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Iran

A Non-Nuclear Conversation: An Interview with Iranian Human Rights Campaigner Dr Hadi Ghaemi

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Iranian activists, journalists and human rights advocates have been coming under increasing pressure by the Iranian government; at a time when the international news media is fixated on Iran's nuclear program. This week, Malihe Razazan speaks with Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, about Iran's political prisoners and the campaign to hold the Iranian government accountable for violations of human rights. 

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Caught Shopping While Iranian: Diasporic Solidarity and the Globalization of Collective Punishment

[Image by Valeriy Osipov via Flickr]

In recent years, the Iranian New Year, Norooz, has become a fairly predictable time for US presidents to gesture towards “dialogue” and mutual respect between the United States and the Iranian people, while criticizing the repressive policies and nuclear aspirations of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). George W. Bush spoke often of the Iranian people’s right to live in a “free society,” and ended his presidency with an opulent haft sin display in the dining room of the White House. More recently, Barack Obama has taken to YouTube to deliver his missives to the Iranian people, and to frame his sanctions regime as an exercise in supporting human rights. At a time when ...

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Reading Poetry in Tehran: The Case of the Forbidden

[Cover of

Sholeh Wolpé, The Forbidden: Poetry from Iran and Its Exiles. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2012.  La redonda, suprema y celestial sandía Es la fruta del árbol de la sed Es la ballena verde del verano At a Chilean food market in Santiago, a young fruit vendor hums verses in praise of watermelons: “Watermelon: round, supreme and celestial / it’s the fruit of the tree of thirst / it’s the green whale of summer.” The poem’s eloquent simplicity and creative metaphors pique the curiosity of a passerby who decides to eavesdrop in the corner. The boy does not remotely appear “moonstruck” or “bookish,” and having been impressed by his talent, the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Paul Aarts and Francesco Cavatorta, Civil Society in Syria and Iran

[Cover of Paul Aarts and Francesco Cavatorta,

Paul Aarts and Francesco Cavatorta, editors, Civil Society in Syria and Iran: Activism in Authoritarian Contexts. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this book? Paul Aarts and Francesco Cavatorta (PA & FC): We started collaborating in early 2009 on a project looking at civil society dynamics in the Middle East and North Africa. We were not entirely satisfied with the mainstream understanding of civil society activism and its natural or inevitable link to democratization. This was particularly true for traditional civil society organizations involved in defending and/or promoting human rights and democratic political reforms. ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (February 26)

[Map indicating the U.S. and suspected CIA

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week] News "In Syria, New Influx of Weapons to Rebels Tilts the Battle Against Assad", Liz Sly, Karen DeYoung Sly and DeYoung of The Washington Post report on the Free Syrian Army's procurement of weaponry donated from outside Syria, as opposed to purchased on the black market.  The donation is highly ...

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عقوبات الغرب على إيران

[عن موقع قنطرة]

منذ عقود يُبرِّر الغرب عقوباته المفروضة على إيران بفكرة سردية تفترض أن العقوبات ستجبر الحُكام المتسلطين في إيران على العودة إلى رشدهم وستضع حداً لانتهاكاتهم، سواء خارج البلاد أو داخلها. ويرى الغرب أن تلك العقوبات "الجراحية" تضيّق حبل المشنقة حول عنق الطغاة بدقة متناهية، بشكل سيجعلهم يراجعون بتعقل سياستهم الخارجية ويرفعون أيديهم الملطخة بالدماء عن عنق شعبهم المغلوب على أمره. ويبدو للغرب جمال هذه الفكرة من حيث أنها قد تضرب عصفورين بحجر: فالعقوبات تضيّق، من جهة، الخناق على مرتكبي الانتهاكات والجرائم، ومن جهة أخرى تحرر الشعب المضطهد وتمهد الطريق أمامه إلى الديمقراطية. لكن هذه العقوبات في الحقيقة لن تؤدي إلى هذه النتائج على أرض الواقع. فمع كل جرعة جديدة من ...

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Ben Affleck's "Argo": A Movie about a Movie

[Detail of Argo film poster. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

Argo. Directed by Ben Affleck. USA, 2012. 1. Suspense and Espionage for a New Era As the awarding of the Oscars draws near, one is reminded of what is not being said. The kerfuffle around Zero Dark Thirty's representations of torture has been interesting, but no less than the docile reception among reviewers and awards voters regarding the far more competitive of the film's set in West Asia, Ben Affleck's Argo. At one level, Affleck has created a rousing espionage entertainment for our times. The story is based on the accounts of CIA operative Tony Mendez's smuggling—with the help of a Canadian diplomat—six Americans out of post-revolutionary Iran in midst of the US ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition on Jadaliyya (December 2012)

[Israeli Rockets hitting Rafah, Palestine. Image by Gigi Ibrahim.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to post@jadaliyya.com [click "Submissions" on the main page for more information] Ongoing Ethnic Cleansing: Israeli Settlers ...

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Why Chuck Hagel Is Irrelevant

[Senator Chuck Hagel shakes hands with Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta at the Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel, Washington D.C, 9 May 2012. Photo by Glenn Fawcett/Flickr.]

The latest non-scandal scandalizing the American commentariat is whether Barack Obama will be able to nominate former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his new Secretary of Defense. The narrative is that the Zionist lobby is eager to scuttle Hagel’s nomination because he has uttered one too many words “critical” of Israel, and displayed too many sentiments suspected of being contrary to the agenda of the lobby: namely, destroying Iran. The narrative is true enough. That the lobby does not want Hagel is clear, and his nomination would be a defeat for the lobby’s right wing. Still, it is barely a scandal, except in the sense that it is scandalous how narrow the ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (December 4)

[Destruction in Gaza after Israeli bombardment, part of Operation Pillar of Defense. Image by Scott Bobb. From Wikimedia Commons.]

