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Iran still stoning women to death January 15, 2008

Posted by franklittle in Crime, Iran, Judiciary, Middle East.
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Stunned to hear people being interviewed on Matt Cooper’s Last Word this evening about the practice of stoning, which it turns out is still alive and well in Iran. Amnesty International has just published a report highlighting the cases of nine women and two men who are under sentence of death by stoning at the moment and as grotesque as the notion is to my mind, it’s the little things about the process that are the most horrifying.

Article 104 of the Iranian Penal Code specifies the kind of stones that should be used. They should, “not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes; nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones.” In other words, we need stones big enough to really hurt someone, but not big enough that they die or lose conciousness. And we’re going to write that into the law. As Amnesty put it, “In Iran stoning is not against the law. Using the wrong stone is.”

Under Article 102 of the Iranian Penal Code, the process begins by digging a pit for the victim. The pit is then filled in to waist height for a man, and to chest height for a woman. I wasn’t sure of the reason for the difference, but perhaps it is to be found in one of the defences used by the Iranians to explain stoning.

In September 2007, the Secretary General of Iran’s Human Rights Headquarters and Deputy Head of the Judiciary defended the use of stoning by arguing, among other points, that in stoning, “the defendant has the chance to survive.” So a man is buried to his waist and a woman to her breasts and if, under a hail of stones, either one of them manages to climb out (Let’s pause for a moment to consider how unlikely this is) they’re free to go. Hence, perhaps, why the woman is buried to her chest.

According to Amnesty one of the most recent stonings was in 2006:

 

“Abbas H and Mahboubeh M were said to have been executed in Beheshteh Reza cemetery, part of which was cordoned off before more than 100 members of the Revolutionary Guards and Bassij Forces carried out the stoning. Abbas H and Mahboubeh M were reportedly washed and dressed in shrouds, as if they were already dead, and then put in holes that had been dug in the ground. Following a reading from the Qur’an, those present began to stone Abbas H and Mahboubeh M, who reportedly took over 20 minutes to die. They were said to have been convicted of murdering Mahboubeh M’s husband, and of adultery.”

Speaking of convictions, the sentences for some of those awaiting this punishment are an interesting insight into Iranian judicial priorities. One woman, whose name is Iran, was sentenced to five years imprisonment for being an accomplice in the murder of her husband, and to death by stoning for adultery. Another, Kobra N, sentenced to eight years imprisonment for being an accomplice in the murder of her husband and for sleeping with someone outside of her marriage, death at the hands of stones ‘not large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes.’ So for being involved in killing your husband, you face less of a sentence than having slept with a man other than your husband.

 

There’s some more information in the report about Iran’s less than perfect judicial process and the work of women activists and journalists within Iran to end this atrocity, which can only be applauded considering that country’s approach to political activism.

Comments»

1. WorldbyStorm - January 15, 2008

It’s pretty grim and the bravery of the activists and journalists is amazing. Fair dues too to Amnesty. I know I’m always saying this, but the concept of fraternity in leftism and solidarity needs to be reworked in such a way that we can do more than just offer rhetorical sympathy and actually do something constructive. I know it’s boring boiler plate to say this but Iran is truly a society caught between competing versions of modernity and tradition, religion, secularism, nationalism and a myriad other issues. It’s also worth noting that Iran is open to pressure from the west, but as something of a regional behemoth – even despite sanctions etc – itself with an intensely nationalistic (and in some respects admirable) political culture it’s far far from beyond criticism on many issues.

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2. Wednesday - January 16, 2008

Thanks for this Frank. Unfortunately if you posted it on Indymedia you’d immediately be accused of agitating for a US invasion.

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3. Pat - January 16, 2008

I still think you should publish it on Indymedia. I publish articles there telling the truth about Iran & get abuse but you’ve got to hammer it home to them. Supporting human rights does not mean that you support US Imperialism.

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4. franklittle - January 16, 2008

I just put it up on Indymedia, so we’ll see what we get out it.

As it happens, by coincedence it’s on the Pat Kenny show now.

