Recent News from the Global Movement

Free Toomaj flyer published in France

May 12, 2024
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10 Groups Together: March 8 We Raise Our Voices Around the World!

March 11, 2024

This English translation of a Farsi statement by 10 organizations was posted to Instagram on March 10, 2024 by @maosyangarim and @Nev.Suomi. Additions in brackets by IEC volunteers.

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We are the successors of those millions of women who, since March 1911, have taken to the streets all over the world for the right to vote and in solidarity with those women workers from the sweatshops of Lawrence who demanded “bread and roses” for all. We have lived under patriarchy for thousands of years while this oppressive relationship was justified as “natural” by religion and pseudo-science.

This March 8, 103 years have passed since this was designated as International Women’s Day at the 2nd  International Communist Women’s  Meeting in Moscow, and 45 years since the women’s uprising against Khomeini’s mandatory hijab decree in Iran. We are the successors of the rebellious women who made our commitment quite clear to the Islamic Republic during the Jina uprising, shouting “You have made the compulsory hijab a symbol of our subjugation, we will burn your symbols and end patriarchy!”

The patriarchy that in Iran takes the form of mandatory hijab, in Afghanistan takes the form of  keeping women at home and barring them from getting an education; in Turkey, it takes the form of  femicide and violence against women; in Palestine, it takes the form of war, humiliation and the rape of women;  in Mexico, the form of the disappearances of women; in Argentina, when Miley came to power, it took the form of an attack against women’s abortion rights; in the US it takes the form of abolishing the right to abortion. Europe (Italy, the Netherlands, France) and China are making return to the traditional role of women in the family and family values headline political debates. All over the world, millions of women and LGBTQ+ are oppressed.

The international labor market has become “feminized” and poverty has become “feminized.”  Women make up an increasing share of not just low-wage service jobs, but of temporary jobs, work in the informal sector, and in the slavery of prostitution in trafficking networks.

Patriarchy is global and so is women’s struggle against the global capitalist system!

The whole framework of the globalist capitalist system is intertwined with male-supremacist/patriarchal relations, and cannot survive without them.  It has viciously attacked even the slightest changes in the in the status of women that have been achieved in recent decades, and promotes a culture of hatred and subjugation of women. Especially in this time, capitalist crises and imperialist contention demand a new order [in the world].  In the response to the problems constantly generated by the functioning of the imperialist capitalist system, it has produced reactionary alternatives [ranging] from fundamentalism to fascism, alternatives that threaten not only women’s lives, but all of humanity.

Today, Palestine is one of the bloodiest expressions of this contention between reactionary alternatives.  It is our blood that is shed in Palestine while people wait in line for "humanitarian aid," yet there is no waiting line for the bombs that fall on our heads.

There is no solution to this situation created by the imperialist countries of the global north and their dependent capitalist countries (of either variety, oppressive Islamic, or "secular and democratic" ), other than internationalist struggle and solidarity.

The women of the world are a single body that, in order to free themselves from the chains of male supremacy/patriarchy, must liberate all humanity from the chains of oppressive and exploitative relations, from traditional property relations and from the outdated ideas and values [they give rise to].

Let's join together and raise awareness of the problem that confronts us and its solution. Without waging this conscious struggle, the potential of women will be diverted and and squandered by various strata and [kept within the bounds] of the ruling classes. We have been fighting and winning some battles for over a hundred years, but our great victory will be to overthrow the ruling class.

This March 8th, let’s take to the streets in our common struggle against capitalism and the patriarchy intertwined with it, and shout out our common pain and fury!

Baloch Women'sMovement @balochwomenmovementt,
Bread and Roses (Turkey)
@ekmekvegul,
Burn The Cage
@burnthecage
Free Nahid
@free.nahid,
Institute for Women's Social Equality in Afghanistan,
je.cocreation
@je.cocreation,
Osyan
@maosyangarim
Uxan Global Media
@uxanmedia,
Woman Life Freedom Finland
@nev.suomi,
Youth in Exile
@bahamad_fa/@bahamad_en

Taking the campaign for the life and freedom of political prisoners in Iran out to people in Bogota, Colombia, from IG/@comrevco

February 26, 2024

From Instagram post of @comrevco. Caption and translation to English below.

En el concierto en apoyo al pueblo palestino realizado el 23 de febrero en la Plaza Bolívar en Bogotá, un grupo de comrevs y simpatizantes de la campaña por la vida y la libertad de los presos políticos en Irán distribuyeron volantes, conversaron con varios asistentes y llevaron grandes pancartas contra el genocidio israelí del pueblo palestino y en la defensa de los presos políticos en Irán. Tras una intervención en el escenario, se realizó la quema de las banderas de Israel y EEUU.

At the concert in support of the Palestinian people held on February 23 at Plaza Bolivar in Bogota, a group of revcoms and supporters of the campaign for the life and freedom of political prisoners in Iran distributed flyers, talked with several attendees and carried large banners against the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people and in defense of the political prisoners in Iran. After an intervention on the stage, the burning of the flags of Israel and the USA took place.

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Dance of Peace for women's freedom in Iran

February 23, 2024

Sharat G. Lin will bring his interpretive Dance of Peace, to the tune of Bella Ciao, to the Evening of Cultural Revolt to Free Toomaj Salehi and All Political Prisoners on February 24, 2023 in Berkeley, California. Here is a post of his dance to Bella Ciao at the Fremont BART Station Innovation Plaza, December 18, 2022.

Caption by Instagram @danceofpeace posted: "Dance of Peace for women's freedom in Iran! 💃🏽🌹The recent uprising of Iranian Americans is of a magnitude not seen since the huge Iranian student protests of the 1970s. A broad political spectrum of people are upholding the rights of women to make their own choices, and for life and freedom!..."

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Global Movement News - Past Year

On the Importance of Truth to Achieving Emancipation: A Letter to Narges Mohammadi from Somayeh Kargar

January 2, 2024
Left: Somayeh Kargar, screenshot from video message to screening of White Torture documentary by Narges Mohammadi. Right: Narges Mohammadi, photo by Reihane Taravati.

Editors’ note: Somayeh Kargar is a former political prisoner in Iran. She was arrested in October 2020 and released in 2021. Among her five codefendants were Mehran Raouf and Nahid Taghavi who are still unjustly held in Tehran’s Evin prison. She was charged with establishing and running the Osyan Women's Collective1 and acting for the Communist Party of Iran (MLM). Narges Mohammadi is a long-time fighter against the reactionary Islamic regime of Iran and currently a political prisoner2. This letter is posted in Farsi in Atash/Fire journal #146, January 2024 issue at cpimlm.org. It was translated to English by IEC volunteers. Translators’ minor notations/edits for clarification are in brackets.

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Download a one-page excerpt of this letter to distribute.

Greetings to you and to the rest of the imprisoned comrades! With enthusiasm and attention, I read Angelina Jolie's interview with you3, and listened to your message at the Nobel ceremony, which was read by your precious children. Again, as always, you tried to show the brutal, dark-mindedness and murderous nature of the Islamic Republic, to be a justice-advocate for all the prisoners, and to cry out against the suffering of the people, especially the women. Thank you for your persistent and breathtaking efforts to expose the regime’s repressive torture apparatus, for showing the centrality of the struggle to free the political prisoners to the way forward, and to the overthrow of this regime. In the face of the dirty attacks by reactionaries, and sometimes by ignorant friends, stay strong and hold your head high.

We live in a world where reality is deliberately concealed, where facts are deliberately and methodically distorted and twisted, so that the truth about this obsolete world order that exists today and its horrifying outcomes appear to be “normal,” part of the human condition, and to make getting rid of this system seem impossible and unnecessary. In such a situation, where discovering the truth and understanding its relationship to emancipation and to fighting for it can be considered the biggest crime, there is no more powerful tool than seeing reality, discovering the truth and shouting it out, no matter the cost to us.

Dear Narges: I well understand the limitations of prison, but you yourself made it clear that, “I will never let prison stand in my way.” And up to now, you have shown that these words are not just a slogan. Your voice and the voices of our fellow prisoners from behind the walls of Evin have great power and influence, and now with the Nobel Prize, they are being echoed worldwide. It is important that this get fused with the global movement against the Israeli genocide in Gaza. This Peace Prize is awarded at a time when we are witnessing the normalization of [war] crimes in the Middle East. Humanity is standing on the brink of an existential abyss, and the people of Iran and Palestine are part of this humanity that is at risk of being destroyed.

Sometimes events outside of our control will part the heavens like a thunderbolt, revealing the truth to hundreds of millions of people in a way that talking to them for 20 years could not have achieved. The genocidal war on Gaza being waged by Israel and the U.S. did this. Twenty thousand people have been killed so far, and it is unclear how many more will die, and where else in the Middle East it might flare up. For 45 years, the Islamic Republic has been calling itself the protector of the Palestinians. This makes it our responsibility to expose the Islamic Republic’s deceit toward Palestine, and to tell the people that the national aspirations of the Palestinian people mean zilch to this regime.

The Islamic Republic is a bloodsucker that has attached itself to the bodies of the Palestinian people. We must not allow them to wrap their rotten banner of Islamism around the cause of the Palestinian people, or use the blood of the Palestinian people and their 75-year-old displacement to showcase the might [of the Islamic Republic]. Our people have become indifferent towards the Palestinian people and their sufferings due to their deep hatred of the Islamic Republic. But, whatever its source, ignorance is ignorance. Ignorance about the realities of this world is dangerous, and a problem that must be solved.

Today, “democracy” and “peace” deliver the bombs that fall on schools and hospitals in Gaza, Khan Yunis and Rafah, the dismembered body of a child protruding from the rubble, the body of a Palestinian woman burned alive by a white phosphorus bomb, the young child sobbing over her parents’ dead bodies. These are the true faces of the West’s human rights and democracy, and of Israel that is their military garrison. Today, truth in Palestine is soaked in blood by Western democratic bombs shot from the cannon-barrel of democracy.

The democracies of Europe and the U.S. have banned looking at these truths and talking about them. Award ceremonies for Palestinian and Jewish novelists who have expressed these truths in their novels and articles have been canceled in the very democratic Germany. In the democratic U.S., fascist representatives in Congress ordered that the presidents of prestigious universities be removed [from the floor of Congress], because they refused to go along with the “prohibition of thinking.”

This protracted deathbed of truth and humanity has revealed an important reality to people all around the world. The horrifying reality of bourgeois democracy becomes apparent as its pretense falls apart before our eyes—the revelation itself [as] a result of the workings of the very same global system that proclaims democracy. The system that has shaped and sunk its claws into people's intellectual life, that indoctrinates these ideas, has been forced to act contrary to its own assertions. Some of the people who sincerely believed in the assertions and claims of bourgeois democracy discourse and have been fighting for its realization, have been deeply shaken—or better put, are shedding their illusions. They have to choose between turning a blind eye to reality or taking a hard look at the discrepancy between reality and what is claimed, confronting the real consequences of this conflict on people’s lives. This is difficult to do, and maybe not everyone is up to the task, but searching for truth is a fundamental advantage that opens up pathways.

This year's Nobel Peace Prize is granted at a time when nothing in the world is “routine.” The old world order is in shambles and the laws and principles that govern the world are not working as they once did. But something important is happening: the naked reality of democracy is being more explicitly revealed. Within these democracies themselves, large waves of people are questioning their beliefs about it. In the U.S., people have begun to learn about the relationship between democracy within the U.S. and its [global] pillaging and exploitation; about its support for military and torture regimes in all parts of the world; about its war crimes and domination on the three continents of Asia, Africa, and Latin America; about the 700 US military bases around the world and its support for the genocide of Palestinian people; along with its history of genocide against Native Americans and enslavement of Black people. This new awakening should be celebrated, while at the same time it needs to be deepened to reveal the roots and source in the economic, social and political system of imperialism-capitalism that prevails throughout the world, including in Iran.

The war of survival that you mentioned is not limited to the people of Iran. The functioning of the global capitalist system constantly generates poverty, war, displacement and oppression for the majority of the world’s people. Only a minority in the Global North can enjoy a relative prosperity derived from the wealth produced by billions of adults and children in the Global South. In order for the technologists, scientists and artists in the U.S. to work and enjoy some leisure, children must go to work in the mines of the Congo. Peace is a bitter joke for billions of people around the world. The democracy, peace and human rights that exist in “Western” countries are made possible by exercising dictatorship and tyranny in the Global South, and by the benefits and profit derived from it. In fact, the existing world system is able to wear the mask of democracy in ordinary circumstances, and to remove it in times of crises, such as now.

These facts have always been known to a few. I had the good fortune to meet revolutionary communists who introduced me to these truths in a deeply scientific and comprehensive way. But in order to change the world, it is necessary for hundreds of millions of people to grasp these facts—and the root source of destructive wars, the growth of fundamentalist forces, femicide, racism, the destruction of the environment, etc.—in order for them to come to the conclusion that this system must be overthrown, not just in Iran, not just in Turkey, Egypt and these types of countries, but even in the U.S. Yes, in the U.S., where making revolution will lift the heavy burden of oppression and exploitation from the backs of billions of people around the world.

If I had an interview with Angelina Jolie, this is what I would have emphasized, because all the “good-hearted” people in the world deserve to know the whole truth, so they can serve the goals of such a revolution and live a truly meaningful life.

This is an opportunity and a situation that simply must not be missed. Even the staff members in the Biden administration and in the U.S. Congress were shocked to see the contradiction between the ideals they believe in and the reality that is occurring. Some of them resigned and held a sit-in in front of the Congress to protest the ongoing massacre of the people of Gaza that is supported by Biden. As a former 2020 Biden campaign and Biden admin staffer wrote, “Yes, I still view Trump as a fascist. Yes, I still view Trump's potential 2nd presidency as inherently more dangerous than a Biden 2nd term. But, I cannot morally justify working for someone who is supporting a massacre, someone who is as out of touch with Israel's role in a genocide as he is. I can better spend my time working and advocating for a genuine cause. It's not just me. I know many people from the admin/WH and campaign who are feeling the exact same way: a knowledge of how close fascism is to us, and yet a refusal to cross the moral lines of working for an Admin's campaign that is actively lifting up a genocide.”

As you rightly said, the uprising made the voice of our struggle global. But what was the uprising, and what does it have to do with the Islamic Republic and the global system? The Jina uprising is part of the global struggle of women against their conditions in this world.

Male supremacy is woven into the fabric of the current global system. Under the rule of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, its concentrated expression is the compulsory hijab. In the U.S., where the majority of the judges on the Supreme Court are Christian fundamentalist fascists, it takes the form of banning abortion. It is assumed that religious fundamentalism and the Islamic Republic are an awkward misfit with the body of the global system. But the Islamic Republic, and the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and North Africa, are the product of the devastating economic policies and practice of Western imperialist powers in this region. The Western world, led by the U.S., does not export democracy around the world. Their achievement has been the export to the world of those production relations and infrastructures that spread exploitation and oppression, to serve their own interests.

We still recall the catastrophe caused by the export of NATO-flavored U.S. democracy to Afghanistan, and the tragic consequences for the people of that country. Did the U.S. ever think about the interests of the Afghan people when they established the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and then handed Afghanistan back to the Taliban? Never!

We have the experience of U.S. democracy exported to Iran in the form of the Pahlavi monarchy. Do we want that once again, or something similar to that? Many people incorrectly see the “free world of the West” on one side of the equation, and Islamic fundamentalism on the other side. But that is not the case. These are players at different levels of a global system of oppression and exploitation which the imperialist powers are at the head of, and they dictate the terms and conditions that keep this global order spinning. The Islamic fundamentalists who rule Iran have “quarrels” with the imperialists who rule the U.S. But they are different parts of a single system that has oppressive and exploitative relationships with workers and toiling masses, with women, with intellectuals, with LGBTQ and with various ethnic nationalities in Iran.

Therefore, you cannot unite with one against the other, because that approach will end up benefiting both of them. Supporting one actually strengthens both, and neither one is a solution for our people, and the people of the Middle East. The choice between supporting one of these two forces has been imposed on the entire Middle East for decades, and we see its terrible consequences everywhere. The Islamic Republic is a theocratic capitalist state, not just a theocratic dictatorship. This reality necessitates a revolution for our society that will simultaneously destroy the theocratic form of the rule and its capitalist underpinnings, and this revolution can only be a communist revolution to establish a new socialist republic. Getting into “what is the problem and what is the solution” is vital for our society today, for tomorrow, and for the future of all societies, especially in a situation where the world is in the throes of great changes.

During my debate tour last summer that we called the “War of Alternatives,” I said that the world situation has placed not only Iran but all of humanity at a decisive crossroads. And I repeated [revolutionary leader] Bob Avakian's statement that we face “A Truly Terrible or a Truly Emancipating Future.”4 In other words, either humanity will suffer the intensifying disasters created by the functioning of the worldwide capitalist imperialist system, or it must prepare and bring about the destruction of this system through communist revolutions, in order to reorient human society towards a fundamentally different future.

The overthrow of the Islamic Republic is not only an objective necessity, but also an urgent requirement to chart a course toward the future. The present challenge in regard to the question of what alternative to choose is this: what must be changed so that not only the current problems are solved, but society can get onto a different road? How will this change be achieved? In the current situation, one of the most important methods is to differentiate ourselves from both old and new revolutionary programs, and to put forward the alternative of a real revolution and map out the coordinates and practices of the new socialist society. It is clear to us, the revolutionary communists, that if we are not bringing this forward, we are actually abandoning the field to right-wing alternatives, and the restoration of the bourgeois dictatorial state in another form.

The character, principles and the practices of this alternative are carefully laid out by the Communist Party of Iran (MLM) in its draft “Constitution of the New Socialist Republic of Iran.” This “constitution” is based on universal principles formulated by Bob Avakian, for the society that will be established after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.5

One of the important lines of demarcation in the alternative we put forward is regarding the issue of human rights. Most people who speak about “human rights” are referring to the “rights” enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948, and other such declarations. But as Bob Avakian has correctly noted, “within the current power relations obtaining in the world, there is no real way to ‘enforce’ these rights—and, in a more basic sense, there is no real way to ‘effect’ these rights within the confines of a capitalist-imperialist world economy and political system.”6 The intellectual and physical capabilities of billions of people who produce the wealth in this world is crushed and destroyed by the daily workings of the capitalist system.

When people rise up against this situation, branding irons, bayonets, imprisonment and torture await them. The challenge before us is to create a society that will break down these barriers and establish a government whose responsibility and existential necessity is to pave the way for the realization of the “four alls” (ending all class distinctions, all production relations that create such distinctions, all oppressive social relations that arise from those social distinctions and oppressive relations, and all the ways of thinking that flow from those social distinctions and oppressive relations), and to secure the freedom for the oppressed to put these “four alls” into practice, while at the same time, ensuring the freedom of critical thinking and dissent in society—even when they are in opposition to the principles of such a society.

Dear Narges! War, terrorism and fundamentalism are not the result of a lack of the attributes of the Middle East’s “very rich historical civilizations.” The war-torn and fundamentalist Middle East was produced by the working of the capitalist system that rules the world. And the character of the future we need must be qualitatively different from any kind of “historical civilization.” Yes, all of us in Iran, in the Middle East, and in the world, are suffering from a very dangerous “lack.” The lack of taking up the potential of the available revolutionary theory needed to lead new waves of revolution. Your work and the work of your noble comrades are very important to building those waves of revolution.

Within the opposition to the Islamic Republic, there are various political forces whose social outlooks and interests conflict irreconcilably with each other. But there are also various trends whose perspectives are close to each other. Such differences are very natural, because life is full of necessity. When tackling necessity in order to change it, human beings will always have varying opinions about how to assess those necessities and how to change them. These differences can and must become the source of the flowering of a rich intellectual life, and of practical unity. When we outline clearer alternatives for a truly better society and world, we will be able to open our arms wider for broader alliances.

As the contradictions within society and the world intensify, the various hues of “we” will come closer together. That’s great, and it is the essence of a human response to unbearable disasters. But, starting today, we must grapple with the differences in the viewpoints and programs of those in opposition to the Islamic Republic, so that we can become more aware of demarcating programs that can only lead from catastrophe to catastrophe, [from that which] unites our alliances that are aiming for a totally different future. Only then can we together, by relying on each other's knowledge and art, victoriously sail this storm-tossed ship amid rocks and turbulences, and aim our fists as one toward the ramparts of the tower of oppression.

----

Footnotes

1. Osyan means rebellion in the Farsi language. It is a group of Iranian and Afghan women who are the voice of women’s rebellion to express the determination, and to serve the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban.

2. “For some 30 years, Narges Mohammadi has been a fierce, courageous and selfless fighter against Iran’s Islamic Republic (IRI)—a misogynist theocracy. Over these years she’s been arrested 13 times, convicted in sham trials five times, and sentenced a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes (i.e., whipping). She’s now serving a 10-year sentence for ‘anti-state propaganda’ in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison." Mohammadi received the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize. "Free Narges Mohammadi" Resource Page

3. U.S. actor Angelina Jolie interviewed Narges Mohammadi for Time magazine after Mohammadi had won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2023. See the article “Imprisoned Nobel Winner Narges Mohammadi Tells Angelina Jolie Iran’s People Will Prevail,” Time magazine, time.com, November 2, 2023.

4. This is a reference to SOMETHING TERRIBLE, OR SOMETHING TRULY EMANCIPATING: Profound Crisis, Deepening Divisions, The Looming Possibility of Civil War—And The Revolution That Is Urgently Needed, A Necessary Foundation, A Basic Roadmap for This Revolution, by Bob Avakian, Revolutionary Leader, Author of the New Communism.

5. The Draft of the Constitution of the New Socialist Republic of Iran, available in Persian at cpimlm.org.

6. Avakian, “Human Rights in the Labor Chain,” April 11, 2022, available in Persian at cpimlm.org, and in English in “Interview with Bob Avakian,” at revcom.us.

