Iran unveils new “mal-veiling” plan, deploy 7,000 morality police officers

The Iranian regime announced a new plan to suppress women for “mal-veiling,” deploying approximately 7,000 undercover morality police officers in Tehran this week.

Morality police patrol the streets and report improper wearing of hijab to the Iranian authorities in order to monitor the observance of the Islamic dress code. Their presence has been felt for decades, but many Iranians were surprised and disappointed by their resurgence this week. Tehran’s morality police has seeded distrust and dismay in many Iranian women, and many feel that their presence fuels vigilantes to harass and humiliate women for their dress.

Many Iranians expressed their frustration with the Iranian regime for wasting resources forcing the observance of compulsory hijab and continuing to suppress women’s rights. Farideh Karimi, a human rights activist, condemned Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for not supporting Iranian women by fighting the morality police. “According to the regime’s laws, Rouhani has the authority to halt the new suppressive measures against women. By refusing to do so, he is in practice endorsing them.” She further condemned the regime for using their power to further gender disparity: “The regime’s suppressive institutions are ever more blatantly cracking down on women. This has been a tenet of the mullahs’ regime from its outset.”

Karimi is a member of The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), Iran’s largest opposition group. The NCRI’s 10-Point Plan for Iran created by their president-elect, Maryam Rajavi, endorses gender equality, calling for a freedom of dress, marriage, education, and employment, and an abolishment of gender disparity.

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Prominent United States politicians call for harder sanctions against Iran

In light of Iran’s recent missile tests, many United States figureheads and politicians have called for tougher sanctions against the Iranian regime, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan and Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Iran launched two ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets 1400 km away at the end of a large military drill. It’s the first ballistic missile firing Iran’s conducted since signing nuclear deal P5+1 in July. Per US officials, this firing directly challenges a UN resolution made with Iran that specifically called upon Iran to not participate in ballistic missile activity.

Tehran’s missile tests rippled through the international community, with many United States officials calling for a tougher stance on the Iranian regime. United States Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement: “We are united in the belief that a nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, the region and the United States.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan said that he would continue to press for new sanctions against Iran until it stops provoking and threatening the United States and their allies. Several Republicans have echoed his sentiment, calling for more US sanctions in response.

Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she was “deeply concerned”  by Iran’s missile tests, and called for penalties against Tehran in response. “Iran should face sanctions for these activities and the international community must demonstrate that Iran’s threats toward Israel will not be tolerated,” she said in a statement.

Army General Lloyd Austin, commander of the United States Central Command, expressed his concern that Tehran’s missile test is further evidence that Tehran hasn’t changed as much as it wants the West to believe.

“There are a number of things that lead me to personally believe that, you know, their behavior is not — they haven’t changed any course yet.”

#PledgeforParity: Conference for women’s right solidarity held in Paris

Maryam Rajavi at the Pledge for Parity

(Image Source: NCRI Women’s Committee)

In observance of International Women’s Day, prominent leaders and women’s rights activists met for a conference on Saturday, February 27 to advocate for better social and political treatment for women in Iran and across the world.

While the Iranian regime has been enjoying the spoils of their recent economic deals, the political and cultural landscape for Iranian women is still incredibly poor. The Pledge for Parity conference, led by Maryam Rajavi, sought to bring awareness to the women past and present in Iran that suffer from misogyny, abuse, and dismal political representation. The conference featured speeches from prominent thought leaders like former White House Director of the Office of Public Liaison Linda Chavez, journalist Diana Culi, Spanish politician Beatriz Becerra, and former French Minister of Human Rights Rama Yade.

In her address, Maryam Rajavi stressed that anything that promotes compulsion, denies people’s free choice, and denies women’s equal rights is not truly Islam, but in fact against Islam. “We will not tolerate violation of women’s rights in the guise of religion or any other pretext,” Rajavi stated. Rajavi pledged to support gender equality for Iranian women and reiterated her position against Iran’s draconian laws in her address: “No to compulsory veil, no to compulsory religion, and no to compulsory government.”

Rajavi also spoke of the recent Iran elections, and reiterated that Iran’s very selective election did not truly represent the Iranian people. She stressed that as the regime continues fights its challengers internally, the Iranian people grow restless for political representation. Rajavi argues that the Iranian regime’s attempt to strong-arm their power through suppression of democracy is inadvertently setting up an incredibly unstable Iran. She urged the young people of Iran to “expand their struggle,” and continue to advocate for a true democracy.

Other esteemed speakers took to the podium to advocate for women’s rights in Iran. Linda Chavez stated that the results of the Iranian election did not matter – regardless of the outcome, the situation for women in Iran will not change unless the regime changes. Beatriz Basterrechea described the violations against women in Iran as simply a crime, and believed that it’s completely unacceptable in 2016 for Iran to deny women their civil and individual rights.

Many speakers shared their support for a resolution against gender disparity. In a video interview, British politician Baroness Betty Boothroyd supported Maryam Rajavi’s 10-Point Plan for Women’s Rights in Tomorrow’s Iran, which calls for the abolition of the death penalty, the abolition of mandatory veil, and abolition of sexual exploitation of women. Colombian politician and presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt stated that gender parity is essential of any government regardless of the differences in cultural backgrounds. “Parity is the cornerstone of all freedom, democracy and human rights,” she confirmed.

“We need Mrs. Rajavi to succeed,” Betancourt declared.

