“The adoption of a correct decision about the issue of nuclear energy is the way out of the crisis”
In her latest monthly report, Shirin Ebadi, the human rights defender and winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has reviewed the situation of human rights in Iran during the month of Tir 1392 [Iranian month corresponding to 22 June to 22 July 2013]. In the preface to the report for June-July 2013, Dr. Ebadi has focused on the issues of nuclear energy, the sanctions against Iran and the problems that have been caused for the people of Iran as a result of these sanctions. In her report, this human rights defender has referred to the fact that many Iranians with health problems were now finding it impossible to find medicines which were absolutely essential and vital for them.
In her latest monthly report, Dr. Ebadi has also emphasized the need for the Iranian Government to respect international laws. On that basis, the report has described the adoption of a correct decision by the Iranian Government on the nuclear energy policy as the way out of the current crisis.
Moreover, the report by the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, which is published in both Farsi and English languages, has set out to review the human rights situation in Iran under the three main headings of: “civil and political rights”, “social and economic rights”, and “cultural heritage and the environment”.
According to the website of the Centre for Defenders of Human Rights, the text of Dr. Ebadi’s report for Tir 1392, which has been published on 1 Mordad 1392 [22 July 2013], is as follows:
A Brief Report on Human Rights Situation in Iran in June-July 2013
Wrong policies in the field of nuclear energy have brought Iran to the verge of a dangerous precipice, and the harmful consequences of this situation will impact the lives of people from several years to come.
The insistence of the Iranian Government on the continuation of the [uranium] enrichment process and ignoring the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council have brought about economic sanctions against Iran. The result of these sanctions is the crisis which has had a negative impact on the lives of the ordinary people, in particular the members of the lower income strata. For this reason, not only the payment of subsidies as cash sum to people has not done anything to alleviate poverty, but it has in fact led to a rise in inflation. On the other hand, due to administrative corruption, some people have been able to amass a huge fortune as a result of the economic sanctions. These manifestations are clearly visible against a background where for many Iranians who are suffering from ill health, the procurement of vital and life-saving medical drugs has become impossible. It should be noted that the prices of medicines produced domestically have gone up by an average of 40 per cent, while on average, the price of imported medicines has increased by 90 per cent.
Since the start of the sanctions, the value of the national currency has declined by more than 45 per cent, and in the last two years, Iran has been experiencing a negative economic growth rate.
Therefore, under these circumstances, finding a way out of the crisis requires the adoption of a correct decision with regards to the nuclear energy issue. The Iranian regime began the preliminary operation of the Bushehr nuclear plant in Shahrivar 1390 [21 August to 21 September 2011] with the claim that it intends to use nuclear energy only for peaceful purposes. This is despite the fact that Iran enjoys abundant petroleum reserves, while in addition, it also has the world’s second largest natural gas reserves. In addition, thanks to the abundance of sunshine in the country, the grounds are present for making use of an alternative and safe source of energy. The level of investment required for solar energy, which conforms with the needs of the natural environment too, cannot be compared with the astronomical sums that have had to be spent on the construction of the Bushehr nuclear plant.
On the other hand, the disposal of nuclear waste will create a new problem for the environment. We should not forget that Iran is straddling an earthquake fault line, and in the last year, we have witnessed several earthquakes there, some of which have been very strong, and one of these actually took place very close to the Bushehr nuclear power station.
The people of Iran, and the other inhabitants of the areas on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf are worried about the repeat of the Fukushima catastrophe. All these issues have joined hands to induce the people, who are now tired of all the economic crises and are worried about the future, to demand a halt to the uranium enrichment process. However, due to heavy censorship, unfortunately their voice will not reach the rest of the world.
The Iranian statesmen should now admit the indisputable reality that although “nuclear energy is our indubitable right”, there are other things which are also among the undeniable rights of the Iranian nation, such as peace, calm, happiness, and living in comfort and welfare. Therefore, it is not really possible to sacrifice the other rights of the Iranian citizens for only one single right, and bring the country to ruins by stubbornly insisting on it.
In addition to the topics mentioned above, what now follows is a summary account of the human rights situation in Iran during the month of Tir [22 June to 22 July 2013]. This report is based on information published by various media channels and websites, and their accuracy has been verified. The report will appear under three separate sections, in both Farsi and English.
