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Amnesty International – Iran – PRISONERS AT RISK OF COVID-19 INFECTION

Amnesty International – Iran – PRISONERS AT RISK OF COVID-19 INFECTION

Dear friends,

Please find attached and copied below an Urgent Action that Amnesty International issued today calling on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave 2e0c4-amnesty-internationalfears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing other prisoners – especially pre-trial detainees and those who may be at more risk from the virus – and take necessary measures to protect the health of all prisoners, including providing equal access to testing.

The Urgent Action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:

Many thanks and best wishes,
Iran team


The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of prisoners of conscience amid grave fears over the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. The authorities should take measures to protect the health of all prisoners and urgently consider releasing pre-trial detainees and those who may be at particular risk of severe illness or death.
Head of Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi
C/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN
622 Third Ave., 34th floor
New York, NY 10017, USA
Dear Mr Ebrahim Raisi,
I am writing about the distressing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran’s prisons. While I am aware of measures announced by the Iranian authorities to release some prisoners in response to the outbreak, I am concerned that hundreds of prisoners of conscience remain jailed, including human rights defenders, peaceful protesters and others detained solely for peacefully expressing their rights to freedom of expression, association and/or assembly. They should not be in detention in the first place.
More generally, I am also concerned about the health of all prisoners in Iran. In several prisons across the country, prisoners have tested positive for COVID-19, raising grave concerns for other prisoners held in the same wards. According to the World Health Organization, some groups of people appear to be at particular risk of severe illness or death, including older individuals and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Iran’s prison population includes such groups. Additionally, some prisoners have been systematically denied adequate medical care, which could leave them more vulnerable to the effects of the virus if they contracted it. Amnesty International has documented the denial of adequate medical care as a punitive measure against prisoners of conscience.
Many prisoners across the country have pleaded with officials to address overcrowded, unhygienic and unsanitary conditions in prisons that put them at greater risk of COVID-19 infections. There are also reports that some prisoners have not been provided with sufficient soap or other sanitary products. Many families have also raised concerns for the wellbeing of jailed relatives and believe that the Iranian authorities should be systematically testing prisoners who may be showing symptoms of COVID-19.
I urge you to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders and those detained for peacefully taking part in the November 2019 and January 2020 protests. I also urge you to urgently consider releasing other prisoners – especially pre-trial detainees and those who may be more at risk from the virus – and take necessary measures to protect the health of all prisoners, including equal access to testing.
Yours sincerely,      


There are concerns about the spread of coronavirus inside Iran’s prisons and that the Iranian authorities have failed to sufficiently protect prison populations. The Human Rights Activists News Agency, based outside Iran, has reported that: in Shahr-e Rey prison (also known as Gharchak), in the city of Varamin, two prisoners have died from COVID-19 in solitary confinement in recent days after being denied medical care and admittance to hospital; in the same prison prior to this, despite some prisoners testing positive for coronavirus, prisoners were only checked for fevers and provided with a bleach-water solution to disinfect surfaces themselves, which, they say, emitted fumes that irritated their lungs; in Central Karaj prison, there have been new cases of coronavirus reported on a daily basis and other prisoners have gone on hunger strike in protest at the shortage of sanitary products and the lack of measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus inside the prison; in Urumieh prison, in early March 2020 over a hundred prisoners in one section of the prison went on hunger strike at the shortage of sanitary products inside the prison despite suspected cases of coronavirus among prisoners; and, in Tehran’s Evin prison, prisoners raised concerns that the women’s ward was disinfected after a guard tested positive for coronavirus, and that, prior to that, the ward had to share use of one disinfectant product between them. The Ahwaz Human Rights Organization also reported that two prisoners in Central Ahvaz prison had contracted coronavirus and that other prisoners in the same ward had not been tested. Several prisoners of conscience also went on hunger strike in Evin prison in protest at the authorities continued refusal to grant them prison leave.

Many of Iran’s prisons have detention conditions that fall far short of international standards, including with respect to overcrowding, poor ventilation, limited hot water during the winter season, inadequate food, insufficient beds and insect infestations. See; and for more information. Such prison conditions are highly susceptible to the spread of infectious disease.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus in Iran became publicly known in February 2020, many prisoners’ families have been raising concerns for the wellbeing of those jailed and calling for the release of prisoners of conscience and those held on politically motivated charges. They have repeatedly voiced their fears that the lack of sanitary products and poor prison conditions put prisoners at greater risk. They have also called on Iran’s State Prison Organization, which is under the authority of the judiciary, to regularly disinfect prisons, provide masks and hand sanitizers to prisoners, quarantine those suspected of having the virus and grant prison leave to as many prisoners as possible. While Iran’s judiciary has made a number of announcements about how it intends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in prisons, including plans to release thousands of prisoners temporarily and upon payment of bail and to grant pardons to certain types of prisoners, hundreds of prisoners of conscience remain jailed (for more information).

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, prison populations are particularly exposed to infectious diseases like COVID-19 and conditions of detention can exacerbate the risks. These include the risk of higher transmission rates, especially in overcrowded prisons and when health systems are of poorer quality than in the community. Under international law, as reflected in the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), prison authorities must ensure that all prisoners have prompt access to medical attention and health care. The provision of health care for prisoners is a state responsibility. Prisoners should enjoy the same standards of health care that are available in the community, including when it comes to testing, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Where a prison service has its own hospital facilities, they must be adequately staffed and equipped to provide prisoners referred to them with appropriate treatment and care. Prisoners who require specialized treatment or surgery should be transferred to specialized institutions or to civilian hospitals.

You can also write in your own language.
Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL; Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence

Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence
Collage Child Victims - Reduced size


Dear friends,

Today, Amnesty International issued a briefing entitled ‘They shot our children’ – Killings amnesty-internationalof minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests which presents evidence uncovered by Amnesty International that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.

The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Twelve of the 23 deaths recorded by Amnesty International took place on 16 November, a further eight on 17 November, and three on 18 November. Details of the deaths are included in the new briefing.

Please find attached the briefing and its accompanying press release (in English and Persian). The briefing and press release are available at the following links: [briefing] [press release]

Many thanks and best wishes,
Iran team

    4 March 2020 
    Iran: At least 23 children killed by security forces in November protests – new evidence
    An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.
    At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.
    The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ – Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests.
    “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
    “There must be independent and impartial investigations into these killings, and those suspected of ordering and carrying them out must be prosecuted in fair trials.”
    Amnesty International has gathered evidence from videos and photographs, as well as death and burial certificates, accounts from eyewitnesses and victims’ relatives, friends and acquaintances on the ground, and information gathered from human rights activists and journalists. 
    In 10 cases, Amnesty International learned from the description of injuries on the death or burial certificates it reviewed, or information from credible sources, that the deaths occurred as a result of gunshots to the head or torso – indicating that the security forces were shooting to kill.
    In two of the cases, burial certificates set out in detail the devastating impact on
    the children’s bodies. One cited injuries including bleeding, a crushed brain and a shattered skull. The other indicated that the cause of the death was extensive internal bleeding, and a pierced heart and lung. 
    In one child’s case, there are conflicting reports on the cause of death, with one referring to fatal head injuries sustained by beatings by security forces and another referring to the firing of metal pellets at the victim’s face from a close distance. 
    Twelve of the 23 deaths recorded by Amnesty International took place on 16 November, a further eight on 17 November, and three on 18 November. The protests started on 15 November.
    The 23 children are recorded as having been killed in 13 cities in six provinces across the country (Esfahan, Fars, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan and Tehran), reflecting the widespread nature of the bloody crackdown. 
    “The fact that the vast majority of the children’s deaths took place over just two days is further evidence that Iranian security forces went on a killing spree to quash dissent at any cost,” said Philip Luther.
    “As the Iranian authorities have refused to open independent, impartial and effective investigations, it is imperative that member states of the UN Human Rights Council mandate an inquiry into the killings of protesters and bystanders, including these children, in the November protests.” 
    On 25 February, Amnesty International wrote to Iran’s Minister of Interior Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli to provide him with the list of the names of the 23 children recorded as killed, along with their ages and places of death, and to seek the authorities’ comments on the circumstances of their death. As of 3 March, the organization had received no response.
    State cover-up and harassment
    Amnesty International spoke to relatives of some the children killed who described being subjected to harassment and intimidation, including surveillance and interrogations by intelligence and security officials. At least one family received veiled death threats against their surviving children and were warned that “something horrible” would also happen to them if they spoke out.
    This corresponds with a broader issue where families of those killed in protests are being intimidated by the state from talking openly about their deaths. Most have reported being forced to sign undertakings that they would not speak to the media, and observe restrictions on how they commemorate their loved ones in
    order to be able to receive their bodies. In many cases, security and intelligence officials have placed the families under surveillance, and attended their funeral and memorial ceremonies in order to ensure that the restrictions are observed. 
    Families of children killed also reported being forced to bury them quickly in the presence of security and intelligence officials, thereby preventing them from seeking an independent autopsy. Such conduct appears aimed at suppressing incriminating evidence. 
    In general, Amnesty International’s research has found that the families of those killed in protests have been consistently excluded from autopsies undertaken by the state forensic institute and denied access to information on the circumstances of their deaths, including details of the ammunition that killed them and the weapon that fired it.
    In some cases, officials washed and prepared the bodies of victims for burial without notifying their families and then handed them the bodies, wrapped in shrouds, just minutes before the scheduled burial. Amnesty International understands that in these cases, security and intelligence officials generally sought to prevent families from pulling back the shrouds to see the bodies of their loved ones. As a result, some families say they were not able to see the impact of injuries. 
    In other cases, authorities have also refused to hand over the belongings of the victims to their relatives, including their phones, raising suspicions that they worried these contained evidence of unlawful actions by the state. 
    “As if the loss of their loved ones was not cruel enough an experience to bear, families of children killed during the protests are facing a ruthless campaign of harassment to intimidate them from speaking out,” said Philip Luther. 
    “The authorities also seem to be desperate to prevent bereaved relatives finding out the full truth about the killings, and getting hold of evidence that would incriminate those responsible. This bears all the hallmarks of a state cover-up.” 
    Protests erupted in Iran on 15 November 2019 following a sudden government announcement about a fuel price hike. According to credible reports compiled by Amnesty International, at least 304 people were killed and thousands injured between 15 and 18 November as authorities crushed the protests using lethal force. During and following the protests, the Iranian authorities arbitrarily detained thousands of detainees and subjected some to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. 
    Public Document 
    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
    +44 207 413 5566 
    Out of hours contact details:
    +44 20 7413 5566 
    Twitter: @amnestypress

Special Report: Iran’s leader ordered a crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’

Iran’s leader ordered a crackdown on unrest – ‘Do whatever it takes to end it’

DECEMBER 23, 2019

(Reuters) – After days of protests across Iran last month, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appeared impatient. Gathering his top security and government officials together, he issued an order: Do whatever it takes to stop them.