The event also included music from the Albanian Orchestra and featured performances by Aida and Gisoo Shakeri. Highlights from the event and a full list of speakers can be found here: http://www.ncr-iran.org/en/ncri-statements/president-elect/19951-iran-maryam-rajavi-addresses-at-paris-conference-on-the-eve-of-international-women-s-day-2016

Maryam Rajavi: Regardless of outcome, Iranian regime will weaken after #IranElections

Maryam Rajavi, the president-elect of the Iranian Resistance, said in a statement this week that regardless of the outcome of the sham elections for the parliament and Assembly of Experts in Iran, the situation for Iranian people will not become better. Ultimately, Rajavi believes that the regime as a whole will weaken, its internal crises will intensify, and the resentment and anger that the Iranian people feel towards the mullah’s corruption will deepen.

Rajavi pointed out that Iran’s clerical regime is founded on a rejection of democratic sovereignty, and that while all of the running candidates for office are loyal to clerical rule, many were disqualified for displaying minor dissent against supreme leader Ali Khamenei. As supreme leader, Khamenei has the highest political authority in Iran, and has the power to disqualify political candidates from running for office should he consider them unworthy. Khamenei’s political filter has given ruling hardliners in Iran massive political leverage, and has made it impossible for Iranian citizens to establish a true democracy.

Khamenei’s power to deny was on full display this election season. Earlier this month, Khamenei infamously disqualified Hassan Khomeini from running for membership in the Assembly of Experts – the arm of the Iranian government that monitors the conduct of the supreme leader. Khomeini is the grandson of previous supreme leader Ruhollah Khomeini, and was popular among Iranian reformists.

As the internal struggle between rival factions and the ruling clerics of the regime heightens, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who many hoped could institute political change, has been submissive to Khamenei’s restrictions, further establishing that despite his rhetoric, he either does not have the will or the strength to create a truly democratic Iran. His inaction has been disappointing to former supporters, particularly women, who feel frustrated by their lack of civil representation.

Maryam Rajavi stressed that whatever the outcome of this election, the strains between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime will only intensify. As whispers of democratic futility and projected low voter turnout grows among Iranians, the Iranian regime pushes harder to facilitate participation in their curated ballot, issuing fatwas to make participation in elections a religious obligation and defining a blank ballot as a direct violation of Sharia law.

Rajavi determined that even if the ruling clerics emerge from the election successful, the hostility that the Iranian people feel towards the mullahs and the mullah’s continued internal struggle to remain in power will ultimately make them weaker, not stronger. The political volatility in Iran in of itself is a loss for the regime.

#StopExecutionsIran: Protest in Paris tomorrow

Since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013:

  • Executions in Iran have continued, especially of ethnic and religious minorities. Over 2,000 people have been executed since Rouhani’s term in office. Amnesty International reported that nearly 700 people were executed by the Iranian regime in just over six months.
  • Iran continues to be the largest prison for journalists in the Middle East. Reporters Jason Rezaian and his wife Yeganeh Salehi were both released from Iranian prisons this week. Both were detained in Iran for over a year through “arbitrary and blatantly illegal treatment by Iranian authorities.”
  • Women continue to face violence and misogyny. In 2014, organized gangs affiliated with the Iranian regime committed acid attacks on Iranian women and girls. At least 25 women were subjected to these attacks.

Hassan Rouhani has been touring Italy and France this month in an effort to create an economic relationship between the West and Iran, but the devastating and blatant human rights violations that continue to plague the Iranian people under his leadership should not be ignored.

Join friends of the Iranian people tomorrow as they protest Hassan Rouhani’s civil and democratic violations.

No to Rouhani Rally in Paris
Thursday January 28 2016 | 13:00h in Paris’ Trocadero Square

Follow the event online with the hashtags #No2Rouhani and #StopExecutionsIran

Iran issues 52 executions in the first two weeks of January

The Iranian Regime entered 2016 by committing 52 executions within the first two weeks of January. Among those sentenced to death included one woman and four people who were hanged publicly.

As President Rouhani and the Iranian Regime begin to close on nuclear deal P5+1, the human rights situation in Iran continues to suffer under their control. Iran still holds the record for having the most executions per capita in the world, executing over 1,000 people in 2015. Women, children, and religious and ethnic minorities continue to suffer some of the harshest sentences.

Protestors are preparing for a rally this Thursday in Paris’ Trocadero Square to condemn the poor human rights conditions under Rouhani, who will be visiting the city that day. Organizers are showing their support for the Iranian people online under the hashtags #No2Rouhani and #StopExecutionsIran.

Reporters Without Borders rate Iran 7th-worst country for press freedoms, safety

Reporters Without Borders, an annual report of journalist freedoms and safety, ranked Iran as the 7th-worst country in their international index of freedom of information in 2015. Detailed in their recently-released index, the Islamic Republic of Iran ranked 173 out of the 180 surveyed countries for freedom and safety of the press.

The 2015 report confirmed that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s term in office has not helped foster a freer, safer environment for reporters. Citing the government’s active pursuit to close news outlets and its relationship with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guard, Reporters Without Borders determined that the Rouhani administration has “played a role in arrests as a silent accomplice” when it comes to censorship of information.

Rouhani’s administration also regularly detains journalists and reporters in Iran unjustly in addition to unfairly arresting religious and ethnic minorities and women. Reporters Without Borders reported that Iran is still one of the world’s five biggest prisons for news and information providers and estimate that about 50 journalists and netizens are currently being detained.

A rally against Rouhani’s treatment of human rights in Iran has been scheduled in Paris’ Trocadero Square on January 28. Protestors are currently gathering under the hashtags #No2Rouhani and #StopExecutionsIran.