-Tehran" tilt of Voice of America's Persian language service and of Radio Farda. An on-line petition to the State Department to fire pro-Tehran broadcasters comes on the heels of efforts by Sen. Coburn and others to hold VOA accountable for editorial decisions to "spike" stories embarrassing to the Tehran regime and to ban anti-regime activists from appearing on VOA shows. VOA's problems have just begun. A long-simering sex scandal has now gone public, with damages claims of $150 million. VOA broadcaster Elham Sataki is alleging in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Case number 1:2010cv00466) that colleague Mehdi  Falahati left lewd messages on her voice mail and otherwise attempted to elicit sexual favors in exchange for work-related favors. Sataki is represented by attorney Larry Klayman, founder of Judicial Watch.

May 2, 2010: May Day protests across Iran. At least five people were arrested in the predominantly Kurdish city of Sanadaj on Saturday, as May Day protests erupted all across the country. At Tehran University, students greeted Ahmadinejad with Patrick Henry chants of "Give me Liberty or Give me Death." Other anti-regime protests erupted in Saqez, Tabriz, Isfahan, Shiraz, Mashad, and Qazvin, showing that the pro-freedom movement is capable of staging protests in multiple cities at once, stretching the capabilities of the regime's repressive apparatus.

April 28, 2010: State Department to approve Ahmadinejad visa for next week.
The State Department has confirmed reports that the Islamic Republic has applied for visa so that Ahmadinejad and a delegation can travel to New York next week to attend the Nonproliferation Treaty review conference on May 3. According to press reports, Tehran initially intended to send foreign minister Mottaki to lead the Iranian delegation, but at the last minute Ahmadinejad decided to upstage him. Iran is a signatory of the NPT but has been in violation of its NPT commitments since February 2003, when the IAEA confirmed reports that it had conducted secret nuclear weapons-related research for 18 years. In signing the NPT, non-nuclear states pledge that they will forego nuclear weapons and/or any research that could be used for weapons purposes, in exchange for access to civilian nuclear technology. Because it remains in violation of the Treaty, Iran has no "right" to enrich uranium or import civilian nuclear technology, contrary to what both Tehran and Washington repeat on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, conferees from the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives began negotiations today aimed at finalizing the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 2194). The Obama administration has "kept this legislation bottled up in Congress" for over a year," a senior Republican leader told FDI today. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R, Fla), the original Republican sponsor of the bill, warned against producing a bill "that is so full of holes, carve-outs, exemptions, or waivers that no one takes it seriously." Instead, she urged he colleagues "to fill the vacuum created by Executive Branch inaction and enact crippling, mandatory sanctions that address the rapidly growing threat posed by Iran."

April 21, 2010: More protesters given death sentences.
The Iran Human Rights campaign is warning that three more political prisoners have been given death sentences by the regime, this time on allegations that they transmitted forbidden videos to the MEK outside of Iran.

- In Washington, DC, the Pentagon has released its first-ever unclassified report to Congress on the Iranian military and regime's support for terrorism. Highlights include: a public recognition by the U.S. government that Iran is providing military support and weapons to the Taliban, even though they have doctrinal differences. "Tehran's support to the Taliban is inconsistent with their historic enmity, but fits with Iran's strategy of backing many groups to ensure that it will have a positive relationship with the eventual leaders," the report says.  In addition, they dispel the manufactured doubts (expressed by the pro-Tehran lobby in Washington) that the IRGC's Quds force is somehow out of control. "Although [Quds Force] operations sometimes appear at odds with the public voice of the Iranian regime, it is not a rogue outfit; it receives direction from the highest levels of goverment, and its leaders report directly, albeit informally, to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, employing complementary diplomatic and paramilitary strategies." Read the full report here; read a more detailed description of it here.

- FDI President Ken Timmerman writes at that American Jewish leaders and Congress are locking horns with President Obama over his efforts to pick a fight with Israel while failing to take action on Iran.

