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Hossein Derakhshan

Canada/Iran

Iranian-born Hossein "Hoder" Derakhshan is a blogger, journalist, and internet activist. Since 2001, he has been based out of Toronto, Canada, running his award-winning weblog, Editor: Myself, which has been among the most influential blogs in the Persian language. Close.

Hossein Derakhshan

Canada/Iran

Iranian-born Hossein "Hoder" Derakhshan is a blogger, journalist, and internet activist. more »

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June 2007 Archives



June 10, 2007 10:01 AM

Ali Shakeri: Member of opposition group or just a peace activist?

So according to Nasser Karimi, the Associated Press's reporter in Tehran, Ali Shakeri, is only a peace activist. BBC's Francis Harrison adds that he is also an academic.

But what is deliberately ignored by these reporters is the fact that Ali Shakeri was a founding and active member of a well-known opposition group, called Ettehade Jomhourikhahan-e Iran (EJI) that advocates a democratic and secualar republic in Iran.

This is from their platform:

Today, the theocratic system of velayat-e faghih and its related institutions are the chief obstacle to democracy, stability, and progress in our country. Continuing repression, deplorable human rights violations, poverty, and rampant corruption is driving the country deeper into social and political crises. The intransigence of the ruling clerics and ‘vali fagih’, in the face of overwhelming and unquestionable demand for fundamental change, has resulted in a total loss of legitimacy of the political order and credibility of the regime. Internationally, the Islamic Republic has not only failed to protect and secure Iran’s national interests, but has instead placed the country in perilous situation and jeopardized its territorial integrity.

The formation of a broad based movement advocating Democracy and a true Republic based on the principles of non-violence, can serve the greater movement of Iranians to attain the legitimate demands of political freedoms, fair and free elections, and constitutional change. We advocate a democratic political system and a republican form of government based on the principles of accountability, transparency, and public participation.

Political struggle alone will not bring about the success of democratic forces. Democracy requires its own political and cultural values, the strengthening of civil society and its institutions, and the involvement of diverse social groups in the political process.

I am puzzled how these reporters are ignoring such a significant part of his biography.

Of course the image of a government that arrests a peace activist is different from one that arrests an active member of a foreign-based opposition group. Am I a cynic to suggest that this has been a deliberate attempt to further demonise the Iranian government, or there is no such thing as impartial reporting anymore when it comes to Iran?




June 20, 2007 2:09 PM

Rice loses VOA Persian and Radio Farda to Pentagon

I have to congratulate to Ladan Archin and Mehdi Khalaji and the rest of the Pentagon staff, advisers and allies on wining the VOA Persian and Radio Farda over the State Department.

Mr. Richard Perle has been on VOA Persian TV this past week, talking for an hour about 'on the future of democracy inside Iran and last week's Prague meeting on democracy.'

Before him, Shahriar Ahi, the man behind Iran Solidarity, a group of Iranian exiles created as a back up for Reza Pahlavi's regime change, had another one-hour long interview. He is said to be Reza Pahlavi's mentor.

Meanwhile, Radio Farda, after the neoconservative Jeff Gedmin's take over of Radio Free Europe, has published extensive and exclusive interviews with Richard Perle, Michael Rubin, and of course Reza Pahlavi.

Seems to me that a report written by Ladan Archin et al in their Iran Steering Committee and the consequent pressure on Bush has been successful.

At least there is still some places where Perle can praise his wonderful ideas on regime change and the Iraqi model.




June 20, 2007 2:11 PM

Solidarity Iran: Toward a US-backed non-violent regime change in Iran

In case you are interested to see what Shahriar Ahi and Reza Pahlavi are really up to with the new group they have formed, I'd suggest to read this wonderful piece of journalism by The New Yorker.

Exiles: How Iran's Expatriates are Gaming the Nuclear Threat

New Yorker
By Connie Bruck

March 6, 2006

On a snowy mid-December day, Reza Pahlavi, the forty-five-year-old son of the deposed Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, was seated at a table by the fire at a popular country-French restaurant in Georgetown, enjoying a bowl of cassoulet and plotting the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was accompanied by Shahriar Ahi, who in the months before the 1979 Iranian revolution had been an informal liaison between the Shah and the White House; after the Shah died, in exile, in 1980, Ahy remained close to Reza, whom many refer to as "the young shah." By early 2004, Ahy, who had been running a multinational media company from Saudi Arabia, had left his job to work full time on unseating the Iranian regime. Although Ahi says that he has no factional affiliations, he has become, in essence, Pahlavi's political strategist, mentor, speechwriter, monitor. He is also attempting, on Pahlavi's behalf, to unite the atomized Iranian opposition. Ahy, an M.I.T. graduate-school alumnus, is often compared to his fellow alumnus Ahmad Chalabi, who, before the American invasion of Iraq, was the head of the Iraqi National Congress. An Iranian-American political activist with ties to Ahy and Pahlavi commented recently, "If Reza is ever returned to power, it will be because of Shahriar."


Read the rest of the article on National Iran Solidarity




June 20, 2007 2:11 PM

Zainab Al-Suwaij endorsed by Amnesty International defends Haleh Esfandiari

Recently I've become quite suspicions of the human rights non-government organisations when it comes to their campaigns related to Iran.

Now it's quite revealing and equally disturbing to see a faithful supporter of Iraq occupation, involved in an Amnesty International event in New York.

First look at the announcement I received from a mailing list (See a copy on the Free Haleh campaign website):

Amnesty International

RALLY TO SUPPORT HUMAN RIGHTS IN IRAN AND TO CALL FOR JUSTICE FOR DETAINED IRANIAN-AMERICAN SCHOLARS AND ACTIVISTS

THE IRANIAN GOVERNMENT HAS RECENTLY BEEN ENGAGED IN A WIDESPREAD CRACKDOWN ON ALL FORMS OF DISSENT IN IRAN

In May the government of Iran arrested four Iranian-Americans: prominent U.S. scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh, journalist Parnaz Azima and activist Ali Shakeri. Esfandiari, Tajbakhsh and Shakeri remain in detention where they are subject to torture and ill-treatment. All four face serious charges stemming from their peaceful activism and scholarly work and could be sentenced to long prison terms.

JOIN AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, THE AMERICAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH AS WE CALL FOR JUSTICE AND FOR THE RELEASE OF DETAINED PEACEFUL ACTIVISTS

SPEAKERS TO INCLUDE SHAUL BAKHASH, HUSBAND OF HALEH ESFANDIARI, AND ZAINAB AL-SUWAIJ OF THE AMERICAN ISLAMIC CONGRESS

WHERE: Ralph Bunche Park Isaiah Wall at 1st Avenue and 42nd Street across from the United Nations Plaza

WHEN: Wednesday June 27, 12 noon to 1 pm

Feel free to bring signs calling for freedom for the detained activists

For more information contact Sharon McCarter 202-691-4016 or Amnesty International USA 202-675-8755

Now let's see who Zainab Al-Suwaij is (Source: Harvard Gazzette):


"Now 33, Al-Suwaij grew up under the harsh rule of Saddam Hussein, took up arms against the Iraqi ruler, and today is working to bring democracy - and especially women's rights - to a country that is struggling both with Hussein's legacy and an age-old authoritarian tradition."

She has met with President George W. Bush at the White House and spoken to the Republican National Convention.

"Before becoming a peace-wager, Al-Suwaij was a warrior - and has the bullet scar on her cheek to prove it. When her classmates were forced to march holding pictures of Hussein, Al-Suwaij often sneaked away. At 20, during the 1991 Gulf War, she heeded the words of the first President Bush, who broadcast messages on Voice of America urging the Iraqi people to rebel against Hussein, promising that U.S. forces would support them. As an armed fighter, she helped to liberate provinces and to open the gates of a prison where there was a human meat grinder for those who didn't confess. The promised support from the United States never arrived, and the battle-scarred veteran went into exile in the United States.


President George W. Bush talks with Zainab Al-Suwaij during a meeting with Iraqi-Americans and free Iraqis who are living in the United States in the Roosevelt Room Friday, April 4, 2003. White House photo by Eric Draper. (Source: White House)

"Following the tragedies of Sept. 11 Al-Suwaij created the American Islamic Congress with the goal of promoting moderation and tolerance within and outside the Islamic community. After the American occupation of Iraq she has also spent 14 months there working to develop projects focused on improving the educational system - her schools for dropouts have a 97 percent rate of success - and empowering Iraqi women.

"Al-Suwaij credits her drive to organize for democracy to lessons learned from her grandfather, a Shiite ayatollah. 'My family is shocked. I am the first woman in my family who doesn't just stay home,' she said. 'My grandmother didn't believe it when she saw my photo with Bush in the Iraqi papers.'"

p. This is from her speech at the Republican National Convention after the occupation of Iraq, where she also personally endorsed by George W. Bush:
Living under Saddam Hussein, we could not gather as we do now to discuss things like democracy and freedom. We could only dream of a day when we could speak freely, and worship God in ways of our own choosing.

Instead, we lived under a murderer who used every weapon in his arsenal against us-- from tanks to torture chambers to poison gas.

[...]

But today, I come to tell you that Iraq enjoys a new day.

Yes, there is still bloodshed and uncertainty -- but America, under the strong, compassionate leadership of President Bush, has given Iraqis the most precious gift any nation has ever given another --- the gift of democracy and the freedom to determine its own future.

Already, the seeds of democracy are bearing fruit --- with popular elections recently held for local officials. And we know our children face a brighter future.

So as I grieve for the courageous Americans and Iraqis who were killed and injured during Iraq's liberation, I tell you proudly that their noble sacrifice was not in vain.

As Iraqis assume full sovereignty, they embrace the American people in friendship and gratitude.

I promise you: we will never forget what your sons and daughters did for us.

Thank you.

Interestingly enough, she has also founded Hands Across the Mideast Support Alliance (HAMSA) that was behind a nasty campaign against Mohammad Khatami's speech at Harward, along with Boroumand Foundation. Luckily,

By a bit of more googling, I'm sure I'd find much more to thicken her impressive profile in supporting and facilitating US-backed regime change in the Middle East.

So I wonder how Zainab Al-Suwaij has ended up being endorsed by Amnesty International, with its impressive history to oppose the US invasion of Iraq and its condemnation of the occupation.

Call me a cynic or a paranoid agent of the Islamic Republic, but I can't just see all these connections and endorsements as an accident.

There is something fishy here, don't you think?


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