That order, confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader’s inner circle and a fourth official, set in motion the bloodiest crackdown on protesters since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police.

The toll of 1,500 is significantly higher than figures from international human rights groups and the United States. A Dec. 16 report by Amnesty International said the death toll was at least 304. The U.S. State Department, in a statement to Reuters, said it estimates that many hundreds of Iranians were killed, and has seen reports that number could be over 1,000.

The figures provided to Reuters, said two of the Iranian officials who provided them, are based on information gathered from security forces, morgues, hospitals, and coroner’s offices.

That order, confirmed by three sources close to the supreme leader’s inner circle a

The government spokesman’s office declined to comment on whether the orders came from Khamenei and on the Nov. 17 meeting. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

In a statement Monday following the publication of this article, a spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council described the death toll figure as “fake news,” according to semi-official Tasnim news agency.

What began as scattered protests over a surprise increase in gasoline prices quickly spread into one of the biggest challenges to Iran’s clerical rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

By Nov. 17, the second day, the unrest had reached the capital Tehran, with people calling for an end to the Islamic Republic and the downfall of its leaders. Protesters burned pictures of Khamenei and called for the return of Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the toppled Shah of Iran, according to videos posted on social media and eyewitnesses.

That evening at his official residence in a fortified compound in central Tehran, Khamenei met with senior officials, including security aides, President Hassan Rouhani and members of his cabinet.

At the meeting, described to Reuters by the three sources close to his inner circle, the 80-year-old leader, who has final say over all state matters in the country, raised his voice and expressed criticism of the handling of the unrest. He was also angered by the burning of his image and the destruction of a statue of the republic’s late founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

“The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order,” the supreme leader told the group, one of the sources said.

Khamenei said he would hold the assembled officials responsible for the consequences of the protests if they didn’t immediately stop them. Those who attended the meeting agreed the protesters aimed to bring down the regime.

“The enemies wanted to topple the Islamic Republic and immediate reaction was needed,” one of the sources said.

The fourth official, who was briefed on the Nov. 17 meeting, added that Khamenei made clear the demonstrations required a forceful response.

“Our Imam,” said the official, referring to Khamenei, “only answers to God. He cares about people and the Revolution. He was very firm and said those rioters should be crushed.”

Tehran’s clerical rulers have blamed “thugs” linked to the regime’s opponents in exile and the country’s main foreign foes, namely the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia, for stirring up unrest. Khamenei has described the unrest as the work of a “very dangerous conspiracy.”

A Dec. 3 report on Iran’s state television confirmed that security forces had fatally shot citizens, saying “some rioters were killed in clashes.” Iran has given no official death toll and has rejected figures as “speculative.”


Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS

“The aim of our enemies was to endanger the existence of the Islamic Republic by igniting riots in Iran,” said the commander-in-chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hossein Salami, last month, according to Iranian media.

The Revolutionary Guards declined to comment for this report.

Iran’s interior minister said on Nov. 27 more than 140 government sites had been set on fire along with hundreds of banks and dozens of petrol stations, while 50 bases used by security forces were also attacked, according to remarks reported by Iran’s state news agency IRNA. The minister said up to 200,000 people took part in the unrest nationwide.


For decades, Islamic Iran has tried to expand its influence across the Middle East, from Syria to Iraq and Lebanon, by investing Tehran’s political and economic capital and backing militias. But now it faces pressure at home and abroad.

In recent months, from the streets of Baghdad to Beirut, protesters have been voicing anger at Tehran, burning its flag and chanting anti-Iranian regime slogans. At home, the daily struggle to make ends meet has worsened since the United States reimposed sanctions after withdrawing last year from the nuclear deal that Iran negotiated with world powers in 2015.

The protests erupted after a Nov. 15 announcement on state media that gas prices would rise by as much as 200% and the revenue would be used to help needy families.

Within hours, hundreds of people poured into the streets in places including the northeastern city of Mashhad, the southeastern province of Kerman and the southwestern province of Khuzestan bordering Iraq, according to state media. That night, a resident of the city Ahvaz in Khuzestan described the scene by telephone to Reuters.

“Riot police are out in force and blocking main streets,” the source said. “I heard shooting.” Videos later emerged on social media and state television showing footage of clashes in Ahvaz and elsewhere between citizens and security forces.

The protests reached more than 100 cities and towns and turned political. Young and working-class demonstrators demanded clerical leaders step down. In many cities, a similar chant rang out: “They live like kings, people get poorer,” according to videos on social media and witnesses.

By Nov. 18 in Tehran, riot police appeared to be randomly shooting at protesters in the street “with the smell of gunfire and smoke everywhere,” said a female Tehran resident reached by telephone. People were falling down and shouting, she added, while others sought refuge in houses and shops.

The mother of a 16-year-old boy described holding his body, drenched in blood, after he was shot during protests in a western Iranian town on Nov. 19. Speaking on condition of anonymity, she described the scene in a telephone interview.

“I heard people saying: ‘He is shot, he is shot,’” said the mother. “I ran toward the crowd and saw my son, but half of his head was shot off.” She said she urged her son, whose first name was Amirhossein, not to join the protests, but he didn’t listen.

Iranian authorities deployed lethal force at a far quicker pace from the start than in other protests in recent years, according to activists and details revealed by authorities. In 2009, when millions protested against the disputed re-election of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an estimated 72 people were killed. And when Iran faced waves of protests over economic hardships in 2017 and 2018, the death toll was about 20 people, officials said.

Khamenei, who has ruled Iran for three decades, turned to his elite forces to put down the recent unrest — the Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij religious militia.

A senior member of the Revolutionary Guards in western Kermanshah province said the provincial governor handed down instructions at a late-night emergency meeting at his office on Nov. 18.

“We had orders from top officials in Tehran to end the protests, the Guards member said, recounting the governor’s talk. “No more mercy. They are aiming to topple the Islamic Republic. But we will eradicate them.” The governor’s office declined to comment.

As security forces fanned out across the country, security advisors briefed Khamenei on the scale of the unrest, according to the three sources familiar with the talks at his compound.

The interior minister presented the number of casualties and arrests. The intelligence minister and head of the Revolutionary Guards focused on the role of opposition groups. When asked about the interior and intelligence minister’s role in the meeting, the government spokesman’s office declined to comment.

Khamenei, the three sources said, was especially concerned with anger in small working-class towns, whose lower-income voters have been a pillar of support for the Islamic Republic. Their votes will count in February parliamentary elections, a litmus test of the clerical rulers’ popularity since U.S. President Donald Trump exited Iran’s nuclear deal — a step that has led to an 80% collapse in Iran’s oil exports since last year.

Squeezed by sanctions, Khamenei has few resources to tackle high inflation and unemployment. According to official figures, the unemployment rate is around 12.5% overall. But it is about double that for Iran’s millions of young people, who accuse the establishment of economic mismanagement and corruption. Khamenei and other officials have called on the judiciary to step up its fight against corruption.


Officials in four provinces said the message was clear — failure to stamp out the unrest would encourage people to protest in the future.

A local official in Karaj, a working-class city near the capital, said there were orders to use whatever force was necessary to end the protests immediately. “Orders came from Tehran,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Push them back to their homes, even by shooting them.” Local government officials declined to comment.

Residents of Karaj said they came under fire from rooftops as Revolutionary Guards and police on motorcycles brandished machine guns. “There was blood everywhere. Blood on the streets,” said one resident by telephone. Reuters could not independently verify that account.

In Mahshahr county, in the strategically important Khuzestan province in southwest Iran, Revolutionary Guards in armored vehicles and tanks sought to contain the demonstrations. State TV said security forces opened fire on “rioters” hiding in the marshes. Rights groups said they believe Mahshahr had one of the highest protest death tolls in Iran, based on what they heard from locals.

“The next day when we went there, the area was full of bodies of protesters, mainly young people. The Guards did not let us take the bodies,” the local official said, estimating that “dozens” were killed.

The U.S. State Department has said it has received videos of the Revolutionary Guards opening fire without warning on protesters in Mahshahr. And that when protesters fled to nearby marshlands, the Guards pursued them and surrounded them with machine guns mounted on trucks, spraying the protesters with bullets and killing at least 100 Iranians.

Iran’s authorities dispute the U.S. account. Iranian officials have said security forces in Mahshahr confronted “rioters” who they described as a security threat to petrochemical complexes and to a key energy route that, if blocked, would have created a crisis in the country.

A security official told Reuters that the reports about Mahshahr are “exaggerated and not true” and that security forces were defending “people and the country’s energy facilities in the city from sabotage by enemies and rioters.”

In Isfahan, an ancient city of two million people in central Iran, the government’s vow to help low-income families with money raised from higher gas prices failed to reassure people like Behzad Ebrahimi. He said his 21-year-old nephew, Arshad Ebrahimi, was fatally shot during the crackdown.

“Initially they refused to give us the body and wanted us to bury him with others killed in the protests,” Ebrahimi said. “Eventually we buried him ourselves, but under the heavy presence of security forces.” Rights activists confirmed the events. Reuters was unable to get a comment from the government or the local governor on the specifics of the account.

Editing by Michael Georgy, Cassell Bryan-Low and Jason Szep


Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi immediately



Dear Friends,

Amnesty Urgent ActionPlease find attached and copied below an urgent action Amnesty International issued today on Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, aged 29, who has been arbitrarily detained since her arrest in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, Iran, on 23 May 2019.

