(The better informed everybody becomes the greater the chance that war can be prevented and propaganda can not distort reality. With a couple of clicks you can do your part by simply forwarding this to others.)
(The three young men shown in the above graphic are Mohsen Ruholamini, Mohammad Kamrani and Amir Javadifar who died at Kahrizak, under very horrific circumstances that hopefully will be revealed in full during court sessions. As a cover up Mortazavi claimed they died from contracting meningitis.)
Iranian Official involved in Kahrizak case arrested
Source: Radio Zamaneh
Iranian media report that on Sunday, Ali Akbar Heydarifard, deputy to the former Tehran Prosecutor, was arrested and transferred to Evin Prison.
Heydarifar is one of three judicial personalities accused in the controversial case of the Kahrizak Detention Centre. Detainees were tortured there in 2009 and at least three of them died due to abuse from prison authorities. The notorious former Tehran prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, is also one of the accused in the case.
On Monday, the Tabnak News Website reported on Heydarifar's arrest, noting that he "is also referred to as Mortazavi's supportive cane" and that he had earlier "called for public commendations for his own good actions" at Kahrizak.
(Below is more on Ali Akbar Heydarifard's recent arrest after he jumped the line at a gas station and angry drivers apparently responded in such a way that Heydarifard felt it necessary to fire his gun in the air! Or maybe he was recognized and they were out to get him. His photograph is shown in the below article. Make sure to pass on the link so that he will fear to show his face in public.)
Iran's Future Held Captive
Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video, Iran's Future Held Captive, and accompanying letter-writing initiative today calling attention to the government's intensified crackdown on Iranian campuses. This video stands in solidarity with a call by the Iranian student association Daftar Tahkim Vahdat and alumni association Advar Tahkim Vahdat, and Speak Out for Imprisoned Iranian Students, a campaign launched by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and human rights organizations.
The video describes the intense repression confronting Iranian students for their activities at school. Students not only face being banned and expelled from university, but they also face prosecution and long prison sentences, as well as the possibility of mistreatment while in prison.
The video highlights the situation of 30 students who are currently in prison. These students, including Zia Nabavi, Bahareh Hedayat, and Majid Tavakoli, have been given lengthy prison sentences simply for expressing their beliefs and participating in student organizations.
The Campaign strongly urges Iranian authorities to release student prisoners of conscience and condemns the violation of Iranian students' rights to education, expression, and association and assembly.
New bank corruption uncovered in Iran
Mehr News Agency
In this case tens of millions of euros and dollars had been loaned to a private company by a state bank without ensuring the necessary collateral was put in place, Abbas Momen-Abadi told a press conference.
He said the company's assets are far less than its debts to the aforementioned bank, and these assets are tied up as collateral to potentially bad debt.
Photos: Iranian Workers
Photos by Amir Khosroshahi, ISNA
(These are some good photographs showing Iranian workers. Almost all the types of work that are shown earns them less than $300 per month, and with food prices having gone up 50% just this past six months and "official" inflation estimated at 20% Iran is facing a potential upheaval because workers are simply are not going to be able to cover their basic expenses. What is keeping most of them afloat is the monthly grants that they get from the end of subsidies but soon they will not even be enough to feed a family.)
(Below Jahangir Amuzegar gives an excellent summary of how bad the Iranian economy is.)
Economic Crisis in Iran
by Janangir Amuzegar
Over the past two years, the Iranian economy has seen anemic growth, high unemployment, rising consumer prices, and a sharply deteriorating business climate. And it keeps getting worse
Compounding those bleak economic prospects, “smart” economic sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy have been replaced by comprehensive ones, a subsidies reform program undertaken by the Ahmadinejad administration has backfired, and the value of Iran’s currency, the rial, has declined steeply. Still, Tehran has failed to decisively address these problems. Instead, it continues to funnel its resources into bolstering the country’s military capabilities while the economic pressure builds.