April 19, 2010: George W. Bush Institute hosts conference on cyber-dissidents.
Invited to the forum were Iranian blogger Arash Kamangir, and Mohsen Sazegara, now a fellow at the Bush Institute. Read more about the conference here.

April 6, 2010: Who are the Greens and Where are they headed?
The Foreign Policy Initiative sponsored a conference in Washington, DC with Mohsen Sazegara, Mehdi Khalaji, and Rueul-Marc Gerecht to discuss the current state of the Greens. Says Khalaji: the Greens will succeed in overthrowing the regime, even though they appear scattered now. It's worth reading the entire transcript of this event.

March 22, 2010: Iranians celebrate Nowrouz with protests.
View video footage of protests during the Persian New Year celebrations last Saturday.

March 8, 2010: FDI lodges official protest with German Chancellor Merkel for PJAK leader arrest.
The Foundation for Democracy in Iran sent a letter protesting the arrest of Rahman Haj Ahmadi to the German Chancellor this morning, and demanded his immediate release. "From the facts and indications available to us thus far, it appears that this arrest and detention took place on an unlawful basis, in violation of German law and German Constitutional protections, and also in violation of a number of human rights standards that the German Government has endorsed and is bound to follow under the European Convention on Human Rights," the FDI letter states.

While noting Germany's positive role in the P5+1 talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran, FDI called on Chancellor Merkel to show equal zeal "as a defender of the rights of political dissidents residing on German soil, whose sole crime is to seek to bring about a respect for human rights and secular democracy in their land of origin, Iran."

"Our biggest fear, Madame Chancellor, is that these actions on the part of your government will encourage the Iranian regime to resume its assassination campaign against Iranian dissidents living in Europe," the FDI letter states. Noting that Iran's assassination campaign, which claimed the lives of more than 200 dissidents living overseas, was only stopped by intense legal and public and diplomatic pressure, FDI concluded: "It would be a tragedy if the actions of your government served to turn back the clock and mark the resumption of Iranian government terror operations on European soil." Download a PDF copy of the letter here.

Update 3 PM Washington time: a few hours after we sent our letter to Chancellor Merkel, the German authorities released Mr. Ahmadi. However, given the outstanding Interpol "red notice" against him, and Iran's open threats to extradite him, threats to his security remain high.

March 6, 2010: Interpol issues "red notice" against Iranian broadcaster in Los Angeles. Spurred on by the inaction of the international community as it cracks down on internal protest, the Iranian regime is now expanding its efforts to muzzle voices of protest on the outside. Not only has it influenced the government of Belgium to issue an arrest warrant
against PJAK leader Rahman Haj Ahmadi that the German government enforced (see below), but today Interpol issued an international arrest warrant or "red notice" against Shahram Homayoun, an Iranian broadcaster in Los Angeles. Interpol stated that it was issuing the arrest warrant at the request of a court in Shiraz, which had convicted Mr. Homayoun on terrorism charges. So let's get this straight: a terrorist regime is now claiming that opposition broadcasters are "terrorists" because they oppose the terrorism of the regime... Mr. Homayoun owns and operates Channel One television. He  tells FDI he was never aware of any court proceedings against him in Shiraz, and has never been contacted by Iranian legal authorities. "But of course, the punishment for terrorism is execution," he said. "So this arrest warrant is an execution order." Mr. Homayoun is a legal U.S. resident.

American taxpayers fund a good chunk of Interpol's operating budget.  Congress should withhold funds from Interpol until this outrageous manipulation of international police cooperation is rescinded. You can sign an online protest to Interpol here.

- German court releases its "arrest warrant" against Rahman Haj Ahmadi. T
he Germans claim they are acting at the request of the Belgian government, which is accusing Ahmadi and PJAK of being a part of the PKK. The German document states that PJAK camps in northern Iraq are co-located with PKK camps. FDI president Kenneth R. Timmerman visited the PJAK camps in October 2007, and they were nowhere near the PKK camps. Read his report here. (We will post our letter to German Chancellor Merkel, demanding that she release Ahmadi, on Monday). You can download the German arrest warrant as a pdf file here. Our favor excerpt: Mr Ahmadi "went to the PJAK guerilla camp in the Qandil mountains dressed as a PJAK guerilla fighter, dress that is similar to the PKK. These guerilla fighters are fighting the Iranian armed forces.� Arrested for dressing while Kurd?