She is charged with national security offences in relation to her civil society work empowering marginalized members of Iran’s Kurdish minority.

Amnesty International calls on the Iranian authorities to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience detailed solely for her peaceful civil society activism.

The urgent action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:

Best wishes,
Iran team
Amnesty International

Kurdish civil society activist Zahra Mohammadi, aged 29, has been arbitrarily detained since her arrest in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, Iran, on 23 May 2019. She is charged with national security offences in relation to her civil society work empowering marginalized members of Iran’s Kurdish minority.
Prosecutor General of Sanandaj Mohammad Jabbari
c/o Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN
Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28
1209 Geneva, Switzerland
Dear Mr Mohmmad Jabbari,
Zahra Mohammadi, a Kurdish civil society activist, has been accused of co-operating with Kurdish opposition groups and charged with national security offences for her peaceful activities empowering members of Iran’s marginalized Kurdish community, including through teaching the Kurdish language. On 18 September 2019, without prior notice to her lawyers or family, Zahra Mohammadi was transferred to Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj for a hearing which was subsequently postponed.
On 23 May 2019, Zahra Mohammadi was arrested in her home by plain-clothes agents from the Ministry of Intelligence and then held in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location until 31 May, when she was transferred to Sanandaj prison and her family were informed of her whereabouts. During a subsequent family visit, Zahra Mohammadi said that she had been pressured to provide a forced “confession” during those eight days in secret detention. From early June until early July 2019, she had ongoing contact with her family. From 6 July to 16 September 2019, Zahra Mohammadi was held in incommunicado detention and her family was denied all information about her despite multiple attempts to learn what had happened to her. After this period of incommunicado detention ended, Zahra Mohamamdi was able to tell her family that during that time, she was taken to a Ministry of Intelligence facility each day for hours-long interrogation sessions and again put under intense pressure to “confess” that she had been co-operating with Kurdish opposition groups, which she denied. She said that her interrogators threatened to arrest her family members if she did not agree to work for the Ministry of Intelligence and sign a pre-written “confession”. She has met with her lawyers just once, nearly four months after her arrest, and after the second round of interrogations during incommunicado detention ended. 
Zahra Mohammadi is in poor health. She currently has a stomach-related illness. She also has a pre-existing digestive condition that requires medication, which she has been unable to take in prison.
I urge you to release Zahra Mohammadi immediately and unconditionally as she is a prisoner of conscience detailed solely for her peaceful civil society activism. Pending her release, please ensure that she is protected from torture and other ill-treatment and can receive regular visits from her lawyer and family, as well as adequate medical care, including any specialized treatment she may need. 
Yours sincerely,
On 18 September 2019, without any prior notice to her lawyers, Zahra Mohammadi was transferred to Branch One of the Revolutionary Court of Sanandaj. Her lawyer and family were alerted that she was in court, and promptly arrived to protest the hearing taking place without prior notice. Her court session was subsequently postponed to a later date, though no further hearings have taken place since and the court has sent the case back to the office of the prosecutor for further investigations. She has met with her lawyers just once, nearly four months after her arrest, and after the second round of interrogations during incommunicado detention ended on 16 September. 
During the period she was held in incommunicado detention and subjected to interrogations for over two months without access to a lawyer, Zahra Mohammadi’s family made numerous attempts with different government offices in Sanandaj to learn what had happened to her. During one visit to the Ministry of Intelligence office, her family was permitted to speak over the phone with Zahra Mohammadi’s interrogator. According to information received by Amnesty International, the interrogator told her family that Zahra Mohammadi was being denied contact with her family to put her under greater pressure to sign documents and agree to work for the ministry of intelligence and that, once she had done so, she would again be able to see her family.
Since being held in incommunicado detention, Zahra Mohammadi has experienced a stomach-related illness for which the prison doctor prescribed medication, but she has said that the medication makes her nauseous and that her illness continues. She also has a pre-existing digestive condition which requires a special diet and medication. Since detention, she has neither been able to follow the special diet nor take her medication. Her family has requested she be transferred to hospital for examinations, but no response has been given to them.
Zahra Mohmmmadi is the director of the Nojin Cultural Association, whose activities include teaching the Kurdish language and literature and other civil society activities. Prior to her 23 May 2019 arrest, Zahra Mohammadi had been subjected to several lengthy interrogations by the ministry of intelligence. The last took place on 8 March 2019, when she was interrogated for eight hours without the presence of a lawyer. 
Ethnic minorities in Iran, including Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Baluchis, Kurds and Turkmen, face entrenched discrimination, curtailing their access to education, employment and adequate housing. Continued economic neglect of regions with large minority populations has exacerbated poverty and marginalization. The Persian language is the sole medium of instruction in primary and secondary education in Iran. 
You can also write in your own language.
Please check with the Amnesty office in your country if you wish to send appeals after the deadline.
NAME AND PREFERRED PRONOUN: Zahra Mohammadi (she/her)

World Bank: Iran Likely to Suffer Worse Recession Than Previously Thought

World Bank: Iran Likely to Suffer Worse Recession Than Previously Thought

June 05, 2019 7:40 PM

16x9 Image

Michael Lipin

By: Michael Lipin

WASHINGTON —The World Bank says Iran is likely to experience an even worse recession this year than previously thought, as U.S. sanctions largely choke off oil exports that have been Tehran’s main revenue source.

In its latest Global Economic Prospects report published Wednesday, the Washington-based institution that provides loans to countries said it expects Iran’s Gross Domestic Product to shrink by 4.5% this year, a steeper contraction than its earlier estimate of negative 3.6% GDP growth for 2019.

“The oil industry is an important part of Iran’s economy, and its oil production is clearly going to drop because of the new U.S. sanctions,” said Patrick Clawson, research director for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, in a VOA Persian interview on Wednesday.

The Trump administration imposed a total, unilateral ban on Iranian oil exports on May 2 as part of its campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran to negotiate an end to its perceived malign behaviors. It had issued sanctions waivers to eight of Iran’s oil customers in November to allow them to keep importing Iranian crude for six months, but later said it would not renew those waivers and would require those customers to reduce such imports to zero.

FILE - People conduct their business at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 7, 2019.
FILE – People conduct their business at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 7, 2019.

U.S. economist Steve Hanke of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore told VOA Persian in another Wednesday interview that Iran’s internal economic problems also are to blame for its worsening recession. “Iran is very corrupt, has very little economic freedom, and it’s hard to start a business there because Iran is not really a free market or liberal economy,” Hanke said.

Transparency International, a Berlin-based civil society organization that monitors global corruption, has ranked Iran 138 out of 180 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index.

Iran’s other low global economic rankings include 155 out of 180 nations in the Economic Freedom Index of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, a conservative public policy institute, and 128 out of 190 governments in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index.

The World Bank’s new report also said Iran’s year-on-year inflation rate has risen sharply from about 10% in the middle of last year to about 52% in April. It said the depreciation of Iran’s rial since May 2018, when the U.S. announced it would re-impose sanctions on Iran, has contributed to the rising inflation. The rial’s slump versus the dollar in Iran’s unofficial currency market has made dollar-denominated imports more expensive for Iranians.

Clawson said Iran’s inflation is high primarily because it is relying on printing money to finance its spending. “The Iranian government is not bringing in enough revenue to pay for its expenses, so it is borrowing money from the banking system to cover the difference, and that is driving inflation,” he said.

Hanke, who says he is the only economist outside Iran to measure its inflation with high frequency, told VOA Persian that he calculated Iran’s actual inflation rate to be 113% on Wednesday, much higher than the World Bank’s latest reading.

The World Bank’s projection of a 4.5% contraction in Iran’s GDP this year is not as bad as the 6% contraction predicted by the International Monetary Fund, another global lending agency, in its latest report from April. The World Bank also said it expects economic growth in Iran to return next year “as the impact of U.S. sanctions tapers off and as inflation stabilizes.” It projected a 0.9% rise in Iran’s GDP for 2020.

Hanke declined to make his own predictions for Iran’s economic performance, saying any forecasts for a nation such as Iran are problematic because they rely on guesswork.

This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio, and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

2 Civil Activists Reportedly Held in Iranian Kurdistan

2 Civil Activists Reportedly Held in Iranian Kurdistan

February 15, 2019, 9:31
Mokhtar Asadi, left, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, and environmentalist Sirwan Ghorbani were detained recently in Iran, rights groups report.

Mokhtar Asadi, left, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, and environmentalist Sirwan Ghorbani were detained recently in Iran, rights groups report.

By: Michael Lipin

Iranian rights groups say authorities have detained two civil activists in the country’s northwestern Kurdistan province in recent days, one a teachers union member and the other an environmentalist.

Four groups quoted sources as saying Iranian security agents arrested Mokhtar Asadi, a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, in Sanandaj as he traveled home with his family on Thursday. They said Asadi was detained without a warrant and taken to an unknown location, hours after dozens of teachers held a peaceful protest outside the Sanandaj educational department.

The groups reporting on Asadi’s detention were Iran’s Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil PrisonersHuman Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA), Kurdistan Human Rights Association and Kurdistan Human Rights Network(KHRN).

The Sanandaj rally was part of a series of teacher protests held Thursday in six Iranian cities, with activists denouncing perceived government suppression of their rights and calling for better working conditions in their poorly paid profession.

There was no word on Asadi’s case in Iranian state media. He has been arrested several times before in relation to his advocacy for teachers’ rights and had been released from his most recent detention last July after spending a year in Tehran’s Evin prison on a charge of spreading anti-government propaganda.

HRANA has said Iranian authorities have tightened their grip on labor unions in recent years and have shown a “particular vitriol” toward those representing educators.

U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch joined four Iranian rights organizations in reporting the arrest of environmentalist Sirwan Ghorbani in Kamyaran on Tuesday. They said Iranian security officers detained Ghorbani, also a central council member of the Kurdistan National Unity Party, at his home.

