No. 1252 October 6, 2020
Editorial
Coronavirus, Protests in Iran as Regime Scrambles to Stay Afloat

Last week, credible sources reported that over 116,500 people have died from coronavirus infections in Iran.

The country reported its highest daily Covid-19 death toll and its largest single-day rise in infections on Monday, as the regime imposed a second lockdown of its capital to contain a resurgent outbreak, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, several additional political prisoners contracted the virus. One female political prisoner, charged with supporting the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), is among them.

But the Iranian people remained defiant in the face of the regime's brutality. Young resistance units made headlines by targeting and setting fire to the entrance of the court that sentenced wresting champion Navid Afkari to death in early September.

Last month, the regime's president Hassan Rouhani tried to cover up the regime's human rights violations and hide Tehran's desperation in the face of growing uprisings. This week's featured article says: "Rouhani was halfway around the world in Tehran when he spoke virtually at the UN session in New York. Mark Twain was right: 'A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.'"

Human Rights

Iran HRM (Oct. 1) - September saw the third wave of the coronavirus sweeping across Iran. The scale of the disaster is such that the regime is no longer able to deny it. The regime has been trying over the past months to fend off anti-regime protests by deliberately sending people to their death by early opening of businesses, and the reopening of schools without providing the necessary hygienic equipment and sanitary facilities. In step with the growing social disgruntlement, the Iranian regime officials have resorted to new means of imposing repression. The IRGC put up a show of force by announcing formation of “hit squads” and “Bassij local patrols” to preserve the “security of neighborhoods.” September also saw an appalling show of inhuman and humiliating treatment of people by parading them in the streets of Tehran. ... 21 executions in September included a wrestling champion turned protester, two women, a juvenile offender, a man whose verdict had not been upheld for 29 years. Read more...
 
Iran News Wire (Oct. 4) - A prisoner in Urmia, northwestern Iran, was sentenced to amputation of four fingers, according to Kurdistan Human Rights group. The 2nd Branch of the Urmia Criminal Court sentenced Arash Ali Akbari to the amputation of four fingers on his right hand for theft. The 32 year old father was arrested in September 2019 for 16 counts of theft and was tried on July 9. The finger amputation sentence was announced on July 28 by the Urmia Criminal Court. Arash has a diploma and works as a welder. He was deprived of the right to a lawyer of his choice. Before this, three other prisoners, Hadi Rostami, Mehdi Shahivand, and Mehdi Sharifian in Urmai were sentenced to finger amputations. Read more...
 
Iran HRM (Oct. 1) - Some 82 political prisoners detained in Ward 5 of the Greater Tehran Penitentiary were transferred on Wednesday to Ward 2 of the prison, where had previously housed drug offenders. On Wednesday morning, the head of Ward 5 informed the prisoners who are mostly detained on politically motivated charges and participating in November 2019 protests, that all of them were to be transferred to Ward 2. Reports indicate that prison guards then forcibly relocated the prisoners. Read more...
 
Iran HRM (Oct. 1) - Political prisoner Soheil Arabi has been denied phone calls and visits in a quarantine ward of Rajaei Shahr Prison in Karaj. "His mother is concerned about his son as he had no contact after being transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison," the source said. On September 18, Soheil Arabi was taken to an unknown location from the Greater Tehran Penitentiary (GTP) where he was being held since January 21. The move came after the 35-year-old blogger exposed the “deplorable condition” of the GTP in an audio file leaked out of the notorious jail. Read more...
Coronavirus Crisis in Iran

NCRI (Oct. 5) - The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) announced on Monday, October 5, 2020, that the Coronavirus death toll in 450 cities had exceeded 116,500. ... Masoud Mardani, member of the Scientific Committee of the National Coronavirus Combat Taskforce (NCCT), said: We may have to set up a field hospital to accept new patients. At least 200 people die of Coronavirus every day, although the death toll may be much higher (ISNA news agency, October 5, 2020). The regime’s Deputy Health Minister said: All hospitals in Tehran are directly and indirectly engaged with Coronavirus patients. The situation in Tehran is not good at all. In recent days, we have experienced a record number of hospitalizations and deaths due to Coronavirus. The death toll will definitely increase (ISNA, October 5, 2020). Read more...
 
The Wall Street Journal (Oct.5) - Iran reported its highest daily Covid-19 death toll and its largest single-day rise in infections on Monday, as the country imposed a second lockdown of its capital to contain a resurgent outbreak. The government over the weekend ordered a shutdown of schools, movie theaters, beauty salons, coffee shops, mosques and other businesses and institutions in Tehran to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. They are the toughest restrictions since Iran gradually reopened from its first nationwide lockdown in April after emerging as the Middle East’s biggest virus hot spot. Read more...
 
