[Frontlines recently posted an article (“The Iran Tribunal and the crimes of the Islamic Republic”) about recent hearings, proclaimed to be in the historic tradition of the Bertrand Russell Tribunals in the 70’s against war crimes, but focused on the mass murder of Iranian political prisoners in the 1980’s. It was, subsequently, brought to our attention that this recent tribunal (unlike the tradition of the Russell Tribunals) is designed to limit the focus on the “old news” of this Iranian massacre, and prevent inclusion of anti-imperialist evidence of crimes–both historic and current–against the people of Iran, who are not only oppressed by the Iranian regime (which continues today the mass imprionment and executions of its political opponents), but also by the western (US, EU) sanctions and war threats. And many have stepped forward to expose this recent Tribunal as a US–and particularly, the CIA–as the funders and “limiters” of this Tribunal, apparently to use it as grist for their media mill and western war plans against the Iranian people. Frontlines thanks those who brought this to our attention. For more information, see the article below, and the website http://hopoi.org/ — Frontlines ed.]
1. Payam Akhavan (chair and spokesperson of the tribunal’s steering committee) has links to organisations that have accepted large amounts of money from the US government
2. The tribunal refuses to take a stand against war and sanctions on Iran
3. Mainstream lawyers and politicians like Sir Geoffrey Nice, John Cooper QC and Maurice Copithorne ideologically support the tribunal – why?
4. The pro-war Mujahedeen is closely involved with the tribunal
5. Many organisations and witnesses have withdrawn
6. Critical voices have been silenced
7. Conclusion: The tribunal has become part of the campaign to legitimise war and sanctions to enforce pro-western ‘regime change from above’.
[For many decades, Iranian students have waged large protests on the National Student Day of Protest (December 7) which commemorates the massacre of students by the Shah’s US-backed regime in 1953. This year’s commemoration was marked by condemnation of the Iranian government, and the protests took place on campuses around the country. The “Green Movement”, led by high-ranking Islamic Republic officials like Mir Hossein Mousavi, praised the students, hoping to enlist them into his reformist movement. The Wall Street Journal, below, echoed Mousavi’s claim. But the students in the streets–where they have to beat off attacks by the regime’s pipe-wielding Pasdaran (“Revolutionary Guards”)–are increasingly not bound to the reformism of Mousavi’s Green Movement. The students come from different political backgrounds, and they are considering different strategies and forms of struggle for the future. –Frontlines ed.]
The Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2010
National Student Day of Protest, December 10, 2007: Hundreds of Iranian students protested a government crackdown on activists at Tehran University. According to on witness, "students chanted against policies by Ahmadinejad's administration."
Videos posted online showed students marching across campus grounds with green banners—the color of the opposition—holding pictures of jailed students, and chanting “death to the dictator” and “free student prisoners.”
Security forces responded with a heavy security deployment, and at least eight arrests, according to the student website Daneshjoo. Official media didn’t cover the protests or report any arrests.
Riot police and security forces surrounded Tehran University, the epicenter of student activism, according to witnesses and online videos. Iranian law prohibits security forces from entering the campus, but students said as many as 400 plainclothes militia members had entered to intimidate students.
Security forces built scaffolding around the entire campus and covered it with tents, in an apparent attempt to cut off communication between student protestors inside and passersby outside, according to videos and witness accounts. “The university is practically under siege, no one can get in and no one can get out safely. It shows the government is still very scared of us,” said a student from Tehran University.
Security forces lined up cars, buses and motorcycles for miles along the tree-lined Enghelab Avenue, where a little over a year ago millions of Iranians staged protests for change and democracy, videos showed. Continue reading →
Washington talked with allies’ embassies and Iranian dissidents and businessmen to gauge the Iranian opposition, according to dispatches disclosed by WikiLeaks.
“”What started as a movement to annul the election now gives shelter both to those seeking the full set of rights guaranteed them by Islamic Iran’s constitution and those seeking a new system altogether,” reads a cable sent Jan. 12 to the State Department.“
Los Angeles Times, Special Correspondent reporting from Beirut —
Iranians protest in Tehran last year after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection. The documents released by WikiLeaks do not indicate that the U.S. tried to influence the Iranian opposition.
As protesters poured into the streets of Iran in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmood Ahmadinejad, U.S. diplomats scrambled to decipher the erupting political crisis and the goals of the opposition’s so-called Green Movement, according to recently disclosed diplomatic cables.
The diplomats hurried to understand without the benefit of an official outpost in Tehran, a result of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Instead they read news bulletins and spoke with allied embassies in places like Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
They contacted Iranian dissidents, human rights activists and disgruntled businessmen, according to the confidential dispatches made public in recent days by Wikleaks.
By early this year, diplomats dubbed “Iran watchers” at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai had produced the first in a series of cables examining the Iranian opposition since the 2009 election.
“What started as a movement to annul the election now gives shelter both to those seeking the full set of rights guaranteed them by Islamic Iran’s constitution and those seeking a new system altogether,” reads a cable sent Jan. 12 to the State Department. “But like the regime that seeks to crush it,” the cable reads, the opposition “is not monolithic and there is a clear gulf between the opposition’s elite leadership and the popular movement protesting in the streets.” Continue reading →