"Freedom for Nahid Taghavi" on the field on Human Rights Day, Germany

December 11, 2023

During the whole Bundesliga (Federal League) soccer match in Cologne, Germany, on Human Rights Day, December 10, the demand for Freedom for political prisoner Nahid Taghavi appeared writ large: On a banner out on the field, on the jerseys of the @Hawar.help scoring-girls team, even on the big screen:

This was an inspiring example of building struggle for political prisoners globally based on initiative of people themselves. A participant says afterwards: "We want many people to know about Nahid's situation and to fight for her release. It feels good to help others that need it." A banner and jerseys for Human Rights Day were also prominent.

Watch a short video and read IEC’s English translation of the full German post on Instagram:

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December 10: Let's step out together to stop the executions in Iran! Call from 3 Organizations

December 10, 2023

The IEC received a statement for International Human Rights Day from three other organizations, excerpted below. We especially call our readers' attention to the CFPPI's chilling and well-documented report of pharmacological torture mentioned in the intro.

The Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran introduced the statement:

The struggle for basic rights in Iran is met with abhorrent brutality, ranging from arbitrary detentions to unspeakable forms of torture and executions. Amnesty International's report on sexual torture and Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI) report on pharmacological torture in prisons sheds light on the appalling conditions faced by individuals.

In 2023 alone, the Islamic regime in Iran carried out over 700 executions, encompassing political detainees and those apprehended under alleged drug-related charges. Shockingly, the list of individuals sentenced to execution continues to expand, necessitating urgent global intervention. The weekly update, by CFPPI, of the political prisoners condemned to execution serves as a distressing indicator of the ongoing crisis.

One of the gravest concerns is the regime's use of clandestine methods, such as employing "silent death" through pharmacological torture—a hidden yet horrifying reality highlighted in the recent report by the CFPPI: https://wp.me/p9yWrK-6W7

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December 10, the Human Rights Day, is a good time to raise our voices together, against the oppression and execution machine in Iran, which has claimed many victims in recent weeks. We are witnessing an unprecedented growth of executions in Iran. Although the Islamic Republic has always carried out executions since its coming to power, there has been a significant increase in executions, in the shadow of the on-going war in Gaza, with the aim of pushing back the people's revolution.

At least 120 people have been executed since the beginning of October 2023. A number of those who were arrested during the protests of recent years, including Milad Zohra Vand (21 years old) and Hani Albushahbazi (22 years old) and Kamran Reaei (33 years old) are among those executed. Also, the death sentence of a number of political and religious prisoners who have been in prison for many years has been carried out recently...

Saman Yasin, the protesting rap singer, has been tortured and subjected to mock execution in prison. Hamid Reza Azari, a child criminal who was only 16 years old at the time of his arrest, was recently executed...

Prisoners are subjected to "silent execution" by being deprived of needed medicine and treatment, or being transferred to psychiatric “treatment centres” and forced to use psychoactive drugs.

We, the three organisations, Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, Committee Against Execution and Free Them Now, Campaign to free jailed workers in Iran, call on all people in Iran and the world, especially families who are a strong pillar against executions, to protest against the growing wave of the Islamic regime executions, on the occasion of December 10th International Human Rights Day, and act immediately to stop the machine of repression and killings, in Iran. You can respond to this call by setting up pickets or street performances, issuing statements or sending letters of protest to the authorities and officials of the Islamic regime, holding seminars and photo exhibitions, as well as publishing photos and videos in opposition to the executions in Iran. It is important that the Islamic Republic knows that the peoples of the world not only are not silent about the crimes of this regime, but together with the people of Iran, they want to end the oppression and the criminal life of the Islamic regime. Our demands are:

  • An immediate end to executions in Iran
  • An immediate cancellation of all death sentences
  • The unconditional release of all political and ideological prisoners

The full statement and news of Human Rights Day can be found at www.cfppi.org.

Palestinian People Are Not “Animals!” Fascists Have No Place in This World!

October 19, 2023

This is a collective statement on the war in Palestine by three groups related to Iran: Burn The Cage, Baloch Women’s Movement, Youth in Exile, and Osyan/Revolt*. IEC is reposting it here because Burn The Cage is a sister organization in Europe dedicated to freedom for political prisoners, and because our readers will find the content of the statement useful in the current moment of crisis in the Middle East.

Posted in Farsi on @maosyangarim, the statement was translated to English by revcom.us volunteers.

“These are insects, mow them down like weeds!”
—Ayatollah Khamenei (about street protests in Iran)

“We are fighting human animals and will act accordingly!”
—Yoav Gallant, Israel's Minister of Defense (about the people of Gaza)

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Israel must stop the genocidal operation against the people of Gaza! We will not tolerate the racist, fascist army of Israel calling the Palestinian people “animals” and ordering their mass murder, and will not tolerate the Western democracies, led by the U.S., putting their stamp of approval on this order. This is not racism as usual—it is a genocide committed with the support of one of the most powerful armies in the world.

No one should tolerate it! Silence in the face of the genocide of Palestinians will open the gates of hell not just for people in the Middle East but for people all over the world. Challenge the fascist Zionist ideology! We especially invite Israeli men and women who do not defend this blatant racism: Do not tolerate this, not only for the sake of the Jewish or the Palestinian people, but in the name of humanity and for the sake of humanity! Hitler's Holocaust against the Jews was one of the most monstrous crimes in human history. But there is only one correct response to it: This must never be allowed to happen again—not to the Jewish people, not to any people anywhere. But Zionist ideology preaches the opposite.

It is alarming, and instructive, that the majority of the anti-fascist movement in Israel has unified with the fascist army of Israel—and it shows how misguidedly relying on, and working within, the system will eventually lead to uniting with the system itself! If we do not stand against the terrible situation we are facing right now, we ourselves will turn into terrible people!

No More Demagoguery! The hired mouthpieces of these regimes are telling people that the issue of Israel-Palestine began with the October 7 operation by Hamas. But what about the 75 years of occupation? What about all the bombing, genocide, assault and imprisonment, the military occupation of Palestinian lands, and the creation of Jewish security and military settlements? The result of this 75-year crime is that the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip have been confined in the world's largest prison, under siege by land, air and sea, in an ongoing massacre. This is the basic reality that governs that region, one we should all want to end.

The Jewish people, especially those in Israel, need to know that, after the Holocaust, the formation of the State of Israel is the worst disaster that has happened to them. Of course, the suffering caused by the existence of this disastrous government is felt not only by them, and not only by the people of Palestine and of Israel. It is also the people of the world who suffer, and will continue to suffer, from the effects of the existence of such a government.

Do not deceive yourselves! When apartheid Israel was established, Hamas did not even exist. In 1948, during the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”), when one million Palestinians were expelled from their lands, villages and homes by terror, assault, and mass murder, when even their olive and orange trees were wiped out, Hamas did not exist. Hamas is just a local criminal gang. By comparison, Israel, with its army and its security forces, is supported by—and in actuality is—a branch of the military and security apparatus of the world's largest power, U.S. imperialism. Hamas appropriated the historical struggle of an oppressed people, and rebranded it with fascist Islamism. Israel, with the cooperation of the U.S. and the U.S.’s puppet regimes in the Arab world (especially Saudi Arabia and Jordan), strengthened Hamas, killing and uprooting the secular and leftist forces of Palestine.

Hamas is an obstacle and not a solution!

Like the Islamic Republic, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are dark theocratic, patriarchal, misogynistic, racist and corrupt forces who have used Israel's oppression of the Palestinian people as “capital,” and a way to win permission to enter the club of reactionary governments in the region, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Using religious mythology, they twist and distort the nature of Israel’s colonial occupation of Palestine, trying to turn the secular and progressive struggle of the Palestinian people into a religious and racial fight between Muslims and Jews. Instead of fighting to liberate Palestine from the yoke of colonialism, they have diverted Palestinian youth into a reactionary Islamist movement that fights and dies for the “cause of God.” This is the same type of catastrophe that befell Iran during the anti-monarchy revolution of 1979. Hamas, with every intention of replicating what happened in Iran, named their recent reactionary operation after the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Israel's crimes have destroyed the lives of several generations of the Palestinian people. Not only does Hamas not represent the interests of the Palestinian people, it is a serious obstacle to their liberation. The coming to power of [Iran’s] Islamic Republic as a theocratic state and as godfather to other Islamist forces, has cohered Hamas and other religious forces in the region under the banner of “Axis of Resistance.” What they have in common—despite differences and similarities between the Israeli government and various Islamist currents such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic—are their crimes against the Palestinian and Israeli people. Both sides are the product of the same global capitalist system and its two outmoded, reactionary forms [imperialism and theocratic fundamentalism]. Instead of acting as an appendage of either one against the other, another path forward for the people must be opened up—from Iran and Afghanistan to Palestine and Turkey.

The history of Israel-Palestine state relations is one of those realities that are presented to the world in a partial or upside down way by the global capitalist-imperialist system, to influence people’s thinking and maintain its ideological hegemony. Both the formation of the state of Israel and all the crimes it has committed have been carried out with the cooperation and support of world powers led by the U.S.

The instrumentalist thinking that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a deadly poison. Influenced by this worldview, the global world order’s right and “left” wings are siding with either one side or the other in this war. This superficial and harmful way of thinking is promoted far and wide. We must fight this way of thinking, no matter what shape, form or disguise it may take. Using the same argument, based on their hostility to the Islamic Republic, a section of the population in Iran is defending Israel. But Israel is not only the enemy of the Islamic Republic, it is also the enemy of the Iranian people—from the Arab and Baloch to the Kurd and Turk [national minorities in Iran] and Persians, etc. If the Israeli army thinks it necessary, it will speak the language of bombing to the people of Iran or any other country, just as it does to the Palestinian people.

We are against this way of thinking. More than anything else, seeing and understanding reality is required to end these conditions. But under the domination of the ideologies and ways of thinking created by the capitalist system, [“enemy of my enemy is my friend”] has become a part of people's way of thinking. Time after time, around the world, actions based on this pragmatic paradigm—even by forces that once were progressive—have borne bitter fruit and only made the situation even worse. The result is always the same: the continued destruction of people's lives.

Again, Do Not Tolerate Deception or Self-Deception. Capitalism's “democracy” and “human rights” show their true nature in wars like this, when they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the criminals. The flood of messages of support and sympathy sent from the heads of state to Tel Aviv, like the U.S. deployment of battle-ready ships and arms in the region, are intended to make it more possible to support and guarantee the continuation of Israel's crimes in the service of their own interests. Demonstrations in support of Palestine are suppressed and declared illegal. Right away, the White House sent the message: “The U.S. government's support for Israel's security is firm and unwavering.” This steadfastness not only gives license to the Israeli government's limitless criminal massacre of the Palestinian people, but also gives the U.S. more leverage to advance its imperialist competition with the imperialists of China and Russia.

Let's Look at Every Important Political Event with Our Eyes Wide Open and a Global Scope to Our Vision! What happened in Israel-Palestine is actually a concentrated expression of the current state of the whole world today. The operation by Hamas and the start of Israel's war against the people of Gaza, is a global event that can suddenly spark even more massive wars. But this is not because the military operation of Hamas is “unprecedented”! It is because of the chaos that has engulfed the whole fabric of world society. Even the globalization of the Jina uprising was related to the situation that prevails in the world overall.

Everyone knows that the world system, which had been relatively stable despite destructive wars and rivalries, is now rapidly coming apart at the seams. An enormous explosive energy has accumulated within it, and the world cries out for change. This change could go in the terrible direction outlined by the Israeli Defense Minister: “kill the human animals!” Or it can go in another (far better and emancipating) direction as a result of our work and activity. We can totally snatch the initiative from the hands of the governments of the world—both the great and so-called “democratic” powers and the reactionary regimes like the Islamic Republic—and be the decisive factor that determines the future path of the world.

Seeing the scenes of this reactionary war makes our anger at this old world of oppression and exploitation even more molten, and our determination to get rid of it even more resolute. The greater frequency of wars and crimes does not normalize them for us. We, the people of the world, have a responsibility to confront this situation. The global capitalist system, including its continuous creation of war, poverty and oppression, exploitation and destruction of the environment, has turned the world into a minefield of strategic trip wires.

Let Us Be Vigilant and Not Pin Our Hopes on the Mirage of Changing the System in a Positive Direction!

No salvation for the people of the world and the whole of humanity can come about from within the world’s ruling system. The same explosive situations that continually erupt into crisis or war—in Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, Palestine, Turkey, etc.—also present us with a rare opportunity to build a different future for our people all over the world. Everywhere in the world, we must create new political alignments/polarizations that are radically outside of the framework of each country’s ruling system, outside the worldwide system, and against the thoughts and ideologies that the ruling powers produce (and promote). We must create such a unified political environment that the ruling powers cannot marginalize or suffocate the truth that we speak or our efforts to open up a pathway that is fundamentally different from what prevails today.

We must open the path for the initiative and leadership of a conscious revolutionary force. We are fighting on the side of emancipation in this situation. We call on all those who hate/are fed up with this situation, those who are not willing to stand by and watch the suffering and misery of billions of people in the world, those who know, as we do, that people are not “animals”—not the Palestinian people, not the Jewish people, not people anywhere not the world—and people do not deserve punishment and revenge: this is our common fight against these conditions and those who created them.

Whether it is the proxy war of the nuclear imperialists in Ukraine, Israel's war against the Palestinian people, the Islamic Republic's war in Syria, the U.S.’s war in Iraq, Turkey's war in Kobani [Kurdish city in Syria], the Taliban's war against the people of Afghanistan… it is our people who are displaced and killed all over the world by the capitalist-imperialist system ... so that this system of oppression and exploitation can continue to exist. We must not and will not tolerate this!

October 15, 2023

Signed,

Burn the Cage/Free the Birds

Baloch Women’s Movement

Youth in Exile

Osyan/Revolt

* Burn the Cage/Free the Birds is a movement in Europe to free Iran’s political prisoners. Baloch Women’s Movement: Baloch people are an oppressed ethnic group of nationality in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Youth in Exile are Iranian youth based in Europe. Osyan/Revolt is “the voice of women’s rebellion to express the determination, and to serve the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban.”

“El cabello de la mujer / The Hair of Women”, by Rafael Jesús González

September 30, 2023
Rafael Jesús González reading at Revolution Books. Photo: D.L. Lang Instagram]

Last week we posted a report from Revolution Books staff about the inspiring “Evening of Poetry for the Mahsa Jina Amini Uprising and the Heroic Political Prisoners in Iran”, co-sponsored by the IEC, on September 17, 2023.

Rafael Jesús González, first Poet Laureate of Berkeley in 2017, read the following poem in Spanish and then English for the event, and gave permission to publish it here.

Among his many honors and achievements, Mr. González received the César E. Chávez Lifetime Award in 2013 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Berkeley in 2015 and was named the City of Berkeley's first Poet Laureate in 2017. He is Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing & Literature at numerous colleges, including Oakland’s Laney College, where he founded the Mexican and Latin American Studies Dept.

At the Evening of Poetry, he introduced his reading this way: “I was born and raised right on the US border. So, consequently, most of my poems are written in the two languages.” After the reading, IEC volunteers translated the poem into Farsi.

A video of the evening is on the Revolution Books website.

Read the poem in the three languages below.

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El Cabello de la Mujer
a Jina Mahsa Amini
(21/9/1999 –16/9/2022)

El cabello de las mujeres rizado
como fina lana merina o como
el zarcillo de la parra o ondulado
como las ondas en un estanque
o lacio como la crin de un caballo
no debe ser visto en público
dicen los hombres que gobiernan
porque dicen que incita
la lujuria de los hombres según su
idea de dios tóxica, patriarcal.

Pero la opresión engendra rebelión
y tu corazón estalló con necesidad
de libertad, de dejar al sol calentar
tu pelo suelto para que el viento
lo peinara, la luna lo acariciara.
Por este simple acto te tomaron,
te encarcelaron, te golpearon y moriste.
Pero tu muerte fue chispa que encendió
en llamas la yesca de las vidas recortadas
de las mujeres y ellas tomaron
a las calles por el mundo entero.

En pie, hermanas, por la mujer, la vida,
libertad, y nosotros sus hermanos
estamos con ustedes porque nadie
es libre si las mujeres no lo son.

© Rafael Jesús González 2023

***

The Hair of Women
for Jina Mahsa Amini
(9/21/1999 – 9/16/2022)

The hair of women, tightly-curled
as fine merino wool or loosely
like the vine’s tendril, or wavey
like ripples in a pond,
or straight as a horse’s mane,
must not be seen in public
say the men who rule
because they say that it incites
men’s lust according to their
idea of god, toxic, patriarchal.

But oppression breeds rebellion
and your heart burst with need
of freedom, to let the sun warm
your hair let loose for the wind
to comb it, the moon caress it.
For this simple act you were taken,
imprisoned, beaten, and you died.
But your death was a spark that set
aflame the tinder of women’s
curtailed lives and they took
to the streets worldwide.

Stand, sisters, for the woman, life,
freedom, and we your brothers
stand with you because no one
is free unless women are.

© Rafael Jesús González 2023

****

برگردانِ سُروده‌ای به فارسی، نوشتهٔ استاد و شخصیت ادبیِ آمریکائی - مکزیکی‌تبار، رافائل خِسوس گونزالس، در گرامی‌داشت مهسا ژینا امینی، به عنوان نماد خیزش انقلابی مردم ایران:

"گیسوی زنان"،

به یاد ژینا مهسا امینی (۸ اکتبر ۲۰۰۰، ۱۶ سپتامبر ۲۰۲۲) [۱۷ مهر ۱۳۷۹، ۲۵ شهریور ۱۴۰۱]

گیسوان زنان، به هم تنیده شده همچون پوستین لطیف بَرِهٔ مارینو، یا در هوا رهاشده همچون پیچک‌های تاک انگور، یا مانند موجی همچون موج دریا، و یا صاف همچون یال اسب، که نمی‌بایست در منظر عام و یا به عبارتی در منظر آقایانِ صاحبِ قدرت دیده شوند، زیرا هوس‌های اعلام‌شدهٔ خداوندگاری، زهرآگین و پدرسالارانهٔ مردان را به تحریک درمی‌آورند. تردیدی نیست که برپائیِ ستمگری، شورش می‌آفریند.

قلب تو در اشتیاقِ آزادی می‌تِرکد، برای اینکه خورشید بتواند گیسوی ترا گرم کند، برای اینکه گیسوی تو رها شود تا باد آنرا شانه‌ کند، و ماه به نوازش درآورد.

برای چنین کار ساده‌ای دستگير شدی، بازداشت شدی، کتک خوردی و جان خود را از دست دادی. ولی مرگ تو جرقه‌ای بود که بُردباری تن‌های به‌بندکشیدهٔ زنان را شعله‌ور نمود و خیابان‌های سراسر جهان را به تصرف خود درآورد.

به‌ پا خیزید خواهران، برای زن - زندگی - آزادی، و ما برادران‌تان نیز هم‌دوش شمائیم، زیرا هیچکس رها نخواهد بود تا زمانی‌که زنان رها نباشند!

رافائل خِسوس گونزالس، سال ۲۰۲۳ میلادی

Actions in Colombia for Anniversary of Jina Uprising: "Their struggle is our struggle!"

September 27, 2023

Announced by Quemar la Jaula on X (Twitter) and Instagram: International support events around the one-year anniversary of the murder of Mahsa Jina Amini and the start of the Women-Life-Freedom uprising. (Below: Translation to English by IEC volunteers)

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"One year since the powerful uprising:

SPEECH: Why does the struggle of the women and the people of Iran represent humanity's desire and need for true emancipation and the possibility of achieving it? Thurs Sept 21, 5pm Dept Library, Jorge Garcés Borrero.

"GRAPHIC EXPOSITION: Burn the Cage, Free the Birds! Fine Arts Dept., Cali

"FORUM - FILM: Discussion and presentation of clip and videos" - Fine Arts Dept Chamber Hall, Cali

'We ask the freedom-loving and justice-loving people of Iran and the world not to remain silent in the face of all this repression, injustice, discrimination and crime and to raise our protest cry every day': Mothers of Laleh Park"

"The women and the people of Iran have stood up. Their heroic struggle is our struggle!"

Sept 14, 5pm @teatrolamascara

"The people of Iran cry out for freedom, life, an end to the oppression of women. Millions have not only risen up and taken to the streets, but have also raised their heads to dream of a completely different and better world. One year since this beautiful uprising, the struggle continues in different forms inside and outside Iran. Let us celebrate their courage with music, poetry, videos and discussion as part of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran."

"The women and the people of Iran have stood up. Their heroic struggle is our struggle!"

Sept 14, 5pm @teatrolamascara

"The people of Iran cry out for freedom, life, an end to the oppression of women. Millions have not only risen up and taken to the streets, but have also raised their heads to dream of a completely different and better world. One year since this beautiful uprising, the struggle continues in different forms inside and outside Iran. Let us celebrate their courage with music, poetry, videos and discussion as part of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran."

International Solidarity Messages at Jina Anniversary

September 18, 2023

For a snapshot worldwide actions, see our September 24 Update.

Here are a few photos the IEC received from supporters who attended or initiated actions on or around the September 16 anniversary of the Jina (Woman-Life-Freedom) uprising in Iran, getting out our message of relying on international people's solidarity. Below is our banner at march in San Francisco (see photos, videos from march at BayArea4Iran IG). See below for more photos and descriptions.

At San Francisco City Hall. Photo by IEC
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Photos in lightbox at right depict:

1 Morning vigil at busy intersection in front of Unitarian Universalist Society of SF

2, 3 Banner and sign holding events around San Francisco

4 Composite: Placard for Evin women strikers was displayed and IEC Appeal distributed at rallies in Seattle, WA September 15 and 16.

5 Book table, Stockholm film festival

6 Distributing flyers, books at Collective Action by Independent Iranian Women conference

7 Poet Laureate D.L. Lang Instagram post (see post for all poet pics) about Evening of Poetry at Revolution Books Berkeley. "Incredible night of poetry @revolutionbksb in support of @iranprisonemerg"

8 From Cali, Colombia: See @QuemarLaJaula Twitter for more photos of Event for International Support of the Struggle of the Iranian People, Teatro La Máscara, Sept. 14.