NCRI Women (Oct. 3) - Political prisoner Massoumeh Senobari (pictured below) has contracted coronavirus in the women’s ward of the Central Prison of Tabriz. Prison authorities do not isolate or quarantine the inmates who contract the virus. An informed source said Massoumeh Senobari has bad coughs. She suffers from high fever, sore throat, dry mouth, pain in the lungs and all over her body. Ms. Senobari was viciously tortured after being arrested. The clerical regime’s Judiciary has sentenced political prisoner Massoumeh Senobari to a total of eight years in prison. One year for “propaganda against the state,” five years for alleged “membership in the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran,” and two years for “insulting Khamenei.” Read more...
 
NCRI Women (Sept. 30) - Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian is in dire health condition in the notorious Dieselabad Prison of Kermanshah, in western Iran, the latest reports indicate. Ms. Jalalian suffers from Covid-19. Health facilities and medical resources in this overcrowded prison are scarce. There is grave concern about her health condition. Zeinab Jalalian is sentenced to life in prison. She was abruptly taken out of the Central Prison of Khoy on April 28, 2020, and relocated to the notorious Qarchak Prison in Varamin, southeast of Tehran. She contracted the virus in Qarchak where she was ill-treated and denied medical care. Read more...
Protests, Economy

NCRI (Sept. 30) - Reports from Iran, obtained by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), indicate protests by many sectors continue across Iran. These protests are due to the regime’s wrong economic policies and systematic corruption which have destroyed the country’s economy, adding more pressure on the Iranian people. On Tuesday, September 29, workers of the Mahabad sugar factory, in Kurdistan province, western Iran, went on strike. Protest by the workers of Ahvaz Ramin power plant, in Khuzestan province, southwest Iran, continues. On Monday, September 28, a group of nurses and medical staff of the Rohani Hospital in Babol, Mazandaran province, northern Iran, held a protest, demanding their delayed paychecks and bonuses. On Sunday, September 27, members of the Association of Environmental Activists with the residents of Nivan Nar village in Golpayegan city of Isfahan province, central Iran, held a protest rally in front of the heavy machinery. Read more...

Iran HRM (Oct. 4) - Nearly one year after the nationwide protests in November 2019, Iran Human Rights Monitor has verified the names of 20 additional protesters who were killed by security forces during the protests in the southwest city of Mahshahr. The list has been compiled based on eyewitness testimonies and credible sources inside Iran. The names of 20 people killed in a marshland near the city of Mahshahr are as follows: Ehsan Sadeghi, Ahmad Rouhanifar, Asghar Rajaei, Amir Boushehri, Jaber Saberi, Jafar Panahi, Jamshid Malahan, Javad Payabi, Javad Nezarat, Hassan Veisi, Hayawi Sharifat, Abbas Ansarian, Ali Jelveh, Alireza Ghanavati, Kamran Davari, Kourosh Ahwazi, Mojtaba Rezaei, Mohsen Sarafraz, Mershad Dehi and Homayoun Dashti. At least 1,500 protesters were killed and thousands were wounded during the state crackdown on Iran protests which erupted in November 2019 over a surprise increase in gasoline prices. Read more...
Terrorism, Regional Meddling

AFP (Oct. 1) - Washington warned Thursday that it would not tolerate attacks on US interests in Iraq by Iran-backed militias, as Baghdad worries about a possible US withdrawal. "We can't tolerate the threats to our people, our men and women serving abroad," David Schenker, assistant secretary of state, for near Eastern affairs, told reporters. Schenker did not confirm or deny a reported US threat to withdraw its troop and close its embassy in Baghdad unless the attacks against them stop. Read more...
 
The Washington Free Beacon (Oct. 1) - Congressional Republicans are preparing a package of new sanctions on the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah, an effort they told the Washington Free Beacon will cut off the group's access to key funding sources. The new legislation, which the Free Beacon has obtained, will have far-reaching implications for financial institutions and senior government officials in Lebanon, Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua—areas where Hezbollah has an active and well-funded presence. The legislation would designate key territories in Lebanon as sources of terror financing, a designation that will freeze Hezbollah-friendly banks out of the international financial system. Read more...
 