The Iranian rights groups quoted sources as saying the officers who raided Ghorbani’s home put a sack over his head, seized some of his personal belongings and confiscated the mobile phone of his sister Samira Ghorbani, who fainted and had to be taken to a hospital. They said the agents also ordered Samira Ghorbani to report to a local information bureau in the coming days.

Iranian state media were silent on Sirwan Ghorbani’s arrest, details of which were reported by Campaign for the Defense of Political and Civil PrisonersHRANAKHRN and the Kurdistan Press Agency (KurdPA).

The rights groups said Iranian authorities detained 10 other environmental and civil activists in Kamyaran and Sanandaj in late December and in recent days extended their arrest for another month. A Jan. 7 report by Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted Kurdistan provincial deputy security chief Hussein Khosheqbal as saying those detained had been engaged in “criminal activities” on behalf of environmental groups.

Iran has come under criticism from international rights activists for its recent detentions and prosecutions of other Iranian environmentalists. Eight have been on trial since last month on spying-related charges that their supporters say are bogus.

This article originated in VOA’s Persian service.


This article originated in VOA’s Persian service.

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    Michael Lipin

    Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

ئه‌مریکا و ئێران، کامیان ده‌ستیان له‌ عێراق کورت ده‌کرێته‌وه؟‌ سالار حیسامی

ئه‌مریکا و ئێران، کامیان ده‌ستیان له‌ عێراق کورت ده‌کرێته‌وه؟‌

Salar hisami_01

ساڵار حێسامى

فێوریه ١١، ٢٠١٩ی زایینى

هه ۆلێر- كۆردستان

پێش ئه‌وه‌ی وه‌ڵامی ئه‌م پرسیاره‌:(ئه‌مریکا و ئێران کامیان ده‌ستیان له‌ عێراق کورت ده‌کرێته‌وه؟‌) بده‌ینه‌وه‌، پێویسته‌ بزانین هه‌ر کام له‌ ده‌وڵه‌تانی ئه‌مریکا و ئێران(نه‌ک له‌ مێژووی دوور، به‌ڵکو له‌ ماوه‌ی دوو سێ ده‌یه‌ی رابردوودا) چ ڕۆڵێکی “ئه‌رێنی و نه‌رێنی”یان له‌ چاره‌نووسی سیاسیی عێراقدا هه‌بووه‌. پرسێکی وا به‌رچاو، به ‌بێ توێژینه‌وه‌یه‌کی ورد و ئه‌کادیمی، واته‌ به‌ شیکارییه‌کی ساده‌ و ساکاریش ده‌کرێ له‌ چه‌ند خاڵدا ده‌ستنیشان بکه‌ین.

عێراق وڵاتێکی ده‌ستکردی ئیمپڕیاڵ و وڵاتانی زلهێزی جیهانه‌ که‌ له‌ بونیادنانیدا هیچ پرسێکیان به‌ پێکهاته‌کانی ئه‌م جوغرافیا سیاسی(ژیوپۆلیتیک)یه‌ نه‌کردووه. بۆیه‌ له‌ سه‌رده‌می “مه‌لیک فه‌یسه‌ڵ”ه‌وه‌ تا هه‌نووکه‌ نوقمی گێژاوی قه‌یران و ئاژاوه‌ و شه‌ڕ و ماڵوێرانییه‌.. ئه‌گه‌ر واز له‌ مێژووی دوور بهێنین و بۆ سه‌رباسی ئه‌م نووسینه‌ بگه‌ڕێینه‌وه‌، ده‌بینین، له‌ دوو سێ ده‌یه‌ی ڕابردوودا هه‌ردوو وڵاتی ئه‌مریکا و ئێران له‌م وڵاته‌دا(عێراق) کاریگه‌رییه‌کی ڕاسته‌وخۆیان بووه‌، به‌ڵام ئه‌گه‌ر ئه‌مریکا ڕۆڵی ئه‌رێنی و نه‌رێنیشی هه‌بووه‌، ئه‌وا ئێران جگه‌ له‌ ڕۆڵێکی نه‌رێنی له‌م وڵاته‌ بێ شکۆ و داڕووخاوه‌دا، هیچ نواندنێکی ئه‌ر‌ێنی نه‌بووه..

کۆشکی سپی له‌ سه‌رده‌می سه‌رۆکایه‌تیی “جیمی کارتێر” و کاتی شه‌ڕی سارد و ئه‌و ململانێیه‌ی که‌ له‌ ئه‌ده‌بیاتی سیاسیدا به‌ “جیهانی دوو قوتبی” ناوی هاتووه‌‌، به‌ قومارێکی دۆڕاو، شێر و خه‌تی بۆ ئه‌وه‌ هه‌ڵخست، که‌ دوای داڕمانی ڕژیمی پاشایه‌تی و دامه‌زرانی ده‌وڵه‌تی ئیسلامی (له‌ ئێران، ئه‌فغانستان، یان هه‌ر وڵاتێکی دی)، ده‌کارێ به‌ره‌یه‌ک له‌ دژی قوتبی دژبه‌ری سه‌رمایه‌داری، واته‌ یه‌کێتی سۆڤیه‌ت پێکبهێنێ، ئاکامی ئه‌و هاوکێشه‌یه،‌ زۆر به‌ پێچه‌وانه‌وه‌ ده‌رچوو، به‌ جۆرێک که‌ له‌ ئێستادا ده‌بینین، ئێران و ڕووسیه‌(یه‌کێتی سۆڤیه‌تی پێشوو)، ئه‌گه‌ریش سوێند به‌ سه‌ری یه‌کدی نه‌خۆن، ئه‌وا به‌رژه‌وه‌ندیی هاوبه‌ش له‌ به‌ره‌یه‌کی دژه‌ ئه‌مریکیدا کۆی کردوونه‌ته‌وه‌ و وێڕای بازرگانییه‌کی به‌رفراوان له‌ بواری جۆراوجۆر له‌ نێوان ئه‌و دوو وڵاته‌دا، ته‌نانه‌ت له‌ ده‌ستوه‌ردانیان له‌ وڵاتانی ناوچه‌که‌، پێکه‌وه‌ هه‌ماهه‌نگی و هاریکارییه‌کی برایانه‌یان هه‌یه‌!! هه‌ڵبه‌ت ئه‌و‌ په‌یوه‌ندییانه‌ی ئه‌م دوو وڵاته‌ ناکرێ په‌یوه‌ندییه‌کی ستراتیژی و دوورماوه‌ بێ، له‌ به‌ر ئه‌وه‌ی ئایدیۆلۆژیا و ئامانجی سه‌رکییان وه‌ک نییه‌ و له‌ ئێستادا ته‌نیا گرنگی به‌ به‌رایی(ئه‌وله‌وییه‌ت)ه‌کانی به‌رژه‌وه‌ندیی خۆیان ده‌ده‌ن.


کۆشکی سپی، هه‌ر دوای داگیرکردنی کونسولخانه‌ی وڵاته‌که‌ی له‌ کاتی سه‌رکه‌وتنی شۆڕشی گه‌لانی ئێران و ده‌ستپێکی حوکمڕانی و ڕابه‌ڕایه‌تیی ئا‌یه‌توڵا خومه‌ینی له‌ ئێراندا، له‌وه‌ تێگه‌یشت که‌ چیدی هیچ پێگه‌یه‌کی له‌ ئێراندا نابێ‌ و ته‌نانه‌ت ئێران ده‌بێته‌ مه‌ترسییه‌کی گه‌وره‌ بۆ سه‌ر به‌رژه‌وه‌ندییه‌کانی له‌ ناوچه‌که‌دا، بۆیه‌ به‌ درێژایی شه‌ڕی هه‌شت ساڵه‌ی نێوان عێراق و ئێران (توێژه‌رانی به‌ناوبانگی سیاسیی جیهان، جه‌خت له‌وه‌ ده‌که‌نه‌وه‌، له‌ هه‌ڵگیرسانی ئه‌و شه‌ڕه‌دا ئه‌مریکا ده‌ستێکی باڵای هه‌بووه‌)، پاڵپشتێکی ته‌واو عه‌یاری ڕژیمی دڕنده‌ی به‌عسی عێراق(به‌ سه‌رۆکایه‌تیی سه‌دام حوسێن) بوو، تا پێش داگیرکردنی کوه‌یت-یش له‌ لایه‌ن عێراقه‌وه‌، ئه‌و پشتیوانییه‌ به‌رده‌وام بوو.

ئه‌مریکای سه‌رده‌می سه‌رۆکایه‌تیی جۆرج ده‌بلیو بوش، حوکمڕانیی به‌غدای پشتیوانی تیرۆریستانی له‌ تیرۆریستپه‌روه‌رانی تاران پێ مه‌ترسیدارتر بوو. جۆرج ده‌بلیو بوش له‌ كتێبکیی خۆیدا به‌ ناونیشانی “خاڵه‌كانی بڕیار” (که‌ به‌شێکی وه‌ک نامه‌ ئاراسته‌ی جۆرج بوش-ی باوکی کردووه‌)، هۆکاره‌کانی لێدان له‌ هه‌یبه‌ت و ده‌سه‌ڵاتی سه‌ره‌ڕۆیانه‌ی دیکتاتۆریی عێراق(سه‌دام حوسێن) له‌ ژێر ناوی “شه‌ڕی دژی تیرۆر”دا ده‌خاته‌ڕوو. سه‌رۆکی ئه‌و کاتی ئه‌مریکا، کۆتایی به‌ هه‌ر دوو رژیمی سه‌دام له‌ عێراق و بنلادن له‌ ئه‌فغانستان هێنا. عێراق به‌ یه‌کجاری له‌ کوت و به‌ند و دڕنده‌یی به‌عس ڕزگاری بوو. سه‌دام که‌ کونه‌ مشکی لێ ببوو به‌ قه‌یسه‌ری، له‌ حه‌شارگه‌یه‌کی بن عه‌رده‌وه‌ بۆ به‌ر ده‌م حاکم ڕزگار-ی کورد له‌ دادگه‌یه‌کی عێراقدا په‌لکێش کرا و دواتر باجی تاوانه‌کانی به‌ سزای له‌سێداره‌دان وه‌رگرت.