FDI has learned that German plainclothes police stormed the apartment of PJAK leader Rahman Haj Ahmadi at around 3 PM on Friday, arresting him without charges. Ahmadi has lived in Germany for 45 years, and has been a German citizen since 1984. His arrest comes just one day after Belgian authorities ransacked the studio in Brussels of ROJ TV, a Kurdish  network affiliated with the Turkish PKK, and less than two weeks after the regime negotiated the surrender of Jundollah leader Abdolmalek Rigi. See for more details on this breaking news story.

"This is an outrageous violation of the fundamental human rights of a European citizen,"
said FDI president Kenneth Timmerman. "The German government has a sorry history of collaborating with the Iranian regime and in exerting pressure on Iranian political refugees living in Germany. FDI demands that the German authorities release Mr. Ahmadi immediately."

FDI will post a copy of its letter of protest to the German federal authorities shortly, and urges other human rights groups to lodge protests with German embassies and the German government in Berlin.

March 2, 2010: Regime closes Evangelical church, arrests pastor.
Reverend Wilson Issavi, an Evangelical pastor in Isfahan, was jailed on Friday along with eight other believers, according to reports from International Christian Concern. Pastor Issavi was arrested by state security agents during a raid while visiting a friend's house. Ahmadinejad has vowed to "crush" Christianity in Iran, and fears the rapid expansion of house churches throughout the country, including inside the regime's security apparatus.  According to Elam Ministries, a group that distributes Bibles and helps churches inside Iran, there were just 500 Muslim background believers in Iran at the time of the 1979 Revolution. "Today the most conservative estimate is that there are at least 100,000 believers in the nation," Elam says.

March 1, 2010: Kyrgyzstan denies arrests.
The plot thickened over the weekend as the the Pakistani ambassador in Tehran stated that his government helped their "brothers" in Iran in arresting Rigi; the UAE government said that Rigi never actually entered Dubai, but transitted at the airport for two hours while changing planes between Afghanitan and Kyrgyzstan. And then this morning, the Kyrgyz foreign minister contradicted the earlier statement from the head of the national airlines, and said that no passengers were detained by the Iranian authorities when a Kyrgyz civilian airliner was forced to land in Bandar Abbas. This has given rise to speculations that the whole Kyrgyz airliner incident was a smoke screen to cover-up Pakistani assistance in Rigi's rendition.

Feb. 26, 2010: Rigi "confesses."
The Iranian regime frequently stages "confessions" of captured opposition leaders, and today released heavily-edited footage of Abdolmalek Rigi. During the first part of the segments shown on Press TV, Rigi appears to be reading from papers held in his lap, just out of view of the camera. In the second half, he becomes more animated, gesturing with his hands and looking at the camera. In his script, he claims he had been meeting with the CIA and was traveling from Dubai to Bishkek to meet with a high-ranking U.S. official who had offered money, weapons, and training to Jondollah. A U.S. government official following the Rigi saga called the confession "garbage." Such declarations, "clearly designed to serve as propaganda, deserve zero credibility," the official told Here's the same footage with a rough English voice-over.

  Feb. 25, 2010: New details emerge on  Rigi rendition.
Video footage of Abdolmalek Rigi's rendition to Iran was shown to be fake on Wednesday, when Kyrgyzstan national airlines confirmed that Rigi and a top aide were arrested on board a Kyrgyz commercial flight from Dubai to Bishkek that was forced to land in Bandar Abbas by two Iranian Air Force F-14s on Feb. 23. Taalaibek Turumbekov, deputy chief of Kyrgyzstan Aba Joldoru, the national airline. told RFE/RL that Iranian security officers arrested two of the 119 passengers on board, then allowed the plane to continue on to Bishkek. The video sequence from which the photo below was extracted was clearly staged by the Iranian regime to disguise exactly how they apprehended Rigi.

