Sunday, September 17, 2017

Radio Irava's interview with Marc Nelson, American Artist and Art teacher


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Marc Nelson earned his B.A in Fine Arts from Augustana College  in Rock Island, Illinois and Art Education Teaching Certificate from Western Illinois university. He's been teaching art for the past 10 years. Although his passion is to teach the beautiful world of art as he puts it to his students, Marc knows no boundaries when it comes to human rights violations and it reflects in his paintings that he draws from Syrian human catastrophe to the suffering of political prisoners on hunger strike in Gohardasht prison in Iran.  
Marc believes we shouldn't just watch human suffering around the world and should break the silence and do something about it. He emphasis's on today's world of social networks as a tool for artists, to protest the unjust. I was so honoured that he found the time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his art and the positive role an artist can play. 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

NEWS))))))

A group of Kurdish women staged a protest rally on September 7, in Baneh, in the Kurdistan of Iran. They protested the shooting and arbitrary killing of Kurdish porters by security forces.
In the morning of September 4, the State Security forces in the border area of Baneh shot and killed two Kurdish porters who were 21 and 45 years old.
The deaths have led to widespread outrage among residents of Baneh, Marivan and other cities such as Sannadaj and Kermanshah. People are calling to stop killing hard working porters who in most cases have high degree of education. Poverty is the main reason for the people in border area of Iran such as Kurdistan to work as porters and carry heavy items on their backs through rough and deadly paths.


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According to state-run Mehr news agency Sept. 8, Fire at a girls' school in the city of Meshginshahr, northwest Iran, led to the complete destruction of the roof. The school was shut down in the wake of this incident and 300 students are remained out of school on the eve of the new academic year. The Governor of Meshginshahr, Mir Ali Rahimizadeh, said, “In the current situation and given the limited time left before the school year, it is not possible to repair the roof and make it ready for the start of the new school year.”

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The State-run ILNA news agency reported on Sept 6 that female teachers held a protest rally in front of the Governor’s Office in Kermanshah, western Iran, on Tue. September 5, demanding to be officially employed by the Education Department. Despite years of service and experience, the teachers have not been officially hired yet and their employment status is still undetermined. Some 30 female pre-school teachers, on Sept. 4 staged a gathering outside the office of the governor of Golestan Province in the city of Golestan, northern Iran, to protest the uncertainty surrounding their employment status.

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The news of repeated rape of a mentally disabled woman in Iran at a Tehran government-run welfare center has shocked and outraged the public. According to state-run Mehr news agency Sept. 3rd, the 30-some year-old woman has lived in the welfare center for several years. An aid worker who wants to remain anonymous said that the young woman had been repeatedly raped by one of the workers at the facility. It was also found out that this was not the first case of rape by the assailant but he had previously assaulted two other mentally disabled women in the center.
In the wake of the aid worker’s report, inspectors intervened and had the worker fired from the facility, but the director of the welfare center called him back to work and arranged instead for the transfer of the mentally disabled woman to another center as had been the case with the other two women. The director of the center has also refused to send the victim for medical examinations to start legal action against the worker. It should be noted that there is no law in Iran which incriminates violence against women.

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Imminent rupture of gallbladder is threatening the life of Atena Daemi, a political prisoner detained at Iran’s Evin Prison.
Simple renal and gallbladder problems diagnosed in April have developed into a dangerous condition due to prevention of treatment by the director of Evin’s dispensary. Presently, Ms. Daemi is in danger of a gallbladder rupture and even if she is operated on, the surgery will be accompanied by infection, physicians say.
In April, in the final days of her 54-day hunger strike, Atena Daemi was visited by a physician at a medical center outside the prison, and diagnosed as suffering from initial precipitation of gallstones and primitive infection of the kidneys. The doctor ordered her to be hospitalized.

