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Press Release
March 17, 2023

Free Sepideh Gholian and all Iranian Political Prisoners! Press Release

On release from prison Gholian declares “Bloody Khamenei, we will bury you!” – then re-arrested within hours

Contact: 562-283-4807
Twitter @IranPrisonEmerg
Interviews available

On March 15, Sepideh Gholian (Qolian) stepped out of Evin Prison in Tehran after 4 years and 7 months of imprisonment for supporting striking sugarcane workers, and began shouting, "Bloody Khamenei, we will bury you!"

Just hours later the car caravan taking her home to Khuzestan was stopped on the highway by a large number of security forces and she was forcibly kidnapped and reportedly returned to Evin.

Supporters fear for her life and safety. The International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran's Political Prisoners NOW (IEC) calls for her immediate release andf the immediate release of all Iranian political prisoners.

As she was walking out of Evin’s gate earlier, hijab-less, she had also boldly called for freeing all of Evin’s political prisoners, especially women. She also immediately posted this message on her social media accounts: “After four years and seven months, I was released from the Haft Tappeh case. This time I came out hoping for the freedom of Iran! Hoping for the release of my dear ones Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Bayani, Zahra Zahtabchi, Bahareh Hedayat, Golrokh Iraei, Nahid Taghavi and all political prisoners, especially women prisoners. #Woman_Life_Freedom.”

Her fearless actions and messages circulated around the world on mainstream and social media.

Sepideh Gholian being released from Tehran's Evin Prison

Sepideh Gholian - Imprisoned for Journalism and Activism on Behalf of Iranian Sugar Workers

Haft Tappeh is a sugar cane refining company in Iran’s Khuzestan province whose striking workers Sepideh had supported through her journalism and activism. She was sentenced to 5 years and repeatedly tortured in prison for this activism . She had completed all but five months of her sentence. She is now barely 28 years old.

IEC spokesperson Dolly Veale says of Sepideh,

“We call on all justice loving people to act now to condemn her re-arrest. She embodies the words of our Emergency Appeal in that Iran’s brutal repression has been met by inspiring heroism. She is a very brave young woman whose name has been on nearly every protest action or statement by Evin prisoners, especially during the months of the Jina Mahsa Amini uprising. Her uncompromising spirit against oppression and the theocratic regime in these dangerous times should be emulated by people everywhere who dream of a better world. She is a real role model for youth seeking a better world."

"Over these past six months, the Islamic Republic has shown the world its vicious brutality and the illegitimacy of its judicial system -- killing over 500 overwhelmingly non-violent protesters and arresting more than 19,000 others," Veale continues. "We say to the Islamic Republic of Iran: Free Sepideh Gholian and all Iran’s political prisoners now! We say to the US government: No threats or attacks on Iran, lift the sanctions!”

Send solidarity messages or inquiries to

For background on Sepideh Gholian, including links to videos in Farsi, see IEC’s “Free Sepideh” Resource Page.

The Lives of Iran’s Political Prisoners Hang in the Balance – We Must ACT NOW!

Endorse the Emergency Appeal from the International Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners Now

Launched in 2021 in the U.S., it has been endorsed by over 4,500 people from 40 countries, including Germany, the UK and France. Signers include former Iranian political prisoners, relatives of current prisoners, the Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement, and prominent voices of conscience including Shirin Ebadi, Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Gloria Steinem, Ariel Dorfman, Jody Williams, Daniel Ellsberg, Judith Butler, and Raymond Lotta, It appeared as an ad on the back cover of the Summer 2021 issue of The New York Review of Books as well as in the Summer 2022 issue of Ms. Magazine and has been translated into Farsi, Turkish, French, Spanish, and German.

March 13, 2023

Check It Out: COUP 53—Old Secrets Cast Long Shadows

San Francisco: March 25, 2023, Roxie Theater - director Taghi Amirani & Academy award-winning filmmaker Walter Murch IN PERSON!

LA: Showing March 29-30, Laemmle - director Taghi Amirani IN PERSON! Tickets, locations

Letter from Revolution Books Berkeley staff to Reposted here for relevance to friends of Iran's political prisoners in the context of the crossroads faced by the people in Iran.