But these new revelations may just be the beginning of the real story. Numerous sources believe that Pakistan played an instrumental role in Rigi's arrest, and point to the official visit to Islamabad last October by Iranian interior minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar who demanded that Pakistan arrest and extradite Rigi to Iran, just as they did in 2008 with his brother, whom Iran executed last year. Baluchi activist Nasser Boladai tells that he believes that the Pakistan government arrested Rigi and handed him over to Iran, and played along with the farce of the airplane takedown because " the Pakistani government doesn't want to be seen as handing Rigi over to Iran."

Meanwhile, Jondollah continues to accuse the United States of having played a role in Rigi's capture, as rumors fly that Iran may soon release the three U.S. citizens captured while hiking in the Iraqi mountains near the border with Iran, and possibly even retired FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Feb. 23, 2010: Regime nabs Jundollah leader. The Iranian regime has captured Jundollah leader Abdolmalek Rigi and taken him to Iran. Several versions of the arrest story are circulating, and the regime's own claims are confusing and contradictory. One version says he was arrested in "one of Iran's southern ports" when his jet was forced to land while takimng him from Kyrgyzstan to Dubai. another says he was "caught abroad and brought to the country." Video footage released by the regime shows masked agents boarding a Falcon 900 business jet of unclear markings.

Extensive rumors have been circulating that the U.S. may have provided intelligence to Iran on Rigi's flight that allowed the Iranian agents to capture him. If this turns out to be true, U.S.-based opposition activist Roozbeh Farahanipour warns that "all of the opposition is in danger." Read more at Newsmax.

Many contradictions are beginning to emerge in the regime's account of the arrest. For one thing, they have shown a Pakistani identity document they claim Rigi was carrying. Real Pakistani IDs don't have the bearer's photograph on the back side, only on the front; but the one released by the Iranian regime had the photo on both sides. The regime also claimed he was carrying a forged Afghan birth certificate, surely an imprudent move if he was posing as a Pakistani...And then a photo released by MOIS in Tehran purported to show Rigi visiting a U.S.  base in Afghanistan. Only problem: the many in the photograph bears no ressemblance to Rigi!

Feb. 12, 2010: Massive show of security forces shows fear of protests. The regime bused in tens of thousands of government workers to Tehran to listen to Ahmadinejad's speech yesterday on the 31th anniersary of the 22nd Bahman revolution, but video footage of the crowd showed mostly disinterested strollers and picnickers. Planet-Iran's live-blogging page reported that former president Khatami's car was smashed by bassiji's; Karrubi himself was assaulted and beaten in the head when he attempted to lead a protest march; and thousands were arrested in the days leading up to yesterday's anniversary. The regime clearly feared another popular outpouring of rage such as happened on Montazeri's funeral or on Ashoura. Once again, a Green movement "trailor" for the 22nd Bahman anti-regime protest had all the hallmarks of a Hollywood production.

• FDI has received another exclusive photo of Imad Mugniyeh, this time wearing IRGC uniform and speaking to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei - stunning direct proof that Mugniyeh was a key accomplice of the Iranian regime in its terrorist plots.
View the photos here.

Feb. 6, 2010: Exclusive
new photos of Imad Mugniyeh. Iranian defectors have provided dramatic new pictures from Iranian intelligence archives of Imad Fayez Mugniyeh, the star overseas terror operative of the IRGC Qods Forces. One of the photos shows Mugniyeh in Saudi Arabia in 1985 some 45 days before he hijacked TWA Flight 847 to Beirut. View the photos here.

Feb. 4, 2010: Former PM Jose Maria Aznar: West must help pro-freedom movement.
In a speech at the annual Herzliya conference just outside of Tel Aviv yesterday, former Spanish PM José Maria Aznar said that domestic unrest had opened a "window of opportunity" in Iran. “It will be a shame if a democratic world looks [aside], because our help can be decisive in bringing down the Ayatollahs’ regime," Aznar said. "Helping these events in Iran is our responsibility and our duty.� Watch the video.