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State-run Jam-e Jam reported on Sept 5 that 19 young women and men were arrested in a private party in Sirjan, in Kerman Province, southern Iran. The General and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Sirjan announced, “After receiving information that a mixed night party was being held on Saturday night in one of the suburban gardens, the issue was followed up by Sirjan’s Intelligence and Public Security Police.
”He added that after receiving warrants from the judiciary, police forces entered the premise and arrested a number of women and men. Sharia Judge Mohsen Nikvarz continued, "Those arrested included seven women and twelve men. A number of others, including the party hosts who are on the run, are being followed by the police.”

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A number of protesters hacked the Azadi Stadium’s website on September 6, after Iranian women were not allowed to enter the stadium to watch the football match between the national teams of Iran and Syria the day before. This is while Syrian women had entered the stadium to watch the game even without a Hijab.
The ISNA news agency reported, the website of Azadi Stadium has been hacked. The hackers have posted a photo of Syrian women among spectators inside the stadium on the homepage of this website. The title on the photo read, “Shame on you, brothers! That’s all.”
ISNA noted that the Azadi Stadium authorities initially denied the hack but subsequently said that the website had undergone some problem for a while

Monday, September 04, 2017

NEWS))))))

On Thursday Aug. 31st Iran Democratic Association-Canada held a rally and a Press conference at the Parliament Hill in support of the Justice Movement for the victims of 1988 Massacres of 30,000 executed political prisoners in Iran. The Canadian Parliament has recognized 1988 Massacre as Crime Against Humanity. During the press conference inside the parliament, honorable Irwin Cotler, former minister of justice asked the Canadian government to include the 1988 Massacre in Canada led Human rights resolution at the United Nations this year.

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During the past weeks in Solidarity with the striking political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison, freedom-loving Iranians and supporters of the Iranian Resistance staged demonstrations and rallies in various cities of the world, including in Los Angeles, Berlin and Hamburg, London-UK, Stockholm and Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Aarhus , The Hague, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. The striking political prisoners in Gohardasht are in dire condition.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir, on
Thursday Aug. 31st, expressed her deep concern about the situation of a number of prisoners who have been on prolonged hunger strike to protest against their transfer to a high-security section of Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj, West of Tehran, and about their treatment while in detention. “I am deeply alarmed by reports about the deteriorating medical conditions of the prisoners on hunger strike, and that their torture and ill-treatment have continued since their transfer,” Ms. Jahangir said. “Depriving prisoners of having family contact, lawyers and adequate medical care is contrary to international law,” the rights expert said, adding: “I urge the Government of Iran to look for a prompt solution to the extreme situation created by the hunger strike through good faith dialogue about the grievances and underlying human rights violations, ensuring full respect for their dignity and autonomy,” the expert concluded.

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The bus carrying a number of Iran’s talented and elite students on their way to Shiraz overturned in Darab highway leaving 44 young women dead or wounded. The accident took place at around 4 Am on Friday, September 1. The deputy operations officer of Iran’s Emergencies Organization has confirmed the deaths of 11 and injury of 33.  Thirteen girls have been reported to be in critical conditions. Hassan Noori said four young women suffered amputated limbs or spinal cord injuries. Three of the critically wounded have been transferred to a hospital in Shiraz. On the cause of the accident, the state-run press has reported the bus driver as being drowsy. (The state-run ISNA news agency, September 1, 2017) This is not the first time that large groups of young people get killed in bus accidents. In a similar accident on March 17, 1997, the bus carrying students of Tehran’s Sharif Industrial University was driven into a gorge, killing seven students and two members of the university’s faculty of staff. Maryam Mirzakhani, a world math genius who died of cancer in US recently, survived that deadly accident.

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Violent approach of agents of Tehran’s municipality led to an old street vendor's heart attack. Tehran Municipality agents roughed up a female vendor on the street on Friday, September 1. The woman subsequently suffered a heart attack.




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According to state-run ILNA news agency Aug. 30, three of the women working in a brick kiln in East Azerbaijan Province, in northwest Iran, were seriously burned in a gas explosion on August 29. Vahid Shadinia, the public relations officer of the East Azerbaijan’s Emergency Center, said, “The explosion occurred in the room where workers lived and as a result, 30-50% of the injured workers have been burned.”
The injured workers are members of the same family aging 15, 36 and 50. It is reported that the wounded women are presently in dire conditions.
The town of Viaghan in East Azerbaijan has a population of 5,000 people, and most of the families in this town work at the brick kiln.