بێگومان به‌ بێ ده‌ستوه‌ردانی‌ ئه‌مریکا له‌ عێراق، ڕژیمی سه‌رکوتگه‌ر و دڕنده‌ی به‌عس‌ هێزێک نه‌بوو، که‌ به ئاسانی و به‌‌ خۆپیشاندانی جه‌ماوه‌ری بڕووخێ، بۆیه‌ زۆر له‌ چاودێرانی سیاسی، ئه‌مریکا به‌ ڕزگارکه‌ری گه‌لانی عێراق له‌ بن چنگی دیکتاتۆرێکی خوێنمژ و خوێنڕێژ ده‌زانن، به‌ پێچه‌وانه‌ی ئه‌وانه‌ی که‌ وه‌ک هێزێکی داگیرکار سه‌یری ده‌که‌ن.


له‌ سه‌رده‌می سه‌رۆکایه‌تیی باراک ئۆباما، حکومه‌تی زۆرینه‌ی شیعه‌ له‌ عێراقی به‌ ناو فیدڕاڵ و خاوه‌ن یاسای بنه‌ڕه‌تیی وڵات (ده‌ستوور) دامه‌زرا،‌ هێزه‌کانی سه‌ربازیی ئه‌مریکا له‌ عێراق کشانه‌وه‌، گۆڕه‌پانه‌که‌ به‌ ته‌واوی بۆ ئێران چۆڵ کرا، به‌وه‌ش شه‌ڕی مه‌زهه‌بیی شیعه‌ و سوننه‌ که‌ شه‌ڕێکی دێرینه‌ و ڕابردوویه‌کی پتر له‌ ده‌یان سه‌ده‌ی هه‌یه‌، له سه‌رده‌ستی‌ حکومه‌تی نوێی عێراق و به‌ فیتی ئێران ده‌ستی پێ کرده‌وه‌. حکومه‌تی زۆرینه‌ی شیعه‌ له‌ عێراقی به‌ ناو فیدڕاڵ که‌ بۆ زیاتر له‌ چه‌ند ده‌یه‌ له‌ ژێر سته‌می به‌عسییه‌کاندا بوون،(ته‌نانه‌ت ئه‌نجامدانی ڕێوڕه‌سمه‌کانی مه‌زهه‌بییان وه‌ک “تاسووعا” و “عاشوورا” قه‌ده‌غه‌ کرابوو)، به‌ ئه‌قڵییه‌تی تۆڵه‌سه‌ندنه‌وه‌ و به‌ بیانووی شه‌ڕی دژی تیرۆر، به‌ربوونه گیانی سوننه‌ و سه‌رکرده‌کانیان و هه‌ر ئه‌و سیاسه‌ته‌ چه‌وت و هه‌ڵه‌یه‌ وایکرد، ئه‌لقاعیده‌-ی‌ عێراق له هه‌یکه‌لێکی گه‌وره‌تر و دڕنده‌تردا به‌ ناوی دوڵه‌تی ئیسلامی له‌ عێراق و شام (داعش) خۆی ڕێک بخاته‌وه‌ و پارێزگا و شار و ناوچه‌ سوننه‌نشینه‌کانیش ئامێزیان بۆ بکه‌نه‌وه‌، ئاکامه‌که‌شی ئه‌وه‌ بوو: مووسڵ وه‌ک دووه‌م شاری گه‌وره‌ی عێراق و چه‌ک و ته‌قه‌مه‌نیی پێشکه‌وتووی ئه‌مریکی له‌ پێنج “فرقه‌”ی سوپای عێراق ده‌ستی به‌سه‌ردا گیرا و به‌وه‌ش تیرۆریستانی داعش له‌خۆباییانه‌ تا نزیکی به‌غدا خاکیان داگیر کرد، په‌لاماری باشووری کوردستانیان دا و کاره‌ساتی جینۆسایدی کوردانی ئێزدی لێ که‌وته‌وه‌، که‌ دواجار هێزه‌کانی پێشمه‌رگه‌ی قاره‌مان و وڵاتپارێز به‌ هاوکاریی هێزی ئاسمانیی ئه‌مریکاو هاوپه‌یمانه‌کانی چۆکیان پێ دادان و کۆتاییان به‌ ئه‌فسانه‌ی داعش هێنا. به‌ڵام حوکمڕانانی به‌غدا به‌ فیتی کۆماری ئیسلامیی ئێران نه‌ک قوربانیدانه‌کانی کورد و هێزه‌کانی پێشمه‌رگه‌یان نادیده‌ گرت، ته‌نانه‌ت بودجه‌ و مووچه‌ی هه‌رێمی کوردستانیان بڕی، که‌ جگه‌ له‌ شه‌ڕی پڕ تێچووی ڕاماڵینی تیرۆریستانی داعش، نزیکه‌ی دوو ملوێن ئاواره‌ی شه‌ڕی سووریا و عێراقی داڵده‌ دابوو. ژماره‌یه‌کی زۆری ئاواره‌کانیش عه‌ره‌ب و شیعه‌ و سوننه‌ و مه‌سیحیی عێراقی بوون، که‌ تا ئێستاش کوردستان به‌ ژینگه‌یه‌کی ئارام بۆ خۆیان ده‌زانن و ئاماده‌ نین بۆ زێدی خۆیان بگه‌ڕێنه‌وه‌..

پێشێلکارییه‌کانی ده‌ستووری عێراق و ئابڵوقه قور‌سه‌کانی سه‌ر هه‌ولێر له‌ لایه‌ن به‌غداوه‌، بووه‌ هۆکارێ ئه‌وه‌ی به‌ڕێز مه‌سعوود بارزانی (وه‌ک سه‌رۆکی ئه‌و کاتی هه‌رێمی کوردستان) به‌ هه‌ماهه‌نگی له‌گه‌ڵ لایه‌نه‌ سیاسییه‌کانی کوردستان بۆ ئیراده‌ی گه‌ل بگه‌ڕێته‌وه‌ و دره‌وشاوه‌ترن میدالیای سه‌روه‌ریی گه‌ل، له قاڵبی گه‌لپرسی (ڕیفراندۆم)دا له‌ به‌رۆکی مێژووی گه‌له‌که‌ی بدا، به‌ڵام کۆماری ئیسلامیی ئێران له‌ سه‌ر ده‌ستی قاسم سوله‌یمانی و چه‌ند سه‌رکرده‌یه‌کی کاڵفام و خاکفرۆشی دانیشتووی سلێمانی، له‌دوای ته‌فروتوونابوونی داعشییه‌کان، د. حه‌یده‌ر ئه‌لعه‌ببادی سه‌رۆک وه‌زیرانی پێشووی عێراقیان ناچار کرد، پیلانی کۆتاییهێنان به‌ حکومه‌تی خۆماڵی و ده‌سه‌ڵاتی سیاسی و حوکمڕانیی کورد جێبه‌جێ بکا، له‌ به‌ر چاوی سه‌رۆکی نوێی ئه‌مریکا (دۆناڵد ترامپ) و سه‌رۆک کۆماری کوردزمانی عێراق(د. فواد مه‌عسووم)دا، سوپای عێراق و میلیشیاکانی ده‌ستپه‌روه‌رده‌ی ئێران، که‌رکووک و ناوچه‌ کوردستانییه‌کانی ده‌ره‌وه‌ی هه‌رێمی کوردستانیان داگیر کرده‌وه‌، به‌ڵام جارێکی دی پێشمه‌رگه‌ی “ئه‌برامز”شکێن، وه‌ک هێزه‌ فریادڕه‌سه‌که‌ی کورد و کوردستان، لووتی سوپای داگیرکه‌ر و که‌واسووره‌کانی به‌ر له‌شکریانی له‌ پردێ و چه‌ند میحوه‌ری دیکه‌ شکاند و شکۆی هه‌ولێری پایته‌ختیان پاراست.

‌ به‌ ده‌رکه‌وتنی به‌ڕێز دۆناڵد ترامپ وه‌ک سه‌رۆکی ویلایه‌ته‌ یه‌کگرتووه‌کانی ئه‌مریکا، گڵۆڵه‌ی ئێران که‌وته‌ لێژی و ئه‌مریکا له‌ ڕێککه‌وتننامه‌ی ناوکیی وڵاتانی (5 +1) له‌گه‌ڵ ئێران کشایه‌وه‌ و تا ئێستاش سزاکانی ئه‌مریکا له‌ دژی ئابووریی ئێران به‌ قورسی‌ به‌رده‌وامه‌ و سه‌رۆکی ئه‌مریکا دوای گۆڕانکاری له‌ چه‌ند پۆستی وه‌زاری و ئه‌منی و ڕاوێژکاری، له‌ ئێستادا هێزه‌کانی له‌ سووریه‌ کشاندووه‌ته‌وه‌ و له‌ عێراق جێگیری کردوون و پێده‌چێ پلانی وه‌ده‌رنانی ئێران له‌ عێراق له‌ به‌رایی (ئه‌وله‌وییه‌ت)ی به‌رنامه‌کانیدا بێ.