Jan. 29, 2010: Iran sanctions bill passes Senate.
Long-stalled legislation to sanction suppliers of refined petroleum goods, and their shippers and insurers, passed the U.S. Senate last night, after Sen. John F. Kerry lifted a hold placed at the prompting of the Obama White House. Read the story here from Newsmax. Also look at the role played behind the scenes by Sen. John McCain, who is seeking even tougher sanctions against IRGC members, and by Sen. Joe Lieberman. Download here a 3-page pdf summary of the bill from the Senate Banking Committee. AIPAC's summary of the bill is here.

Jan. 28, 2010: Regime executes two protestors. In its desperate efforts to head-off mass demonstrations on February 12, the anniversary of the "Islamic" revolution in 1979, the regime executed this morning two activists, Arash Rahmanipour and Mohammad Reza Ali Zaman, who took part in recent peaceful street protests. Another 11 protestors have be sentenced to death, according to Canadian human rights activist Sayeh Hassan.

Jan. 27, 2010: Pro-regime supporters cancel event in Canada.
Iranian-regime supporters had been planning to host an event tonight at McMaster College in Toronto to "expose" so-called "media myths" on Iran. The pro-regime supporters would have us believe that Iranians really don't support the "riots" and that the Green Movement does not represent the people of Iran. But apparently, strong opposition to the event from supporters of the Green Movement such as Sayeh Hassan have forced them to back down. "The Iranian people are no longer satisfied with reforming [Iran’s] existing Islamic regime, but want regime change entirely," says Ms. Hassan, a 29-year old lawyer and pro-democracy activist,

Jan. 25, 2010: Green Cyber Army?
A shadowy Iranian Green Cyber Army has been set up to oppose the equally shadowy pro-regime Iranian Cyber Army that brought down a major Chinese web portal earlier this month. But Pujan Ziaie, a top IT specialist for Karrubi says the regime doesn't have many IT specialists to defeat opposition bloggers and websites, since "[m]ost of the country's elite support the opposition."

- KDPI leader calls for Greens to embrace Iran's nationalities.
KDPI leader Mostafa Hijri criticizes Mousavi and Khatami for their calls earlier this month to respect and reform the Islamic Republic. He also notes that the Green Movement has not yet called on Iran's minorities for their support.

"Therefore, the way forward at this point is twofold: (1) to combine the forces and massive waves of support behind this movement across the country and (2) to garner the support of those segments of society that have thus far remained on the sideline," he wrote in an editorial today. Hijri also called for the opposition to establish a "leadership council."

In an interview with Newsmax in November, PJAK leader Rahman Haj Ahmadi also called on Iranian opposition groups to unite. PJAK has called on its activists to throw their support behind the Green Movement, and many of them have been arrested during recent sweeps by the security forces.

Jan. 15, 2010: Ten Kurdish activists arrested at gravesite.
IRGC troops stormed a gravesite in Sanandaj yesterday and rounded up activists who had come to commemorate the second anniversary of the murder of Ebrahim Kotfollahi. Read the details and names of those arrested here.

Jan. 12, 2010: Former South Carolina Governor Joins FDI Board. Former South Carolina Governor David M. Beasley has been elected to the Board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, FDI chairman Nader Afshar announced today. “Governor Beasley brings a wealth of political experience and international contacts to FDI. We are especially pleased that Gov. Beasley has agreed to make room for the people of Iran and their aspirations toward freedom in his busy schedule,â€� Afshar said.  As Governor of South Carolina from 1995-1999, David Beasley was best known for combining Christian ethics with conservative economics. “I look forward to working with FDI on their important mission of empowering the Iranian people to achieve freedom and democracy,â€� Beasley said. Read more about Gov. Beasley in the full press release.