Somayeh Kargar, Ex-prisoner, Speaks to Afghanistan Women’s Studies Academy

September 13, 2023

We are reposting from revcom.us a speech by Somayeh Kargar that she gave in early August 2023 at the Afghanistan Women’s Studies Academy. Somayeh Kargar is a former political prisoner in Iran. She was arrested in October 2020 (just before the first anniversary of the November 2019 uprising). She was charged with establishing and running the Osyan1 Women's Collective and acting for the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist). Her co-defendants had included Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, and Bahareh Soleimani. She was in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for months and then transferred to Qarchak Prison. Her lawyers' vigorous defense of her, and proof that she could not physically tolerate imprisonment due to acute illness, led to her release and her case being closed. Her speech was translated and edited for publication by revcom.us volunteers.

Somayeh Kargar. Photo: Twitter
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One important reality which has brought us here today—a cross-section of women's activists—is the reality of the return of the Taliban to power. How will this affect the lives of the people of Afghanistan, and women in particular? The ramifications of the return of the Taliban are not just limited to Afghanistan. The growth and the spread of religious fundamentalism is occurring all over the world. The addition of a fundamentalist Islamic state, in addition to the Islamic Republic [of Iran], has widespread implications for the region and the world. The question is how to understand this problem and how to deal with it.

I will address two points on the topic of this panel that represent the predominant approach to this problem in the world today: first, “what are the implications of the term “marginalized,” and second, what are the underlying assumptions of an “alliance.”

1. Implications of the Word “Marginalized”

Let me start by saying that replacing accurate political words such as “oppressed” with words like “marginalized” has a specific political content. The term “marginalized” is not merely a word: it involves presuppositions that write off class interests. It is anti-Marxist, much like the rest of the convoluted innovations of post-modernism and post-structuralism. Also, it is an important tool in the hands of governments and liberal think tanks of the capitalist system.

For example, they talk about the “marginalization of women” instead of oppression of women, or about “marginalization of Black people” rather than the oppression of Black people. This formulation is an outgrowth of the theory that “the majority are at the margins” and a “minority is at the center.” Therefore, the problem is defined as the relegation of certain social groups—women, different sexual and gender orientations, oppressed national minorities—to the margins of the existing sociopolitical system. Therefore it concludes that the solution to this problem is for these social groups to move from the “margin” to the “center” [within the existing system]. Such an analysis is counter to reality, and the solutions derived from it are reformist and reactionary!

The fact of the matter is that the capitalist system, in its various forms, is dominant throughout the entire world. It produces and reproduces these social oppressions and class hierarchies because they are essential to [its functioning]. These oppressive social relations can never be ended within the framework of this system, because the source of the production and reproduction of these oppressions is the capitalist system itself! It is what connects the oppressed—by sexuality, gender, nationality, the exploited classes—to each other and to humanity as a whole and even to the devastation of [the environment]. It is the system of capitalism-imperialism in its various forms—a worldwide system dominated by countries like the United States, European countries, China and Russia—that inter-connects the whole world, including Iran and Afghanistan.

The ruling governments and the capitalist system in general, use a variety of mechanisms to produce and reproduce these oppressive social relations, as well as to prevent the revolt of the oppressed masses against their exploitation and oppression. The backbone of these governments is their repressive security and military forces. They also require an ideology that rationalizes oppression, to fully utilize these repressive forces. Eliminating the word “revolution” and replacing it with the notion of “transitional justice” is part of this! Transitional justice is an imperialist technique for effecting regime change, without overthrowing [the regime]. The U.S. implemented this in the Doha talks with the Taliban, and now they're testing it out on the Islamic Republic.

It is within such a framework that [pro-U.S. monarchist] Reza Pahlavi and part of the Iranian opposition are pushing forward transitional justice, and using it to reassure and gain the support of the Western imperialists. We experienced “transitional justice” in Iran when the Islamic Republic replaced the Shah, and we continue to live with what that set in motion. I stress that “regime change without overthrow” means that they will continue to make use of the existing reactionary forces. The Doha Talks with the Taliban was an application of such a “solution.” The reactionary NGOs [nongovernmental organizations]—hirelings and flunkies of imperialism—along with the Taliban and Ashraf Ghani's regime were all pushing for that “solution.” In fact, the NGO projects were little more than an auxiliary to the prosecution of the war and occupation in Afghanistan.

As I said, capitalism constantly uses very diverse mechanisms to produce and reproduce oppression. This includes turning some from among the oppressed into its servants and flunkies, in order to convince people that the system can be reformed. That is how this system is able to recruit social reformers and political brokers from among all sections of society.

Let's look at some examples. Everyone remembers the Doha Talks with the Taliban. Everyone has heard that the one of the biggest achievements of the Round Table Talks with the Taliban was the participation of some of these women servants of the system around the table with the Taliban. On the other hand, one of the most prevalent criticisms of these Talks was that not enough women were present, that they had only a token presence—as if the content could be decided by gender alone!

Another example: for two decades after the massacre and suppression of the revolutionaries in Iran, a number of secular men and women allied with the reformist wing of the regime, launched the “One Million Signatures Campaign” to take advantage of the so-called “powers” in provisions of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. But the same secularists who enthusiastically championed this project were promoting the reactionary pragmatism of “situational feminism,” in order to win over young women who were prepared to rebel against the Islamic Republic and its compulsory hijab. “Situational feminism” simply means that when you are raped, if you aren’t stronger than your rapist, stop resisting and submit to the rape. They stopped young women from rebelling against the compulsory hijab and instead preached “organization from below” that encouraged “organizing religious rituals with a feminist flavor”—gatherings of women around a “votive meal” [to share their feelings].

The Islamic Republic, from top to bottom, works to mobilize people around backwardness and superstition. But at certain times, it needs to unite with these so-called seculars when their help is needed to achieve its objectives. In fact, along with their ongoing use of armed repression, they sometimes also need the “velvet glove” and “soft” tongue of the petty-bourgeoisie and the intellectuals who articulate their interests. Some men and women of Iranian descent in Western universities also teach this type of reactionary pragmatism as a “women’s innovation”!

Of course the actual explosive potential of women was on full display during the spectacular Jina uprising that upended many of the political and cultural norms in Iran. We all know about this, so I won’t elaborate further. On the other hand, this uprising has been full of bourgeois-democratic illusions. Probably many of you saw Sarina Alizadeh's short videos. Sarina was an early victim of the Jina uprising. She was killed by the Islamic Republic's mercenaries at the age of 16. In her video she talked about her dreams saying “I know that in the world, there's an Ethiopia and a Los Angeles, and because I am a perfectionist, I prefer Los Angeles."

One can talk and write for hours about her brief comment. Our young uprising-generation must come to understand that it was neither the people in Ethiopia nor the people in Los Angeles who arranged their lifestyle. It is this global capitalist system that causes these terrible divisions within and among different societies around the world. In Los Angeles, a wide-swath of people lead parasitic lives, and in Ethiopia the majority of people lead meager lives, if they don’t outright die. They are always affected by the devastating wars that arise due to competition among world powers. Our Sarinas need to know that the relative well-being of the majority of the people of Los Angeles is the result of child labor in Congolese cobalt mines and Bangladeshi textile factories, etc.

These are facts of our world that cannot simply be wished away. The dream of many young people in Iran that found expression in this uprising, is to achieve the “democracy and prosperity” that exists in Western countries. But what about those countries? The continuing existence of the capitalist system requires imperialism. And what these countries—the U.S. in particular—spread around the world is not democracy, but rather the political, economic, social and military framework needed to maintain the capitalist-imperialist system. Never in history and nowhere in the world has bourgeois democracy ever been able to eliminate the oppression of women, and other social oppressions. And today we are witnessing the intensification of the oppression of women in every corner of the world, even in the heart of the bourgeois democracies. We need to cast away illusions. Capitalism’s best-case scenario is the promise of formal equality side-by-side with actual economic and social inequality. This is one of the main characteristics of capitalism most often trumpeted by democratic intellectuals.

Let me give you a third example: Iraqi Kurdistan. In Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, NGOs have always been an important lever of U.S. imperialism to neutralize the revolutionary potential of movements of women, students, workers and oppressed nationalities, etc. When U.S. imperialists talk about “civil society," what they mean is the forces networked around NGOs. Their objective is to undermine social movements that are not only against the ruling governments in each country but also take a stand against the imperialist powers. Their other objective is to establish a social and political beachhead [for imperialism] in these societies.

After the fall of Saddam's regime in Iraq, the U.S. government repeatedly invited Iraqi women—Kurdish and non-Kurdish—to come to the U.S. so they could receive “democracy training.” One such [NGO] was the “American Enterprise Institute,” an extremely misogynistic, right-wing, racist organization that has cloned counterparts in Iraq and in Kurdistan. These projects help to create a new stratum of female intellectuals to serve as a social base for the U.S. imperialists. U.S. imperialism has a department for “democracy, civil rights and labor” that makes use of some extremely misogynist and conservative forces in countries under U.S. domination. They create NGOs that can induce people to replace their social struggles with “lobbying” in order to bring “the marginalized” into “the center.”

The role of NGOs was highly promoted during the 20 years of U.S. imperialist rule over Afghanistan. But they had virtually no effect on Afghan women’s understanding of emancipation and how to achieve it. Instead, what they did was to lower sights, and limit women to working within to the framework of the system. This kind of negative polarization continues, as can be seen in the kinds of struggle being waged against the Taliban, and especially in the struggle against the oppression of women.

This takes two prominent forms in the struggle for women’s right to education: seeking a solution within the framework of the existing system and begging the Taliban for concessions. Then, when conditions disintegrate, they adjust by lowering their sights, a method that can never lead to the realization of their demands. The second approach is to say that nothing can ever change without revolution which in practice translates to waiting passively for the arrival of that revolution-day—which incidentally will never come if today’s struggles are not linked to the cause of revolution, and waged on the basis of building a movement for revolution.

2. The Underlying Assumptions of Alliance

My second point is about “unity/alliance.” First, you have to ask for whom and for what? Clarifying the goal, or “for what purpose,” is very important. As I said in the example of the One Million Signatures Campaign, that alliance was never about going up against a regime that rests on the pillar of the compulsory hijab. Instead, they tried to prevent women from targeting the government of the Islamic Republic in their struggle for women's emancipation. From this and other examples, we can see that it is also possible to form reactionary women’s alliances.

So before making any alliance and/or calling for unity, we need to determine its content. Otherwise, the effort will be worthless and futile. No alliance can be discussed without clarifying the content of that alliance, its framework and its purpose. These are the ABCs of taking any step toward unity.

In fact, all of the preceding discussion about “marginalization” and “NGOs” and “civil society,” etc., proves that the content of alliance is a very crucial question. Even an alliance with a goal that is short of a revolution, one that focuses merely on resistance against oppression, must remain completely outside of the system’s existing framework and its corresponding way of thinking. Clarity on this approach to unity can make everything we do today serve to help building a movement for revolution.

Take the example of the Osyan (Rebellion) [collective of women from Iran and Afghanistan]. What's the content of our unity? Our alliance exists to organize a revolt against the male supremacist/patriarchal oppression that focused against the compulsory hijab in Iran. But our outlook in this struggle is not identity-based, because this oppression is linked to other oppressive social relations and even to the destruction of the environment. All of them are part of the fabric and functioning of the capitalist system.

We carry out this struggle within the framework of a struggle against the theocratic fascist regime of the Islamic Republic. We call out all forms of social injustice, devastating wars, and the destruction of the environment—and we stand with all the oppressed people of the world. Our method of struggle is to rely on ourselves, the people of Iran, and the people of the world; because humanity is entangled together, we consider people all over the world as our own people.

All that can emerge from the workings of the global imperialist system are conditions that are hostile and antagonistic to the interests of the vast majority of the world’s people. Having illusions about the friendship, or relying on the support, of any of the governments of the capitalist world—governments that are themselves guilty of creating this situation in the first place—is to turn our backs on the people of the world.

In Osyan, our alliance is not based on unity for revolution. This means that we don't have a strategy and a roadmap for revolution to overthrow the Islamic Republic and establish a Socialist Republic. This is simply an alliance to organize the resistance and struggle against the Islamic Republic around the faultline of the oppression of women along the lines described above.

At the same time, we know that the roots of this oppression cannot be pulled up from within this system. The framework we propose—namely opposition to imperialism and theocratic fundamentalism—is outside the framework of the system. My activism with other women in Osyan is based on this framework. But for myself as a revolutionary communist, this is not sufficient, because I know and I believe that in order to eradicate male supremacist/patriarchal oppression and other oppressive social relations, it will take a revolution. Activity within the framework of Osyan as a fighter for the liberation of humanity is insufficient [even as] I consider the activities of Osyan to be very important [in contributing] to the revolution.

Nonetheless, to make a revolution we need a party whose goal is revolution, that has a strategy for revolution, and that works for it in a planned and organized way. And by party, I don't just mean just an organization, but the necessary mobilization around its goal and roadmap.

To sum up: neither papering over its horrors nor self-improvement can change this terrible reality we confront. This fact demands an answer, and the answer is not related to which geography we operate in (inside or outside the borders of Iran and Afghanistan).

As leading forces on the scene, our task here is to make an important decision: Will we stay within the framework of the system, or will we, at long last, get out of it? Deciding to get out of the system is a crystallization of our understanding of the situation, a scientific understanding.  An understanding of the roots of the problem and of today’s revolutionary situation, of the fact that revolution is necessary and possible, which must be taken to the masses, to the intellectuals, and to people in all walks of life.

Today, amidst the storm-tossed waves that have shredded the world order, this is a rare moment that opens the possibility of a revolution for the emancipation of humanity. That is our immediate—not long-term—task, because we do not have much time and we must move forward to organize a movement for revolution.

FOOTNOTES:

1. Osyan means Rebellion in the Farsi language. It is a group of Iranian and Afghan women who are the voice of women’s rebellion to express the determination, and to serve the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban.

“Enough of Sleepwalking in Willful Blindness!” Song by Mina Deris

September 9, 2023

Mina Deris posted this beautiful song on @minaderismusic for singer/composer Mehdi Yarrahi after he was arrested by the Islamic Republic of Iran for his song Roosarito, dedicated to the brave women “in the front line of the ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement”.

Mina Deris and Mehdi Yarrahi are both Ahwazi Arabs whose language and culture are suppressed in Iran; their rich culture is reflected in this gorgeous music.

Her words are a sharp and urgent call, not only to Iranians, but to people all over the world.

Enough of sleepwalking in willful blindness!
Stand up with courage and determination!

Today is the day for epic deeds,
Free thinkers need to rage and roar.
To make a revolution in our land, we need revolutionaries!

Throw off the cloth of humiliation and superstition,
Let the whole world hear our voice!

Mina Deris now lives in the US; check out her current concert tour on Instagram.

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Somayeh Kargar Speaks at the Festival Soleil d’Iran in Paris, France

August 13, 2023
Poster for Festival Soleil d'Iran, from Somayeh Kargar IG

We are reprinting a speech by Somayeh Kargar on the Situation of Women that she gave on July 29, 2023.  Somayeh Kargar is a former political prisoner in Iran. She was arrested in October 2020 (just before the first anniversary of the November 2019 uprising).  She was charged with establishing and running the Osyan Women's Collective1 and acting for the Communist Party of Iran (MLM).  Her co-defendants included Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, and Bahareh Soleimani… She was in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for months and then transferred to Qarchak Prison. Her lawyers' vigorous defense of her, and proof that she could not physically tolerate imprisonment due to acute illness, led to her release and her case being closed. Below is her speech translated and edited for publication by IEC volunteers.

Note: Somayeh Kargar is speaking at a 7-city Germany tour August 11 -20, 2023.

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Many of you saw and supported the uprising for “Woman, Life, Freedom” [in Iran].  But maybe it took you by surprise, and you may have asked yourself what was it that caused the whole of Iran take up the struggle against the Islamic Republic and the mandatory hijab with such fury and such heroism?

The Women, Life, Freedom uprising was ignited by the state murder of Jina Amini.  And … there was a transformation. It turned into an uprising against broader issues in society – especially the oppression of women –as well as oppression of lgbtq+ and [non-Persian] nationalities. But also, this rebellious uprising gave voice to, and is part of, the struggle of humanity against the conditions of oppression and exploitation that the capitalist system has imposed on us all.

The workings of the imperialist-capitalist system have knit together the lives of people all around the world, making slaves not only of all human beings, but also of the environment of the whole planet! If anyone has still not noticed the relationship between capitalism and humanity, they have not fully grasped the destruction and degradation it causes.  A look at the environment should clarify this!

If we look at it and understand it correctly, we will see that the globalization and intertwining of the social life of humankind is our strength in the struggle against this system.  But people have illusions about this - Iranian people as well as people in the rest of the world. We need to recognize and cast away these illusions.

Your solidarity with the people of Iran, the solidarity of the people of France and around the world, is valuable and important. But it must not be limited to solidarity only.  You shouldn’t look at the uprising of people in Iran like it is an uprising of people who are deprived of rights that you enjoy, and give them your sympathy. Similarly, people in Iran should not look at it like people in Europe and North America have the kind of life-style and rights that we wish to have. This prosperity and lifestyle is not attainable without exploitation and super-exploitation. Wishing and working to get a share of this because of Iran’s integration in the global capitalist system, is not only impossible, it is immoral.

We are fighters in a common struggle against the system that has created such horrors for us and for all life on Earth. The living conditions of our people in Iran have a direct connection to your situation and the lifestyle and living conditions in Europe.  It is only because of exploitation and super-exploitation in the global South that imperialist governments can provide relative prosperity and rights for their citizens. The difference in the living conditions of our people in Iran and people, for instance, in Europe is not because we are living in two different worlds, on two planets; it is the product of a common system. The uprising of our people for Women, Life, Freedom is part of this common struggle.

During the uprising of Women, Life, Freedom, a section of the right-wing opposition to the Islamic Republic came to France to beg Macron and the French government for freedom and to save them from the Islamic Republic. I hope that the atrocities that occurred during the murder of Nahel has revealed the emptiness of that to those swept up by that trend. Macron cracked down on the protest and announced that he was even willing to shut down the internet.2

Our opposition to the Islamic Republic is not like that of the monarchists,  who hope to replace the Islamic Republic with the help of Israel and the United States, nor like that of the MEK [People’s Mojahedin], who have set their sights on likes of fascist Mike Pence. No government or power in this capitalist world sympathizes with us or is our friend, and we have no illusions about them. What we rely on is the people of the world and their internationalist support against this system. We try to carry out our internationalist responsibility in Iran. Support for us by the people of the world should be taken up in the same spirit and framework of a common battle against this life-sucking system that destroys so many lives.

How many of you have had, or have heard of the experience of many, many people in the murderous waters of the Mediterranean Sea and elsewhere, who lost their lives or risked their lives to reach Europe? Or who were captured and displaced by a ruthless bureaucracy, held in desperate asylum camps in Europe, only to be declared “undesirable” refugees? These displacements, injury and death are the product of the same system of capitalism-imperialism that created the conditions that forced people to risk their lives.

During the Jina uprising the Islamic Republic not only killed, arrested and tortured many people, it also blinded many others by firing shotguns directly into the faces of protesters. Afterwards, people gathering the shell-casings from the ground saw that the bullets had been made in Belgium or Germany, and I'm not sure if they weren’t also made in France.

The reality of the world shows us that not only are we like one body, but our exploiters and oppressors and suppressors are also like one body.   We are on the opposite side, against them. This is the reality of our lives and our world. If we don't see it that way, we're delusional. And we are wasting the opportunity and possibility to put an end to this system, and while giving them more time to destroy the lives of more of us around the world.

The mandatory hijab is one of the main ideological pillars of their theocratic rule. It not only is the most prominent emblem of the Islamic Republic’s oppression of women, it is fundamental to the Islamic Republic. They utilize the mandatory hijab both to institutionalize social relations around a lower, second- sex status for women, and to organize the whole society around this way of thinking, and to promote master-slave relationships throughout society.

The struggle of women against the Islamic Republic and against the mandatory hijab is not limited to this uprising. It began with the Islamic Republic's rise to power [in 1979].  For the regime to remain in power, they must enforce the mandatory hijab. Without it, if it were to fall, the survival of the government in its current form would be impossible. The mandatory hijab must be kept in place in order for their theocratic rule to stay in power. The mandatory hijab is not just a head cover, but an unmistakable symbol of the social relations and power relations in society, and is used to strengthen them.

The view that the Islamic Republic is softening on the issue of the hijab or is making reforms is just an illusion. The amplification and propagation of this illusion by intellectuals or representatives of various political trends is not merely complicit with the Islamic Republic.  It is opportunist, against reality, and harms the interests of the people for liberation. For this reason, the hijab is not a neutral thing, it has political and social content, and because of that the views of different individuals and groups about mandatory hijab also have class and social content.

The situation of women and their struggle in Iran must be viewed in the context of the global situation. In Iran, as in the rest of the world, the political, social, economic order is in great disarray and no longer works as before. The signs of this worldwide turmoil include the intensification of imperialist rivalries, such as the rivalry between China and the United States, the Ukrainian war and the risk of nuclear war, the far right’s rise to power and risk of the consolidation of fascism, systematic attacks against women, Black people and other minorities, and the escalation of the environmental crisis.

Take a look at France and see how immigrants are treated, even second-and third-generation immigrants. They are met with a declaration of a state of emergency and repression when they protest.

The situation is getting worse and demands an answer. The moderate and reformist answer doesn't work. The future will be radically different – either radically reactionary or radically revolutionary. If things are left as they are, they will get worse. But within this objective reality there is also the potential and possibility for revolutionary change. Here the role of the organized conscious forces is crucial — to work on the contradictions to move the situation towards revolution and fundamental change. As a part of the people of the world, this is the responsibility of us all.

