With the recent news of a mother and two of her adult children being sentenced to death by the Islamic Regime courts, as well as many other gross human right violations including peaceful protestors being sentenced to death, prisoners being raped and tortured in prison and many activists being sentenced to heavy jail terms the question many of us are asking is What Can We do to Help?

Ten years ago many of these human right violations would have been a secret, hidden behind locked doors. It was very difficult to receive information about political prisoners and most often we would not find out about executions until AFTER they were carried out. The situation has changed drastically however, in the past few years and in particular since the June [s]elections. At a time when some of the most well known Iranian human rights organizations are directly linked to the Ministry of Intelligence and the Regime is actually allowing for some of this news to be publicized it is quite difficult to figure out what needs to be done to help the situation.

There is no doubt that human rights work is extremely important, and we must be the voices of those who have risked their freedom and lives to fight for freedom and democracy in Iran. We also must keep in mind the fact that for every political prisoner we hear about there are 100’s we will not hear about because the Regime will not allow for us to know about them. For each death sentence we become aware of there are many others we will never hear about until after the executions are carried out, if ever.

Given this situation focusing on human rights on a case by case, or even issue by issue basis is simply not enough. We might be able to campaign for some political prisoners but what about many others who we might not even be aware of? While petitions are helpful in bringing about awareness about the situation, they are not practically useful as we all witnessed in the case of Ehsan Fatahiyan. Although more than 10,000 signatures were gathered in a matter of few days the execution was carried out anyway...

This is a clear sign that the Islamic Regime no longer cares about public opinion, and while for years the Regime may have carried out these human rights violations behind closed doors, today it has no problem doing it openly to instil fear in activists and show Iranians what will happen to them if they dare stand up against the Regime. At the same time it’s a way for the Regime to mock activists abroad by showing them that it has no regard for public opinion and that it will do what ever it pleases.

So the question remains what can we and should we do? While it is very important for us to be the voice for those who have risked their freedom and very lives to fight for freedom and democracy in Iran, we must also focus on the root problem which is the Islamic Regime. Human rights violations are like symptoms of a disease, while medication can be used to relieve the symptoms one can never permanently get rid of the problem unless one deals with the root cause, the disease.

In the case of Iran focusing on human rights alone is certainly not enough and at best will relieve the symptoms briefly, but as long as the Islamic Regime is in power the executions will continue, rapes and torture will continue and the oppression of an entire nation will continue.

It is very important to focus our time and energy on Regime Change, as that is the only real, long term and permanent solution to human rights violations in Iran. Although focusing on human rights alone is “safer” more “politically correct” and “fashionable” it certainly does not give us the desired results. We have to make a conscious choice to focus all of our energy and focus on Regime Change in Iran and to support our compatriots in Iran who are risking everything to fight for a free and democratic Iran.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Kurdish Perspective: Three members of a Kurdish family in the city of Mahabad have been sentenced to death. There is no information about the charges they are facing, however according to news from Kurdistan Human Rights Organization, they have been convicted of “social crimes.”

Mother: Ms. Jaziye Darvish-Zadeh

Daughter: Ms. Afsaneh Darvish Zadeh

Son: Mr. Fatollah Darvish Zadeh

These three individuals are currently in the Mahabad Prison.

Translation By: Sayeh Hassan

As I am getting ready to welcome the new Persian year tomorrow (March 20th 2010) I wanted to write down some of my thoughts and reflections about the year that has passed, and my hopes for the new year to come.

This year was a wonderful year for me both personally and professionally. I consider myself very fortunate to be living in Canada, a country that has provided me with numerous opportunities for advancement and for a better life. The most important and precious thing that Canada has given me is my freedom. I have the freedom to speak my mind, express myself and fight for what I believe in without the fear of being imprisoned, raped, tortured and executed.

Unfortunately that is not the case for young men and women in Iran, who face such punishments for peaceful expression of their thoughts and beliefs. I consider this year a victory for Iran and the Iranian people. For the first time in many years the brave Iranian people forced the world to stop and notice them and to hear the voices of opposition against the Islamic Regime. Those strong voices of opposition will no longer be ignored, and they will no longer settle for anything less than a free and democratic Iran.

Whatever little legitimacy the Islamic Regime may have had left, has been completely destroyed by the brave Iranian people who risked their freedom and even their lives in numbers never seen before, to voice their disgust with the Islamic Regime.
For the first time in 30 years people openly shouted slogans such as “death to the Islamic Regime” and “Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic” making it clear that the Islamic Regime is no longer an acceptable option. This in itself has been the greatest victory for the Iranian people this year, and there is no doubt that the Islamic Regime in its entirety (hardliners and reformers) will not last for much longer.