وه‌ک سه‌رچاوه‌کانی هه‌واڵ باسی ده‌که‌ن، ئه‌م پلانه‌ی ئه‌مریکا به تواندنه‌وه‌ی میلیشیاکانی حه‌شدی شه‌عبی ده‌ست پێ ده‌کا، که‌ به‌ سوپایه‌کی به‌رفه‌رمانی سوپای پاسدارانی ئێران ناسراون. ئێران له‌ به‌رامبه‌ر ئه‌و پلانه‌دا ده‌سته‌وه‌ستان نه‌بووه‌ و هه‌موو هه‌وڵه‌کانی له‌وه‌دا چڕ کردووه‌ته‌وه‌ که‌ له‌ رێگه‌ی مۆره‌کانیه‌وه وه‌ک فراکسیۆنى په‌رله‌مانی، ده‌نگ بۆ کشانه‌وه‌ی هێزه‌کانی ئه‌مریکا له‌ خاکی عێراق کۆ بکه‌نه‌وه‌. له‌ لایه‌کی دیکه‌وه‌ وەزیری دەرەوەی ئەمریكا (مایك پۆمپیۆ)، ترانزیتێکی دیپلۆماسی وه‌ڕێ خستووه‌ و لە ڕێگەى سەردانە دیپلۆماتییەکانى بۆ چەندین وڵاتی ناوچه‌که‌ هه‌وڵی دروستکردنی هاوپه‌یمانییه‌کی به‌هێز له‌ دژی کۆماری ئیسلامیی ئێران ده‌دا، گڵۆپی سه‌وزیشی بۆ‌ ئیسڕائیل پێ کردووه‌، هه‌تا گورزی کوشنده‌ له‌ میلیشیاکانی ئێران له‌ سووریه‌ و ته‌نانه‌ت له‌ عێراقیش بدا، میلیشیاکانی ئێرانیش به‌نیازن عێراق بکه‌نه‌ سەرى ڕمی بەرگریکردن لە ئێران و بێگومان هاوکێشه‌کان و “ئه‌مری واقیع” وا مه‌زه‌نده‌ی ده‌کرێن که‌ له‌ کورت ماوه‌دا ئه‌وه‌ یه‌کلا ده‌بێته‌وه‌ که‌ ئه‌مریکا و ئێران کامیان ده‌ستیان له‌ عێراق کورت ده‌کرێته‌وه‌.


ڕاسان و سەرهەڵدانەوەی شوڕشێکی نوێ

        ڕاسان و سەرهەڵدانەوەی شوڕشێکی نوێ


Amin Khawaleh

ئه‌مین خه‌واله‌ رۆژنامه‌نووس و هه‌واڵنێر

لە گەڵ ڕووخانی باری ئابووری ئێران و گرژ و ئاڵۆزی نێوان حکوومەتی دیکتاتۆری ئێران و هێزە هاوپەیمانەکان و لە سەرووی هەموویانەوە ئامریکا و هەڕەشە نوێ کان ئەو وڵاتە بۆ سەر ئێران و دەسپێکردنەوەی گەمارۆی ئابووری و بالەباری بارودۆخی ژیانی خەڵک و پەرەستاندنی ناڕەزایەتیەکان رۆژ لە دوای رۆژ، دەسپێکردنەوەی خەباتێکی نوێ و گەڕانەوەی هێزێکی زۆری پێشمەرگەکانی حیزبی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران لە ژێر ناوی ڕاسان و هەڵگیرسانی مەشخەڵی هەستی شوڕشگێڕی و خەبات و چالاکی و دەسپێکی جم و جووڵێکی تازەی لێ کەوتۆتەوە لە لایەک زیندوو کردنەوەی هێزی نەتەوەیی و شوڕشگێری نەتەوەی کورد و تازە کردنەوی پەیمان لە گەڵ شەهیدان و لە لایەک به هێزتر کردنی توانا و چالاکیەکانی حیزبی دیموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران لە ناو کۆمەڵگا دا و باوەڕ به هەموو راستییەکان لە دڵی خەڵک دا، خەڵکێک کە لە بارودۆخی نالەباری ئێستای رۆژهەڵاتی کوردستان پێویستیان بە ڕێبەری و جووڵە و چالاکی نوێ هەیە و حیزبی دێموکراتیش لەن نێوانەدا وەکوو هەموو جارێک یەکەم هێزی پێشرەو و ڕێگا نیشاندەر ئەرکی خۆی بە جوانترین شێواز دەرخستووە.

به خۆشحاڵیەوە کوڕان و کچانی کوردستان بە چاوکراوەیی و زانیاری تەواو ڕێگای خۆیان بۆ بەرگری لە مافە سەرەتاییەکانی گەلی کورد هەلدەبژێرن و ڕۆژ لە دوای ڕۆژ بە جۆش و خرۆشێکی جوان و بێ وێنە روو ئەکەنە ڕیزەکانی خەبات و پێشمەرگایەتی و بە بیر و باوەڕێکی قورسەوە چەکی شەرەف و کەرامەت بۆ پاراستنی ژیان و خاک و نیشتمانیان لە شان ئەکەن.

بێ گۆمان خەڵکی ئێمە ئێستاش باوەڕی قووڵیان بە وتەکانی ڕێبەری هەمیشە زیندووی گەلی کورد دوکتور قاسملووی نەمر هەیە کە ئەفەرمێت : ” پێشمەرگە ئەو ئینسانە مەزنەیە کە لە پێناو ڕزگاری و بەختیاری گەل و نیشتمانی دا لە هەموو تێکۆشان و ئاسوودەیی ژیان گوزەراوە و لە زستانی سارد و هاوینی گەرم دا دوور لە ماڵ و منداڵ و کەس و کاری لە سەنگەری شەرەف و پیاوەتی ژیان بە سەر دەبات. پێشمەرگە ئەو ڕۆڵە بە ئەمەگەی خەڵکە کە هەموو داهات و سەرمایەی ژیانی بە سەخاوەتەوە لە خزمەت ئامانجەکانی خەڵک داناوە بێ ئەوەی چاوی لە هیچ حقووق و پاداشێک بێت یا تەنانەت باسی بکات”.

لەم ماوە کورتەدا کە ڕاسان دەستی پێکردووە پشمەرگە قارەمانەکانی حیزبی دیموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران چەندین و چەند چالاکی گەورە و مەزنیان ئەنجام داوە و بە دوژمنانی گەلی کوردیان سەڵماندووە کە گەلی کورد هێشتا زیندووە و هێشتا چالاک و لە سەر پێیە راستە لەم ماوە دا حیزبی دیموکرات چەن شەهیدی داوە و چەندین ڕۆڵەی بە ئەمەگ و بە جەرگی حیزبەکەی شە هید و گیانیان فیدا کردووە بەڵام وەک دوکتور قاسملوو ئەڵێت : گەلێک ئازادی بوێت دەبێ نەرخی ئەو ئازادیەش بدات. و لە راستی شەهید بوونی کاوەی جەوانمەرد و سەرکەوت سەمەدی و شۆرش مینبەری و هەموو ئەو ڕۆڵە دلێرانە نەرخ و بەهای ئەو ئازادیەیە و بە شانازیەوە زیندوو ڕاگرتنی خەباتی نوێ و شۆڕشەکەمانە.

کۆشتن و لە ناو بردنی چەندین خۆفرۆش و وڵات فرۆش لە ماوەی ڕابردوو دا لاپەڕەیەکی زێڕینی بۆ حیزبی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران تۆمار کردووە هەر بۆیە خەڵک متمانەیەکی جوانیان بە حیزبی دیمۆکرات هێناوەتەوە و خۆفرۆش و چڵکاوخۆرانی رژیمی پەت و سێدارەش خۆیان کۆکردۆتەوە و زیاتر لە جاران ئاگایان لە خۆیانە و ترسی هێزی پێشمەرگە و سەرهەڵدانەوەی شۆڕشی نوێی کوردستان خەونی لێ زڕاندوون و لە لایەکی دیکەش حکوومەتی دیکتاتوری کۆماری سێدارەش بە ڕووخانی ژێرخانی ئابووری زیاتر لە جاران هەست بە مەترسی و ڕووخان ئەکات و توانای بەرەنگاربوونەوەی لە گەڵ هێزەکان نەماوە.


لێرە دا حیزبی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران وەکوو حیزبێکی چالاک و پێشڕەو بۆ یەکەمجار دەسپیشخەری کرد لە هەڵگیرسانەوەی مەشخەڵی خەباتی نوێ و هێنانە ئارای خەباتی چەکداری و گەڕانەوەی هێزەکانیان بۆ چیا و دۆڵەکانی کوردستان و بۆ ناو خەڵکی کوردستان لە کاتێک دا که هاوکات حیزبەکانی دیکە باوەڕیان بە خەباتی چەکداری زۆر کەم یان نەمابوو بەڵام بە دەسپێکردنەوەی شوڕش و خۆش بوونی ئاگرەکە خۆیان تێهەڵقورتاندووە و هاتووەنەوە ئارا بۆ ئەوەی لە شوڕش و کاروانەکە بە جێ نەمێنن لێرە دا راستە کوردستان موڵکی تەنیا حیزبێک یان حیزبی دێموکرات نیە و مەیان بۆ هەموو حیزب و لایەنەکان ئاوەڵایە و دێمۆکراسی ڕاستەقینە یانی فرە حیزبی و فرەباوەڕی و با ئەوانیش چالاکی خۆیان بکەن بەڵام با چالاکیەکانیان ئاشکرا و بە بێ چەواشەکاری بێت و دوور لە گرژ و ئاڵۆزی بێت و رووی ڕاستییەکان قەبـووڵ بکەن و بە گژ یەکداچوون و ئاڵۆزی هەموو کات دوژمنی پێ شاد بووە و ئەبێت.

بێ گومان لە گەڵ رووخان و دەرکرانی مەلا و دەست و پێوانەکانی رژیمی کۆماری ئیسلامی کوردستان و پارێزگا کوردنشینەکانی دیکە پێویستیان بە ڕێبەری و هێزێکی ڕێگا نیشاندەر هەیە بۆ بەرگری لە هەر چەشنە مەترسییەک بۆ سەر خاکی کوردستان و خەڵکی کوردستان و لە ماوەی ئەم چەن ساڵە دا حیزبی دیمۆکراتی کوردستانی ئێران ئەزموونێکی جـوان و پڕبایەخی هەڵگرتووە چە لەو کاتانەی کە لە باشووری کوردستان میوان بوون و لە رۆژهەڵات چالاکی سیاسی و تەشکیلاتی یان نواندووە و چە لەم ماوە کورتە دا کە گەڕاوەنەتەوە ناو خەڵک و چالاکی سەربازی و هێزی نیزامی و بیر و ڕای خۆیان هێناوەتەوە ناو دڵی رۆژهەڵات و هاوکات جێگای متمانە و بڕوای خۆیان لە دڵی هەموو خەڵکی کوردستان کردۆتەوە و سەڵماندوویانە کە ئەتوانن ڕێبەری هەر چەشنە چالاکی و شوڕشێکی جەماوەری وە ئەستۆ بگرن و پستگیری لە خەڵک و جەماوەری کوردستان بکەن.