The worsening situation of women in Iran and all over the world is connected. Religious fundamentalism, whether of the Islamic, Jewish, Christian, or Buddhist variety, spearheads assaults on women everywhere.  Look at the repeal of the right to abortion in the US. Positive change in the situation in Iran will not only affect Iran. It could have a positive effect of altering the hegemony of a world power, and could have a direct effect on the lives of people around the world.

In Iran and Afghanistan the lives of women and people in general are held hostage by two reactionary and obsolete forces. On the one hand, imperialism is the principal cause of devastation affecting the whole world including in Iran and the Middle East. On the other side is religious fundamentalism is a reactionary response that emerged from these capitalist-imperialist dynamics, and has turned against it. Such forces are historically and socially past their expiration dates and can and should be swept away. Supporting either of these two, or putting your hopes in either one of them only strengthens them both, and can only lead to more oppression, exploitation, and destruction of the environment. For generations, the lives of the people of Afghanistan have been the manipulated by the imperialists and the fundamentalists. The Taliban and the US presence have brought only war, destruction and the displacement of Afghan people.

We are the inhabitants of one planet which is in serious danger of being annihilated. We don't have time to waste by putting our hopes in reactionary forces. Staying focused on our own interests or trying to keep stability in our own lives comes at the cost of destroying the lives of others. Besides when we are in the midst of crises and worsening conditions worldwide, even the concept of creating stability is meaningless.

Right now we are engaged in a class war. Now is the time to consciously choose. Which side we are on, where we do we stand?  What do we contribute to, who do we serve? It makes no sense to stay in the middle. Standing in the middle eventually ends up serving reaction. We are fortunate, because we have a chance [to get beyond all this]. We are the people of the world who have a common interest in saving the world and ourselves from this capitalist-imperialist system.

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1 Osyan means Rebellion in the Farsi language.  It is a group of Iranian and Afghan women who are the voice of women’s rebellion to express the determination, and to serve the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban.

2 Powerful Uprising Against Police Murder and Racist Oppression Rocks France for Six Days, Defying Massive State Repression and Fascist Menace | revcom.us

Ex Political Prisoner Somayeh Kargar to Speak in Germany Tour Aug 11-20

August 9, 2023

We received the following information from OSYAN. (Osyan means "rebellion“ in the Farsi language). Osyan/Revolt is a group of Iranian and Afghan women who are the voice of women’s rebellion to express the determination, and to serve the struggle against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Taliban.

Twitter @Maosyangarim

“The War of Alternatives” Tour, Osyan

"The Woman, Life, Freedom uprising brought about changes in various fields, such as the need to discuss the future and alternatives more prominently than ever.  In response to this vital need, we - a group of young people who are concerned about Iran's issues- invite various groups, parties and organizations to formulate their positions and introduce their plans regarding the future and the society they want to build in a scientific manner and argument-oriented context.  We hope that this discussion and debate between different political agendas will be a basis for clarifying the path of the revolution in Iran.  We request you to introduce representatives (preferably from the young generation) in the following cities for the specified dates.  The meeting questions bulletin will be sent to you after receiving the email of the representative's introduction."

Somayeh Kargar speaking at Stop the Executions rally in Berlin, June 24 2023, holding a photo of prisoner Nahid Taghavi.

Former political prisoner Somayeh Kargar will be a speaker at these events. Somayeh Kargar is a women's activist from Kurdistan who was arrested in October 2020. She was charged with establishing and running the Osyan Women's Collective and acting for the Communist Party of Iran (MLM).  Her co-defendants included Nahid Taghavi, Mehran Raouf, and Bahareh Soleimani. She was in solitary confinement in Evin Prison for months and then transferred to Qarchak Prison. Her lawyers' vigorous defense of her, and proof that she could not physically tolerate imprisonment due to acute illness, led to her release and her case being closed.

Read the speech Ms. Kargar gave at the Festival Soleil d'Iran in Paris on July 29, 2023, translated and edited for publication by IEC volunteers.

Cities and dates

Specific information we have for some cities is in bold below.

11 Aug - Berlin (Wilhelmine-Gemberg-Weg 12)

14 Aug - Leipzig (Georg-Schwarz-Strasse 1 Leipzig / 18-22)

16 Aug - Frankfurt (Asta Goethe Universität Mertonstr. 26-28 RAUM:K2 70325 Frankfurt A.M. / 18-22)

17 Aug - Köln (Turmstrasse 5 50733 Köln / 18-22)

18 Aug - Bremen (Kulturzentrum Lagerhaus Schild Str.12-19/3E 28203 Bremen / 18-22)

20 Aug – Hamburg (Café Im Wohnprojekt Chemnitzstr. 3-7 Hamburg / 18-22)

Contact: ba.hamad.vje@gmail.com

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Brazil Women's Soccer Team Plane Carried Message of Support for Jina Uprising, Prisoner

July 17, 2023

Cheers to the Brazilian women's soccer team for boldly showing their support for the Iranian people emblazoned on the jet plane that took them to the Women's World Cup.  The tail of the plane had photos of Mahsa "Jina" Amini and Amir Nasr-Azadani, and the rest of the plane had these messages:

No woman should be forced to cover her head

No woman should be killed for not covering her head

No man should be hanged for saying this.

Mahsa Amini died September 16, 2022, at the hands of Iran's "morality police" for wearing her hijab "improperly".

Iranian soccer star Amir Nasr-Azadani was swept up in a mass arrest in Isfahan, during the uprising after Amini's death, and convicted of "Waging war against God" in a sham group trial of protesters who were all tortured into confessing to killing a policeman. Three of his codefendants were hanged. Nazr-Azadani's death sentence was changed to 26 years in prison.

The charter plane which carried the Brazilian women's team belongs to Argentine film producer Enrique Piñeyro, according to Australian broadcaster SBS.

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NASSER MOHAJER SPEAKS AT REVOLUTION BOOKS IN BERKELEY

July 10, 2023

The IEC received this report from the staff of Revolution Books in Berkeley

There was a full house at Revolution Books when Nasser Mohajer came to speak about his book Voices of a Massacre:  Untold Stories of Life and Death in Iran, 1988. The audience included a few young people from Mexico, Turkey, China, some Unitarians active in support of Iran’s political prisoners, revolutionaries from the U.S. and many Iranians. The event was co-sponsored by the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now.

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The staff person from Revolution Books welcomed the audience, situating the event in Bob Avakian’s analysis that this is a rare time, when the US, citadel of global imperialism, is tearing apart from top to bottom, and contention between nuclear-armed imperialist powers is sharpening internationally, and something terrible, or something truly emancipating can come out of this, that it is possible that the chance to make an actual revolution could emerge in the United States. He said of a major feature in the world – the contention and clash of two outmoded forces - U.S. imperialism vs. Islamic fundamentalism –  “Both are cruel, exploitative, destructive of the environment; there has to be another way, and there IS another way.  Support for the prisoners and for the uprising of the people in Iran (since the murder of Mahsa Amini) is one important part of forging this other way.”

He said: “Supporting the struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners, goes to the bedrock of what our store is all about.  We are not talking about a revolution for the people inside what is now the US – we are talking about a revolution that has as its goal the emancipation of humanity, we cannot stand aside when great crimes are committed, and powerful resistance to those crimes emerges, anywhere in the world.”

As Nasser Mohajer began his talk about what happened in July of 1988, people listened in rapt attention. Voices of a Massacre is the only book on this Great Massacre published in English. In it Mohajer documents the unfolding of this massacre, the courage of the prisoners, as well as the ongoing and necessary struggle to demand justice.  Voices reveals many layers of the events of 1988, how the theocratic regime carried out a nationwide coordinated pogrom of secret retrials, torture and murder throughout Iran’s prisons, though much, including those individuals responsible and even the number of people murdered, is still hidden by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Voices contains many moving testimonies of political prisoners who survived this horror, stories of great courage and resistance in the face of the IRI’s terror and cruelty.

Among the audience were ex-political prisoners and relatives of people executed in 1988. Many listened with tears in their eyes, and Nasser Mohajer himself had to stop a few times to collect himself.

When asked what it was like to research and write about such a heavy, chilling historical event, he said: “I have been working on prison literature for 35 years, it was the most difficult thing in my life to write this book... the only way for me — sometimes you know after writing a paragraph you will cry, there is no way out, sometimes you cry when you are asleep, there are certain things that we cannot forget: when we think about those things, we tremble. But I think that for me, what was most helpful was that I forget myself.... I do not have the right, I do not have the luxury to think about myself. I have to be an honest person. In this book there is no exaggeration, prisoners in Iran... if you were a political prisoner… regardless of the organization, the group you belonged to. You went through hell. And it is my responsibility... to portray, write and make it clear what this person meant... and when I reread the writing you say that ‘OK, I have done justice. I have been her voice, I have been his voice.’”

Purchase from Revolution Books

Learning that so many were able to resist and refuse to submit to this raises the question of how people were able to look beyond profound human suffering to see a different future and resist. This is critical to understand in today's world where the future of humanity is at stake. Iran's political prisoners then and now truly are heroes and a much needed inspiration for our time! This book provides an objective and crucial understanding of the many complex political forces involved in the struggle in Iran.  This includes the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) that emerged from that horrific 1988 massacre and is fighting to lead a revolution in Iran today.

Note: Revolution Books plans to make video of the event available soon. We encourage everyone to get a copy of this important book and read it, to support the work of this important author, and the revolutionary work of our important bookstore.

(Report by Revolution Books’ staff, revolutionbooks.org)

The graves of freedom fighters won't turn into the grave of the fight for liberation!

July 9, 2023

The following statement was posted in Farsi on Burn The Cage IG on July 7, 2023 and translated to English by IEC volunteers.

The [Islamic] regime's repression continues as usual. After brutal attacks on protesters on the streets, there are widespread detentions, torture and intimidation.  They are ordering and carrying out death sentences to create a graveyard of silence.  The regime has expedited issuing subpoenas and creating files. They are holding closed door courts and issuing severe sentences.

In recent weeks, Toomaj Salehi, the protest rapper, after enduring 8 months of detention, faces serious charges such as "corruption on earth" and "collaboration with a hostile government [Canada]".

Mariam Akbari-Monfared has been in prison for over 13 years without having a day of furlough. Even though she has 18 more months of her sentence left, she's facing new trumped-up charges. Sepideh Gholian who has been finishing her sentence, is [now] asked to appear in court to face new charges. Every day there are news reports of persecution and torment of such freedom fighters.

The repression of women continues in various forms. The overall atmosphere in public places, in workplaces and in the education arena has become unsafe for women who are protesting against mandatory hijab. The regime who has put people in an impasse of poverty and misery, now wants to turn the hungry and impoverished people into "enforcers of proper behavior" [over others].

From the early days when this regime took power, women have been the vanguard of the fight for freedom. This time they have remained unwavering. With their tireless resilience and consistency, they have shown that women's freedom cannot be negotiated or deferred. Women's liberation is the turning point in pursuit of freedom, and without it any interpretation of liberation is without credibility.

This time women are not isolated protesters, as they were in March 1980 on the threshold of the murderous [Islamic] regime consolidating itself. Today, behind the graveyard of silence, there are open bonds of solidarity forging where people are cooperating with protesting women in various forms.  This kind of solidarity has the same formidable and durable power that makes passing through any treacherous road possible."

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Join Author Nasser Mohajer July 7 at Revolution Books Berkeley

July 2, 2023

From Revolution Books Berkeley:

We are very excited to host Nasser Mohajer. Voices of a Massacre speaks deeply to the nature of the Iranian regime and to the current moment when the courageous mass uprising in Iran which was sparked by the September, 2022 murder of Mahsa Amini for “improper hijab” is facing extreme repression, including torture, secret trials, and executions. The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now is a co-sponsor of this event.

About the Book

In July 1988 the brutal eight-year war between Iraq and Iran ended. Over the next two months, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered political prisoners to be secretly brought before a tribunal panel, which became known as the Death Commission. They were not told what was happening and that one 'wrong' answer about their faith or political affiliation would send them straight to the gallows.

Thousands of men and women were condemned to death, many buried in mass graves in Khavaran Cemetery in the vicinity of Tehran. Through eyewitness accounts of survivors, research by scholars and memories of children and spouses of the deceased, Voices of a Massacre reconstructs the events of that bloody summer. Over thirty years later, the Iranian government has still not officially acknowledged that they ever took place.

"This is an urgent and belated book that draws on multiple archives to establish the systematic death-dealing of the late 1980s in Iran, as well as the unforgivable and complicitous silence on this period of lethal violence. That history is established through many voices and genres, all of which constitute a living testimonial, a collective act of mourning, and a resounding call for justice." – Judith Butler, professor, author, philosopher

About the Author

Nasser Mohajer is an independent scholar of modern Iranian history, author of many books and articles on contemporary Iran, including on the prison systems, the women's movements for equal rights and histories of the Iranian left. He currently resides in Paris.

Download and distribute flyer for RBB event with Nasser Mohajer July 7

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Video promo for July 1 Burn the Cage Concert in Europe!

June 28, 2023

Caption from Maosyangarim:

Burn the cage concert
For immediate release of political prisoners inIran and Afghanistan!
The concert will be held on July 1st in Berlin atthe Jugendwerkstatt Spandau Hall. Free entry fee. This concert is organizedsolely to raise the voices of political prisoners and fight the repression ofthe Islamic Republic during the fall of Jina Uprising, and everyone is invitedto participate in this program to show their solidarity with Iran's politicalprisoners.
With the presence of: Shakib Mosadegh, SamiyeKargar, danielasepehri/ Daniela Sepehari, Khalil Arya and activists of theAfghan LGBTQ community
We are waiting for you!"

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Video from Colombia: Voices of Internationalist Solidarity

June 23, 2023

The Quemar la Jaula campaign in Colombia posted on Twitter its inspiring YouTube video in Spanish titled "Voces de solidaridad internacionalista por la libertad de los presos políticos en Irán", hashtags #FreePoliticalPrisonersInIran #20juneIran #FreeNahid #FreeToomaj, on the occasion of the week of actions for the Global Day of Support for Political Prisoners in Iran.

Background soundtrack for beginning and ending titles is Toomaj Salehi's “Battlefield” (watch "Battlefield" with lyrics in English on our Free Toomaj Resources page.)

Below is the embedded video and the spoken sections of the video translated to English by an IEC volunteer. The songs have not been translated. See Farsi resources page for video subtitled in Farsi.

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[Opening title] Voices of internationalist solidarity to demand that the Islamic Republic of Iran free ALL Iran’s political prisoners NOW

Child drummer and man together:

“From the district of Aguablanca*, Cali, Colombia, we support the just struggle of the Iranian people."
Child: “Free all the prisoners!”
Man: “We all have the right to freedom of speech”
Child: “Their struggle is our struggle”

* Aguablanca is one of the most oppressed districts of Cali, where Colombian revolutionaries took “Stop the Executions!” broadly out among the masses last month

[poster] Free Nahid Taghavi

Rapper:

“This is a message of solidarity for Brother Toomaj
From the campaign Burn the cages, free the birds!
Because all the people matter
And the message of consciousness and revolution
Will come to all the corners of the globe.
Free the political prisoners.

[Poster] Free Toomaj Salehi

 Singer

Well, I am José Sebastián Potes, puppet master
Often a musician too.
From here in Cali, Colombia, I support Iran’s political prisoners
Most of them artists, women…
Who have wanted to change the conditions of life in their country
I support the freedom of human beings everywhere on the planet
Because freedom has no limits, or else it wouldn’t be
And of the earth, the freedom of the earth
So that freedom for human beings can exist.
Strength and resistance to the peoples of the east,
To the oppressed peoples, to the Iranian people.

"Voices of Women for Change" Calls for Immediate Release of Nahid Taghavi

June 13, 2023

The International Emergency Campaign received a copy of this letter from Voices of Women for Change, calling for the immediate medical release of Nahid Taghavi.

06/09/2023

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

4645 Reservoir Rd. NW, Washington, DC, 20007 USA

Re: Request for your immediate attention to the dire situation of Mrs. Nahid Taghavi

Dear honorable Ambassador Emily Haber,

I am writing on behalf of “Voices of Women for Change”, a non-profit USA based women’s organization, to express our grave concerns about the dire situation of the prisoner of conscience, Nahid Taghavi, a 68 year old German-Iranian citizen who was arrested illegally on Oct 2020 solely for exercising her right to freedom of expression and association. On June 4, 2023, the renowned prisoner of conscience and the human rights advocate, Narges Mohammadi sounded the alarm about Nahid Taghavi and the serious deterioration of her health. According to Mrs. Mohammadi’s report, Nahid’s life is in danger and requires immediate medical attention.

Mrs. Taghavi has been held in a small solitary cell for 220 days without enough space for movement, lack of enough light and air, inadequate and poor quality food, and lack of access to adequate medical care and treatment. These inhumane conditions have exacerbated her Diabetes, Hypertension, Lumbar disk, and severe joint pain and inflammation in her neck, back and hands. In addition to the systematic medical torture and solitary confinement, she’s been continuously interrogated for long hours in order to put maximum pressure and to create harm.

Creating these inhumane conditions and inflicting maximum pressure is very much consistent with the Islamic Republic’s typical mistreatment of the prisoners of conscience and use of “White Torture” to create fear, intimidation and physical and emotional harm with the intention of eliminating the prisoners physically.

We are deeply concerned that Nahid Taghavi is being tortured in the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran who has a history of getting the prisoners of conscience murdered by intentional withholding of medical care and utilizing White Torture.

We ask you to use your diplomatic leverage for Nahid Taghavi’s immediate medical release.

We would appreciate a response to our request re: immediate medical release of Nahid Taghavi.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

Taraneh Roosta
Voices of Women for Change Network, INC

www.voicesofwomenforchange.org

women@voicesofwomenforchange.org

CC: New York Times

Amnesty International UK

Amnesty International USA

Human Rights Watch

Center for Human Rights in Iran

IranWire

HRANA

International Emergency Campaign (IEC)

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Colombia: Exhibit brings political prisoner stories & Stop Executions demand to students

June 3, 2023

Students at the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, gathered to view beautiful large-format portrait illustrations of several political prisoners in Iran and to participate in discussions about how to stop the horrific wave of executions in Iran by relying on the people's struggle worldwide, shown in a tweet from Quemar La Jaula.

Quemar La Jaula also distributed several flyers, including a letter from Mehran Raouf and a call to students and academics issued by the IEC.

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"Stop Executions in Iran!" rings out in Colombian streets

May 28, 2023
Getting into discussions about Iran with people at a street market in Cali, Colombia

On May 21, in Bogotá and Cali, Colombia, in areas ranging from Ciclovia to street traffic, to street vendors and buyers in some of the hardest-hit oppressed districts, people carrying large placards of executed political prisoners and flyers reached out widely with the urgent call to stand with people in Iran and free political prisoners. Days earlier, the Islamic Republic of Iran had hanged three protesters.

Following are photos of these actions and a discussion on Instagram around them. Translation from Spanish posts are by an IEC volunteer.

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Comrevco (Grupo Comunista Revolucionario, Colombia) in several posts on May 21 in Instagram and Twitter, reported: 

"May 21 in the city of Bogotá, Colombia, in Ciclovia, the message was taken to riders and pedestrians, Stop the execution of political prisoners in Iran, denouncing the wave of death and oppression that this regime inflicts on the Iranian people, and taking out the message that we are united by the same interests and the same struggle for a radically different world. We are not willing to allow the slipknots of the gallows that are around the neck of the fighters in Iran to cut short the rebellion of a whole generation. The people of Iran, the people of Colombia and all the oppressed and exploited peoples of the world under the capitalist mode of production are called upon to unite in a single effort: Revolution, nothing less!”

"The cry, 'Islamic Republic of Death! Stop the executions of political prisoners in Iran, now!' rang out in Aguablanca, Cali, one of the districts hardest hit under this horrific system, together with the message: The struggle of the Iranian people is our struggle!"

"The shameful regime in Iran has cut short the life of 3 youths, repudiated by people in many places like Cali, Col, where people struggle to understand the source of these horrors and build a different world where people would have the right to live."

On Instagram, a reply that questioned this action caused a lengthy response.

A user commented: "What benefit do they receive by going out to spread this information? Informing the basic people could do little or nothing to prevent deaths and even change a regime and its religious culture if that is the intention..."

Another responded at length, including these profound remarks that many others around the world should take to heart:

"In Colombia, during the struggles of many basic people in 2019, 2020 and 2021, each time a voice of encouragement was heard from 'outside' for the youth and the people opposing injustice and repression, police brutality and paramilitary attacks, the criminalization of young people; it was cause for celebration and inspiration, they felt validated and many others were forced to consider the reasons for this support and enter the debate and the fight... exposure in embassies abroad to what the regime was doing in Colombia, the voices of prominent artists who could not simply remain silent in the midst of social unrest... all those voices from 'outside' were powerful and important... and still required more and more in-depth debate about the source of the problems and a real solution...

"This small group of people in this work in Cali, Bogotá, and other cities, and together with people in other parts of the world who do not feel small before the responsibility of responding to injustices and thinking of the whole world first and foremost, deserve all our support, and to make this work something very powerful that resonates with even more voices in the world and in Iran, that reaches the prisons of Iran and that the fighters know that they are not alone, and that there are people ready to fight for a truly different world, for an actual revolution, where the horrors imposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the threats of war from the imperialists and their invasion of peoples and their 'sanctions', the horror suffered by half of humanity, women, under patriarchal imperialist capitalism (in Iran and the rest of the planet), the destruction of the environment, poverty and war and the looting by the imperialists in Syria or Sudan or Afghanistan, or in Cali or Medellín or Bogotá, or in Lima or Rio de Janeiro, become part of history... let's sweep that away and build a radically new world through revolution."

"They will put me behind bars again, but I will never stop..."

April 29, 2023

On April 29, 2023, PEN America posted on Instagram and YouTube this homage to Narges Mohammadi, human rights defender and writer of "White Torture", who has been in and out of prison for the most of the past decade. Mohammadi reposted it.