While I am extremely joyful and proud of the accomplishments of my brave compatriots in Iran, I also do not want to forget those who have lost their lives in the fight against the Islamic Regime. Let’s remember all freedom loving individuals who have been executed by the Islamic Regime in the past 30 years, specifically the 10,000 political prisoners who were executed in 1988, Akbar Mohammadi and Valliollah Feyze Mahdavi who were murdered by the Islamic Regime in prison in 2006, as well as Ehsan Fatahiyan, Fasih Yasamani, Arash Rahmanipour and Reza Ali Zamani, four brave young men executed by the Islamic Regime in the recent months. My thoughts and prayers are with their families who will be spending their first Nowrooz without their beloved children.

My thoughts and prayers are also with the family of Neda Aghasoltan, the young woman who was shot to death during the June protests, and the families of so many other young men and women who have been murdered at the hands of the Regime in the past year.

The night before Nowrooz my thoughts are also with our beloved political prisoners, young men and women who in spite of threats to their lives and freedom have chosen to fight against the Islamic Regime. Let’s remember Kaveh Kermanshahi, Hamed Omidi, Ms. Zeynab Jalaliyan, Ms. Shirin Alam Hooli, Farzad Kamangar, Arzang Davoudi, Mansour Osanloo, Behrouz Javid Tehrani and thousands of other political prisoners who will be spending Nowrooz behind prison bars and away from their families.
I am hopeful that 1389 will be the year that the Islamic Regime, in its entirety will finally be overthrown and we will have a free and democratic Iran. The days for an Independent and Free Iranian Republic is close...

Down with the Islamic Regime

Long Live Freedom in Iran

I found this blog which I think sets the situation out quite fairly, I think it's important to have a Farsi version as many Iranians may have difficulty with the English. So until I translate my own writing, this is a useful link.

در خبري كه توسط مركز بررسي جرايم سازمان‌يافته متعلق به سپاه پاسداران منتشر شد ،اطلاعاتي درباره‌ي مجموعه‌ي فعالان حقوق بشر در ايران منتشر شد و سپس خبر هك‌شدن سايت‌هايي اينترنتي متعلق به اين مجوعه ، منتشر شد .

در بخشي از فيلم منتشرشده توسط رسانه‌هاي حكومتي ايران در اين‌باره ، به روابط شخصي سايه حسن - وكيل ايراني در كانادا - با كيوان رفيعي - دبيركل مجموعه‌ي فعالان حقوق بشر در ايران - پرداخته مي‌شود . پرسش اين‌جاست كه رابطه‌ي شخصي كيوان رفيعي با سايه حسن ، تا اين حد اهميت داشته است كه بايستي در فيلم منتشر شود ؟

اكنون با نگاه ديگري به ماجرا نگاه مي‌كنيم :

سايه حسن در وبلاگش نوشته است : به دليل شك‌كردن به درست‌كاري اين مجموعه و كيوان رفيعي ، رابطه‌ي خود را با او قطع كرده است . او هم‌چنين ، مطالبي را درباره‌ي ارتباطات اين مجموعه با نظام جمهوري اسلامي متشر كرده است . وي مي‌گويد اين مجموعه با استفاده از خطوط تلفي شركت Iran Phone Line - با وجود اين‌كه مي‌دانند ممكن است مكالمات آن‌ها ضبط شده و به مقامات امنيتي تحويل داده شود - استفاده مي‌كنند . پس از اين اقدام ، رييس اين شركت با او تماس مي‌گيرد و پس از شنيدن پاسخ سايه مبني بر عدم برداشتن متن مربوط به ارتباط اين شركت با نظام جمهوري اسلامي ، با كيوان رفيعي تماس گرفته و او را متقاعد مي‌كند سايه حسن را مجبور به برداشتن اين مطلب از وبلاگش كند . كيوان رفيعي با ارسال ايميلي ، سايه حسن را تهديد به اتتشار تصاوير خصوصي‌شان - كه بدون آگاهي و موافقت سايه حسن ، در زمان نامزدي آن‌ها تهيه شده است - در صورت برنداشتن اين مطلب از وبلاگش مي‌كند . هم‌چنين در ايميل ارسالي مجموعه‌ي فعالان حقوق بشر در ايران به سايه حسن ، به او گفته مي‌شود كه اين مجموعه ، در چهارچوب قوانين ايران فعاليت مي‌كند .