A failed subsidy reform program launched by the Ahmadinejad administration presents another major challenge. In December 2010, reform legislation raised the prices of a number of subsidized items—including oil and gas products, electricity, water, bread, and milk—and placed them on track to eventually achieve parity with world prices. The purpose of this reform program was to discourage wasteful energy consumption and reduce public spending—while providing a safety net for the poorest in the form of cash grants. But none of these aims has been achieved. In fact, because the government did not have a practical way of determining who was in fact poor and thus eligible for the grants, what once were across-the-board price subsidies have merely turned into cash grants for almost the entire population of 80 million.
Finally, the government has had to grapple with turmoil in the foreign exchange market. After nearly a decade of relatively stable rial-dollar rates in the “official” exchange market, and near parity between the official rate and the “free market” rate charged by private currency dealers, a gap between the two appeared in early December 2011. The official rate of 10,600 rials to the U.S. dollar gradually reached 11,200 rials in the open market. On New Year’s Eve, when President Obama signed into law new U.S. sanctions against Iran’s central bank, the exchange rate dam burst.
Failing to calm the currency market through a series of hysterical maneuvers, in January, Iran’s central bank was forced to officially devalue the rial by 18 percent against the dollar to 12,260 rials and pledge unlimited dollars for current transactions. It also authorized higher interest rates on savings deposits in order to divert liquidity from the exchange market back into banks.
When these actions failed to satisfy the rising demand for dollars, and parity between official and free market rates could not be maintained, the central bank finally recognized a “dual market” in mid-March and let private money changers handle the dollar demand for “luxury” imports. By late March, the rial was trading on the free market at the rate of 19,000 rials to one U.S. dollar, retaining just 55 percent of its average 2002–2010 value.
Nearly all economic activity will be adversely affected in the coming year if sanctions bite deeper into oil exports and receipts.
But the Ahmadinejad administration is aloof from the practical problems facing Iran’s economy. In an uncanny resemblance to Soviet-era practices, the regime is following a dual-track policy of overlooking national economic setbacks while embarking on flashy technical and scientific projects regardless of the cost.
The economy is now more state dominated, more oil dependent, and more vulnerable to external events than ever before. The loopholes, furthermore, that helped Iran avoid sanctions in the past are quickly closing up. Absent a quick, even if temporary, agreement on the nuclear issue, Iran is likely to face an intolerably hot summer soon.
Israeli Dissent May Create More Space for Iran Nuclear Deal
By Jim Lobe
(This is an excellent summary of how things stand with Iran and a MUST read.)
For its part, the administration of President Barack Obama has shown little inclination to reduce pressure — and the threat of military action — on Tehran.
Not only has it moved more minesweepers and F-15 fighter jets into the Gulf region, but the Air Force announced Friday that it has deployed an undisclosed number of advanced F-22 stealth fighter-bombers to the area, specifically to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to the industry publication Aviation Week.
Despite those moves, fears of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran this year have clearly receded, especially since all sides left the last P5+1 meeting in Istanbul April 14 seemingly satisfied with the seriousness of the exchanges and guardedly optimistic that a diplomatic solution could yet be achieved.
The meeting’s success was made possible by signalling on both sides of their readiness to make concessions on key issues: on Tehran’s part, by stating explicitly that it could halt its enrichment of uranium to 20%, transfer its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium out of the country, and accept greater scrutiny by international weapons inspectors under the right circumstances; on Washington’s, by stating more clearly than ever that it could accept Iran’s continued uranium enrichment of up to 5% under the right circumstances.
Whether the “right circumstances” can be accommodated by all sides, of course, will determine the ultimate success or failure of the negotiations.
Ironically, the hawks have also been set back by the intensifying appeals by neoconservatives, in particular, for Washington to intervene militarily in Syria.
Not only has that debate diverted time and energy that many of the fiercest hawks would otherwise devote to Iran. It has also exposed divides, similar to those that surfaced last year over the intervention in Libya, between interventionists on one hand and realists and libertarians on the other within the Republican Party.
“Talking about war with Iran at the same time that you want us to get involved in a civil war in Syria is not a popular message this year,” according to one congressional staffer who cited recent public opinion polls suggesting that Republicans have become almost as war-weary as Democrats. “Given Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, it’s a bit much.”
Similarly, the unprecedented public criticism by former senior Israeli national security officials of Netanyahu and Barak has given new ammunition to those who favor diplomacy.
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