Monday, February 8, 2010

Iranian journalists caution foreign colleagues invited by regime to cover anniversary celebrations

The Islamic regime is fond of organizing mass rallies which provide it with a veneer of legitimacy and popularity. The 'Ten Days of Dawn' (NB daheyeh fajr), a series of celebrations for the anniversary of the revolution from February 1 (The day Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew from Paris to Tehran in 1979) to February 11 (V-Day for the revolution in 1979), have been a cornerstone of this policy for the past 30 years. Until now... The opposition has announced plans to exploit the official ceremonies to hold protests across the country, particularly in Tehran on February 11. Reports indicate that the regime plans to bus in as many 'supporters' as it can to fill Azadi Square in west Tehran on Thursday and that it has invited some 200 foreign journalists to cover the event. The official marching route goes from Imam Hossein Square, along Enghelab (Revolution) Street, to Azadi Square. Last week, a group of Iranian journalists published the following open letter to their foreign colleagues who have been invited to Tehran, cautioning them to not become tools of the regime and calling on them to ask their hosts why over 40 journalists are currently in prison in that country (The list of jailed journalists can be seen at the end of the letter):

Dear Fellow Journalists:
We are writing to those of you who have been invited to go to Iran in February 2010 to provide media coverage of the celebrations of the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. We are a group of Iranian journalists who have been forced to live in exile. There are many others like us around the world, 45 of whom will be in Iranian prisons when you arrive in Tehran. They will be under torturous conditions in Iranian prisons that are, as you know, among the most hideous in the world.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
As imprisoned or exiled journalists, our crime is nothing other than our desire to report freely on events in Iran, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides.

Since the electoral coup that took place in Iran last summer, the Iranian regime has intensified its suppression of press freedom and has also strived to suppress the country’s peaceful movement through sophisticated oppressive means.

After failing for eight months to achieve its goals, the illegal and fraudulent government has now prepared a new show. We have received precise information that Ahmadinejad’s electoral coup-perpetrated administration is busy preparing to muster its own crowd in Tehran through the use of all possible means and the government’s extensive resources.

Its plan is, on the one hand, to prevent the pro-green million-strong group from approaching the location of the celebrations in Tehran's Azadi Square, where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to give a speech, and on the other, to fill this area with pro-government demonstrators.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
Inviting foreign journalists to provide media coverage of the anniversary of the 1979 revolution on February 11, 2010 is another part of the deceitful plan of Ahmadinejad’s illegal administration. As you know, this government has until now arrested many foreign journalists and accused them of being spies while banning the activities of most international media. Now, it is using them, through its invitation, so they can show the world that it is a government that enjoys popular support.

The goal of the Iranian government is to direct journalists towards the pro-government demonstrations and prevent them from going to other locales.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
You are going to Iran not only as media representatives of the free world, but also as representatives of your Iranian fellow journalists who are either in prison or in exile outside Iran. Your host is a government that is against freedom, against free media, and one that violates the most basic human rights of people.

You will be stepping onto streets that still bear the blood of Iran’s best and the brightest. You must have seen the film that shows how Neda Agha Soltan was murdered. This young woman is a symbol and representative of those who have been arrested, raped, tortured and murdered by Iran’s coup administration. While Neda and others like her were killed on the streets, there are hundreds of others who have been raped, tortured and murdered in dungeons, prisons or unknown places by this government.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
We are providing you the names of Iranian journalists who are now in prison (below), based on the list prepared by Reporters Without Borders, and we request that you search for them and find them. Ask them and their prison wardens why they are in prison.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
As you go to our country that is under a dictatorship, we ask that you not to be duped by the schemes of those who murder freedom.

We draw your attention to these points:
· Demonstrations will begin on the night of February 10. The cries of 'Allaho Akbar' that will fill the night in Iranian towns will be the cries of people’s protests and the start of the million-strong marh of green Iranians who will fill the streets at the invitation of Mohammad Khatami, Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.
· The main march will start from Enghelab street in east Tehran, go through Imam Hossein Square, and end at Azadi Square in west Tehran. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has already made plans to close the streets leading to Enghelab street and to crack down on people in order to prevent them from taking to these streets. The Green Movement should be visible around this route and all over Tehran and not only on the routes that pro-government demonstrators will be provided.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
Like on other similar occasions, the coup government will attempt to control all the routes so that the only people that will come in view of your cameras will be the Basijis, who will present a caricature of the Iranian nation for your television cameras.