Human Rights Situation in Iran in Tir 1392
Section 1: Civil, Cultural and Political Rights
A) Situation of Nonconformist Political and Social Activists
1. During this month, 22 people were detained, some of whom were released on bail after a few days. The detained individuals were: Student activist, Samira Razzaqi; as well as 21 civil and social activists: Pariya Khalilzadeh, Se’oda Khalilzadeh, Ma’sumeh Parivazh, Zahra Azad Qasem, Hoseyn Zad Qasem, Tohid Hasani, Saeed Lotfi, Saeed Abdi, Somayeh Alidust, Vahid Fa’ezpur, Meysam Azadi, Gholam Qolizadeh, Vahid Nasibi, Morteza Zarrin, Nima Hasani, Sina Hasani, Erfan … [ellipsis as published], Sima Sakeni, Milad (Sabutai) Kulani, Ali Nekuhi and Gita Reza’i.
2. To serve his one year prison sentence, Ali Nazeri, a civil and social activist, was at first transferred to the Evin Prison, and was then sent to exile in the Zabol Prison [remote town in southeast Iran].
3. During the month, two activists defending the rights of the members of the Derwish sect were given prison sentences: Hamid Reza Moradi Sarvestani was sentenced to a 10 year and 6 months custodial prison term, while Reza Entesari received eight years and six months in jail. Furthermore, five jurists and lawyers associated with the Derwish sect were each sentenced to a custodial prison term of seven years and six months. These individuals were: Mostafa Daneshju, Farshid Yadollahi Farsi, Amir Eslami, Omid Behruzi, and Afshin Karampur. They were also barred for a period of five years from membership in political parties, groups and sects, or engaging in activities in the press, media and cyberspace. In addition, other activists fighting for the rights of the Derwish sect received the following sentences: Saleheddin Moradi Sarvestani was sentenced to a three year custodial prison term and exile in Hormozgan province; Farzaneh Nuri was sentenced to two years in jail and three years exile in Khuzestan province; Behzad Nuri received a two year custodial prison sentence and three years of exile in Bushehr province; and Farzad Darvish was sentenced to one year in jail and three years exile in Sistan va Baluchestan province. On the other hand, Mir Taher Musavi, a university professor and a member of Mir Hoseyn Musavi’s election campaign HQ, was sentenced by the Appeal Court to three years custodial prison term and two years suspended term. Furthermore, Farhad Fathi, a student activist, was given a five year suspended jail sentence, and three civil and social activists each received a three year prison sentence and exile to Ardebil province. Their names were: Hadi Abu Khanfar, Jasem Moqaddam Payam and Sami Jadmavinezhad.
4. The security officials did not permit the holding of an Iftar ceremony [evening meal to break the Ramadan fast] in the house of Mostafa Meskin, a member of the Freedom Movement of Iran in Esfahan.
5. The passport of Mohammad Taqi Fazel Meybodi, a cleric who is critical of the government, was confiscated at the airport as he was about to travel to Lebanon.
6. The Majlis Commission for Article 10 of the Parties Law has opposed the renewal of the licence for the Guild Association of Iranian Teachers.
7. The Judiciary officials have demanded the payment of the 100 million Tuman bail of Saeed Kalanaki, a member of the founding board of the Committee of Human Rights Rapporteurs who has left Iran. The person providing the guaranty is now obliged to pay 2.5 million Tumans every month.
8. Gholamreza Vakili and Ali Hasan Shamayeli, members of the election campaign HQ of Hasan Rouhani in the town of Sonqor, have been summoned to the Intelligence Ministry where they were subjected to interrogations.
9. Mehdi Mo’tamedifar, a member of the Iran Freedom Movement who is currently in the Security Ward No 209 of the Evin Prison, has been transferred to exile in the Raja’i Shahr prison.
10. A Judiciary official has refused to allow prison inmate Farshi Yadollahi to be dispatched for medical treatment. This is while Asghar Mahmudian and Mohammad Amin Abdollahi, who are both in jail, have been on hunger strike for a while now in protest against not receiving any medical treatment.