- The Progressive American-Iranian Committee is calling on Iranian-Americans to send letters of encouragement and thanks to Sen. Jon Kyl, for his efforts to get the Department of Justice to investigate the activities of Trita Parsi and NIAC in supporting the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

- Mothers holding a weekly protest to find out information on arrested family members were themselves arrested last Friday in Laleh park. Some of the women were beaten by security forces; others were transferred to Evin prison.

Jan. 11, 2010: More Iranian diplomats seek political asylum.
Ali Akbar Omidmehr, former Islamic Republic ambassador in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, tells Voice of America (VOA) that 29 Iranian diplomats have sought political asylum in the countries where they are serving since the stole presidential elections in June. Over the past two weeks, two Iranian diplomats in Germany, one in France, and one in the UK have sought asylum with their families, in addition to Mohammad Reza Heydari, Iran’s Councilor in Norway whose resignation was announced in the media. (Translation from Planet-Iran)

Jan. 8, 2010: NIAC - a False Friend of the Green Movement. Hassan Daioleslam reveals the "sea change" Trita Parsi and his pro-Tehran lobbying group have undergone since the green movement came on the scene this year. In Jan. 2008, when an Iranian-American asked him why NIAC didn't stand up against human rights abuses in Iran, Parsi demurred, saying 'we do not have the expertise' in the area... Now, of course, NIAC is trying to make people believe that they are in the forefront of the Green movement. Their agenda? Same as before: no U.S. sanctions on Iran, and no credible military option - just what Tehran wants.

Jan. 7, 2010: More arrests announced.
The American Enterprise Institute's IranTracker project has identified more arrests of political activists:

Jan. 6, 2010: Another Kurd executed for PJAK affiliation. Early this morning the regime executed another alleged PJAK activist, Fasih Yasamani, warning his family they would not be informed of his burial place for six months. He was arrested along with his father in 2007, and was the second Kurdish political prisoner executed in the past two months. 17 more Kurdish political prisoners have been sentenced to death for anti-regime activities.

- FDI President Kenneth R. Timmerman was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal this morning to discuss Iran. Watch the Video

Jan. 5, 2010: Regime bans FDI and other "seditious" Western groups. Iran's Intelligence Ministry has banned contact with 60 U.S. and international organizations it accuses of inciting a "soft war" against the regime. Banned groups included the National Endowment for Democracy, the Open Society Institute, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House, Yale University, the Carnegie Endowment, the New America Foundation, and FDI. Most foreign-based Farsi-language radios were also banned. (Read the RFE/RL report in English; read the original Farsi, where FDI appears at number 29 in the list.)

Some organizations, such as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), are conspicuous for their absence from the Iranian regime's black list. Indeed, why would the regime want to ban a group that continues to lobby the Obama administration against imposing "crippling" economic sanctions - the one policy that would appear to strike fear into the heart of key regime leaders since it will cut into their profits and their ability to buy allegiance?

Jan. 2, 2010: Washington Times warns that MOIS has "infiltrated agents" into opposition. In a front page story featuring a photo of activist Amir Abbas Fakhravar, the Washington Times warns that the regime has "infiltrated agents into the Office to Consolidate Unity, a student body that led the last widespread student protests" in July 1999. Fakhravar told the Times he hoped to create a "revolutionary council" of people inside and outside Iran to lead the "Iranian Green Revolution." The strength of the Green movement to date has been the lack of any identifiable leadership, so any council of this sort that identified leaders inside Iran would be a free gift to the regime. Fakhravar claims he left Iran in 2006 while facing a death sentence, but in fact left the country on a regular flight to Dubai with a freshly-issued passport in his own name.

Jan. 1, 2010: New photos show plainclothes security police firing into crowds of protestors on Ashoura.

This news came as Compass Direct News reported today that three Christians were arrested in Tehran on January 21 as part of a larger operation in which as many as 50 people were rounded up. "The arrests come as part of a tsunami of arrests in the past several months," the news service reported. Whereas past waves of harassment and arrests of Christians eventually have subsided, recent pressure has been “continuously high,� with reports of arrests in almost every month of 2008, the news service added.
Compass Direct News focuses on endangered Christian communities being persecuted around the world.





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