PEN's intro reads: "Narges Mohammadi is a prominent writer and human rights defender in Iran. Through her writing, such as her book White Torture, she has advocated for the rights of women and political prisoners in Iran. She has been imprisoned for nearly all of 2022 and at risk for over a decade. Mohammadi is one of at least 311 writers and public intellectuals globally who were imprisoned or jailed during 2022. Nearly 813 have faced other severe risks for their expression. Read more from the Freedom To Write Index 2022: https://pen.org/report/freedom-to-write-index-2022."

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Performing Chilean anti-patriarchy anthem in Farsi, in London

April 6, 2023

Long live international solidarity against patriarchy! In November 2022, Feminists4Jina.uk performed, in Farsi, this dance routine created by Chilean group LasTesis, "A Rapist on Your Path", which went viral in 2019.

Feminists4Jina's YouTube channel shares this as part of a playlist of similar performances in different countries.

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"This is for the Women in Evin Prison" Int'l Women's Day event sings Bella Ciao version

March 16, 2023

At the March 8, 2023 International Women's Day celebration at Revolution Books, Berkeley, participants sang their version of Bella Ciao*, with revolutionary lyrics, in response to the joyful singing of Bella Ciao in Farsi over the phone to Ghazall Abdollahi, daughter of one of the prisoners, which she tweeted in January.

IEC shares this video for its inspiring internationalist solidarity with political prisoners in Iran.

*An anti-fascist anthem which originated as an Italian peasant work song and was popularized in World War II, Bella Ciao has become an anthem of struggle in many countries and languages, including Iran.

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Colombia Feb 2023: "Join your own longing for a radically new and better world with the hope that beats in the hearts of the heroic women and men of Iran"

March 2, 2023

We're pleased to share two videos from QuemarLaJaula in Colombia. Translation from Spanish to English by IEC volunteers.

January 30. "In the resort community of San Antonio de Cali, Colombia, the international campaign for the freedom of #Toomaj, the brave Iranian rapper, we called on people in restaurants, hostels and streets to be the voice of the people of Iran!"

Feb 11. "Several activities in recent weeks have been carried in out in Cali around the campaign "Burn the Cage, Free the Birds!". This video gives a glimpse." Exposition of prisoners' stories, documentary "Nasrin". Audio = "Burn the Cage" anthem by Shekib Mosadeq. For translation, click to open full text.

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Text in video:

The people of Iran cry out for liberty, for life, for an end to the oppression of women. Millions have not only taken to the streets, they have also raised their heads to dream of a completely different world.
When they do, questions arise: What is the road to follow to reach those objectives? What do different groups represent and where will their answers lead? And can the US and their European allies play a positive role in the current situation?
To speak frankly, but truly, at a time when the truth is most vital, involving the US and other imperialist powers is a deadly trap for the people.
We call on you, the people of our planet, to support the uprising in Iran, to join your own longing for a radically new and better world with the hope that beats in the hearts of the heroic women and men of Iran.
“The women and the people of Iran have risen up. Their struggle is our struggle!”

Call for International Women's Day by 52 Organizations in Iran

March 1, 2023

IEC received this significant call, which is also shared on social media. IEC volunteers have translated it into English. Click below to see full call and signatories.

Trade and Social Organizations, in a joint call, invite people to hold gatherings and march for International Women's Day on March 8 2023.

#Woman_Life_Freedom
#Mahsa_Amini

Massive call on International Women's Day, Esfand 17 [March 8], for Woman Life Freedom Revolution

Instagram @women_collectiveaction
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Wednesday Esfand 17 [March 8], 06:00 p.m.

Morning & Noon: protest performance, festive stomping and chanting slogans, forming human chain and singing revolutionary songs all over the country

Evening & Night: holding hands starting at 6 p.m., holding gatherings and march and protest demonstration with slogans and revolutionary actions on streets and on main roundabouts, for the occupation and the takeover of the streets with large crowds all over the country!

Prior to call on International Women's Day:

Spreading the word, invitation and encouragement of your contacts in joining the great call on International Women's Day, using social networks on the internet, and field activities such as writing slogans, distribution of fliers and communiqués, putting up banners, street graffitis, spreading the revolution siren and chanting slogans every night at 9 pm!

List of [the joint] 52 organizations and groups announcing the call:

1. Vanguard Students Organization
2. Neighborhood Youth Unity of Iran
3. Freedom Fighting Students Unit at Noshirvani University of Technology in Babol
4. Nationwide Committee of Kurdistan Students
5. Freedom Fighting Students Unit
at Kharazmi University
6. Physicians Unity Organization
7. Emancipation School
8. Revolutionary Elementary Students Organization in Boushehr
9. Revolutionary Elementary Students Organization in Tehran
10. Unity of Students at Alzahra University
11. Azad University Unit of Khvorasgan
12. United Unit at Isfahan University of Technology
13. Freethinkers Unit at Jondishapour University
14. Women's Rights Activists in Sanandaj
15. Militant Revolutionary Women in Kurdistan
16. Revolutionary Women & Youth Group of Tehransar
17. Girls' Sunlight Group of Urmia
18. Revolutionary Women's Group of Shiraz
19. Revolutionary Neighborhoods Youth of Sanandaj
20. Revolutionary Red Youth Committee of Mahabad
21. Revolutionary Youth Committee of Qazin
22. Revolutionary Youth Council of Dezli
23. Revolutionary Youth of Zhaveroud
24. Revolutionary Youth of Piranshahr
25. Revolutionary Youth of Kamyaran Neighborhoods
26. Revolutionary Youth Committee of Khamesan
27. Dezireh Revolutionary Youth Nucleus in Tehran
28. Group of Activists & Students at Isfahan University
29. Group of Activists & Students at Isfahan University of Medical Sciences
30. Group of Activists & Students at Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran
31. Group of Activists & Students at Beheshti University of Tehran
32. Group of Activists & Students at Kurdistan University
33. Group of Activists & Students at Payame Noor University of Kurdistan
34. Group of Activists & Students at Girls Technical Institute in Sanandaj
35. Group of Activists & Students at Yazdan Panah University of Kurdistan
36. Neighborhoods Youth of Gorgan
37. Neighborhoods Youth of Ahvaz
38. Neighborhoods Youth of Hamedan
39. Neighborhoods Youth of Alborz
40. Neighborhoods Youth of Boushehr
41. Neighborhoods Youth of Najafabad
42. Neighborhoods Youth of Firouzabad
43. Neighborhoods Youth of Mashhad
44. Neighborhoods Youth of Gilan
45. Neighborhoods Youth of Mazandaran
46. Neighborhoods Youth of Hormozgan
47. Neighborhoods Youth of Varamin
48. Neighborhoods Youth of Isfahan
49. Neighborhoods Youth of Anzali
50. Neighborhoods Youth of Balouchistan
51. Neighborhoods Youth of Zanjan
52. Neighborhoods Youth of Dashtak

Taking "The struggle of Iranian people is our struggle" to Cartagena Clock Tower

January 14, 2023

Must watch! "The people of Iran are our people, too". Press "CC" for translations. Gallows, posters of political prisoners, and flyers reach a wide audience at the 400-year-old Cartagena Clock Tower, most famous landmark in Colombia.

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Video: Film artists share #StopExecutionsInIran

January 7, 2023

Make a sign, take a pic, share it, like these film artists. Fighters for freedom in Iran do a great service to the people of the world, bringing fresh winds of struggle, especially for liberation of women everywhere. WE MUST NOT SIT BY while they are hanged, shot, terrorized. These precious youth on the gallows or sentenced to death are OUR sons and brothers.

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“The Iranian people have issued a call, not to the governments but to the peoples of the world:Take this struggle up as your own”

January 6, 2023

On December 31, 2022, @QuemarLaJaula, a group of revolutionaries and activists in Colombia dedicated to the struggle to free political prisoners in Iran, posted an inspiring video message.

Volunteers with the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners NOW have translated the text, posted below.

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“December 31, 2022

A New Year’s Message from the ¡Quemar la Jaula, Liberar a los Pájaros! campaign, for the life and liberty of the political prisoners in Iran:

The year 2022 comes to an end with a defiant uprising in Iran which, among different possibilities, includes the potential for positive radical changes. The women and youth have unleashed a rebellion against patriarchal oppression, repression by the Islamic theocracy, persecution of oppressed nationalities, xenophobia and other horrors. This massive wave of protests is not only just, it is profoundly inspiring.

All over the globe, fascist programs with theocratic inclinations are advancing, reaching alarming levels. The struggle against religious fundamentalism in Iran represents an important experience for the peoples of the world. But it is not only that the current uprising holds possibilities for a truly different and better world; also it needs much support from the whole world.

The regime labels the just rebellion “waging war against God.” Scores of people have been sentenced and are awaiting execution by hanging. The families of the accused are threatened, the trials are rushed, without legal defense, and the prisoners are forced to confess. In December, the young athlete and teacher Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged in public with the aim of terrorizing the people, but his message was: “I don’t want them to cry at my grave. Don’t read the Quran. Don’t pray. Just celebrate. Play joyful music.” The list of injustices is very long, these are not isolated cases.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ruled by Sharia law, which imposes Islamic norms on other religions and on non-believers, particularly suppressing women. Being a theocracy, what the creed considers a “sin” is raised to the category of a crime. Since long before the current popular uprising, there has been a barrage of arrests, tortures and executions, [now] with more than 500 protestors killed and 20,000 arrested just since September. There is an imminent danger to the life and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners [jailed] since before the uprising: artists, writers, cinematographers, environmentalists, athletes, students, women who struggled against the forced hijab, Kurdish activists and representatives of religious minorities.

To carry out a cohesive campaign with the aim of liberating Iran’s political prisoners, the “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds” movement was formed in Europe @burnthecage, and also in Colombia @quemarlajaula.

The Iranian people have issued a call, not to the governments but rather to the peoples of the world, to take this struggle up as their own. An important goal for this New Year should be to answer the invitation of the Iranian masses and, overcoming narrow thinking, unite in an organized way with this campaign with all its challenges. We, the peoples of the world, have no borders.  

There is much for you to do:

Sign the call (at www.freeiranspoliticalprisonersnow.org)
Join discussion groups to expose the crimes of the IRI
Express the beauty of this uprising with diverse types of art
Join the talks and discussions which are being organized, spread the campaign, open up spaces to exhibit the gallery and other activities
Promote on your social media the hashtags #QuemarLaJaula #StopExecutionsinIran

Everyone who stands for justice and longs for a truly better world should support this uprising and echo the just message which spreads around the world: Free Political Prisoners in Iran NOW!”

Protest at Iranian Embassy in Colombia Dec 2022

January 5, 2023

December 25, 2022. @QuemarLaJaula

“The Islamic Republic is a reactionary force and the Yankees are even worse. We choose another way and we struggle for it”

December 20, 2022: A bold internationalist action by activists and revolutionaries of Quemar la Jaula / Liberar a los Pájaros (Burn the Cage, Free the Birds) was held at the Iranian Embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.  Their banner in Spanish and Farsi read: Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran! Down with imperialism!

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On display were large posters of executed prisoners Majidreza Mahnavard and Mohsen Shekari, of soccer player Ali Nasr-Azadani (sentenced to death) and rapper Toomaj Salehi (indicted), and names of other prisoners sentenced to or at risk of execution.

Protestors wore signs that read “Free All Political Prisoners in Iran NOW”, “Bury the forced hijab! Overthrow the Islamic Republic!” “The cry for REVOLUTION by Iranians is our cry!” “The people of Iran are our people!”

A giant photo of “Supreme Leader” Khamenei and illustrations of flags of the IRI, the US and Israel were set on fire. There was also red paint splashed on the Embassy steps and sidewalks symbolizing the blood on the regime’s hands.

Quemar la Jaula has enhanced their original video with in-depth captions and music tracks from Bella Now by Outernational featuring Shekib Mosadeq with Baran Sajadi, and Baraye by Shervin Hajipour.

The text in English below was translated by volunteers with IEC, so English speakers can appreciate, learn from and share this example of firmly relying on the people of the world, and not imperialist governments and organizations.

***

Translated captions

Emergency! The Islamic regime is executing political prisoners
Only by making ourselves felt all over the world canwe take the noose off from the neck of the Iranian youth and tear down the murdering gallows!
Action in defense of political prisoners in Iran

Iranian Embassy
Tuesday, December 20, 2022

STOP THE EXECUTIONS! @quemarlajaula @IranPrisonEmerg
We demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!

We should not allow any opening for the dangerous bullshit that dominates in the “left” movement that the Islamic Republic is an anti-imperialist, anti-Yankee force. No! The Islamic Republic is a reactionary force and the Yankees are even worse. We choose another way and we struggle for it, together with our sisters and brothers in the streets and jails in Iran.

We must ACT now!

Imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism are two equally outmoded poles which reinforce each other. We cannot trust in one of them to liberate us from the other.

The rise of Islamic fundamentalist fascists in the Middle East and of Christian fascists in the US is related to the functioning of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran!

The life and dignity of hundreds of political prisoners in Iran are in grave danger.

“All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW.” – Emergency Appeal, International Emergency Campaign (IEC) @IranPrisonEmerg

"Peoples of the World Must Act!": Colombians at Iran Embassy, Universities, December 2022

December 24, 2022

Once again, in December 2022 people in Colombia demonstrated to the world how to elevate the demand to Free Iran's Political Prisoners to a global demand. Tweets from @QuemarLaJaula show actions ranging from a protest at the Iranian embassy, to university murals and agitation and street theater in several cities.

Bogotá, Dec 20: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has blood on its hands. The struggle of the Iranian people is just! We the people of the world must act! Video: Protest today in front of the Iranian embassy in Bogotá."

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Cali, Dec 18: "In the halls of the University Del Valle, murals have called attention to the emergency situation of our Iranian brothers, while inviting broadly to a talk to get more information".

Bucaramanga, Colombia, Dec 18: "Today, in the Univ. & downtown, activists for freedom for political prisoners in Iran carried out agitation against execution of prisoners, passing out flyers from the Campaign & Iranian revolutionaries".

Dec. 17: "In Medellín, Colombia, a performance called on people to act in support of the life and liberty of political prisoners in Iran and to publicize the emergency appeal of @IranPrisonEmerg."

Dec 17: "Today in Cali, Colombia. A performance with a gallows, & a pop-up speech giving context to this symbol of horror which many are facing in Iran today, including the soccer player Amir Nasr-Azadani."

"Calling the International Community of Artists, Writers and Academics to Action: Stop Further State Violence Against the Iranian People"

December 8, 2022

IEC received the above-titled statement from Solidarity for Iran, in response to an October 2022 statement by 6,000 Iranian artists and cultural workers in support of students rising up in Iran. To read the whole statement, see list of signatories, and add your name, go here. Posted on Dec 6, the statement had received over 500 signatories within 48 hours, among them prominent artists and academics such as Roger Waters, Wilhem Dafoe, and Judith Butler.

"In unison and to support our Iranian colleagues; we, artists, writers, academics, and cultural practitioners from across the world, pledge to do our utmost to:

– boycott governmental institutions of the Islamic state of Iran and their covert affiliates, and prevent them from having any presence in international arenas of arts, culture, and education;

– stand against the regime apologists who misappropriate anti-imperialist discourses in the west or other parts of the world to deflect attention away from the well-documented state violence committed against the people;

– support our counterparts and collaborators who stand against the atrocities and abuses of human rights in Iran, using our intellectual and cultural leverage and capabilities;

– create networks of support for dissidents and those who are being targeted, face intimidation, or risk harm at the hands of the regime;

– raise awareness concerning the crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic regime in Iran."

Read and sign in English or French

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“For the People Of” — A Concert: Inviting, Moving and Challenging Us to Support the Iranian People

December 5, 2022

The lights were dimmed. A circle of musicians was seated around a video screen, with audience members around them. Then the double bass player began, straddling her instrument as it lay flat on the floor. She played with two bows, coaxing out “murky” sounds as she put it, sounds one of the composers later said he had no idea the instrument could produce. The darkness underscored the seriousness, intensity, and drama of the music and the moment—here in the room, and far away in Iran.

It was her first time playing this way. “I was asked to be in a precarious, uncomfortable position, which was intentional, purposeful, and symbolic,” she said, “And I was happy to do it for a purpose.”

Student at Manhattan School of Music plays opening section in the collaborative tribute to struggle of Iranian people, “For the People Of...”
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“For the People Of,” a concert in support of Iranian prisoners was held at the Manhattan School of Music on Friday, December 2. This “collaboration between Iranian composers both in and outside the country” was “dedicated to the people imprisoned in Iran, many of whom are artists and musicians, for protesting their government,” the musician organizers wrote.

Over a riveting two plus hours, the humanity and courageous struggle of the Iranian people and the brutality of Iran’s ruling regime was conveyed—better, driven home—through intense, cacophonous, haunting music, spoken word, short presentations, and video in English and Farsi. The 25 or so audience members, overwhelmingly students, had been met at the door by one of the musicians handing out the IEC’s Emergency Appeal, and its “Freedom for Toomaj!” palmcard. Around the room, sheets of paper with color drawings of women’s hair had been taped to the floor.

Student distributes the IEC call for political prisoners in Iran to concert goers.  Photo: Courtesy of "For the People Of" concert

Four compositions—Zakhmeh (Wounds), The Time Has Come, Crackdown, and Our Song—each by a different composer, were the heart and driving force of the evening. Each was “influenced by improvisation, as a result of which the musicians express the experience of liberation in their performance,” the musician-organizers wrote.

The performers—men and women, from different parts of the U.S. and the world—included piano, double bass, steel string guitar, electric guitar, flute, alto sax, bass clarinet, percussion, violin, and voice. Other music students contributed set up, lighting, sound, and other elements.

Zakhmeh began quietly, with eerie, ethereal music from the double bass, with tension building as other instruments joined in. The Time Has Come had the feel of tensions building, “spreading the word and collecting forces,” as a friend put it, as music echoed and two singers circled the room whispering “Mahsa,” “Continue,” “Don’t be afraid.”

Crackdown opened with a furious, pounding piano and percussion blast—the pianist standing up and attacking its strings by hand. The intensity built as the other instruments mounted a gathering assault—“unmistakably street fighting music” a friend commented. One of the musicians explained afterward, that the “piano represents the tyrannical forces and everyone else represents protesters and in the end we all came together” to defeat the repressive forces. Our Song felt more accessible, hopeful, forward looking.

The audience was rapt throughout.

Afterward, the Iranian composer who opened the evening with a poem in Farsi and English about the bird, iconic in Iran, that symbolizes hope arising from all the pain and suffering people feel. “Every piece had this idea—out of the suffering this spirit rises, in the end this common voice comes from the bird. You go on a journey, an intense journey. The whole evening was very emotional—I felt like I was going to cry.”

The violin player showed me her “sheet music,” which was comprised of lines designating the rising and falling intensity for each instrument, i.e., the basic storyline. Within that framework, she explained, each musician contributed their individual interpretation. It was like a “call and response to other musicians in the room,” which demands very careful, attentive listening to the other musicians.

“In this performance we managed to encompass the full range of human emotions, from very intense to very reflective.” In Crackdown, “we were being individual protesters. I was trying to be a violently outspoken protester—you all make your choice. What character is missing in this mix and what should I add to it. It’s very emotional to put yourself in this role. It’s the closest thing I could do to acting. It was a very emotional experience to play the piece.”

She added, “For me, the immediacy of music and how it touches you is very different than reading something. Music has an immediate emotional impact. I was trying not to cry. The whole experience was very compelling. It’s hard to know how to help in a meaningful way, so I was happy I could be part of spreading news about it [the struggle in Iran], touching other people, and sharing stories. It means a lot to me.”

“We Plan to Do It Again, and Make It Bigger”

“This concert seeks to not only challenge the oppressive forces in power in Iran, but to also envision a better structure and society that values the emancipation and well-being of all people.”
—Concert organizers

“What is happening in Iran is that the people have had enough,” the main musician-organizer of the concert said. “There’s a structure in place over there and the people are simply saying they don’t accept it. What I’m trying to do with my music is basically questioning the structures and challenge the structures that are imposed on us. Those on top of the structure want us to conform, but we don’t have to; we don’t have to accept what we have; we can strive for something else. That’s what the people of Iran are doing and its very inspiring to me. And I think it translates into the arts. That’s what we need art for—to challenge ourselves and to challenge the structures we live under.”

“We plan on doing it again in other venues and making it bigger, making it a series. ‘For the People Of’ originally started with the Iranian people in mind. But I’m trying to see a bigger picture. What’s going on in Iran could potentially cause similar uprisings to happen in other countries. I think the whole world is watching. And it’s a really crucial moment over there. So ‘For the People Of’ is an invitation to the audience to fill in that blank. It’s for which people? The people of the world? The people of Iran? The people of the United States? The people of Haiti? Which people? It’s for all the people!”

Iran’s Torture of Baluchi Dancer Sparks Dramatic Reenactments around the Globe

December 1, 2022

The brutal death of Khodanour Lejei (or Lajai) at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran has touched a raw nerve across the globe.  Below are the more accurate details of his death that our volunteers uncovered and is a correction of our earlier write up about him, as well as photos and videos of just a few of the different actions touched off by the news of his life and death.

Our previous coverage stated that Khodanour was “shackled to a pole, wounded, and allowed to bleed to death” for the crime of dancing. In fact, Khodanour was shot during the regime's massacre at a peaceful demonstration and prayers in Zahedan (in the oppressed minority province of Baluchistan and Sistan) on September 30, in which about 100 people were murdered in cold blood by snipers on rooftops. After the regime refused to allow the hospital to treat him, he bled out and died on October 2 – his 27th birthday. It was actually months earlier that he was wounded, tortured and shackled to a pole, a glass of water cruelly placed just out of his reach. The police spread the shackled photo of him with the intent to humiliate him and spread fear.  Instead, images of him joyfully dancing, as well as that of him shackled, have inspired protests and artistic expressions worldwide, ranging from single individuals to choreographed installations.