11. Shiva Nazar Ahari, Hasan Asadi Zeydabadi, Emad Behavar, Hoseyn Na’imipur, Seyyed Mohammad Baqeri and Mohsen Sadeqi Nur have each been sentenced to the payment of one million rial cash fine. In addition, Mohammad Davari has been sentenced to paying a cash fine of three million rials. The court has said the reason for these sentences was unauthorized absence following the end of their temporary leave from prison.
B) Situation Regarding Books, Media, Writers and Journalists
1. Fariba Pazhuh, a journalist; Mohammad Cheraghi, a reporter and documentary movie maker; and Saeed Amuri, a poet who is also known as Saeed Abshareh Amuri, have been detained. Also Reza Moqaddasi, the managing director of Mehr News Agency has been detained for eight hours.
2. Ali Khodabakhsh, a media activist, has been transferred to Evin Prison to spend his sentence of one year imprisonment.
3. Mohammad Nurizad, the writer and journalist, has been summoned to the Magistrate Court.
4. Saeed Leylaz, a journalist, and Pegah Ahangarani, an actress, have been interrogated by security officers.
5. Fatemeh Kheradmand, a journalist, has been sentenced to a custodial prison sentence of one year.
6. The building of Khaneye Sinama [House of Cinema; professional association for film industry people] has been shut down and officially sealed by The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and pursuant to this act, Khaneye Cinema was placed under the direct supervision of the Law Enforcement Force.
7. The head of the Cinema Organization has ordered the removal of Iranian movie maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s works from the Museum of Cinema.
8. The Golestan News Agency has announced that a three-member team of movie makers have been arrested and detained.
9. A meeting has been held to discuss the cases pertaining to the supplement sections of the Javan and Vatan-e Emruz newspapers.
10. A police official in Semnan province has announced the arrest of two persons who, according to him, had insulted the officials of the Islamic Republic in their Facebook pages. In addition, a police official from the west of the Tehran province has reported the apprehension of an individual who, accordingly, was attempting to buy and sell VPN [connecting to the Internet via a Virtual Private Network, thereby bypassing the state filters and restrictions].
C) Other Instances Of Human Rights Abuse
1. The statistics about individuals who were executed in the month of Tir [22 June to 22 July] has increased dramatically, especially after the announcement of presidential election results. According to official reports, the number of executions reached the figure of 46. Details follow:
The Judiciary of the Ardebil province has reported the execution of nine individuals in that province. The said judicial institution said they were convicted of drugs transportation and distribution. The Judiciary of the Ardebil province also announced that its officials are waiting for final approval of 40 more death sentences before they carry out the executions. The head of the Judiciary in Gilan province has also reported the night-time execution of seven individuals in the central prison of the Rasht city. This judicial official said they were found guilty of rape. Also the Judiciary of the Kermanshah province has given notice of the execution of “A.R” for the crime of murder, and “A.F” and “Q.KH” who were found guilty of possession and storage of drugs. Furthermore, the prosecutor of Qazvin also has reported the execution of three drug-related convicts and two people convicted of murder. Moreover, some 11 drug trafficking convicts, who included five women, have been executed in the central prison of the city of Zahedan. The head the Judiciary in Kerman province has also announced the execution of six persons who had been found guilty of transportation of narcotic drugs in the city of Bam. Additionally, the chief of the Law Enforcement Force of Lorestan province has reported the execution of two individual for the crime of trafficking and possessing drugs. Elsewhere, two people have been executed in public because of crime of rape in the city of Karaj. Finally, the head of the Judiciary in Khuzestan province has reported the execution of one individual who has been convicted of transportation and possession of drugs.
2. The death sentence verdicts against Abdolreza Amir Khanafreh, Ghazi Abbasi, Abdolamir Majdami, and Shahab Abbasi have been announced in the town of Shadegan. These individuals have been convicted of the crime of “Moharebeh” [literally meaning “waging war” against Islam; ie reference to the active opponents of the system].
3. The Public and Revolution Court Prosecutor of Shiraz has reported the amputation of the hands of six individuals who were found guilty of larceny.
4. Ali Motahhari, the Majlis representative, has divulged that an eavesdropping device has been installed in his office.
5. The Minister of Communications, referring to the Internet breakdown and disruptions during the presidential election period, has admitted that the reason for the slowdown of the Internet service at the election time was based on certain security measures.