لە ماوەی ئەم چەندین ساڵە دا حیزبی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران ئەزموونێکی جوانی لە بەڕێوەبەرایەتی و بەرپرسایەتی کۆکردۆتەوە چە لە باشوور و چە لە وڵاتانی ئەوروپی هەر بۆیە بە دڵنیاییەوە زۆر بە باشی ئەتوانێت پرۆسەی وڵاتپارێزی و ڕاهێنانی هەموو جۆر بەرپرسایەتی بکات و بێ گومان لە ئەزموونی تاڵی باشووریش تەجرۆبەی بە کەڵکیان وەرگرتووە و بەرگری ئەکات لە هەر جۆرە گەندەڵی و سەرلێ شێواوی لە بەڕێوەبردنی داهاتووی نیشتمان و لە لایەک ناسینی کێشە و گرفتەکانی جەماوەر و هەوڵ بۆ چارەسەر کردن و بنەبڕ کردنی ئاڵۆزیەکان بە هاوکاری جەماوەر و خەڵکێک کە باوەڕیان به هێزی خۆیان هەیە و ئەتوانن کێشەکان بە یارمەتی حیزبەکەیان چارەسەر بکەن.

سەفەری ئەم دواییانەی لێپرسراوی گشتی حیزبی دێموکراتی کوردستانی ئێران بەڕێز هیجری بە خۆشحاڵیەوە دەسکەوتی چاک و پشتیوانی وەزارەتی دەرەوە و چەندین ڕێکخراوی ئەمەریکی لە پشتەوە بووە کە ئەوانەش لە داهاتوو دا دەسکەوتی چاکی ئەبێت و ئاڵۆگۆڕی دیپلۆماتیک لە گەڵ هێزێکی وەکوو ئامریکا هەم لە بواری ئابووری و هەم لە بوارە جیاجیاکانی وڵاتپارێزی و سیاسی و کۆمەڵایەتی و فەرهەنگی ئاکامی باش و پڕبایەخی لێ ئەکەوێتەوە.

Iran: Reveal whereabouts of four Kurdish men

amnesty-internationalReveal whereabouts of four Kurdish men 

UA: 171/17 Index: MDE 13/6734/2017 Iran        Date: 13 July 2017 

Four men from Iran’s Kurdish minority have been subjected to enforced disappearance since their arrests on 23 and 24 June. The authorities have refused to provide any information to their families about their fate or whereabouts. The men, who are all related, are at risk of extrajudicial execution, torture, and other human rights violations.

Ramin Hosseinpanahi

Ramin Hossein Panahi, a member of the Komala armed opposition group, was arrested on 23 June after taking part in armed clashes with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards in the city of Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, northwest Iran. Amnesty International understands that Ramin Hossein Panahi was injured during the clashes. His family has not been informed of his fate or whereabouts but they learned through a local non-official source that, following his arrest, he was initially taken to a hospital for about an hour and then moved to an undisclosed location.

His family is concerned that he will be denied critical medical care for his injuries.

The Iranian authorities often deny prisoners access to adequate medical care, sometimes as an intentional act of cruelty intended to intimidate and punish them, or to extract forced “confessions”.  

Hours after Ramin Hossein Panahi’s arrest, the Revolutionary Guards stormed his parents’ house in the village of Qeruchay, near Sanandaj, and arrested his brother, Afshin Hossein Panahi

They raided the house again on 24 June and arrested three other members of his family: Ahmad Hossein Panahi (brother-in-law); Zobeyr Hossein Panahi(distant relative); and Anvar Hossein Panahi (cousin), who has since been released. Information received by Amnesty International suggests that none of these men had any involvement in the armed clashes.

Since their arrest, the authorities have refused to provide any information to their families about the fate or whereabouts of the three men still detained.

On 10 July, the mother of Ramin Hossein Panahi visited the Ministry of Intelligence office in Sanandaj, where officials said that the Revolutionary Guards were responsible for his case and therefore his arrest and that the Ministry of Intelligence had nothing to do with him. However, the Revolutionary Guards had previously told the family that they had transferred him to the detention of the Ministry of Intelligence so he was no longer their responsibility. The four men still in detention are victims of enforced disappearance, which is a crime under international law, and are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Please write immediately in English, Persian or your own language calling on the Iranian authorities to: 

– Immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of Ramin Hossein Panahi, Afshin Hossein Panahi, Ahmad Hossein Panahi, and Zobeyr Hossein Panahi;
– Release Afshin Hossein Panahi, Ahmad Hossein Panahi, and Zobeyr Hossein Panahi if they have been detained solely because of their family connection with Ramin Hossein Panahi;
–  Ensure that all four men are provided with any medical care they may require and are protected from torture and other ill-treatment;
– Ensure that Ramin Hossein Panahi is provided with immediate access to medical care and to an independent lawyer of his choosing and promptly brought before a judge.


Justice Department of Kurdistan Province 
Imam Shafe’i Square
Shahid Shebli Boulevard
PO Box: 6614786964
Kurdistan Province

Head of the Judiciary 
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
c/o Public Relations Office
Number 4, Deadend of 1 Azizi
Above Pasteur Intersection
Vali Asr Street
Tehran, Iran

And copies to

Advisor to the President for Ethnic and Religious Minorities’ Affairs 

Ali Younesi
Office of the Presidency
Pasteur Street, Pasteur Square
Tehran, Iran

Also, send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: 


Address 1

Address 2

Address 3

Fax: Fax number

Email: Email address

Salutation: Salutation

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


Additional Information

The men’s families have reported making strenuous efforts to locate them by visiting various government offices in Sanandaj and Qorveh, and the village of Dehgolan, all in Kurdistan province, but said that officials refused to disclose their fate or whereabouts. Instead, officials have directed threats and insults at them, describing their loved ones as “terrorists”.

Amnesty International understands that the arrests of Ramin Hossein Panahi, Afshin Hossein Panahi, Anvar Hossein Panahi, Ahmad Hossein Panahi, and Zobeyr Hossein Panahi were carried out in a violent manner. According to accounts from Ramin Hossein Panahi’s family, armed Revolutionary Guards wearing black masks broke down the front door of their family house on 24 June and beat the men, as well as Ramin Hossein Panahi’s sister and elderly father. They also warned them against holding gatherings or giving media interviews.

In addition to Ramin Hossein Panahi, three other men affiliated with the armed Kurdish opposition group Komala were involved in the exchange of gunfire on 23 June 2017. They included Sabah Hossein Panahi, Hamed Seyf Panahi and Behzad Nouri. Ramin Hossein Panahi was injured and subsequently arrested while the latter three were shot dead. The exchange of gunfire apparently started at a Revolutionary Guards checkpoint after the men were identified while traveling in a car and did not heed a call to stop. The authorities have refused to return the dead bodies of the three men to their families for burials and warned the families against holding memorial gatherings. Komala has claimed that six members of the Revolutionary Guards were also killed during the clashes but the Revolutionary Guards did not acknowledge any casualties in the official statement they issued on 23 June. Komala is an armed Kurdish opposition group which has been engaged in armed activities against the Islamic Republic of Iran since the 1980s.

Kurds are one of Iran’s disadvantaged ethnic minorities and face entrenched discrimination that curtails their access to employment, adequate housing and the exercise of their cultural, economic, civil and political rights. Continued economic neglect of provinces populated by Kurds, which include Kurdistan, Kermanshah and parts of West Azerbaijan, have further entrenched poverty and marginalization. Politically, Iran’s Kurdish minority have criticized the centralization of political life in Iran and the absence of any measures to introduce any form of minority self-government.

International law absolutely prohibits enforced disappearances and specifies that no exceptional circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as justification. Enforced disappearances are particularly cruel human rights violations. Individuals are cut off from the outside world, left knowing that their loved ones have no idea where they are or whether they are dead or alive. They are placed outside of the protection of the law and denied their right to legal representation or a fair trial. Treaty bodies, human rights courts and other human rights bodies have repeatedly found that enforced disappearances also violate the right to liberty and security of the person, the right not to be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, the right to remedy, and the right to life. An enforced disappearance is also a “continuing crime”, which takes place so long as the disappeared person remains missing and information about his or her fate or whereabouts has not been provided by the state. Enforced disappearances also have a profound effect on the family members and friends of the disappeared individuals who are sometimes forced to anxiously wait years before they find out if their loved one is alive or dead.

Name: Ramin Hossein Panahi, Afshin Hossein Panahi, Ahmad Hossein Panahi, Zobeyr Hossein Panahi
Gender m/f: All male

UA: 171/17 Index: MDE 13/6734/2017 Issue Date: 13 July 2017

The Urgent Action is available on the Amnesty International website at the following link:

Dr. Azad Moradian : Establishing a Kurdish State Will Shake the Balance in the Region

Featured Image -- 2317The Kurdistan Voice: As you know, one of the most disputed political topics in the Middle East is the independence referendum of Kurdistan, which will be held within the next three months. Until now, Iran has opposed the referendum more than Baghdad or even Ankara. Is Iran afraid of an independent Kurdistan because it is likely to become a catalyst for the Kurds of Iran?

Dr. Moradian: An independent Kurdish state, regardless of size, is a direct threat to Iranian political hegemony and the regional power of the Middle East.

Essentially, the long-term strategic goal of Iran is to create a Shiite block, or as they call it, a Shiite Crescent and claim the territorial and ideological leadership of the Shiite world.

The removal of Saddam Hussein created the space for the Iranian regime to further spread their influence in the region.

In Lebanon and in part of Yemen, Iran has already been able to establish their dominance and have widespread Shiite support. All of Iranian’s efforts in Syria are towards this same end.

While Iran has been involved in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, they became physically engaged in 2014 to preserve the power of an Alawite Shiite regime. The territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria and the preservation of the ruling powers in these countries is of paramount importance to Iran. Therefore, anything that threatens this plan is something Iran will vehemently oppose. Kurds are situated, physically and politically, in direct opposition to this plan. Kurds are also positioned to oppose Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions to reestablish an Ottoman Sunni Crescent (please see Question 3 for more on this topic).