This unity with a Baluchi protestor is especially crucial given that Baluchistan continues to be a target of vicious repression. As of Nov 28, 15 Baluchi prisoners were executed in just 15 days.

Sanandaj University, Kurdistan, Iran
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See videos of reenactment below, and photos on the right column.

IEC volunteers reenact Khodanour shackling, distribute flyers at busy Embarcadero district, San Francisco.

Nov 19 Actions commemorate Bloody Aban

November 20, 2022

On November 19, 2022, actions were held in many parts of the world in commemoration of "Bloody Aban", the massacre of at least 1,500 people in November 2019, drowning in blood the uprising against the huge increase in gas prices.

In San Francisco, California, @BayArea4Iran and IEC (@IranPrisonEmerg) participated in this large, solemn and angry manifestation. At the start of the march was a symbolic funeral with about a dozen people in black with blood tears painted on their faces,  carrying representations of dead bodies.

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Worldwide Actions: Free Toomaj Salehi

November 7, 2022

Some initial sights and sounds of responses to the call from Toomaj's family for worldwide actions to demand his immediate release.

"Free Toomaj" in Paris, Nov. 6

French language flyer distributed in France

5 Nov. "In Medellín, Colombia, after a conference on the uprisings in Iran, we join the call for the immediate release of the rapper #ToomajSalehi and that of all political prisoners in Iran."

5 Nov. Toronto, Canada, rally at Toronto Municipal Square in support of revolutionary artist Toomaj Salehi. Toomaj's cousin spoke: "Toomaj was born from a revolutionary family, his aunts were political prisoners, his uncles were political prisoners, and we were not less hit by the Islamic Republic." She called on people to the voice of Toomaj.

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Freedom for Toomaj - Nov. 5 Worldwide

November 1, 2022

Breaking news Nov. 2, from Burn the Cage

"Toomaj has been in the torture chamber for confession, the "Police Center for Moral Security and Public Places" on Rudaki Street, Isfahan. Apparently he has now been transferred to the prison and intelligence department. The regime's officials have not yet provided any information to the family. The family is still unable to contact Toomaj."

Nov. 1: Family and friends of Toomaj are asking all Iranians and freedom-loving people all over our planet to rise up to save the life of Toomaj from the murderous Islamic regime in Iran.

At midnight on Sunday October 30th, the Islamic regime kidnapped Toomaj [a revolutionary rapper singing and mobilizing people on the crimes of the Islamic regime against the women and the people of Iran] and put him under brutal torture. We're asking everyone to take action in saving the life of Toomaj, demanding his unconditional release.

At the same time, we're asking all freedom-loving people and defenders of human rights to join the joint struggle in freeing all Iranian political prisoners, supporting the student movement, the workers movement and Iran's "Woman Life Freedom" Revolution.

We're asking all freedom-loving people to support the "Freedom for Toomaj" demonstrations and joint actions!

Let's participate in an international protest against kidnapping of Toomaj Salehi and his release from the claws of Islamic Regime's executioners!

Freedom for Toomaj!

Be the voice of Iranian political prisoners and the uprising in the Iranian society!

Join us on a worldwide demonstration on Saturday November 05, 2022 all over the world and in all European cities!

Send us the events that you're planning to have in your cities to [FreeIransPoliticalPrisonersNow@gmail.com].

From the family and friends of Toomaj!

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New Solidarity Actions in Colombia Oct 22

October 27, 2022

In early October, as the uprising in Iran began to rage, the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds campaign in Europe issued an urgent appeal—to globalize the struggle to free Iran’s political prisoners, in which they proclaimed: “People outside Iran, you have to become the Iranian people’s voice to the world.”

A resounding echo came from revolutionaries in Colombia—across continents, oceans and mountains! Women and men with Alborada Comunista, Voice of the Revolutionary Communist Group in Colombia, fanned out into barrios, universities, tourist and other popular areas of Bogotá, Cali, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, Cartagena, and Medellín. For several weeks, people all over Colombia saw the faces and heard the stories of Iran’s political prisoners in beautifully painted portraits to join the fight for their freedom. Students watched and discussed the film NASRIN about the life and work of courageous defense lawyer and political prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh. Literature tables carried tracts that ranged from flyers for the International Emergency Campaign to books on the New Communism developed by revolutionary leader Bob Avakian.

View compilation below.

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***

Cartagena, 22 October: 

Discussion in the library of a poor and working class community about support for the struggles of the masses in Iran and the struggle for the freedom of political prisoners. On Oct. 23, a day of flyering and agitation in Barrio San José.

Bogotá, 22 October. March in the Chapinero [tourist] district as part of the International Day of Action in support of the struggle of the people of Iran against the theocratic Islamic Republic and for the immediate release of political prisoners.

Bogotá, 21 October: Rally in front of the Iranian embassy in Colombia. Several dozen protesters chanted slogans in support of the Iranian people, against the theocratic regime, and against imperialism and Zionism.

Cali, 18 October. Mural in front of the University Hospital of Cali: Free the political prisoners from the dungeons of the Islamic Republic now!

Bogotá, 17 October: Monday, a holiday, more than a dozen protesters walked a few kilometers through downtown chanting slogans against the Islamic Republic and imperialism, and in support of the uprising in Iran and for the freedom of political prisoners...

Barranquilla, 14-15 October. In the central, well-attended Peace Square, for two days activists for the freedom of political prisoners in Iran interacted with hundreds of people, distributing thousands of flyers condemning the Islamic regime and imperialism.

Bogotá, 14 October. A discussion with students and the creation of a mural opposing the Islamic Republic and imperialism, changed the atmosphere in the Macarena area of the District University.

Medellín, 13 October. Exhibit for the life and freedom of political prisoners in Iran. The lives of political prisoners in Iran are in danger and immediate international action is urgently needed for their release!

Bucaramanga, 9 October. On Sundays, the Industrial University of Santander opens its doors to the public. There we installed a table of revolutionary literature, we exhibited posters against the Islamic Republic of Iran and imperialism, and for the liberation of women.

Cali, 8 October. Universidad del Valle, Engineering Dept. Mural opposes the "two outmodeds": "Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran! Down with imperialism!" based on a poster by Osyan.

Cali, 6 October. Universidad del Valle. Campaign "Burn the Cage!", "Free Iran's political prisoners NOW!" Invitations to the screening and discussion of the documentary "Nasrin".

"Free Iran's Political Prisoners" Present at Oct 22 Int'l Day of Solidarity

October 23, 2022

October 22, 2022 witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of solidarity with the uprising in Iran sparked 5 weeks ago by the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of "morality police". Tens of thousands of Iranians poured into the streets (80k just in Berlin), joined by (in a still small proportion), non-Iranians. The IEC and it supporters built for and joined protests in Germany, France, Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, and Bogotá.

View some related social media posts below.

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San Francisco, California, USA:

Toronto, Canada

Paris, France

Bogotá, Colombia. (Woman's poster reads: "The struggle of the people of Iran is our struggle! The people of Iran are our people!"

Statement by Afghans in Support of Uprising in Iran: JAKNA

October 6, 2022

This statement is copied from JAKNA's Instagram. It has been translated to English by IEC volunteers.

We are a group of Afghan men and women from all over the world; From Kabul, Herat and Hazara, to Mashhad, Tehran, and Zahedan, from Pakistan, Istanbul, and Greece to all over Europe and America. In this campaign, we want to support the uprising of women and men in Iran against the mandatory hijab and against the criminal Islamic Republic of Iran. We consider ourselves as part of this uprising and our hearts are with the rebels of Iran and our voices are aligned with their voices....

(Signers by names order in Farsi)

Arzoo Arianpour (cinema artist and actress)
Artemis Akbari (activist of the LGBT movement)
Morteza Elham
Maryam Rezaei
National and Democratic Refugee Union in Austria
Women's Social Equality Association/Afghanistan
A group of women in Herat
A group of Afghan students in Iran
Nasser Chekauk (Jakna member)
Maryam Heydari (nurse)
Khaleda Khorsand (writer and women's rights activist)
Tahereh Sajjadi (human rights activist)
Zohra Sahar (civil activist)
Mina Sadat (social activist)
Elahe Sahel (journalist)
Ziagol Seljuqi (social activist)
Elahe Sahel (journalist)
Afghan LGBT Organization
Noor International Organization
Marjan Alipour (women's and student rights activist in Canada)
Jamila Azimi (defense lawyer)
Samira Azizi
Sabouri Azizi (activist for the rights of asylum seekers)
Farinoosh Alipour (women's rights activist)
Angela Ghayor (women's activist)
Nilofar Fahim (social activist)
Bakhtavar Nazari (women's activist)
Roya Mandegar civil activist
Shekib Mosadeg (artist and singer)
Zahra Mousavi (women's activist)
Marzieh Hashemi (women's activist from Berlin)

#Afghanistan_Iran #stop_the_killing_of_Hazaras #Mehsa_Amini#women_of_Afghanistan #Afghanistan #Hazara #Baluchistan #Kurdistan#stophazaragenocide
@shekibmosadeq @angela_ghayour @maosyangarim @bidarzani @cpimlm @artemis_akbary@arezoariapoor

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To the rebel protesters in the streets - Burn The Cage Statement

October 1, 2022

We received this statement from Burn The Cage/Free The Birds movement in Europe.  IEC volunteers take responsibility for the translation from Farsi into English.

See also Oct. 2 Burn the Cage call to support Evin Prison sit-down strike.

All Political Prisoners Must Be Freed Immediately!

Greetings to all who love freedom worldwide!

To the rebel protesters in the streets:

The fiery cry of your heroic rebellion has shaken this rotten system [Islamic Republic] to the core and has warmed the hearts of millions around the world!  Your sisters and brothers in all corners of the world are exhilarated and inspired by your bravery and dedication, and you have been a breath of fresh air in a world full of war, poverty, death, tyranny, and environmental destruction.

Yes, we -- the people of the world -- truly have no borders!

Our friends in Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia, the United States, Spain, Chile and many other countries in the world have risen also in support of you rising up and raising the banner: “No!”  “I am a human being!” They have responded with support, "Your pain is my pain."   This is striking fear into the hearts of their ruling tyrants.  Also, many of the world's intellectuals and artists have joined this glorious wave inspired by you and are supporting your cause.

Without a doubt you bring hope to the many people who are desperate in Iran, the Middle East and the whole world.  You have given a fresh blood to the tired bodies and minds of the Iranian masses.  You have given us a new hope and have shown that we don’t need to choose between bad and worse.  There is a path of life, a way forward: to rise up against reactionary tyrants and oppressors.

Now is the time to free the political prisoners from the dungeons of the Islamic Republic!

The regime’s security forces are arresting more and more of innocent people.  Prisoners’ families and lawyers are reporting horrendous and dangerous conditions inside the regime’s prisons.  According to some reports, more than 3,000 people have been transferred to Evin and Fashafuyeh prisons.  [Fashafuyeh = Greater Tehran Prison – ed.]   Prisoners are under constant interrogation and most of the women prisoners have been transferred to Qarchak prison.  One of the prisoners, Yalda Moayeri, said in an audio file, "Our lives are constantly in danger. More than 100 people have been jammed into a gymnasium, without ventilation or air conditioning.  There are no proper bathrooms or showers and [the guards – ed.] constantly give people sedatives."

In a brief phone call from Qarchak prison, Maryam Karim Beigi told her mother that “we are held in very inhumane spaces, and constantly dehumanized and threatened” and  “another Kahrizak may happen here.” [Kahrizak prison was infamous for torture and murder of protesters arrested in the 2009 “green movement” protests. – ed.]

Be Warned!

People in the streets, and workers, students, teachers, university students, professors, artists and athletes:

Raise your voices to demand the immediate release of political prisoners.  Do not leave the families of political prisoners stranded and alone. Go together with the prisoners’ families to the prison gates and make an uproar so that the regime's hands will be tied against further crimes.

People who are affluent:

Please lighten the load of political prisoners by raising funds for their families travel expenses from distant cities to visit them.

People outside Iran, you who have become the Iranian people’s voice to the world:  

Demand the ”immediate release of political prisoners”  in a storm of social media; celebrities and human rights activists, make this the main point in your interviews with international media. Use any tool that you can to help the families of political prisoners and the families of the victims of the Islamic Republic.

Families of the prisoners:

Send the message to our sisters and brothers inside the prisons, “You are not alone, we are with you!”  There are now millions of people in this country and other countries of the world that support you and your cause.

It has been over 350 hours since the Islamic republic murdered our dear Mahsa.  It is time to free all the political prisoners!

Make the immediate release of political prisoners a worldwide demand!
Down with Islamic Republic of Iran!

~Burn the Cage / Free the Birds Campaign
@burnthecage
October 1, 2022

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Fury after murder of Mahsa Amini by Hijab Patrol rocks Iran

September 20, 2022

Revolutionary Afghan composer Shekib Mosadeq put together a montage of videos of the protests in Iran, with his song, Burn The Cage:

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"With great joy and full of hope"

August 31, 2022

El IEC received this letter from the Burn the Cage spokesperson after they read this report from Colombia.

Lea esta carta en español

Compañeros y compañeras de ComRevCo,

With great joy and full of hope we read the report regarding your support and promotion of the campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners at the International Poetry Festival in Medellín.

Friends and comrades, this is what we are all fighting for: A totally different world where people have come out of their small spheres and see the world as a whole, a world with internationalism coming first.

In your report you mentioned groups and political organizations that believe that the Iranian government is anti-imperialist and should be supported. Their attitude shows how short-sighted and tragic they are. We should ask them: how can you call yourselves progressive and support a regime that imprisons and murders the people of Iran, for 43 years?

Comrades, the people of Colombia are our people too, and we are your people. We have the same enemy and that is the worldwide capitalist system. The Iranian government and Colombian regime are not on our side, they and all other reactionaries are on their side. They may have contradictions with each other, but we cannot throw ourselves into their arms, we cannot be so gullible. We don't need them, but we need each other!

The Emergency Campaign to free political prisoners in Iran takes up internationalism and relies on people of the world, not the governments of the world. Your actions are an internationalist model for us and the world and each time we hear from you it is more inspirational than previous actions.

With the hopes of going beyond the world of oppression, exploitation, prison and prisoners!

Warmest hug!

Kave Milani, spokesman for Burn the Cage/Free the Birds, Europe

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Statement of Justice Seeking Mothers and activists on the anniversary of the Massacre of 1988 in Iran

August 26, 2022

This statement was posted in Farsi on Facebook and website of CFPPI; the following is our unofficial translation.

Photo: www.facebook.com/IranZendaniSiasi

More than 300 justice seeking family members of political prisoners and political and civil activists published a statement to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre of political prisoners in the "Summer of 1988," in Iran. In this statement, international authorities have been asked to recognize this massacre as a crime against humanity. The signatories of this statement have called for the formation of an independent criminal investigation commission to pursue this crime in the United Nations.

The list of signatures is regularly updated.

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You can also support the wishes of the families and activists and join them with your signature at the given addresses.

Parisa Powende parisapouyande@gmail.com

Shiva Mehboobi shivamahbobi@gmail.com

Collective statement of Justice Seeking Mothers and relatives of political prisoners, political and civil activists on the anniversary of the Massacre of 1988 in Iran.

Thirty-four years ago, after ongoing protests and upheavals in Iran, authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran started a crackdown of arrests, imprisonment and executions of political prisoners in the 1980's.  We once again endured the massacre of our loved ones in September of 1988.
Those massacred were freedom-loving, honorable and decent people who have been fighting in defense of freedom of expression, political and social freedoms and a better life who eventually  sacrificed their lives for the rights of humane ideals.

In 1988 the IRI killed these freedom fighters. They buried them secretly at night in mass graves in places like Khavaran. This was a crime against humanity that will be remembered in our history.

The powers that be have tried to destroy this historical evidence, but they have not yet been able to eradicate the evidence of the massacre of our loved ones because there have been  massive protests against these crimes.

During the past forty-three years, the killing of our loved ones has continued. The answer to the demands for people's rights has been imprisonment, torture, bullets or execution. Today,  mothers and families of those who have lost their loved ones in 1999, 2009, 2017, 2018, and The Mothers of Aban/Nov 2019 have joined forces with families of the downed Ukrainian passengers flight of 2019. They stand together with the families of the 1980's. The movement for justice has become stronger than ever and is standing on the front lines of the fight against poverty and misery, lack of any rights for  women and children and all those imprisoned and executed...

Today, this movement and the support it has gotten from different sections of the people has become much stronger. The September 1988 massacre has been recognized by individuals and dozens of institutions, human rights organizations and human rights defenders and various institutions such as the UN human rights rapporteur Javid Rahman. The government of Canada  has now officially acknowledged the massacre as a crime against humanity.

Lately, the trial of Hamid Nouri, one of the perpetrators of this massacre, has been tried in Sweden. The Swedish court has issued the harshest punishment, life imprisonment. This is a great victory for the movement for justice and for the people of Iran.

Families, institutions and organizations defending human rights are calling for the establishment of an independent commission for criminal investigation to be formed to investigate and try the perpetrators and leaders of this crime and the death committee in 1988. Today, this demand has become a public demand.

While we are again asking the United Nations Human Rights Council to form an independent criminal investigation commission to deal with the crimes of the Summer 1988 Massacre, we ask all honorable, freedom-loving and philanthropic people to not stand aside, but to join us in demanding an independent investigation of these crimes.

Copy sent to the United Nations Human Rights Council
European personalities and governments

International Poetry Festival in Medellín, Colombia

August 15, 2022
The IEC was emailed a detailed report from Colombia about the International Poetry Festival in Medellin.  We are posting the translation and condensed version posted on revcom.us so as not to duplicate efforts.  Those who publicly signed the Appeal at the Festival are entered into our full signers' list and include artists we listed in our August 8 Alert.  
A LOS COMPAÑEROS EN COLOMBIA: ¡MUCHÍSIMAS GRACIAS Y UN FUERTE ABRAZO!

In late July, the 32nd International Poetry Festival of Medellín took place with scores of invitees from 24 countries. This internationally recognized Festival has been held since 1991, organized by the poetry magazine Prometeo and the World Poetry Movement. There were readings in different parts of Medellin and nearby cities to large audiences. The poets recited songs to nature and against its destruction by capitalism; for unity among the world’s people against femicide, colonialism and racism, performing in multiple languages enabling a rich exchange between artists and audience.

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Our team of about ten (from Medellín and other parts of Colombia) spread out to events in different venues of the city. Inspired by the Appeal of the International Emergency Campaign (IEC), we aimed to publicize the situation of Iran’s political prisoners, the IEC and its Appeal. We urged artists to sign the Appeal and get it to others worldwide. We asked them to join in denouncing the repression, torture, imprisonment, and assassinations by the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), to join in condemning the threats and war moves of U.S. imperialism and its economic sanctions that add to terrible suffering of the Iranian masses. We distributed the Appeal in Spanish, English, Portuguese, and French; setting up a huge exhibition with “Burn the Cage, Free the Birds!” theme with a collection of 36 displays (see photos). We held a screening of the documentary Nasrin. We spoke about the IRI’s recent escalation of imprisonment, torture and execution of artists, poets, human rights defenders, feminists, activists, environmentalists, and many other people, highlighting the recent jailing of filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al Ahmad.

Broad Receptivity to the Emergency Appeal

From the start, we urged poets from Africa, Europe and Latin America to sign the Appeal and spread it. The response was generally very receptive. Many were unaware of the ongoing situation in Iran. Some people expressed surprise to encounter this campaign in Colombia and found it inspiring.

A young man from the Festival organizing team, upon hearing about the Appeal, asked with some sarcasm “What does that have to do with Colombia?” After explaining the situation in Iran, and its prisoners, we highlighted key points of the Appeal like “All those who stand for justice and yearn for a better world must rally to the cause of freeing Iran’s political prisoners NOW.” He then took us to the co-director of the Poetry Festival to tell her this was an important campaign and that they should know about it. The co-director then spoke to a Peruvian woman who said she would spread it among her friends, especially Iranians.

About 20 poets signed the Appeal, agreed to share it with others, and left their contact information. Kayo Chingonyi, a Zambian poet living in England, said that after signing it, he read the IEC webpage and then shared it with others, including his producer, an Iranian. In general, everyone expressed recognizing the serious situation in Iran, and among the majority, a willingness to listen with genuine receptivity.

Iran's political prisoners face a dire, life-threatening emergency

In the closing days, we organized two graphic exhibitions with several portraits of Iran’s political prisoners and short write-ups of their cases, some poems by Iranian prisoners, the Appeal in Spanish and its English ad in The New York Review of Books. We also had a flyer of Bob Avakian’s quote on “the two outmodeds.” These were held at the University of Antioquia and the Casa Cultural La Pascasia, in downtown Medellín. A professor of “History of Art in Times of War” who taught at Arts Department of the University of Antioquia, stopped on her way to class to see the exhibition with some of her students. She said the exhibition grabbed her attention and invited us to speak in one of her classes.

Fierce Struggle over Nationalism vs. Internationalism

On the other hand, besides some apathy related to the idea that “things are already changing here” with the “left” government, many people were curious about why people in Colombia were actively promoting a campaign for the political prisoners from another country. This enabled discussions of a very important aspect of this campaign: Internationalism. We explained this is not simply to express solidarity with those suffering repression in Iran, but to see their cause as our cause. Our starting point is not what “affects our country” or “our people” understood in a narrow nationalistic way. Our starting point must be humanity and the planet and the struggle to end oppression and exploitation in all parts of the world, not just in what is considered “my” country.

Most people did not ask these questions with bad intentions but with concern. However, among those who did ask questions with bad intentions, there were accusations such as “they do not care about the problems of Colombia.” In addition to defending Iran as part of a “bloc of anti-imperialist countries,” one Festival organizer approached those talking with the poets for “taking advantage of HIS space.” And a retired professor, a member of the university professors’ union, criticized our concern for the political prisoners in Iran and being against U.S. sanctions on Iran. He said you have to support the Islamic regime because it is a force “opposed to Yankee imperialism” and “we cannot forget that the main enemy is North American imperialism.” He also stated that, although he does not agree with the treatment of women in Iran but this as “part of their culture.” We confronted these wrong positions and after listening to our arguments, the professor-unionist decided to go and see the Exhibition.