Arab News (Oct. 1) - A captured gang of arms smugglers has revealed how Iran supplies weapons to Houthi militias in Yemen through a base in Somalia. The Houthis exploit poverty in Yemen to recruit fishermen as weapons smugglers, and send fighters to Iran for military training under cover of “humanitarian” flights from Yemen to Oman, the gang said. In video footage broadcast on Yemeni TV, gang leader Alwan Fotaini, a fisherman from Hodeidah, admits he was recruited by the Houthis in 2015. His recruiter, a smuggler called Ahmed Halas, told him he and other fishermen would be based in the Somali coastal city of Berbera, from where they would transport weapons and fuel to the Houthis. Read more...
 
Arab News (Oct. 5) - Since 1979, Iran has set up many terrorist cells in foreign nations and trained and armed militants abroad in order to pursue its hegemonic ambitions, export its revolutionary ideals, carry out assassinations, and undermine other countries’ national interests and scuttle their foreign policy objectives. ... It is incumbent on the international community to hold the Iranian leaders accountable for their widespread network of terrorist cells. Read more...
Sanctions, Nuclear, Missile, Western Policy

The Associated Press (Sept.30) - The second of three ships loaded with gasoline from Iran approached fuel-starved Venezuela on Wednesday amid simmering social unrest over a lack of goods and services that’s sparked protests across the South American nation. More than 100 street demonstrations have flared up in remote towns over the last week. Despite each being relatively small, they have raised concern among Venezuelan authorities, who have responded forcefully, sending in soldiers and local police, activists and residents told The Associated Press. Read more...
 
The Elephant (Oct. 2) - As the United Nations celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, a former UN staffer reveals the hypocrisy of the UN Security Council, which claims to protect the human rights of the world’s people, but which in essence only serves the political and economic interests of its most powerful member states. The UN whistleblower explains what finally drove her to resign from the UN after a decade-long career. "Soon after he took office on October 2011, Kobler told a meeting I attended: “Al-Maliki said that the only thing he wanted UNAMI to do in Iraq is to help shut down Camp Ashraf." Read more...
Iranian Resistance

NCRI (Oct. 5) - One of the methods used by the Iranian regime to pursue its demonization campaign against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) has been to publish books presenting a false narrative. The Iranian regime’s oppressive institutions, such as the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), are involved in publications of books and reports against the MEK. For example: "The Possessed," borrowing from the name of Dostoevsky’s novel, “The Possessed, The Devils.” The book has 204 pages. Or, The wronged 80s, or The Portentous (162 pages). The books published against the Iranian Resistance from 1979 to August 2020 are a total of 538 volumes, of which 461 volumes have been published between 1979 and 2016 (an average of 12 volumes per year). But starting in 2016, until now, the number of published books is 77 volumes, with an average of 19 books per year. Read more...
 
EIN Presswire (Sept. 30) - During the past week, defiant youths in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Mashhad set fire to centers of repression and terrorism to protest the execution of Navid Afkari, Iran's wrestling champion arrested during the 2018 uprising. The defiant youth also set fire to the pictures of Khamenei and Khomeini and the terminated commander of the terrorist Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, in several cities, including Arak, Iranshahr, and Khaf (Khorasan Razavi). On Sunday, September 27, the regime's revolutionary court in Shiraz, Navid's hometown, was targeted by defiant youth. People enthusiastically welcomed the activities of the defiant youth in various cities, especially the targeting of the regime's court in Shiraz. Read more...
 
Featured Article

 
By Ali Safavi
OpsLens
October 2, 2020
 
In his speech to the UN General Assembly session on Tuesday, September 22, the Iranian theocracy’s president Hassan Rouhani showed that he is living in cloud cuckoo land. In fact, if Pinocchio lied in the Twilight Zone, while the Twilight Zone merged with George Orwell’s novel 1984, the result would be vastly more honest and rational than Rouhani’s outlandish remarks. Listening to his fibs about the regime as “the axis of peace and stability,” one wonders if Tehran’s officials have now completely divorced reality, the eventual fate of every dictatorship.
 
Regime presidents are all supreme leader Khamenei’s men. So, Rouhani’s claims are only interesting in so far as they reveal the collective attitude that underpins them. In a sense, Rouhani doubly resembles Pinocchio: he is both dancing on the strings of Khamenei, and also tells lies that make him look even more ridiculous.
 
Tehran’s mullahs have mastered the art of projecting their own reprehensible behavior onto others. Rouhani’s mentor, Khomeini, used to brush aside opponents’ accusations of torture, famously quipping that dissidents are torturing themselves to make the regime look bad. Today, Tehran accuses its opponents of precisely the core characteristics that it itself embodies: terrorism, cultish behaviors, misogyny, sexual exploitation, religious hypocrisy, warmongering, imprisonment, torture, and hostage taking.
 