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5. Pat - January 16, 2008

Good. Remember you dont have to take outright abise or lies. Report any OTT comments.

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6. soubresauts - January 16, 2008

Around the borders of Iran, the U.S. and Britain have implemented the greatest military build-up of all time. The missiles and bombs could be unleashed at any time. Iranian people know this. They’re unlikely to be impressed by English-speaking people telling them to implement western judicial standards.

Ireland and many other European countries are actively supporting lunatic US/British military policy in the Middle East. Iranian people know this.

The U.S. executes many criminals every year, with varying degrees of cruelty. The U.S. has innumerable nuclear weapons targeted at Iran, and is constantly developing new, more destructive ones. Iranian people know this.

The U.S., British, Irish and many other governments can not speak out with credibility about human rights in Iran.

Let us support Amnesty and other organizations that can speak out without hypocrisy, and let us also clean up our own act.

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7. WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2008

soubresauts, I completely agree with your last point. Having said that stoning people to death does seem to be objectively worse than judicial executions in the US and for offences that are – even on their own terms – minor.

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8. soubresauts - January 16, 2008

Yes, of course, WbS. Stoning is immeasurably horrible, and the Iranian courts are frightening.

I also know that when people are threatened, they tend to behave badly. And the Iranian people are under a mighty threat.

Other countries carry out stonings, but few people apart from Amnesty seem to notice. Even the Pope doesn’t seem too exercised about it.

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9. WorldbyStorm - January 16, 2008

I only half buy that argument soubresauts. The use of stoning would appear to be something entirely apart from the threat or otherwise from the US. If it had sprung fully formed into use a year or two ago that might be an argument, but… it didn’t.

Incidentally, it would appear Indymedia are having a fine old time contemplating the post…

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10. Garibaldy - January 16, 2008

Has the post appeared on Indymedia? Didn’t see it when I was there earlier

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11. eamonnmcdonagh - January 16, 2008

“Around the borders of Iran, the U.S. and Britain have implemented the greatest military build-up of all time. The missiles and bombs could be unleashed at any time.”

This is tabloid language bolloxology.

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12. Garibaldy - January 16, 2008

Hadn’t noticed that. It is over top. Especially when you remember 10% of the US nuclear arsenal is aimed at Korea, yet you hardly ever hear people complain about that.

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13. Eamonn - January 16, 2008

“The U.S., British, Irish and many other governments can not speak out with credibility about human rights in Iran.”

exactly what stage of sublime perfection would human rights have to have reached in Ireland or any other country before it’s allowed to raise questions about gross abuses elsewhere? Whatever happened to internationalism?

“The U.S. has innumerable nuclear weapons targeted at Iran, and is constantly developing new, more destructive ones. ”

This is really ignorant stuff. The Yanks have been and will continue to reduce the number of warheads they own. This excellent blog

http://tinyurl.com/3y9gwm

has all the info you might want on the subject.

And anyway, how does stoning its people to death protect Iran from bombardment?

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14. soubresauts - January 17, 2008

About the military threat to Iran:
“This is tabloid language bolloxology.”

No, it’s not. You can’t tell me the Americans and Israelis aren’t ready to fire their missiles and launch their bombs. And you can’t tell me it’s not the greatest military build-up of all time.

Look at the map. The U.S./British have an enormous military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, numerous bases in Saudi, Turkey and other countries close to Iran, three aircraft carriers (and all that goes with them) in or close to the Persian Gulf, air base in Diego Garcia. And the Israelis too are ready to destroy any target in Iran at short notice. Perhaps Garibaldy could tell us how many nuclear warheads are targeted at Iran…

Apart from that, Iranians observed what the Americans and British did to their Iraqi neighbours in the last few years, and they also remember what Saddam, supported by the U.S., did to them in the 1980s. If any nation has reasons to be paranoid, it’s the Iranians.

Of course there’s no direct connection to stonings, but while calling on the Iranians to treat their “criminals” with respect, shouldn’t we treat Iran with respect? I mean show respect, rather than demanding respect by imposing overwhelming military threat, which is not going to have any beneficial effect. And how can we in the West tolerate Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and torture centres, indefinite detention of suspects mainly because they’re Muslims…? And the denial of human rights, not to mention the stonings and beheadings, in Saudi Arabia…?