Many of these collaborators have political affinity with the organizers of the Festival who are members of the old, non-revolutionary Colombian “communist” party (PCC). One of them argued that “the U.S. is the country promoting and financing the protests in Iran,” “Iran is part of an anti-imperialist bloc,” “I have not seen you defending the political prisoners of Colombia,” etc. to try to censor us. This same position is defended by almost all the reformist “left intellectuals,” including some directors of the Bogotá teachers’ union (ADE), who have openly declared the IRI anti-imperialist. In 2019, they even held a celebration of the founding of the IRI.

This festival was a real opportunity to struggle against the narrow sectarianism and evasion by some “left” intellectuals with petty attitudes. These forces criticize our support of “others” and want us to limit ourselves to the problems of “our” country (i.e. Colombia). This time, they ask “why only Iran?” Other times they ask “why only Palestine or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Brazil?” Or they ask “why only women or LGBT?” Or “why only at festivals?” Or “why only at Universities?” Or “why only in neighborhoods?” and so on ad nauseam! It is necessary to carry out struggle to transform their way of thinking which takes individualism to another level. There have been some successes in this struggle.

Join Us

The world cannot allow what the IRI has done since its founding in 1979, nor allow again the complete elimination of a generation of brave and powerful critical minds. The courage and sacrifice of the masses and of the voices of conscience must receive a response of frank global support in various social sectors. In this sense, it ` key that artists, lawyers, and journalists welcome the Appeal and urgently disseminate it in all possible ways and in all possible areas. As the Appeal puts it: The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance—We Must ACT Now!... tirelessly.

Now available! - Ms Magazine w Emergency Appeal to Free Iran's Political Prisoners now on news stands

August 8, 2022
Ms magazine summer edition cover and ad on pp 40-41

IEC Alert - August 8, 2022

Now on newsstands! The IEC's Emergency Appeal appears in Ms. magazine's Summer edition, on pages 40 & 41. Get your copy NOW! and share it widely.

Imagine the misogynist IRI regime squirming when they see this in Ms. Magazine's 50th Anniversary edition, "Never Underestimate the Power of Women's Rage!"

Publishing the Emergency Appeal right now —with its powerful political content and world-renowned signers— is the best way to impact the international political terrain and build broad awareness and support for all of Iran’s political prisoners.  Its stance of proceeding from the interests of humanity, not of those of any reactionary government, and stressing the “special responsibility” people in the U.S. have to oppose the IRI’s vile repression while also actively opposing “any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the people of Iran” is even more important now given the current situation in Iran and the world...  

We encourage people to get a copy to bring into your classrooms to share! Or ask your favorite bookstore to display the ad. Or bring it with you to show people at events, protests and speakouts!  Many thanks to the dozens of donors, in the U.S., Europe, Canada, from the Iranian diaspora and elsewhere whose generosity made this possible!

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Prominent Poets and Writers from Africa, Latin America and Europe Endorse the Emergency Appeal

During the time that ads to Free Iran's Political prisoners were running online in Ms, dozens of artists from Africa, Latin American and Europe signed the Emergency Appeal to Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now!  Among the signers were Nimrod Bena, poet, writer, editor and philosopher from Chad, Kayo Chingonyi; Zambian writer, editor, broadcaster; Hilde Susan Jaegtnes, poet, fiction writer, screenwriter, actress and composer (Norway);  Martín Barea Mattos, poet and director of the international poetry festival "Mundial Poético" in Montevideo, Uruguay; Oscar "Puky" Gutiérrez Peña, poet, cultural manager and editor (Bolivia); more than a dozen Colombian writers and artists including Luis Villa  and Angela Briceño; and Chilean poets Eugenia Brito Astrosa and Amanda Durán.

We encourage people to get a copy to bring into your classrooms to share! Or ask your favorite bookstore to display the ad. Or bring it with you to show people at events, protests and speakouts!

For a complete list of signers, visit the IEC website. For your friends and colleagues to add their voices to this Emergency Appeal, share this link. Or print this page for people to sign.

Bella Now! in Berlin Festival, Aug. 13

The song by Shekib Mosadeq and Miles Solay "Inspired by the struggle to free all political prisoners in the Islamic Republic of Iran and in Afghanistan"  will be performed live at a music festival in Berlin this weekend.

IRI President Raisi plans September visit to the United Nations

The IEC received a call for demonstration in September from UK-based CFPPI (Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran).

Stay tuned for the latest on this from the IEC. In the coming days, be sure to check the IEC Website/Plans or IEC Website/Events for future plans!

Iranian Writers' Association: End the suppression of women and filing cases against them

August 3, 2022
Iranian news put on display a taped "confession" by a bruised Sepideh Rashno after 14 days of solitary confinement and "interrogation"

The Iranian Writers’ Association published an important statement Monday, August 1, 2022 in the Farsi news site Akhbar Rooz. Below is IEC’s unofficial translation.

For more than forty years, the government has been violating the most basic rights of women and responding to their every protest and disobedience with humiliation and organized violence and filing cases. Women who have seen their lives from the most private to the most public areas dominated by the regime's misogynistic culture and laws, have taken steps and opened ways to break this space with their individual and collective efforts. But this constant struggle has not reduced the naked violence of the government against women.

On July 31, the government added another black page to its record, and as it has many other times, it turned to confession and manipulation of public opinion. When the detention of Sepideh Rashno, the poet and writer, had reached the 14th day, the news channels of the Islamic Republic of Iran aired the video of her forced confession. The method that has always been repeated with the intention of discrediting the protest and intimidating the protesters by the government: forcing the oppressed to sit in front of the camera and showing the suffocation by the ruler. Now, however, the widespread anger and reaction of the people showed that this tactic is more ineffective than before.

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Earlier, a video was published on the internet that showed a "famous person" [IEC: well-known female IRI agent who bullies women for not properly covering their hair in public] on the bus being aggressive to a woman under the pretext of covering up, causing that women and other women on the bus to defend themselves in protest. While filming the protesting woman, she threatens to send the video to the "Army". Shortly after the wide distribution of this video on social networks, it was found out that the woman who protested was Sepideh Rashno, and she was arrested by the security officers and taken to an unknown place. At the same time, the media of the government also began to file and make accusations and attributed this protest, like countless other protests, to "external factors".

In recent months, many such news items have been published after crossing the censorship barrier: the news that reveals both the increasing pressure on women and their resistance. The government has revived its old tools, and its officers, called "Moral Security Police", are busy oppressing women even more and depriving them of their safety.

The basis of this repression has been prepared before; The government, which has realized that in the absence of women's organizations and institutions, it is easier to violate the rights of "Sepidehs" and marginalize their voices, has violated the right of women to organize for years and has narrowed the space for activists in this field by filing cases, arresting and jailing.

The Iranian Writers Association, while defending the right to choose clothing, once again declares its support for women's right to organize and considers these arrests and forced confessions to be a continuation of the organized repression of women. Unconditional freedom is the right of Sepideh Rashno and all political and ideological prisoners.

Iran Writers’ Association, August 1, 2022

IRI Out of ILO, Campaign to Free Jailed Workers in Iran

June 18, 2022
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Norway One-woman Protest against "Terrorist Regime of Iran"

June 1, 2022

Shouting "Terrorist Regime of Iran" in Norway on June 1, 2022, a woman protested the official meetings between Norway and Iran. Someone egged the motorcade of Iranian diplomats.

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Cologne, Germany: March Demands No Execution of Djalali, Free Political Prisoners

May 21, 2022
Cologne, Germany, May 21, 2022

From Burn the Cage Instagram, unofficial translation:

"Today, Saturday, May 21, 2022, in coordination with political organizations and currents, we were present in the center of Cologne on the occasion of the death sentence [of Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmadreza Djalali] and the unconditional defense of the immediate release of political prisoners.  We have declared the only solution to end imprisonment, torture and execution to overthrow the Islamic Republic.  At the end, we showed our protest symbol by raising photos, banners for the slaves and political prisoners from the Rhine flyover and with revolutionary songs.  On the way, one of the protesters spoke to the people in a German-language loudspeaker about the crimes and actions of this fascist government of the Islamic Republic. The program lasted from 2 to 4 p.m.

"We also participated in the demonstration with the banner of the Committee for the Defense of the Immediate Release of Political Prisoners unconditionally, which was called by the Organizing Council for political prisoners and executions.
#burn_the_cage"

See below: videos

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IEC Banner Sightings, May 2022

May 5, 2022

Volunteers put the demand "Free Iran's Political Prisoners" before many thousands the week of May 1, International Workers Day, 2022.

In Berlin, supporters carried the IEC banner in a march of 20,000, many of them radical German youth. People in the march took photos of its portraits of a number of the political prisoners in Iran—who were celebrated by the contingent as heroes of our times, frontline fighters for a better world.

Berlin May 1 2022

In Stockholm, Sweden, in front of the trial of Hamid Nouri, where many Iranians gathered from around the world for the concluding arguments, demanding justice for their loved ones massacred in 1988, the IEC brought attention to the urgent current struggle to free all political prisoners in Iran today.

Stockholm, Sweden

In San Francisco, California, at the rally before the labor rights rally on May 1, the IEC was invited to make a statement (download). Many people were moved by the internationalist stand, took photos with the IEC banner, and signed up on the spot.

San Francisco, CA, USA
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Protests Outside Hamid Nouri Trial in Stockholm May 2022: IEC Banner

May 3, 2022

Iran International video in Farsi shows banners, including International Emergency Campaign and Burn the Cage, outside the concluding days of the trial of Hamid Nouri in Stockholm, Sweden; news anchor discusses IEC banner and demands at Minute 1.

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Teachers Across Iran Protest May 1 in Face of Repression

May 3, 2022

Even after arrests of teacher union leaders aimed at preventing May 1 protests, teachers in many cities in Iran rallied bravely, demanding living wages, labor rights and freedom for their imprisoned colleagues. Dozens were arrested. Video by @ICHRI.

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Taking "Free Iran's Political Prisoners" to Women's Day Marches in Europe

March 10, 2022

Exciting reports received by the IEC show new joint efforts by supporters of our campaign and Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement in Europe that reached thousands at International Women's Day (IWD) events 2022 amidst a tense world situation.

We bring you photos and a summary here.

The major news outlet IranWire covered the groups' action (link in Farsi) in Paris on its home page, quoting activists and the Emergency Appeal extensively.

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San Francisco march at US Federal Building Demands to Free Iran's Political Prisoners

January 25, 2022

In San Francisco, California, 15-20 people gathered in front of the U.S. Federal Building on January 22 to express their solidarity with Iran’s hunger strikers and to demand “the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners held by the Islamic Regime.” Video of march on IEC YouTube channel.

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Statement from the Human Rights Working Group of the First Unitarian Universalists of San Francisco

January 24, 2022

On January 8 of this year Baktash Abtin died in an Iranian prison. Baktash was a poet and filmmaker widely respected in his country and beyond. He was jailed for speaking out for justice in his country, for the right to speak, for speaking the truth.  His incarceration was unjust.  His death, a result of criminal neglect by his jailers, was nothing less than murder.

Prisoners in response to this crime have begun a hunger strike. This statement expresses our support for these hunger strikers.

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The government of Iran is guilty of grotesque injustices against workers, artists, writers, lawyers, democratic activists, socialists and others who protest or speak out and protest against their patriarchal and fascist like regime.  It is therefore our responsibility as human rights advocates in this country to speak out and act in solidarity with this growing movement of protest among Iran’s courageous prisoners.

It is doubly important for us to do this since the United States government,  represented by this building we stand next to, carried out crimes against the Iranian nation going back to the 1950s, and continues to do so with sanctions that  cause great harm to the ordinary people of Iran.  And this government does this not to defend democracy or people’s rights as they claim, but to help the U.S. maintain a grip on the Middle East, all the better to exploit the people there.

Furthermore, in our country we are witness to the great efforts from powerful interests to rile up the people with U.S.A. first chauvinism, whose most disgusting manifestation is MAGA, with which fascists in this country wish to harden the people here to accept any manner of brutality to, in their words, “make America great again”.  This poisonous ideology represents the deadening of the spirits thus infected by it, and, as an outlook, if not challenged and defeated, will be a death sentence to humanity generally.

Therefore our solidarity is not only for the sake of our courageous sisters and brothers in Iran but for ourselves and for all our human kind trapped as we are at this time in an immoral and unjust social order.

None of us are free, until all of us are free.

Free Iran’s political prisoners now.

Taking the International Emergency Campaign to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

January 23, 2022

Yesterday evening a small crew of Revolution readers, including people originally from Iran and Pakistan, went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where an Iranian film festival is being held. The Festival is showing a number of Iranian films, covering various issues. All films are made in Iran, in the Farsi language, with English subtitles at the bottom of the screen. We carried fliers about the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners for distribution to people at the site, as the primary objective.

However, we also carried palm cards of BA's latest major work, “Something Terrible Or Something Truly Emancipating:....", so we could give them out to people who seriously engaged us on the subject of real solution to ending all oppression. We also decided to see the film, "No Choice” at the Museum and try distributing more fliers, at the end of the film.

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The film was really good. Great subject, good acting, well directed and produced. (More about the film at the end ).

The overall experience was mixed. Maybe it was not the best venue to achieve the results that we were hoping for, since we were not allowed in the area of the Museum where people who had come to see the movie were entering but only a general museum entrance, we ended up passing out fliers to all people who passed by us, only a few of whom were actually there for the Iranian festival.

But we did learn some things, which are important in their own right. We found that most people we came across had no idea about the situation in Iran, let alone the plight of political prisoners. But many people were curious to learn and took the fliers in that spirit. Some asked how they could help the International Campaign, for which we were happy to give out the flier " Five ways to help....".  

I had the opportunity to engage a couple of people on the premises close to the entrance gate, before the Security Guard noticed my presence and asked me to leave. A young Iranian woman, a college student, who was probably waiting for someone to join her, took the flier, but said she had no idea about the prisoners' situation in Iran. She added, “I don't like the government of Iran", without further elaboration. A couple, in their 30s or so, took the Emergency Campaign flier. They said they had no idea about the prisoner situation but were curious to find out and asked how they could help. I gave them the flier with the " five ways to help" written. Another man, in his early fifties, took the flier and said he knew democracy had been hijacked in Iran after the ouster of Mossadegh, and installing of the Shah. He counter questioned me to ask what was happening in Iran and what needed to be done. At this point I engaged him a little on how this system had no solution to end humanity's suffering and gave him the palm card showing BA's latest work, " Something Terrible or Something Emancipating...." .

The movie, "No Choice" seems to have deeply impacted the people watching the movie (as it surely deeply moved me), the audience coming out of the hall were suddenly eagerly asking us for the fliers on Iranian prisoners. One middle aged Iranian man, while taking the fliers, said, "I really want to thank you for doing this ".

The Movie : ** NO CHOICE **

I thought the film was very powerful in showing the savage exploitation of women in the brutal and oppressive patriarchal theocratic system, especially for the poor and downtrodden, but really for all women, at all levels. I liked the subtle ways in which the movie was critical of the theocracy and its leadership. The film shows the helplessness of women who try to "claim" justice from the system, and are met with mountains of hurdles in their path at every step. The film shows that a woman lawyer, who picks up the courage to pursue the case of a homeless teenager, and with a lot of tenacity manages to cross a number of hurdles, becomes a threat to all those in the chain who have been responsible for the exploitation of this homeless teenage girl. The lawyer is followed, and literally murdered on the street.

From a sustainer of the Revolution Tour

"The Eyes of the World Are on Iran": Protest at Iran Embassy in Colombia

January 9, 2022

The IEC received this letter from Bogotá, Colombia (Original en español). Photos on Twitter and Instagram

Dear friends:

Following are some notes about a recent exciting internationalist activity in the Colombian capital.

Last Thursday, January 6, shortly after noon, some three dozen protesters with an overflowing internationalist spirit gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Bogotá to let the representatives of the reactionary Islamic Republic of Iran know that “The eyes of the world are on Iran,” especially with regard to the situation of the political prisoners that it has in its clutches.

Carrying posters with the images and a brief story of some of the fighters on the front and designs from the campaign with text in English or Spanish on the back, as well as a couple of banners with enlargements of the ad that appeared in the New York Review of Books, the protesters chanted insistently for several minutes: “The eyes of the world are on Iran...,” “We demand from the Islamic Republic of Iran: FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW!,” “We demand from the U.S. government: NO THREATS OR WAR MOVES AGAINST IRAN, LIFT U.S. SANCTIONS!,” while a couple of protesters wrote one of these slogans on the pavement.

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After dispersing in groups as they had arrived, the protesters regrouped about three kilometers to the south in the Plaza de Lourdes, a park in the Chapinero sector that is visited by mainly foreign tourists. For more than an hour, the protesters circulated around twelve blocks of the sector while each one read from the poster that they carried about the case of the corresponding prisoner. After every three readings, they would stop while a speaker read excerpts from the Emergency Appeal or from the IEC statement, “The eyes of the world are on Iran as JPCOA Talks Resume”, denouncing the nefarious “two historically outmoded strata” in Iran and the world.

During the whole route, several of the marchers interacted with pedestrians, street vendors and store employees, and on the whole were warmly welcomed, while in some cases they had to address questions about why the protesters were committed to a “far-off” or “other people’s” cause. It was a good opportunity to make clear how and why the freedom fighters in Iran are OUR people, and the cause of defending them (and their struggles) are OUR cause and should be embraced by many more people.

It was an afternoon full of internationalist fervor that was sparked the night before with a preparation session in which the participants in the internationalist action watched the documentary Nasrin, read various materials from the International Emergency Campaign, were infuriated by the murder of Heydar and worried about Baktash’s condition. Baktash’s death occurred only a few hours after this action. While his death was a hard blow to the participants who heard the news when they met to sum up the action, it also strengthened our sense of urgency to strengthen the Campaign more throughout Colombia.

Indeed, our eyes are on Iran and our hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the fighters in the Iranian prisons.

Baktash Abtin's poem, translated and posted on Twitter and Instagram @ComRevCo

Indeed, our eyes are on Iran and our hearts beat in unison with the hearts of the fighters in the Iranian prisons.

23 Rights Organizations Call to Free Rights Lawyers & Activist

December 14, 2021

Twenty-three international human rights organizations have called on Iranian judicial authorities to release the activist Mehdi Mahmoudian and defense attorneys Arash Keykhosravi and Mostafa Nili.

These peaceful human rights defenders, who were arbitrarily arrested while trying to sue Iranian authorities for the government’s incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, now face lengthy prison terms on fabricated charges.

Read the statement in English and Farsi, as well as the 23 organizations, on IranHumanRights.org.

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"How We Became Activists to Free Our Parents from Tehran’s Evin Prison"

December 10, 2021

OpEd by Mariam Claren and Elika Ashoori

published in Kayhan Life

On this Human Rights Day, we demand humanity and justice for our parents and for all those who are suffering wrongful imprisonment.  

One only starts to miss a quiet, ordinary life when it has been taken away.

My name is Elika Ashoori and my father Anoosheh Ashoori – a gentle, family-oriented retired businessman — is a political hostage in the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was arrested in 2017 while visiting his sickly 86-year-old mother in Iran who needed nursing and care after surgery. He was held for months in solitary confinement with no access to independent legal counsel, and subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison after a secret, sham trial.

My name is Mariam Claren and I have a similar story, with a different cast. My German-Iranian mother Nahid Taghavi — a retired architect and women’s rights activist — was arrested in 2020, held in prolonged solitary confinement, interrogated for over 1,000 hours with no legal counsel, and then sentenced to more than 10 years in prison.

It is safe to say that our lives were turned upside down from that point on. The notion that a government would take their elderly innocent citizens hostage for financial and political gain is not something that life prepares you for. We were thrown into the deep end of world politics, with very little or no knowledge of it. We had to learn to become proficient in campaigning, political activism and raising awareness in such a short space of time — all the while trying to deal with the emotional and psychological turmoil that this situation brings.

Our loved ones are being held in one of the world’s most notoriously horrendous prisons in their old age, and we cannot visit Iran to see or help them in any tangible way. We are completely at the mercy of governments to negotiate the safety and freedom of our loved ones, who are no more than chess pieces in a game much bigger than them.

Anoosheh and Nahid are both being held in Iran’s Evin prison, a ghastly place known for its continued practices of mass execution and physical and psychological torture.

Despite their British and German citizenship, they’ve been denied consular access. Iran has a long history of arresting their dual nationals and using them as bargaining chips. These individuals and their families are caught in the middle of a political game between governments in which humanity and justice do not seem to play a role. They are essentially collateral damage.

Anoosheh’s and Nahid’s cases are not the only ones – they are just the tip of the iceberg in a wave of unjust arrests in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s judicial “process” is no more about truth and justice than the medieval inquisitions of 12th-century Europe. Systematic human rights violations are commonplace. Lawyers, journalists and religious minorities of all backgrounds are arbitrarily arrested. “Propaganda against the state” is one of the most frequent charges in politically motivated imprisonments. When translated, it means: “Thinking is forbidden and speaking your thoughts is a crime.”

Western governments are turning a blind eye and putting their economic and political interests above these human rights violations.

Having to face the trauma of our parents’ arrest and horrific treatment has turned us — two ordinary women with a background in food and hospitality — into human rights activists. The experience has taught us that that speaking out against injustice and raising awareness of the horrors prevalent in Iran are the only ways to stand up to this cruelty. We have also learned that applying and maintaining pressure on our governments is key to keeping their cases alive and not allowing them for be forgotten and pushed aside.

