Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Iran arrests 'British agents' in connection with bombings.

According to Iran Focus, 17 October 2005, an Iranian member of parliament is claiming that an individual arrested in connection with the 15 October 2005 twin bombings in the south-western city of Ahwaz has confessed to having received British training in Iraq.

The Iranian Majlis (Parliament) deputy Nasser Soudani told Fars news agency:

“The arrested individual is a deceived person who received the necessary training in Iraq...

“Foreign agents, led by treacherous and criminal Britain, have trained teams in Iraq to create insecurity and an air of fright and terror in the province of Khuzestan.”

Twin bombings in a central Ahwaz shopping centre left at least six people dead and over 100 injured.

Soudani said that two British intelligence agents arrested last month in the southern Iraqi city of Basra had ties to both the bombings on Saturday and a similar spate of bombings in the volatile city earlier in June.

British officials have said that the pair were MI5 agents working to uncover Iranian support for the insurgent attacks against British troops in southern Iraq.

Iranian officials and state-run press have been advertising the idea that Britain was behind Saturday’s bombings, a charge denied by the British embassy in Tehran.

On Sunday, hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the state-run ISNA news agency that he suspected British involvement in the attacks. “We are very suspicious about the role of British forces in perpetrating such terrorist acts”, Ahmadinejad said.“Our people are used to these kind of incidents, and our intelligence agents found the footprints of Britain in the same incidents before”, Ahmadinejad said, adding “We think the presence of British forces in southern Iraq and near the Iranian border is a factor behind insecurity for the Iraqi and Iranian people”.

A demonstration has been planned to take place this morning outside the British embassy in Tehran against London’s position regarding the Islamic Republic’s suspected nuclear weapons programme at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Some analysts see a link between the spate of recent attacks on British forces in southern Iraq and the hardening anti-British voices in Tehran.“Iranian rulers are clearly fuming over what they perceive as Tony Blair’s government coaxing the European Union towards a tougher position on Iran’s nuclear program”, said Simon Bailey of the London-based Gulf Intelligence Monitor. “They hope to isolate the British position within the EU by linking it to bombings in Ahwaz, but no one is buying this”.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

The party's over

According to Iran's police chief, the party’s over.

From The Gulf Times/Reuters, 15 October 2005:

Iran’s new police chief has vowed to crack down on illicit alcohol, music CDs and parties where people of the opposite sex mingle, months after promising a policy which would respect people’s privacy.

“The crackdown will be on corruption centres where mixed parties are held and gangs distribute alcohol and CDs,” Isna student news agency yesterday quoted Ismail Ahmadi-Moqaddam as saying.

“Young Iranians are victims of moral corruption. We will strongly react against it,” he said.

Ahmadi-Moqaddam had promised when he took office in July an ethical and modern police force which would respect people’s privacy, countering fears he may roll back fragile social freedoms.

He was appointed after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected, replacing Mohamed Khatami’s eight-year presidency during which enforcement of social restrictions such as dress codes for women relaxed.

Iran’s police have in the past raided houses in search of satellite television receivers, which are banned. Parties where people of the opposite sex mingle or drink alcohol are regularly raided by police or Basij militia.

Ahmadi-Moqaddam is a former member of the hardline Revolutionary Guards and acting commander of its militia wing, the Basij.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Iran's execution of children

Iran has executed at least seven child offenders in 2005, according to the international human rights organisation Amnesty International.

Amnesty International has recorded ten executions of child offenders in Iran since 1990, including Atefeh Rajabi, reportedly aged 16, who was hanged after a grossly unfair trial where doubts regarding her mental state appeared to have been ignored.

According to reports in November 2004, Vahid, aged 16, was sentenced to death for the murder of his friend, who allegedly tried to sexually abuse him.

Further press articles on 26 January 2005 reported that two other young men, Sattar (surname unknown), aged 17 and Mohammad T., a teenager whose sentence has been upheld by the Supreme Court, are both currently awaiting execution.

According to a 15 January 2005 report on the internet news site ILNA, at least 30 other individuals under the age of 18, who have been sentenced to death, are currently detained in a juvenile detention centre (Kanoun-e Eslah va Tarbiyat) in Tehran and Raja’i Shahr, a town close to Tehran.


Crackdown on students

According to, 10 October 2005, Iran has resumed the crackdown in university halls.

The following is from iranfocus :

Iran’s para-military Bassij force attacked students in a university dormitory in the north-eastern town of Neishabour Sunday evening, one of the students on campus at the time told Iran Focus in an email interview.

About 20 of the Bassijis burst in with clubs and knifes and started attacking us as we were about to break our fast”, the student who requested anonymity said, referring to the Islamic tradition during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast from dawn until dusk.

Most of the 60 or so residents were first year students, he said. “About half a dozen of us were injured badly and had to be taken to hospital. The rest of us were all shook up”, the student said, adding that police had not come to their aid despite being informed of the attack.

“The police did not help us because the Bassij got prior approval to carry out the attack”, he added.

So far no one has been arrested for Sunday’s attack.

The Bassij - affiliated to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps - are hard-line Islamist vigilantes loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and were recently given new powers to act as the country’s back-up police force.

The attack on the all-male university dormitory in Neishabour was reminiscent of the July 1999 crackdown on student dormitories in Tehran when at least one student was killed after being thrown out of the window.The attack had widespread repercussions and led to mass student-led demonstrations across the country.