Establishing a Kurdish state will shake the balance in the region, as it does not reinforce the larger geopolitical visions of Iran and/or Turkey.
Furthermore, while the situations of Kurds in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey are different, there is cross-border influence and exchange. The formation of a Kurdish state in any one of these regions can catalyze Kurds in other regions.

Iranian Kurds established the first Kurdish state (The Republic of Mahabad 1946), so the history is there for people to be moved into action by what happens in Iraqi Kurdistan. There is a great deal of movement between Kurds in Iraq and Iran; therefore, we cannot minimize the power of the independence referendum in revitalizing resistance in other regions of Kurdistan.

Anytime we discuss Middle East politics, we must touch on the economic impact of regional changes. Iran, in part because of their position in OPEC, has a key economic role. An independent Kurdistan with their rich oil reserves will become a dominant voice regarding what happens to oil exports. Iran does not want to share this power. While Iran is afraid of a future state of Kurdistan threatening internal affair, the issue is more complex than that. Iran opposes the referendum because a Kurdish state threats Iranian political, economic, and ideological dominance in all aspects.

On the ideological front, Iran does not want to have a secular democratic state at its borders. Despite all of the internal party issues in Iraqi Kurdistan, the system can still be an antidote to Iranian theocracy. This would create tension within Iran, not just in the Kurdish region of Iran, as it can inspire the Iranian democracy seeking movement.

For example, the stance that Iraqi Kurdistan has towards women, religious tolerance, political pluralism and open media can all have an impact on Iran’s civic engagement.

The Kurdish region, in the past 20 years, has shown a much more progressive stance towards human rights issues. Travel and intellectual exchange between the two countries could threaten the Iranian regime’s ability to maintain a dictatorship and subdue resistance and activism. Religious tolerance and women’s issues are especially key.

The Kurdistan Voice: The former U.S. president, George Bush had an unsuccessful Great Middle-East plan for the democratization of the region. Is it possible that the Trumps’ administration pursues a similar plan to strengthen the U.S. power and reduce Russia’s influence in the region?

Dr. Moradian: Let me begin by distinguishing between Bush’s foreign policy towards the Middle East and that of Trump.

The two are actually different, at least in terms of messaging. Both Sr. Bush and Jr. Bush had the slogan of destroying dictatorship and establishing democracy in the region as their stated reasons for getting involved in the Middle East.

This was the case in the early 90’s with Bush Sr. and was also the case with Bush Jr. Trump says: “America First” and states that he is there for reestablishing America’s dominance, politically, economically and ideologically. Establishing democracy does not appear to be part of the plan.

On the surface, we might think that Bush’s vision of destroying dictatorship and establishing western style democracy is a worthy cause. The reality is not exactly as noble. First of all, establishing democracy was never clearly defined or classified. There was also no clear plan of how this was going to happen. For example, Bush failed to help foster a clear alternative that would fill the void left behind after the toppling of dictatorship. Furthermore, power was not properly divvied up between all the stakeholders on the ground.

The project was left completely unfinished. In part, as a result of this, the region has been plagued by the horrors of ISIS. The human, economic, and cultural costs have been enormous.

Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. succeeded in toppling dictators but then the region was abandoned to deal with the cascading consequences of war and instability. Whether Trump’s foreign policy is going to work better remains to be seen. Time will tell. So far there is no clear vision in mind.

The Bush administration, as well as Obama’s, were committed to the one Iraq, one Syria policy and were not interested in supporting the Kurdish quest for self-determination. They saw the continuation of Iraq as well as Syria (as an intact country) as a priority. At the same time, they did not have a plan of how to support the type of political system that would lead to democracy. Territorial integrity was chosen over the well-being of people. The cost has been great suffering and further instability. This policy has had a devastating impact on Kurds and has been one of the biggest blows to Kurdish interests.

While America has relied on Kurds to neutralize extremism and give tactical and military support to American troops, it has in turn, refused to support Kurds in their political ambitions.

We don’t yet know if the Trump administration is going to continue this policy or move in a different direction. The Trump administration has supported Kurds in Syria militarily but there is so far no indication that things will be different politically.

When it comes to Russia, the issue is even more complex. While Russia appears to want to reestablish its former Soviet supremacy in the world, it is entangled in more pressing concerns closer its own borders, such as in Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia is a strong player militarily but economically it is on the same level as a country like Italy. It, therefore, does not have the leverage to continue taking a strong stance in the Middle East. The most it can hope for is to recreate the balance of power between east and west that the old Soviet once had.

Trump’s policy towards Russia has been to sit down with Russia and negotiate while making sure Russia does not have a leadership role in the world. In this regard, Trump’s policy is a conservative American stance and not a new one but it is a deviation from Obama.

Trump administration is interested in U.S. global dominance and not in power sharing. By helping Russia economically, it is likely that Russia will want to trade its influence in Syria and Iran for more dominance in the Eastern block and for more financial opportunities.


The Kurdistan Voice: It seems Turkey faces a dilemma between the United States and Russia concern to its regional policy and has been the failure to gain its strategic goals, especially in Syria as the United States has sent military equipment to the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protect Union without getting attention to the Ankara’s threats.

How is the Turkey’s policy in the region explainable?

Dr. Moradian: Before the year 2003 when AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power, Turkey’s main goals in the region were twofold:

One, it wanted to self-preserve through a strong nationalism. Its policies were geared towards fostering a secular nationalistic state. It did not expend energy and resources on expansionist policies.

Two, it wanted to become a strong economic force. It did so by being a key NATO member. It was able to do just that as it had the largest border with the East. Turkey was seen as the bridge between the East and West. It was able to gain tremendously on the economic front. For 44 years, Turkey benefited financially from the Truman Doctrine, of aid to countries that were moving away from Communism towards Democracy.

In an effort to control Communism, Turkey profited financially and politically.

The Turkish military was the guardian of this secular nationalistic state. Kurds, or anyone else, that threatened this vision were brutally repressed and slaughtered. The war against Kurds helped strengthen the Turkish state by giving the army a constant enemy. Turkey was the beneficiary of the Cold War but needed a new direction after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Understanding the recent history of Turkish foreign policy requires understanding Ahmet Davutoğlu doctrine and philosophy. He is the theoretical founder of the direction Turkey took after the fall of the Soviet Union. From 2002-2009 he had an advisory role and from 2009-2014 he was the foreign minister of Turkey and then became Prime Minister from 2014-2016.

Ahmet Davutoğlu’s philosophy was to move Turkey towards a regional power by emphasizing pan-Islamism and neo-Ottomanism. The direction of its foreign policy moved towards an expansionist one. An Islamist Pan-Turkish vision replaced secular nationalism.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan introduced laws that challenged secularism. He also started to bring forward Islamist ideology in its internal and foreign policy. It began meddling in regional affairs. For example, it became embroidered in a conflict with Israel in support of Hamas. It took positions on Afghanistan and then even more so in Syria. It supported Chechens against Russia.

Initially, Ahmet Davutoğlu attempted to minimize conflict with its neighbors by becoming closer to Iran, Greece, Armenia, Iraq, and Syria. He believed that he could have more influence in the region by neutralizing tensions. This was positive for Turkey. During the time Iran was internationally sanctioned, Turkey was able to go around these sanctions and benefit economically.

Ahmet Davutoğlu was also interested in a peace process with the PKK in order to;

1) Bring Turkey closer to joining the European Union,

2) Minimize tensions internally

3) Reduce the role of the army, which was traditionally the guardian of secular nationalism and not pan-Islamist.

Ultimately, Ahmet Davutoğlu’s vision was a failed one. The peace process with the PKK did not move forward in part because the army and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan itself had no interest in following through.

Furthermore, by the early 2012’s it was clear that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan saw himself as an Islamic leader. It drew further and further away from Europe. Joining the European Union was no longer at the forefront of Turkish national interests. The first confrontations with the west came when the U.S first invaded Iraq. Turkey initially resisted the war by not allowing the U.S military to use its bases. Furthermore, in the conflict between Gaza and Israel, it took the side of Gaza. Ahmet Davutoğl’s philosophy was clashing with the West.

Ahmet Davutoğl then supported Muslim Brotherhood and in this way wanted to penetrate in the Arab region’s internal affairs. Turkey took up a leading role in the Arab Spring. It had a proactive foreign policy at the time. It would actively pursue opportunities to expand its power.

Turkey wanted to position itself as a model for the Middle East: an Islamic country that was (at least on the surface) democratic. However, Arab Spring was too large of a conflict for Turkey to be able to control.

With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey’s role also diminished. It was not able to hold on to any power in Libya or Egypt. It became further entangled in the conflict in Syria.

The Syrian uprising and civil war were another places that Turkey attempted to have great influence. In fact, Turkey’s role in the creation and expansion of ISIS is documented but needs further scrutiny. Turkey appears to have used ISIS, as well as the refugee crisis, as a way to further hurt the Kurds and expand its powers in the region. However, with the defeat of ISIS, Turkey’s role has been further questioned. Despite the evidence, the West has yet to directly hold Turkey responsible for aiding ISIS; however, the West no longer sees Turkey as a model for the region.

By 2016, as a result of Ahmet Davutoğl’s failures to establish the type of regional dominance it set out to do, he was forced out of the political arena.

Turkey today is forced into a reactive strategy, rather than proactive position. It is at odds with its neighbors and internally unstable and more polarized than ever.




Dr. Azad Moradian, a Kurdish- American Politician was born in Iranian Kurdistan (Eastern Kurdistan). Dr. Moradian specializes in Kurdish and Iranian politics. His articles are regularly published in several media outlets and magazines. He gives regular political comments on radio and TV broadcasts. He also analyzed Kurdish politics and internal fratricide between political factions, and its dire consequences.

Dr. Moradian is Chair of Kurdish American Committee for Democracy and Human right in Iran, and co-founder of Voice of Kurdish-American Radio for Democracy, Peace, and Freedom.

Dr. Moradian is a former member of the board of directors of Kurdish National Congress of North America.



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