Our parents’ arrest opened our eyes to the array of other unjust arrests that are currently happening in Iran. The prisoners have nicknamed the place ‘University of Evin’, seeing as most of those arrested are educated, enlightened individuals such as lawyers, poets, filmmakers, environmentalists, and human rights activists, who have dared to speak the truth, stand up to injustice or simply have an opinion that challenges the authority of those in charge. These people deserve awards, not prison bars – and we feel that it is now our duty to make sure that none of them is forgotten by offering them a constant show of solidarity.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned in our long struggle, it is that the pressure on our government comes from the people. People who sign our petitions, complain and protest against this injustice, as well as the key role the media plays in covering our plight.

This is why we started working with human rights organizations such as Amnesty International to publicize Anoosheh and Nahid’s cases. We have strategized with various legal teams to fight for their release and joined forces with prominent voices of conscience such as the Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, the women’s rights pioneer Gloria Steinem, the renowned author and playwright Ariel Dorfman, and over 3,000 signatories in an Emergency Appeal to free Iran’s political prisoners.

Our common struggle — two daughters fighting for the freedom of their loved ones — has brought us together. Through this path, we have formed a rare bond and an unexpected friendship, which gives us the strength to fight and allows us to open up to each other about something that is extremely difficult for anyone else not going through this ordeal to understand.

Today is the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day. The two of us alone will not be able to free our parents or make a big enough difference so we would live in a world where these violations cease to exist, but we are going to mark this day to help ensure that our loved ones and many hundreds more are not forgotten, and encourage everyone to speak out and fight with us. Change only happens when enough people join in standing up against social injustice. For Anoosheh, for Nahid, and for everyone else who is wrongly imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran. #FreeThemAll!

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Aban: Mothers of Unarmed Protestors Murdered in 2019 Respond to Nouroozi

November 18, 2021
“I was one of the people who shot at people. We killed them. Now, who wants to put us on trial? The other side set fire to the banks and we killed them. Who do you want to put on trial?”

This was the response of Hassan Norouzi, deputy speaker of the Islamic Republic of Iran's parliament and spokesperson for its Legal and Judiciary Committee, when asked by Iran Watch to comment on the Aban Tribunal underway in the UK. Before concluding the interview, he said the comment was a "joke", when it clearly was anything but.

Mothers of unarmed protestors killed by police in 2019 immediately and bravely responded with fury to Norouzi's flaunting:

Here are rough translations of their statements:

"With 20, 30 guards protecting you, you said you killed them, you shot them and no one can do anything. Yes, you just step out in the square/field, we will try you, we will indict you"

"If you dare, come out with bare hands, unarmed, you dare come out"

"We will try you, we will indict you, you just dare to step out unarmed"

"Do not come out with guns, ammo, electric shock and Taser, but like us, unarmed"

"We are not afraid of you, do not try to intimidate us"

"We are not afraid of you, we have no fear to be imprisoned"

All mothers together:"We have died with our children already. We have nothing to lose any more."

"We have already lost our dearest precious ones...we have no fear and nothing to lose. Our children went to the street unarmed, with no weapon at all, as we are here unarmed. Dare to come out."

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Aban Tribunal Documents Massacre of Iranian Protestors in Nov 2019

November 17, 2021

During five days of public hearings from November 10-14, 2021, the Iran Atrocities Tribunal ("Aban Tribunal") recorded harrowing public testimony from 33 witnesses, including many inside Iran, documenting Iran's murderous repression of massive protests two years ago. The hearings focused important international media attention on the massacre of hundreds of unarmed protestors, obscured by the Islamic Republic of Iran's shutdown of the internet at that time.

Protests in November 2019 - photo from CHRI report to Aban Tribunal

“The Aban Tribunal has given public voice to scores of victims and witnesses who undertook grave risks to testify...” said executive director Hadi Ghaemi of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “The victims and witnesses have done their part. Now the international community must follow up and act on this evidence.”

Organized by the London-based Justice for Iran, Oslo-based Iran Human Rights and Paris-based Together against the Death Penalty, the Tribunal will deliver a verdict in early 2022. Visit AbanTribunal.com for detailed resources, including documentation from Amnesty International, the UN Special Rapporteur, CHRI and other experts.

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Here a just a few of the findings highlighted by a CHRI wrap-up:

  • Juveniles who were detained in the wake of the protests were tortured and raped, and Amnesty International told the tribunal that at least 22 children were among those killed during the protests.
  • Students were pulled out of classrooms, beaten, shocked with electric tasers and raped for their alleged participation in the protests.
  • A police officer in Iran said he had been sentenced to five year in prison “for refusing orders to shoot at people.”
  • A surgeon testified that “wounded people were being taken away from the hospital every night at 1 am in the cover of darkness,” and that he had to treat people at his home to ensure they could be protected.

November 8 Protest in Dusseldorf, Germany

November 12, 2021
The International Emergency Campaign received this message, and photos from the Burn the Cage / Free the Birds movement in Europe:

On Monday, November 8, in the German city of Dusseldorf, "Burn the Cage / Free the Birds" joined with environmental activists, human rights activists and a others to shine a light on Iran's treatment of political prisoners, and to demand that they ALL be released immediately.

Despite the evening darkness, the bright posters in German and Farsi, and the spirited  protest drew passers-by. Many joined the crowd holding posters. A number of people stepped to the open microphone, adding their voices to the Campaign's protest of the arrest, imprisonment, torture and execution of political, ideological and civil activists by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and to call for the prisoners to be released.

Dusseldorf, Germany, Nov. 8 2021 - exposure enhanced for nighttime photos
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Amnesty UK Calls for Action to Support Dual Nationals, Hunger Strike

November 5, 2021

This week Amnesty International - UK issued two urgent statements:

Novemeber 3, 2021

British people urged their MPs (shown here visiting the hunger strike by Nazanin's husband) to push their gvt to free British-Iranian political prisoners
Please tweet or write to your MP [Member of Parliament] asking them to take action for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori - British Nationals who have been arbitrarily detained in Iran.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, is on hunger strike outside the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. He is demanding urgent action from the government over his wife’s continued detention in Iran. To help ramp up the pressure on the government and to support Richard’s wellbeing, we’re asking MPs to go and visit him. Will you help by contacting your MP to visit Richard?
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/nazanin-and-anoosheh-write-your-mp

November 5, 2021

Iran: Unjust prison terms for detained dual nationals: Mehran Raoof & Nahid Taghavi
Activists German-Iranian Nahid Taghavi and British-Iranian Mehran Raoof have been arbitrarily detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since 16 October 2020, solely for peacefully exercising their human rights. In August 2021, a Revolutionary Court convicted them of national security related charges and sentenced them to 10 years and eight months in prison, following a grossly unfair trial. Nahid Taghavi is suffering chronic back pain and is denied surgery on her spine, which specialist doctors said she urgently requires. Both are prisoners of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released.
https://www.amnesty.org/fr/documents/mde13/4960/2021/en/
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Burn the Cage Report on 9/25 گزارشی از برنامه ۲۵ سپتامبرِ کتابفروشی انقلاب در هارلم نیویورک

November 3, 2021

A "Burn the Cage, Free the Birds" activist wrote a report for Farsi speakers internationally on the "Heroism for These Times: Free Iran's Political Prisoners Now", program on September 25, 2021 at Revolution Books in New York. This report was posted in Farsi in the Oct 2021 Fire magazine, CPIMLM.org.

Read the report translated by IEC to English HERE and in the original Farsi گزارشی از برنامه ۲۵ سپتامبرِ کتابفروشی انقلاب در هارلم نیویورک HERE.

Watch the full program, watch clips to share, and read solidarity statements in English HERE.

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PEN America Recognizes Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi with PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award‍

October 3, 2021
PEN America to Honor Imprisoned Iranian Writers at Gala hosted by Awkwafina, featuring Jodie Foster, Lin-Manuel Miranda, WoleSoyinka

In a September press release, PEN America announced as recipients of the 2021 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, three imprisoned Iranian writers and free expression advocates who are centrally involved in the anti-censorship group Iranian Writers Association (IWA)—celebrated poet, screenwriter, and filmmaker Baktash Abtin; novelist and journalist Keyvan Bajan; and author, literary critic, and popular culture researcher Reza Khandan Mahabadi. The honorees are serving a collective 15.5 years in prison following a crackdown on members of the organization.

PEN's global advocacy campaign calling for the honorees’ freedom will be highlighted at 2021’s PEN America Literary Gala, October 5, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

In a letter signed by prominent writers and artists, including Ariel Dorfman, Margaret Atwood, Joyce Carol Oates, Khaled Hosseini, nobel laureates JM Coetzee and Orhan Pamuk, actors Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin, cartoonist Art Spiegelman and hundreds of others, PEN stands with Iran's imprisoned writers:

“We call on you, President Raisi, to end the unjust imprisonments of Baktash Abtin, Keyvan Bajan, and Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and to release all those jailed in Iran for exercising their freedom to write,”

https://pen.org/2021-pen-barbey-freedom-to-write-award/

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In Memory and Appreciation of Mehri Jafari

August 21, 2021

It was with great shock and sadness that we in the International Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners learned that Mehri Jafari had been lost while descending the 24,400-foot Peak Pobeda in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan and is presumed to have died.  

This is a terrible loss for the people, and we offer our deepest condolences to her family, friends, colleagues, and all who fight for a better world.  

Mehri Jafari was a dual British-Iranian citizen living in London, an attorney, a poet, and a human rights activist – “championing the rights of #women, #children and #LGBTQ,” as she wrote on her Twitter page.  I had the pleasure and good fortune of meeting and working with her by phone earlier this year.  Already a member of the campaign supporting political prisoner Mehran Raouf, she quickly signed the Campaign’s Emergency Appeal and promoted it on social media.  She was one of its earliest endorsers.  

Mehri was a warm, helpful and engaged person, ready to do what she could for this vital cause, including press interviews and outreach to friends and colleagues.  She had a deep understanding of the crucial importance of active, vocal support for political prisoners, telling Iran Wire (Feb 8, 2021), "When a social activist is in detention, the silence of the wider community provides the conditions for his or her repression, and he or she may be left at risk of harsh interrogation, forced confessions and torture."  This was something we learned from and promoted.

Mehri was also committed to exposing and stopping the nightmare of honor-related crimes against women in Iran and the Iranian community, and worked closely with Kurdish, Afghan, and other activists.

Mehri was a highly accomplished mountaineer, and as an avid hiker I share her love of the mountains – the challenges they present and the awesome beauty and vistas they offer – and appreciate her seeing in climbing a way to break out of the suffocation of today’s world and struggle to ascend to something higher and better.  Let us all remember Mehri, by dedicating ourselves to that daunting, but exhilarating climb to a brighter, liberating future.    

Larry Everest, on behalf of the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners

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Worldwide sights and sounds of New York Review of Books ad of Emergency Appeal

August 13, 2021

From August 11 to 13, the trial of Hamid Nouri began in Stockholm, Sweden, for his role in the massacre of as at least 5,000 political prisoners in 1988 when he was an assistant to a prosecutor at Iran’s Gohardasht Prison in Iran. The trial started just days after the inauguration of Ebrahim Raisi as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  Raisi was a member of the “death commission” in 1988, and this trial is implicitly about his role in those massacres.

Activists with Burn the Cage movement in Europe joined the protests in front of the Stockholm courthouse.  They made a gigantic printout of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of the New York Review of Books.  The Mothers of Khavaran, some of whom are family members of the victims of the 1988 massacre, brought posters of their lost loved ones to display in front of the courthouse.

August 5 (coinciding with Raisi's inauguration) that was called against the Islamic Republic shooting down of Ukrainian Airliner flight 752 in January 2020, Burn the Cage activists made a poster with the printout of the Emergency Appeal as published in the current Summer issue of The New York Review of Books.  The poster said “1988 Massacre of Political Prisoners ordered by death commission that Ebrahim Raisi was key member of.  We must not allow this to happen again!”

These are examples of what everyone can do in spreading the ad of the Emergency Appeal – taking it into protests and amplifying its impact at the grassroots.  Send our campaign photos and reports of such actions in your area.

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CHRI: Swedish Trial of Iranian Prosecutor Offers Historic Opportunity to Shed Light on Iran’s 1988 Massacre

August 4, 2021

Press Release from the Center for Human Rights in Iran

The upcoming trial of a former assistant prosecutor in Iran, Hamid Nouri, in a Swedish court on charges of committing war crimes and murder for the executions of thousands of prisoners in Iran during the 1980s, is a historic opportunity for Iranian families who have been seeking justice for more than 30 years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said today.

The determined pursuit of this case by the Swedish judicial authorities can open a new chapter in the Iranian people’s justice-seeking movement, and finally shed light on the extrajudicial massacre of some 5000 political prisoners by the Iranian authorities at that time.

“Putting one of the officials responsible for the mass killings of political prisoners in 1988 on trial in a foreign country is an extraordinary occasion for the international community to examine the crimes against humanity committed in Iran at that time,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI’s executive director.

Witnesses Have Identified Nouri, Who Worked Closely with President Elect Ebrahim Raisi

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The statement from Swedish public prosecutors Kristina Lindhoff Carleson and Martina Winslow, accusing Nouri of “intentionally killing, together with other perpetrators, a large number of prisoners who sympathized with various left-wing groups and who were regarded as apostates,” has been a source of encouragement for families who have been ignored or persecuted by the Iranian authorities for seeking justice.

CHRI considers Nouri’s trial an unprecedented opportunity to reveal long-hidden aspects of gross human rights violations that were committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. The international community, and especially human rights organizations, should consider this a vital chance to access facts about the 1988 massacre.

Witnesses Have Identified Nouri, Who Worked Closely with President Elect Ebrahim Raisi

Nouri was arrested on November 9, 2019, as he arrived at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport to visit relatives, and was held on suspicion of committing mass murder in Iran. His detention order was extended for 20 months to give prosecutors time to build their case.

Witnesses have come forward to identify Nouri as an assistant prosecutor in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, during the mass execution of political prisoners in the summer of 1988.

According to Iraj Mesdaghi, a former political prisoner and eyewitness at Gohardasht, Nouri worked closely with current President Ebrahim Raisi and former Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi. In 1988, Raisi and Pourmohammadi were members of a “death committee” that ordered the execution of the approximately 5000 political prisoners, all of whom had already been issued and were serving their prison sentences.

The committee, appointed by the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, included Raisi, who was then deputy prosecutor of Tehran; Pourmohammadi, an Intelligence Ministry representative at the time; Morteza Eshraghi, Tehran Prosecutor at the time, and Hossein Ali Nayeri, then the religious judge at Evin Prison and now a high court judge.

Iranian authorities have remained largely silent on Nouri’s case ever since his arrest, and have not commented on his indictment.

The victims’ families, especially the group known as Mothers of Khavaran, have kept the memory of the tragedy alive with annual vigils at the Khavaran Cemetery in south Tehran, where many of the victims were buried in mass graves. Families have been harassed and persecuted by the Iranian authorities for trying to find information about their murdered relatives.

Khuzestan protesters: "Free Our Prisoners"

July 20, 2021

Rough translation of Kanun Hannover Facebook post.

The people of Susangard* demanded freedom for prisoners, shouting (in Arabic) "Free our prisoners."

People in the Alavi neighborhood of Ahwaz* declared solidarity with political prisoners with the slogan of "Eid Mubarak" and "Akhoy Balsjen" as they sent Eid greetings to the prisoners with this slogan.

#Water - like - Aban (referring to November 2019)


#people-want-the fall-of-Regime.


#Alshaab- Yorid-Esghat- Al Nizam

*Susangard and Ahwaz are towns in Khuzestan province.


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Ariel Dorfman: "We should not let them down"

July 16, 2021

“Good-hearted people are constantly being bombarded with so many requests to sign petitions about important issues, that it is natural that they should feel overwhelmed, asking themselves what good will it do, wondering how one signature can possibly make a difference.

If I have signed on to the Emergency Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran, it is because I know that this initiative will effectively call attention to the situation of men and women in that country who, if enough pressure is brought to bear on its leaders, could tomorrow be liberated from terrible conditions and extraordinary injustice.

And even if those leaders do not listen, I am convinced – from personal experience – that the prisoners themselves are given strength to survive and persevere, they are listening. They know others, faraway, care what happens to them, and we should not let them down.”

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Amnesty Iran to G7: Bring Them Home

June 11, 2021

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Second session of the trial of 6 political defendants confirmed

June 11, 2021

According to the HRANA news agency, the news organ of the Iranian Association of Human Rights Activists, the time of the second session of the trial of Nahid Taghavi, Somayeh Kargar, Bahareh Soleimani, Nazanin Mohammadnejad, Mehran Raouf and Elham Samimi was set. This court session will be held on Sunday, June 14, 1400, [June 13, 2021] in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, presided over by Judge Iman Afshari.

The first session of the court hearing their charges was held on May 28th. These citizens were arrested in October and December of last year by IRGC intelligence agents and transferred to the detention center of  Ward 2A of Evin Prison.”

#Free Political Prisoners and Prisoners of Conscience

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Political Prisoners: They never should have been arrested

May 31, 2021

A Statement by Supporters of Iranian Political Prisoners in Europe

"Propaganda against the state". That's one of the most frequent charges in politically-motivated imprisonments in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Translated, it means: Thinking is forbidden and talking about your thoughts is a crime. According to the Islamic Republic, those who think differently and even worse, those who think in opposition to the Regime, are a threat to its "national security." Additionally, if these thoughts are not in accordance with Sharia law, the people holding those thoughts are doubly criminalized.

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Iran’s Islamic Republic is a theocratic regime and the religious beliefs of the ruling elite are meticulously written into law. Moreover, interpretation of this law is itself a haphazard affair because there are several schools of interpretation of Sharia law and each has its own clerical authority and all of these sects have control of their own jurisdictions.

This situation makes even a pretense of the rule of law impossible, because the constitution and whatever rights which might be inscribed in that constitution are in a constant state of being interpreted and re-interpreted through the prism of Sharia law.  So there is no rule of law. There is no due process. And the prisoner is presumed to be guilty, and on the basis of this presumption of guilt, the prisoner is arrested.

After the arrest, prisoners are completely at the mercy of the whims of their interrogators. The lack of Habeas Corpus means prisoners do not have the right to appear before a court immediately and do not have the right to a lawyer.

Interrogations begin with prisoners having no contact to the outside world.  They are often accompanied by physical torture and always paired with the psychological “white torture” of isolation and sensory deprivation. In the case of women, it is accompanied by verbal and different degrees of physical sexual abuse.

This behavior is sanctioned by Sharia law as well, because according to Sharia law, a prisoner has the status of a slave who is to be used and abused.

Some prisoners are tortured by being held in solitary confinement for months and even years, blindfolded when they leave their cells, kept under 24-hour video surveillance, and subject to inhuman conditions such as sleeping on the hard stone floors of their cells without pillows.  They are often denied access to medical care.  All this is designed to destroy prisoners physically and mentally.

This whole process is meant to produce "evidence" in the form of wrenching "confessions" from prisoners. Even when enough real evidence of a prisoner’s thinking, writing, and activities are seized in raids to demonstrate their opposition to the regime, the torture keeps going.  Why? Because the goal is to prove not only the prisoner’s guilt, but his or her "sinfulness.". This is related to Sharia law. Torturing the prisoner has two goals: one is to extract information and the other is to "break" the prisoner and, as the Sharia puts it, to bring them to do "tobeh,” to admit their regret for having violated the Sharia.

Once the interrogations are over and a dossier or a case file is created, the case is taken to the court. Until then, prisoners usually have no access to an independent lawyer. A few days - sometimes hours - before the trial, their lawyer is allowed to inspect the case files. These files may only be read in the courthouse and in the presence of security officers. In some cases, lawyers are not admitted to court at all, and trials even take place without the accused being present. Iran’s judicial processes are a sham because the judgments have been made by prosecutors and interrogators – Iran’s judges are not independent -- before the case even comes to court. And these can be extremely harsh judgments which often include cruel punishments like lashings or even execution.

The Iranian judicial system rejects and acts in opposition to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty.”  In fact, there can be no just society without the rule of law; there can be no rule of law without due process of law; and there can be no due process of law without the presumption of innocence!

All of this points to the fact that these political prisoners should never have been arrested. They are heroes who have stood up for others. They should be celebrated, not behind bars.

Therefore, the only just remedy is:

Immediate and unconditional freedom for all political prisoners in Iran!

UN to Iran: Grave Concerns for Jailed Filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad

May 4, 2021

Center for Human Rights in Iran

UN Press Release

GENEVA (4 May 2021) – UN human rights experts* today expressed serious concern over the condition of imprisoned Iranian filmmaker and political activist Mohammad Nourizad and called for his immediate release. His health has reportedly deteriorated so severely that he risks serious complications and possible death if he remains in prison and does not receive appropriate medical care.

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“We are seriously concerned at the mistreatment of Mohammad Nourizad and his continued imprisonment for expressing his opinion,” the experts said. “Furthermore, his continued detention despite medical professionals finding he cannot stay in prison given his serious health condition, and the resulting denial of adequate medical care, may amount to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

“His case is emblematic of the situation many Iranian political activists face in detention. He must be immediately released.”

In February 2020, Nourizad received multiple sentences, including a seven-and-a-half-year prison term, after being convicted on charges relating to an open letter he and others signed calling for the Supreme Leader’s resignation and for constitutional changes.

While in detention, Nourizad has carried out hunger strikes and refused to take medications, most recently starting 10 March 2021, to protest against his imprisonment and his family’s mistreatment.

Statement of the Independent Workers Union of Iran about the continuation of the arrest of Mehran Raouf

April 29, 2021

The Iranian Independent Workers Union strongly condemns the arrest and continuing arrest of Mehran Raouf in the cells of 2 A of the IRC and calls on the officials to end illegal holding this labour activist and release him immediately and unconditionally.

Independent Union of Iranian Workers - April 29, 1400

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US, EU Should Seek Release of Dual-National Hostages in Tandem with Nuclear Talks

April 20, 2021

The situation of dual-nationals and foreign persons taken hostage and imprisoned by the Iranian government has not only remained unchanged, but in certain cases it has deteriorated, despite the new US administration’s approach to Iran and resumption of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran in recent weeks.

Read full article on IranHumanRights.org.

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