You will hear the protesting voice of the Iranian people clearer than ever if you look beyond the fences, cordons, and barriers and look at the real people of Iran.

Dear Fellow Journalists:
We are confident that you will push aside the bloody hands of the coup perpetrators and that you will shake the hands of the suffering people of Iran. You are going on a historic trip. We will see you off with our hearts filled with dreams of freedom and eyes filled with tears.

We hope that the world's headline on February 12, 2010 will recount “The Victory of a Nation.”

Dear Fellow Journalists:
Do not be fooled by the deceptions of your hosts, look at everything that is worth looking at, expose their shows, and listen to the true calls of the Iranian people. And on this historic trip relay and report the innocence of the Iranian people. This is the request of your suffering fellow journalists.

Parnaz Azima (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reporter arrested in Iran in 2007), Samnak Aghai,
Houshang Asadi (Imprisoned and tortured by the Islamic regime for six years, 1981 to 1987), Nooshabeh Amiri (Rooz Online reporter), Asieh Amini (Her reports on covert stonings carried out by the Islamic Republic led to a campaign against this barbarous capital punishment. She is a tireless activist against the death penalty), Farahmand Alipour (Rouz Online reporter), Shabnam Aza, Fariba Amini (Amini is a writer and human rights activist. She was instrumental in the formation of the Alliance for Defense of Human Rights in Iran and was the editor of its bi-weekly newsletter. Daughter of Nosratollah Amini, Mohammad Mossadegh's personal attorney), Maryam Aghvami (Reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and VOA), Nima Amin, Massoud Behnoud (One of the founders of Adineh magazine and Jameh daily, both of which have been closed down by the Islamic regime. He spent 6 months in prison, some of the period in solitary confinement), Arash Bahmani, Maziar Bahari (Newsweek correspondent, arrested and jailed after the disputed June 12 election), Babak Dad (Dissident journalist and blogger, who spent months in hiding before recently escaping from Iran), Farzaneh Bazrpour, Hadi Ebrahimi (Editor of Sharvand magazine), Pouyan Fakhrai, Farshid Faryabi, Fereshteh Ghazi (Rouz Online reporter), Maryam Ghavami (Ziba Foundation, art for humanity), Saghi Ghahraman (Escaped from Iran in 1982. She now resides in Toronto where she works with PEN Canada’s Exiled Writer program, and is on the board of editors for Descan, a literary magazine in Canada), Massoud Ghoraishi, Arash Ghafouri, Manouchehr Honarmand (Editor of Khandaniha), Linda Hosseininejad, Vahid Jahanzadeh, Nikahang Kowsar (Caricaturist and journalist, arrested in 2000 for a cartoon that he drew.), Malihe Mohamadi, Javad Montazeri (Photojournalist), Roozbeh Mirebrahimi (Journalist for a number of dailies including Etemadeh Melli and Shargh), Mehdi Mohseni (Jomhour blogger), Searajedin Mirdamadi, Hanif Mazroui (Journalist for Vaghayeh Etefaghi. Jailed in 2004), Ebrahim Nabavi (Satirist and journalist, jailed twice), Javad Moghimi (Former Fars News photojournalist, escaped Iran after some of the photos he covertly gave to foreign media appeared on the front pages of prominent magazines and newspapers, including Time Magazine), Alireza Noorizadeh (Veteran journalist and analyst), Nahid Pilvar, Shahram Rafizadeh (Jailed in 2004), Bahram Rafizadeh, Saman Rasoolpoor (Human rights activist and journalist, jailed in 2008), Khosrow Raesi, Ferydon Shaibani, Mohamad Sefriyan, Beniamin Sadr, Vida Same, Mohamad Tajdolati (Journalist Radio Zamaneh), Hamed Yousefi

For more information:


France : Nooshabeh Amiri : 0033-674307842
England: Alireza Vorizade :0044- 7717400500
Canada : Nikahnag Kowsar : 001-6478341348
USA : Omid Memarian : 001-510 6379590
Netherlands : Afshin Ellian :0031- 613316819
Germany: Babak Sina :0049-17622622512