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Four activist women calling for repeal of the death sentence issued for Iranian prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali Taheri were arrested on August 28, in front of Tehran’s Evin Prison in Iran. The four women; Zahra Shafii, Melika Kavandi, Zahra Ebrahimi, and Raha Davoudian were on the second day of their sit-in outside Evin. The women used to be students of Mohammad Ali Taheri. Zahra Ebrahimi and Raha Davoudian were transferred to the women’s ward of Evin. Taheri’s lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaii, announced on Sunday, August 27, that his client had received a death sentence and that they would appeal.

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A large number of women who have lost their deposits due to fraud by Arman's credit institution, launched a protest rally on August 29. They demanded reimbursement. Protests against Arman Credit Institution which is backed by Iran’s Central Bank have started since March 2017, and women have expressed their protest at multiple gatherings to the plunder of their deposits.



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“Girls under 15 and young women between 15 and 19 years of age face higher risk of death during delivery, respectively five and two times greater than those women who deliver after 20,” said Fereshteh Sarbazi, a member of the Association of Gynecologists and Obstetricians. Sarbazi reiterated, “Teenage pregnancies mostly happen in rural and poor societies who are not educated. Although mothers under 19 years of age need more medical care during pregnancy, they do not have the opportunity to see a doctor since such marriages mostly take place in low income families.
“The other dangers of early pregnancies include pregnancy poisoning, anemia, death of the mother, insufficient fetal growth, and death of the fetus.” (The state-run ILNA news agency – August 29, 2017)

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Iranian regime hanged 2 men; Fardin Hosseini 31 a Chemical engineer and Masoud Valizadeh, both from Ardebil on Wed. Aug. 30th in Ardebil Centeral prison. Fardin and Masoud along with 2 other prisoners were transfered to quarantine in Ardebil.




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Ms. Ashraf Rahimkhani, 54, former political prisoner of 80's has been sentenced to one year in prison. She is presently charged for running a library called the Mother’s Library. Ms. Zeinab Keshvari, 37, has also been sentenced to four months in prison. She was charged with cooperating with Ms. Rahimkhani in running the Mother’s Library. Ms. Keshvari suffered a miscarriage while violently attacked at night at her residence by the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Founded in 2010, the Mother’s Library was widely welcomed by women and girls in the town of Andimeshk. In recent days, a number of labor and political activists are being summoned or are awaiting revision of their sentences by the court.

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Iranian civil rights activist Ms. Elham Rasouli Baghi was sentenced to one year of imprisonment by Tehran’s Revolutionary Court.
Elham was arrested on May 12, 2016, in a gathering outside the Dena Tire Company building in Tehran in protest to the corrupt bureaucracy in Iran. She was interrogated by agents of the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Sarallah Garrison.



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According to state-run ILNA Aug. 27, the Public Prosecutor of
Mazandaran, northern Iran, announced that the Judiciary would be harsh on those women who do not cover their hair in their cars. “If any woman is detected without the veil in a car, her car will be impounded and she will be turned to the Judiciary,” said Public Prosecutor Assadollah Jaafari, adding “Despite the fact that some people consider cars as a private area, I do not believe in this and any kind of dropping the veil inside a car will be legally dealt with,”.  “Also, dropping one’s veil on the beaches, during jet-skiing, and on powerboats, will be legally dealt with.” said Jaffari.
Jaafari also stressed on monitoring and controlling all shops and manufacturers of clothing that violate Islamic norms. He said, “Supplying unsuitable clothes is one of the important challenges that Islamic societies face.”  In the latest example of summer crackdown on women in Iran, a photo has been published on the internet, showing the Moral Security Patrols enter the Noor beach in Mazandaran, northern Iran. They prevented women and girls from enjoying their leisure times on the beach.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

NEWS)))))))