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week]   Commentary "Obama’s pick for CIA could affect drone program", Greg Miller President Obama’s choice of successor to CIA director David Petraeus, a proponent of the agency’s drone fleet, may signal the administration’s desire to continue or back off from the agency’s “pronounced shift toward ...

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Exclusive: Shahin Najafi on the Perils of Being an Artist in Iran

[cover of Shahin Najafi's album Hich Hich Hich. photo by Reza Ahmadi]

Iranian musician and songwriter Shahin Najafi describes himself as an artist who shows no mercy to any group or any part of the political spectrum. In his work nothing appears to be sacred; his lyrics constantly question political authoritarianism, social injustice, ideological dogmas, and cultural taboos. Shahin Najafi’s defiant spirit put him at loggerheads with the authorities in Iran and compelled him to leave the country in 2004 in order to continue his work without fear of persecution. But even that did not end his troubles with Iranian authorities. Earlier this year, he had to take temporary refuge in a house near Cologne, Germany after a cleric in Iran ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Archive on Jadaliyya (October 2012)

[Barack Obama, Hosni Mubarak, and Benjamin Netanyahu meet in the Oval Office in November 2010. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to post@jadaliyya.com [click "Submissions" on the main page for more information] "The UN at ASIL: R2P and the Arab ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (March 2013)

 [This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your ...

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Noura Erakat and Rashid Khalidi on US-Israeli Relations: Interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes

This week US President Barack Obama made his first Middle East visit of his second term in office. It was also his first trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) since coming into office in 2008. The purpose of the trip was to warm chilled relations with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, as well as to reiterate the US position towards Iran's nuclear power ambitions. In many ways, the trip signaled Obama's retreat from the region rather than the first step in an intensified ...

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Reporters Without Borders Enemies of Internet Report Features Iran, Bahrain, and Syria

[The following report was issued by Reporters Without Borders on 11 March 2013.] The Enemies of Internet -- Special Edition: Surveillance  Introduction: Era of the Digital Mercenaries  “My computer was arrested before I was.” This perceptive comment was made by a Syrian activist who had been arrested and tortured by the Assad regime. Caught by means of online surveillance, Karim Taymour told a Bloomberg journalist that, during interrogation, he was shown a stack of hundreds of ...

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Spider Web: The Making and Unmaking of Iran Sanctions

[The following report was issued by International Crisis Group on 25 February 2013.] Spider Web: The Making and Unmaking of Iran Sanctions  Executive Summary With war a frightening prospect and fruitful negotiations a still-distant dream, sanctions have become the West’s instrument of choice vis-à-vis Iran. They are everywhere: in the financial arena, barring habitual commercial relations; in the oil sector, choking off Tehran’s principal source of currency; in the insurance sector, thwarting its ...

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Joint Statement on Iranian Opposition Leaders Under House Arrest

[The following statement was issued by a group of human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch, on 14 February 2013.] The Iranian authorities should immediately release from arbitrary house arrest two former presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mir Hossein Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, an author and political activist, the Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi, and six leading human rights groups said today. The authorities should also stop harassing or ...

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New Texts Out Now: Dina Rizk Khoury, Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom, and Remembrance

Dina Rizk Khoury, Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom, and Remembrance. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Dina Rizk Khoury (DRK): The 2003 US invasion of Iraq was the chief impetus for writing this book. I had been about halfway through writing a book on the politics of reform and rebellion in Ottoman Baghdad when the build-up for the 2003 invasion began. Ottoman Baghdad receded very quickly from my focus. I was frustrated as a ...

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Reporters Without Borders: Mourning Mothers Spokesperson to be Jailed for 6 Months

[The following statement was issued by Reporters Without Borders on 17 January 2013.] Reporters Without Borders is deeply concerned to learn that Mansoureh Behkish, a netizen and founder of the Mourning Mothers movement, has been told to report to the sentence application court at Tehran’s Evin prison on 29 January to begin serving a six-month jail sentence. “We urge the authorities not to jail Behkish,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The way she has been hounded for years is typical of the ...

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Letter Concerning Imprisonment and Maltreatment of Omid Kokabee

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA).] 3 January 2013 Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran c/o  H.E. Mohammad Khazaee Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations 662 Third Avenue New York, NY 10017  Your Excellency, I write to you on behalf of the Committee on ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition on Jadaliyya (November 2012)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post ...

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Egyptian Protesters and Imprisoned Iranian Hunger Striker: Interviews with Mona El Ghobashy, Hesham Sallam and Hadi Ghaemi

Egyptians are revolting once again but this time against an elected President: Mohammed Morsi, who just passed a series of presidential decrees giving him near-dictatorial powers. Almost two years after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt remains mired in major political struggles between the remnants of Hosni Mubarak's regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the rest of Egyptian political opinion. What is the balance of power as it stands now between the different competing political movements in Egypt, and ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (5 November)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention, and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week] News "Palestinian Cars Vandalized in Apparent Hate Attack", Agence France-Presse     Six Palestinian vehicles in an East ...

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Oxford Event -- Russian Orientalism to Soviet Iranology: The Persian-Speaking World and Its History Through Russian Eyes (30 November 2012)

Russian Orientalism to Soviet Iranology: The Persian-Speaking World and Its History Through Russian Eyes 30 November 2012 Oxford, United Kingdom  The Soviet Union possessed a long tradition of Iranian Studies, a tradition which it inherited from imperial Russia but transformed to suit its sense of its own historical mission. This tradition had its origins within the framework of Russian Orientalism as this developed during the nineteenth century age of imperial expansion. After 1921, under the ...

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