Section 2: Social and Economic Rights
1. The economic conditions in the country are still reported to be unfavourable. In connection with this topic, it is important to mention the medicine problems in the country, including the increasing shortage of sixty kinds of medicines. This is while according to a senior administration official, the price of medicines produced inside the country has increased by an average of 40 per cent, while foreign made and imported medical drugs have become 90 per cent more expensive. For example, the price of medicines for those suffering from MS has been increased by about 90 per cent and the price of the Iranian manufactured insulin drug is now four times higher than the previous price and the cost of the imported variety of that drug has also risen by 2.5 times. This is while the medical drugs affairs deputy at the Food and Medicine Organization of Iran has spoken about the price of drug supplements doubling up, in view of the rise in the cost of foreign currency which needs to be paid for them. In addition, news reports indicate a severe shortage of drugs for haemophilia patients. On the other hand, a member of the Majlis Health Commission has confirmed the use of phased out anaesthetic drugs in the country. Reports also point to a 15.6 per cent price increase for raw milk, as well as an increase of 15 per cent in the price of dairy products, according to the decision approved by the HQ for Market Regulation.
2. A member of the Majlis Development Commission has announced that the steel industry workers have not received their salaries for three months. Also the wage arrears of approximately 1500 workers in Iran Marine Industrial Company (SADRA) have not been paid during the three last months, and the payment of salaries of 80 workers in the engineering consultants company of “Tadbir Niru” has been postponed by more than eight months. Furthermore, some 300 workers of the Imam Khomeini airport in Tehran have not been paid their wages and benefits for around six months. On the other hand, the workers’ insurance premiums in the “Alvand Lamp” factory have not been paid for the fifth consecutive month.
3. Some 150 workers living in the border areas have become unemployed because of the closure of the Gamshad border market in the Sistan va Baluchestan province.
4. The Chairman of the Association of Iran’s Airline Companies has spoken about the risk of bankruptcy of many Iranian airlines due to rising costs.
5. The Head of the Forensics Research Centre has announced that in two months of this year [as written; not clear which months], 265 people have lost their lives in work-related accidents.
6. Afshin Osanlu, the labour activists who was serving a sentence in prison, has died in jail and the security officers have prevented the holding of a memorial service for him at the Al-Javad Mosque of Tehran.
Section 3: Cultural Heritage and Environment
Reports concerning cultural heritage and environment in the month of Tir [June-July 2013] also serve to indicate the presence of unfavourable conditions in these areas too.
1. Some 10 acres of wildlife refuge lands in Miyankaleh have burnt down.
2. The water of the Zayandehrud has been closed from the dam site. However, the volume of the water which is stored behind the dam of Zayandehrud shows a reduction of 70 per cent compared to the long-term average. On the other hand, the existing water in the distribution network of Esfehan has been reduced by up to 30 per cent.
3. The building of the shrine of an unknown martyr around the historical castle of the town of Anar will create problems for this cultural heritage site.
4. The representative of Orumiyeh in Majlis has reported that the 75 per cent of Lake of Orumiyeh has now dried up.
5. Referring to the shortage of water in the Mahdiabad village of Hamedan, Jomhuri-e Eslami newspaper has reported that the burial and funeral of one of the villagers had to be held off for three days due to scarcity of water.
6. The power plants of Esfehan which are using mazut instead of natural gas are causing problems for the citizens of Esfehan. This is because the gases and metal particles in the said fuel cause heart and cardiovascular diseases, respiratory ailments and some incurable diseases. Therefore, the side effects of the plants are like a slow death.
7. The Deputy Governor of Mazandaran province has ordered the convention of a meeting on the issue for the demolition of the Botanical Garden in order to construct a road.
I would like to draw the attention of the government officials and authorities to this point that respect for international laws requires the government of Iran to pay attention to the UN Security Council resolutions and amend its conduct accordingly.
Shirin Ebadi Human Rights Defendant and 2003 Nobel Laureate
23 July 2013
Note: For further information regarding the above reports, please refer to the following news websites: Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Fars news agency, Mehr news agency, Young Journalists Club news agency, CDHR website, JARAS, Committee of Human Rights Reporters, Nedaye Azadi, Baztab, HRANA, Ghanoon, Kaleme, Mohebbat News, Sunni Online, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Majzooban-e Noor, Melli Mazhabi, Nedaye Sabze Azadi, Radio Zamaneh, Radio Farda and BBC.
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