“The hunger strike of political prisoners (in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, Iran) is not for prisoners alone. For more than three weeks, families have been somehow involved in this strike. In a way, all of us accompany them in this strike,” said Maryam Massouri, sister of political prisoner Saeed Massouri, in an interview. She said, “Everyone is very thin and weak. Believe me, they did not even have the energy to speak. We are very worried about them and nobody accepts any responsibility for this strike.” Saeed Massouri is a political prisoner who started his hunger strike after being displaced from Hall 12, Ward 4 of Gohardasht Prison to Hall 10, which is strictly under control of security forces 24 hours a day and prisoners are monitored via closed circuit cameras even in the bathroom. The displacement took place on July 30, 2017, and a large number of political prisoners have been on hunger strike since. Saeed Massouri has been in prison for the past 17 years without a single day of temporary release.

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Atena Daemi, Golrokh Ebrahimi Iraee and Maryam Akbari Monfared, detained in the women's ward of Evin Prison, published an open letter on August 19, calling on conscientious people to speak out against the difficult conditions of political prisoners in Gohardasht Prison who are on hunger strike in protest to the extremely repressive conditions in that prison. A number of other political prisoners such as Arash Sadeghi, stood in solidarity with the prisoners of Gohardasht prison. Also the political prisoners of Central prison of Ardebil in an open letter to Asma Jahangir UN reportuar on human rights situation announced their hunger strike from Aug. 24 till Aug 30th. Political prisoners Arzhang Davoodi and Mehdi Farahi Shandiz too have gone on a solidarity hunger strike with the Gohardasht political prisoners. Arzhang Davoodi is on medicine strike as well. The Gohardasht political prisoners have been on hunger strike since July 30, 2017

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Yesterday Aug. 26, in Ottawa, In line with the Iranian people's Justice Movement and following demonstrations of the supporters of the Iranian resistance in different countries, Iranian-Canadians gathered once more in front of the Parliament and across from PM office stressing their support for the political prisoners on hunger strike in Gohardasht prison in Iran. The demonstrators called for the regime's leaders to be prosecuted for Crime Against Humanity. Specifically the 1988 mass executions of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran. The organizers said that they will hold another demonstration at the Parliament Hill on Thursday Aug. 31st from 11am.

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Women nurses in Boushehr, southern Iran, launched a rally on Thursday, August 24, in protest to non-payment of their wages past due for eight months. Nurses staged their nationwide protest on August 6 of this year, including in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Ahwaz and Bandar Abbas.




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Sara Rostami, 28 from Sanandaj, was arrested Monday night, August 21, by Iranian regime's security forces in Baneh. She was beaten at the time of arrest. The arrest was made without a court warrant. She is allegedly charged with collaborating with Kurdish parties.




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The Ministry of Education in Iran has issued a humiliating directive on the terms and conditions for employment of teachers. According to state-run Fars news agency Aug. 23, the directive contains a long list of chronic and persistent diseases including dental, renal, and women’s gynecological problems, which disqualify teachers who apply for employment. Article 17 of the directive lists a series of common diseases of women including menstrual irregularity, excess facial hair, uterus surgery, sterility, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, breast and ovarian cancer, etc. as disqualifies for employment of women as teachers.

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"The bill on combating violence against women (in Iran) has been drafted from a merely sexual perspective." Making this comment on August 24, legal deputy to the Judiciary, Zabihollah Khoda'ian, expressed his opposition to the adoption of the VAW bill. He justified his view by the fact that 70 out of 100 articles of the bill are “criminalizing”, "setting prison sentences for even the slightest tensions between couples."According to the Women's Committee of the Iranian Resistance if adopted, the VAW bill is going to be named "provision of security for women against violence", and it mostly focuses on domestic violence overlooking pervasive violence committed against Iranian women every day at the workplace, in the streets and public places, and in prisons by the law enforcement and plainclothes agents, Revolutionary Guards and Bassij, as well as government and private sector employers and employees. According to Hossein Ashtari, Commander of the State Security Force, an average of 2000 women are forcibly and violently arrested every day across Iran and mistreated and humiliated in detention centers for not fully observing the compulsory veil.

