Iran Theater

Iraq expels Mujahedeen Khalq

Baghdad has ordered the expulsion of Mujahedeen Khalq (or People's Mujahadeen Organization), armed wing of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), following an April 8 raid on Camp Ashraf, the group's stronghold. The NCRI said 34 people were killed when Iraqi security forces attacked the camp 65 kilometers northeast of Baghdad. The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has has given the estimated 4,500 members of Mujahedeen Khalq and their families until the end of 2011 to leave Iraq. "This organization must be removed from Iraqi territory by all means, including political and diplomatic, with the cooperation of the United Nations and international organizations," Iraqi government spokesman Ali Dabbagh said. (World Tribune, NCRI, April 14)

Iran: labor strife, pipeline blast as tension grows in Persian Gulf

Workers at two major industrial enterprises in Iran's southern province of Khuzestan are on strike, according to a report on Radio Farda, Persian-language service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The report says some 1,500 employees of the Imam Port Petrochemical Complex have been staging gatherings in front of the company headquarters since April 9 to demand their work contracts be concluded directly with the plant's management rather than with contractors. The Free Union of Workers in Iran told Radio Farda that 1,000 workers at the Pars Paper Mill in southwestern Iran similarly launched a strike on April 9, protesting the dismissal of 60 workers who were on temporary contracts with the factory. (RFE/RL, April 12)

Iranian intellectuals dissent from regime's nuclear policy

From the PBS Frontline website, a translation by Frieda Afary of a March 29 statement from the Iranian site Akhbar Rooz:

Call for Active Opposition to the Nuclear Policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Fukushima completed the warning that was issued by Chernobyl. After Chernobyl, any trust in the ability of technology and the technicians to control the radioactive giant was lost. Fukushima further destroyed any trust in the ability to forecast earthquakes and other factors that turn nuclear power stations into ticking time bombs.

Iran: 200 arrested in new protests, opposition says

Iranian opposition websites say more than 200 people were arrested March 1 while attempting to protest in Tehran, with another 40 detained in Isfahan. Opposition groups had called for rallies over the reported imprisonment of their leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. The two men had been placed under house arrest several weeks ago as authorities cracked down on protests staged in solidarity with the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. Their families say that on Feb. 28 they were taken to prison, although the government denies this. (BBC News, March 2)

Iran: Will State Department exploit protesters?

Tens of thousands of protesters battled security forces in Tehran Feb. 14, leaving at least one dead. Amid clouds of tear gas fired by police and pro-government militiamen, the protesters marched down a central boulevard shouting "Death to the dictator," "We are all together," and "Down with Taliban, in Cairo and Tehran!" Dozens were arrested for participating in the banned rally. Similar protests and clashes are reported from Isfahan and Shiraz. (WP, Feb. 15)

Iran hails Egyptian protesters, cracks down on Iranian protesters

Iran said Feb. 11 that Egyptians have achieved a "great victory," after it was announced that President Hosni Mubarak had stepped down. "A new Middle East is taking shape, not the Mideast the West had planned for but one which has been created based on Islamic awakening," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, speaking on the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. "The movement and uprising that has been created in the region will definitely disturb the equations in the world today." (AFP, Press TV, Feb. 11)

Death penalty for Iranian blogger?

A Canadian-Iranian writer credited with starting the blogging movement in Iran faces the death penalty over his work, two watchdog groups said Sept. 23. Hossein Derakhshan was arrested after returning to Iran in November 2008 and charged with "collaborating with enemy states, creating propaganda against the Islamic regime, insulting religious sanctity, and creating propaganda for anti-revolutionary groups," according to the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and PEN Canada. According to the two organizations, prosecutors are now calling for Derakhshan to face the death penalty after he was convicted by Tehran's revolutionary court earlier this year. "The proposed sentence is a travesty," said CJFE president Arnold Amber, calling on the Canadian government to intervene. (AFP, Sept. 23)

Iran: court sentences journalist charged with "warring against God"

A judge from Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Iran on Sept. 18 sentenced Shiva Nazar Ahari, a journalist arrested following the 2009 presidential election, to six years in prison. Ahari was sentenced to three-and-half-years for warring against God, known in Islamic law as moharebeh, two years for conspiracy to commit a crime and six months for propaganda against the government. In addition to the jail sentence, Ahari was also ordered to pay a $400 fine or face 74 lashes. Ahari's conviction on the charge of moharebeh could have resulted in the death penalty. Her lawyer has stated that he will appeal the sentence.