Non-exhaustive list of Iranian journalists who are now in prison
· 11 February 2010 – Nooshin Jafari- Etemad
· 11 February 2010 – Mazeyar Samii – journalist
· 11 February 2010 – Ali Mohammad Eslampoor- journalist
· 11 February 2010 – Sahar Ghasen-Nejad – journalist
· 11 February 2010 – Nazanin Hassan-neya- journalist
· 11 February 2010 – Kaveh Ghasmi Kermanshahi- journalist
· 11 February 2010- Alireza Saghafi - journalist
· 5 January 2010 - Kivan Farzin - Farhangeh Ahang
· 5 January 2010 - Behrangh Tonkaboni - Farhangeh Ahang
· 2 January 2010 - Mohammad Sadegh Javadihessar - Editorialist in banned Etemad Melli newspaper
· 2 January 2010 - Mahssa Hekmat - Journalist in banned Etemad Melli newspaper
· 2 January 2010 - Ali Hekmat - Member of the committee for freedom of the press
· 2 January 2010 - Rozbeh Karimi - Shargh and Kargozaran dailies
· 28 December 2009 - Emaddedine Baghi - Journalist and emblematic human rights activist
· 28 December 2009 - Abdolreza Tajik - Journalist at Farhikhteghan daily
· 28 December 2009 - Mostafa Izadi - Etemadeh Melli newspaper
· 28 December 2009 - Mortaza Kazemian - Journalist for several reformist newspapers
· 28 December 2009 - Badrolsadat Mofidi, - Secretary-general of the journalists' association
· 28 December 2009 - Kivan Mehrgan, - Journalist at Etemad newspaper
· 28 December 2009 - Nassrin Vaziri - Journalist at ILNA
· 28 December 2009 - Mashaollah Shamsolvaezin - Spokesman of the journalists' association and the committee for press freedom.
· 27 December 2009 - Reza Al-Bacha - Dubai TV
· 27 December 2009 - Mohammad Javad Saberi - Journalist
· 20 December 2009 - Mohammad Norizad - Journalist and editor of the blog
· 22 November 2009 - Sasan Aghaei - Journalist at Farhikhteghan daily
· 4 August 2009 - Reza Norbakhsh - Editor-in-chief of Farhikhteghan daily
· 31 July 2009 - Mehdi Hossinzadeh - Journalist
· 4 July 2009 - Masoud Bastani - Editor
· 4 July 2009 - Issa Saharkhiz - Journalist
· 26 June 2009 - Reza Rafiee Foroshani - Freelance journalist
· 20 June 2009 - Bahaman Ahamadi Amoee
· 17 June 2009 - Saide Lylaz - Sarmayeh newspaper
· 16 June 2009 - Mohsein Azmodeh - journalist at Mehr news agency
· 14 June 2009 - Ahmad Zeydabadi
· 14 June 2009 - Omid Salimi - Photojournalist
· 13 June 2009 - Kivan Samimi Behbani
· 26 April 2009 - Sajad Khaksari - Ghalameh Moalem magazine
· 18 November 2008 - Bahman Totonchi - Karfto
· 1 July 2007 - Mohammad Sadegh Kabovand - Payameh Mardomeh Kurdestan
· 25 Januray 2007 - Adnan Hassanpour – Aso

Iranians protest around Europe

Demonstrators kept up the pressure in the lead-up to mass protests against the regime on February 11.

Copenhagen, Denmark - Sunday, 7 February 2010
Regime diplomat gets egg on his head...

Paris, France - Sunday, 7 February 2010
A large procession through the capital...

Toronto, Canada - Sunday, 7 February 2010
'Our nation's slogan: separate religion from politics...'

London, UK - Friday, 5 February 2010
Protesters disrupt IRI embassy cultural center seminar on 'The Islamic Revolution: a Model for Anti-Tyrannical Resistance.' Security head at door denies protesters were killed and says everything is quite dandy in Iran. 'Why have you stayed in London for 40 years, then?' asks a protester.

Vienna, Austria - Friday, 5 February 2010
Guests arrive for a regime-organized dinner at the Imam Ali mosque marking the start of ten days of celebrations for the anniversary of the revolution. Protesters kindly provided them with a sound system across the street...