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Amnesty International issued an urgent action statement on Aug. 25, expressing concern about the situation of Zeynab Jalalian, political prisoner in Khoy Prison, in northwestern Iran. AI wrote, “Iranian Kurdish woman Zeynab Jalalian, serving a life sentence, is severely ill and requires specialized medical care outside prison. However, the authorities have persistently refused to transfer her to a hospital, apparently to punish her and extract forced ‘confessions’. In protest, she has been refusing all medications since March 2017. The denial of access to medical care in these circumstances amounts to torture.”

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The female students volunteering to train as dental assistant held a protest outside the Ministry of Health Saturday morning, August 26. They objected the introduction of national books on dentistry as the source used for designing the Dental Assistant Exam. Dental students also demanded that the date of this exam as well as the sources for it to be fixed, reported state-run Mehr news agency, August 26.

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Women and children's rights activist, Farzaneh Jalali, has been repeatedly summoned to the Intelligence Department of Kermanshah, western Iran, to be interrogated. Jalali's lawyer, Mostafa Ahmadian said, “The verbal summoning of his client has been illegal and the interrogations have made her upset.”
Ahmadian asserted, “Unfortunately, my client has cooperated (so far), but I have asked her to ignore such calls until she receives written summon or emails based on legal standards.”
Farzaneh Jalali a women's rights activist from Kermanshah was deprived of college education for her activities. On February 24, 2017, she was arrested by security forces and taken to the detention center at Naft Square of Kermanshah.

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video
According to a video clip from Iran published on the internet, a young woman was violently arrested in Tehran’s Haghani Metro Station for not covering her hair. The clip shows two female agents of the Guidance Patrol pushing a young woman on the street and forcing her into their van. The young woman is crying out and demanding them to let her go.
In an act of rebellion against the compulsory veil imposed by the clerical regime on Iranian women since 1979, more and more women have been daring to go out in public without wearing the veil on their head, something that has turned into a major predicament for the regime.


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The head of the Clothing Union, Abolghassem Shirazi, declared
that they would be dealing with shops selling see-through jackets or manteaux without buttons that are open in the front. According to the state-run Tasnim news agency Aug. 21, the manufacturers and suppliers of “unconventional” clothing for women will be dealt with, with the help of the State Security Force.
Shirazi said, “Ripped pants are not suitable for Iranians. We don’t care about the world’s fashion.” He vowed to collect all unconventional clothes from across the city, including ripped, tight, and short clothing and open front manteaux. He said, “These types of unconventional clothes have no place in our culture and will be collected with the help of the SSF if they are detected in any shop.”

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The Commander of the State Security Force in Shahroud, north central Iran, stressed that the SSF will deal with women dropping their veils in their cars. “The number of cars impounded last month amounts to 16.” Mojtaba Ashrafi said the SSF was tasked with giving verbal warnings to improperly veiled women on the streets and in their cars. “The SSF gave 877 verbal warnings (to women) in public places,” he added. (The state-run Tasnim news agency – August 22, 2017)


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The state-run Ilna news agency reported on Aug. 22 that retired female teachers staged a protest rally outside the Iranian parliament building in Tehran Tuesday morning, August 22. They said, “Our main demands are increasing the retirement pensions, implementing the law to uniform all salaries, and improving insurance services.”



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The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced on Thursday that the Government of Canada will be working to implement an “X” gender designation in Canadian passports, as well as other documents issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to support LGBTQ2 rights and advance the Government’s agenda on gender equality, diversity and inclusion. An “X” will make it easier for people who do not identify as female (“F”) or male (“M”) to acquire passports and other government-issued documents that better reflect their gender identity.
Starting August 31, 2017, IRCC will be the first Government of Canada department to introduce interim measures, which include allowing individuals to add an observation to their passport stating their sex should be identified as “X,” indicating that it is unspecified. Interim measures will be available until IRCC is able to print documents with an “X.”