The powerful documentary film Coup 53—Old Secrets Cast Long Shadows vividly tells the story of the cold-blooded maneuvering by the U.S. and Britain to install the tyrannical and pro-imperialist Shah of Iran in 1953, and how the filmmakers discovered long-buried secrets of British and American spies and coup plotters. This is a crucial film which must be seen—and it is being suppressed and blocked from wide audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Revolution Books Berkeley recently held a screening of Coup 53. Its director, Taghi Amirani, joined the after-film discussion via Zoom from London. Coup 53 sharply, deftly and artistically dissects the history of the UK/U.S. coup that overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh, a democratically elected leader who had nationalized the massively profitable Iranian oil industry. The nationalization infuriated then-dominant imperialist power Britain and set coup plans in motion.

This coup, as revcom wrote, “was a turning point in Iranian—and Middle East—history. The coup put a brutal tyrant and U.S. client on the throne, crushed his opponents, and turned Iran into a key client of U.S. imperialism. It signaled the U.S. ascent to regional dominance, taking over from Britain. And it planted the seeds for Iran’s 1979 revolution, which brought Islamic fundamentalist clerics to power—ushering in the new, tense and dangerous chapter in U.S.-Iranian relations we’re in today.” And this set the stage for today’s heroic uprising of the Iranian people on one side, the maneuvering of U.S. imperialism to take advantage for its own ends, and the son of that old Shah working to get rid of the Islamic Republic of Iran and to force a different tyrannical, pro-imperialist government onto the Iranian people.

Taghi Amirani set out to make an in-depth, full-length documentary on this historic turning point. Suspenseful footage follows Amirani and acclaimed filmmaker Walter Murch as they trace the trail of the coup plotters, digging through dusty archives, interviewing witnesses and historians, dramatically bringing out secrets British intelligence had still been hiding. And you see history turn: Mossadegh is overthrown, while British Prime Minister Winston Churchill smirks cold-bloodedly in the background. Meanwhile the Americans, with less experience at such things than the British, are eager students and quick learners, and are soon shoving British imperialism aside as top imperialist dog. You see the new godfather taking over as U.S. President Eisenhower gleefully boasts about the low cost and U.S. victory in the coup.

In the post-screening discussion at Revolution Books, Amirani said, “The Iran coup became a successful template as we see in the film. It was considered such a success and so cheap and so easy and no Americans got killed. No British got killed. And they thought, hey, this works. It's like it's a blueprint. That's a rinse and repeat. They went on to Guatemala. I think at the last count, they went to Guatemala in '54. You, of course, you know about Chile in '73 and a whole bunch in between. The last time I counted, there were 62 American coups after Iran coup.”

Coup 53 Attacked and Suppressed

In the post-screening discussion, Amirani also said the film took 10 years to make “because no established funding institution would support the making of this film. Coup 53 was rejected by everybody and their grandmother...” And though the finished film had rave reviews, all of the major film festivals rejected it, with the notable exception of the Telluride Festival. And the film did not get picked up by any major film distributor.

Amirani thanked Revolution Books for screening the film and said, “The grassroots support for the film is very important in the absence of proper distribution.” He urged, “If there's one way you can support the film, is to write to your local theaters and say you've just seen this film that you liked and you can use your own words about what it means to you and why it's important and encourage them to run it. So if you're active on social media, if you're on some mailing list, if you have a community that you're connected to, just tell them because right now without distribution, we rely on the word of mouth and the people power and grassroots network of getting the word out. So if you know people who can make it happen in any way that you can support, let them know because that's where we are. We made this film dollar by dollar from donations from individuals. We have to get it out the same way.”

Some who attended the showing at Revolution Books were making plans on the spot to have showings and to reach out to others who could organize showings. This is a film that must be seen, debated and discussed, now.

You can watch the film here. The trailer is here: Coup 53 trailer

Press Releases & Updates from the Campaign

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Iran Uprising Enters 4th Week:

June 1, 2022

Save the Date: June 10

December 2, 2021
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October 3, 2021

Now Available Online – Watch

September 22, 2021

UN Press Conference Photos and Video

September 17, 2021

Heroism for Our Times

May 20, 2021

Letter to Signatories

Prisoner News