In 1944, George Orwell began writing his novel 1984 after major powers at the time divided up the world into zones of influence partially during the Tehran Conference. The novel was not a cautionary tale of authoritarian communist states only; It was also an eerie predictor of Iran’s dystopian “Islamic State.” The totalitarian rule of the mullahs conducts mass surveillance, shuts down the internet at will, murders peaceful protesters in broad daylight, and carries out repressive regimentation of all behaviors, including compulsory veiling for women.
 
Today, in Iran, Big Brother is watching, the “Thought Police” accuses protesters of “waging war on God,” and the “Ministry of Peace” conducts perpetual terrorism and warmongering. Yet despite it all, for Rouhani “2+2=5.”
 
During his bizarre diatribe, the spokesman for the world’s foremost abuser of human rights blamed other nations for violating citizens’ rights, and gently reminded all: “Our nations and children deserve a better and safer world based on the rule of law.” It is hard to fathom how Rouhani can speak about a safer world for children when his regime is the last executioner of children in the world. And, the mullahs’ hands are still dripping with the innocent blood of 27-year-old pro-democracy protester Navid Afkari, who was brutally executed on September 12.
 
Not even the has Twilight Zone fashioned better fantasies. For example, not only is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism is in Rouhani’s alternate reality “the axis of peace and stability,” it is also “the harbinger of dialogue and tolerance.” But, wait there is more: It is also the “champion of the fight against occupation and extremism.”
 
Where to start? Shall we begin with the mullahs’ religious tolerance according to which religious minorities are routinely persecuted simply for practicing their faith? Or, its political tolerance that led to the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, the majority from the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), simply for exercising their basic political rights? Or, perhaps the regime’s dialogue with citizens over rising gasoline prices that resulted in the regime gunning down 1,500 peaceful demonstrators in November 2019?
 
Rouhani’s shedding of crocodile tears for the overthrow of the revered Iranian Prime Minister, Dr. Mohammad Massadeq was the height of hypocrisy. Did his mentor’s mentor Abolghassem Khashani not collude with the corrupt Royal Court and the coup plotters to topple Mossadeq’s government?
 
He also talked about supporting the “democratic achievements of Iraqi people” while Iraqi youth are on the streets chanting “Iran Get out!” And if his regime really “stood with the people and government of Lebanon,” why are the people of Lebanon protesting against Tehran and its puppet Hezbollah?
 
He says the regime “stood alongside the people of Syria” while in the same breath praising “our assassinated hero” Qassem Soleimani, who as the regime’s terrorist mastermind famously facilitated the mass murder of hundreds of thousands in Syria.
 
Before ISIS became popular in the eyes of extremists everywhere, the mullahs established an “Islamic State” in Iran in 1979. It has mass murdered ordinary citizens for their beliefs and suppressed women for 41 years, employing even more ruthless methods than those ISIS used. Yet, Rouhani claims that this is “moderate and rational Islam, not extremism.” This is the same moderate Islam that called for a British author’s assassination for writing a book deemed critical of Islam. A former regime president, Rafsanjani, said about this Islam: “Divine law defines four sentences for [dissidents] which must be carried out: 1. Kill them, 2. Hang them, 3. Cut off their arms and legs, 4. Banish them.”
 
So much for Rouhani’s version of moderation.
 
Rouhani was born Hassan Fereydoun. He changed his surname to Rouhani (literally, “cleric”) after the revolution for obvious reasons. He is a conman perpetually invested in fraud. While criticizing the US for “equipping” Saddam during the Iran-Iraq War, he conveniently forgets that when American representatives secretly visited Tehran in 1986 to sell weapons to the regime, Rouhani was one of the three people who greeted them.
 
On Tuesday, Rouhani was halfway around the world in Tehran when he spoke virtually at the UN session in New York. Mark Twain was right: “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
 
More importantly, the Iranian regime’s lies stem from its paranoia about popular uprisings; uprisings that are lurking in every city and will eventually uproot the theocracy. No amount of lies can hide that stubborn truth.
 
Safavi (@amsafavi) is an official with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)
 
About Iran Weekly Roundup:
This weekly is compiled by the US Representative Office of National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US). The NCRI is a broad coalition of democratic Iranian organizations, groups, and personalities founded in 1981 in Tehran. The NCRI is an inclusive and pluralistic parliament-in-exile that has more than 500 members representing a broad spectrum of political tendencies in Iran. The NCRI aims to establish a secular democratic republic in Iran, based on the separation of religion and state. Women comprise more than half of the Council's members. Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is the president-elect of the NCRI.

These materials are being distributed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran-U.S. Representative Office. Additional information is on file with the Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.
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