پرسش : چرا كيوان رفيعي - دبیرکل مجموعه‌ي فعالان حقوق بشر - به قدري خواستار عدم انتشار متن نوشته‌شده درباره‌ي ارتباط اين مجموعه با نظام جمهوري اسلامي است كه نامزد سابقش را تهديد به انتشار عکس‌هاي خصوصي‌شان كرده است ؟

آرسام مصباحي ، از دوستان سابق كيوان رفيعي ، در وبلاگش مي‌نويسد :‌ با نهایت احترامی که به کیوان می‌گذارم و دوستی که با او دارم ، متاسفم که باید اعلام کنم دفاع از آن‌چه که گمان می‌کردم او به آن معتقد است و در دوران زندانش ، تا آن‌جا که در توان‌مان بود برای آزادی‌اش تلاش کردیم ، اشتباه بوده است .


On Sunday March 14th at 8:30 pm a “news report” was aired by the Islamic Regime News Agency about my personal relationship with Keyvan Rafiee the founder of “Human Rights Activists in Iran” (HRAI). This report was later aired on numerous websites including FarsNewsAgency. Although there was some truth to the “reports” some crucial points were left out which need to be clarified.

It is no secret that I was involved in a relationship with Keyvan Rafiee about two years ago and I also worked very closely with “Human Rights Activists in Iran.”

I broke off our relationship and stopped working with HRAI when I became more and more suspicious that Rafiee was closely linked to the Ministry of Intelligence in Iran, and that he was actively providing information about activists and political prisoners to the Ministry. Despite being blackmailed by HRAI I decided to voice my concerns and bring awareness about this situation, details of which can be found here in Farsi and here in english.

In the past year and a half many other activists both in Iran and abroad have come forward with information about Rafiee and HRAI’s possible link to the Ministry of Intelligence, their cooperation with the Regime and their betrayal of activists and political prisoners.

As evidence against “Human Rights Activists in Iran” has been piling up and activists both inside and outside of Iran have started boycotting this organization the Regime in a very timely manner aired this “news report” in order to take away all attention from suspicions surrounding Rafiee and his so called human rights organization.

The report states that Rafiee’s email has been “hacked” by the Regime and as a result of information obtained in his email numerous arrests have been made in Iran.
The report further goes into great detail about my personal relationship with him including his efforts in trying to blackmail me with personal pictures which were taken during our relationship. The only person who possession of the pictures shown in the report was Rafiee, and this certainly raises many question marks.

1. It is very interesting and convenient that his email was “hacked”

2. Also very interesting for him to have kept those types of personal pictures and personal information about two years after our relationship ended...

3. The report goes as far as showing the inside of his residence in Washington!! Also very suspect...

The “report” focus on my personal relationship with him and the fact that he tried to black mail me. However despite what this report portrays, his attempts at black mail are very much a peripheral issue, as the real issue which I have focused on for almost 2 years is his cooperation with the Ministry of Intelligence and his betrayal of activists and political prisoners.

The goal of this report is to present Rafiee as an “anti-revolutionary” with obvious character flaws. One can only imagine that this is done in the hopes of taking all attention away from the fact that he is in fact in full cooperation with the Regime and has been for a very long time. This was a concern I voiced two years ago at great personal risk to myself and I have never had any regrets. To me being an activist means standing with the Iranian People against the Regime and its agents everywhere, no exceptions.

I certainly hope this report has been an eye opener for those individuals and organizations that have been slow in catching up to the realities surrounding this person and HRAI. Given that this individual is currently residing in the United States I can only hope that the US authorities are alive to the risk he may be posing to activists residing in US.

Down with the Islamic terrorist Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran

Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Shadmehr Aghili’s Concert in Toronto. Shadmehr Aghili is arguably one of the most talented young Iranian musicians out there. He does not only write and sing songs but plays numerous instruments, and is someone I consider a true musician.

The reason I decided to write a few lines about this concert was the fact that near the end of the concert he played the Iranian National Anthem (Ey Iran)with his violin while everyone in attendance (close to 500) people stood up and sang the Iranian national anthem together. After the national anthem number of people in attendance started chanting the slogan “death to dictator” while at least one person chanted “death to the Islamic Regime.”

I was very impressed with Aghili for daring to play the Iranian National Anthem at a time when so many artists and musicians are trying their best to stay away from politics in Iran. I am very happy that I attended, it was a great night, and hope to see Shadmehr in Toronto again very soon.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran