Features

Suppression + Manipulation + Labor + Teachers + Filmmakers

July 31, 2019
Maziar Bahari
2 min read
Trade unionist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is currently out on bail until an appeals court decides whether he must serve another six years in prison
Trade unionist Behnam Ebrahimzadeh is currently out on bail until an appeals court decides whether he must serve another six years in prison
Mohammad Rasoulof’s film Lerd was one of several that offended Iranian authorities, and they accused the director of supporting Iran’s Baha’i community
Mohammad Rasoulof’s film Lerd was one of several that offended Iranian authorities, and they accused the director of supporting Iran’s Baha’i community
Teachers’ activist Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi with his family
Teachers’ activist Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi with his family

Many of my leftist friends in the UK and the United States ignore the Iranian government’s human rights abuses because of Iranian officials’ anti-imperialist and anti-American stance. They are delusional about the corrupt and capitalist nature of the government of Iran because it flirts with “socialist” governments in Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea. The truth is that the Islamic Republic may be one of the most anti-labor and anti-union regimes in the world. The government has tried to subjugate and manipulate labor unions over the last four decades and any activist who opposes the corrupt cronyist methods of privatization in Iran faces jail and torture. In a series of articles, we will be highlighting some of the brave women and men who have been leading labor and teachers’ activism in Iran. 

Prolific, passionate artists do not give in to bullies. Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof is one of them. IranWire talked to him this week about his treatment over the last two years. Handed down a prison sentence, a travel ban and a ban on political and filmmaking activities in 2017, Rasoulof is determined not to let the Iranian authorities’ paranoia and Iran’s stifling censorship get him down. “I don’t care who is in power — the Islamic Republic, the Pahlavi dynasty, or the next regime,” he says, adding that his interest is in exposing the chaos of the status quo and “the destruction of our country, religion and culture.”

Mahnaz Sarabi, the mother of murdered political prisoner Alireza Shir Mohammad Ali, has lived through the destruction of her family and, as she told IranWire, “her world.” She wants those responsible for her son’s murder to be held accountable, including prison officials and authorities who made the murder possible. Holding people accountable means a large-scale overhaul of the way the Iranian judicial system works, like the shift in the status quo Rasoulof is calling for, and which other activists IranWire talked to this week are also seeking.

Meanwhile, Iranian authorities are refining their brutal tactics against activists and journalists, but also against businesses with links to the United States and other “enemies.” Aida Ghajar writes this week about the rapid progress made by state-sponsored hackers, who are getting better by the day at perfecting phishing attacks, honing in on their targets through tracking their online behavior, and setting up phony accounts on social networking sites. Iranians have always been known to be tech savvy, but this week’s report is a powerful reminder that this is true not only for dissidents and free speech or human rights advocates, but also for Iranian authorities, and those individuals who have so much invested in the corrupt system currently in place.

comments

Images

A Friendly Gathering and an Unwanted Guest

July 31, 2019
Touka Neyestani
A Friendly Gathering and an Unwanted Guest