Eamonn wrote:
“The Yanks have been and will continue to reduce the number of warheads they own… And anyway, how does stoning its people to death protect Iran from bombardment?”

And you call my stuff ignorant?

BTW, I use “we” above because we Irish are collaborating with American military operations in the Middle East.

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15. WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2008

Two thoughts soubresauts. We don’t tolerate Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, and neither do the majority of US Americans. And while you are correct there is a significant buildup of military material and personnel in the Middle East it’s probably over egging the pudding to say that that is directed at Iran. To be honest I’d be amazed if the US was so foolish as to attack Iran, it’s a cohesive state,unlike Iraq, enormously nationalist which would overcome any residual affection for the US (which exists there in considerable quantity). It is also reasonably well defended although obviously no match for the US… but a ground war there would certainly be as bad if not worse than the worst of the Iraqi insurgency. I actually know someone who is half-Iranian who was in Tehran and other parts of Iran over Christmas. Her sense was that the situation on the ground is much much less tense than is projected by the US or indeed the Iranian regime and there is little belief that there will be an attack – much for the reasons outlined above. It’s also worth pointing out that there are no grounds for an attack [particularly after the reports issued prior to Christmas] and such actions would be utterly counterproductive politically for the US and internationally.

I really think we have to move beyond a situation where one evil is tolerated or explained in the context of another potential evil, or is seen as a response to that potential evil. Invading Iran would be wrong. Stoning people to death is wrong. I see no problem at all in holding both stances.

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16. Ed Hayes - January 17, 2008

These people seem to have a reasonable position on the situation.

http://www.hopoi.org/

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17. Pat - January 17, 2008

I’m a member of Hands Off the Prople of Iran, we oppose US aggreesion towards Iran and we support the Iranian People in their struggle against the Theocracy. Regime change in Iran must come from within.

Supporters of HOPI include Diane Abbott MP, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Ken Loach, Naomi Klein,Peter Tatchell, Michael Mansfield QC, Peggy Seeger, Sheila Rowbotham.

Irish supporters include Tony Gregory TD, Senator David Norris, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Daithí McKay MLA, Des Derwin DCTU, Deirdre Clancy.

Full list of spporters at:
http://www.hopoi.org/supporters.html

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18. eamonnmcdonagh - January 17, 2008

“Regime change in Iran must come from within.”

How come we’d have regarded anyone who said that about the monstrous apartheid regime in South Africa as, at best, a dupe of the white supremacists but it seems to be fine when talking about countries that are ememies of the USA?

I am all for oppressed people everywhere getting all the help and encouragment they need from abroad.

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19. WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2008

HOPI was the source of some contention for the SWP and Respect (I think in both variants) recently. I think they’re a solid bunch and I broadly agree eamonnmcdonagh, if we don’t construct methods for actual as distinct from rhetorical solidarity then we’ll be in a bad way.

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20. Garibaldy - January 17, 2008

Easier said than done alas. The Tudeh party was lobbying last year over the flooding of a valley with the world’s first constitution carved in stone. It’s a bit like Iraq – the internal opposition is so fundamentally suppressed that it’s very hard to give practical support, unlike say Apartheid South Africa or Colombia or Cuba or wherever.

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21. WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2008

Tudeh is an interesting crowd. They moved from a position of some power to effective marginalisation and then suppresion during and after the Revolution. Still, look at Chile. At one point under Pinochet even Militant had links there. If they can do it then so can other formations.

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22. Garibaldy - January 17, 2008

It’s not that there are no opposition parties, just that they are so disorganised internally that there is little going on that outsiders could support. I don’t think any underground party was ever a threat to children.

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23. WorldbyStorm - January 17, 2008

It’s difficult to know, isn’t it? But again, is the strategy that the external left uses correct?

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24. Garibaldy - January 17, 2008

I think that the regime must be condemned for what it is, and Chavez is mistaken in forging ties with it from an ideological point of view, though I understand the pragmatic reasons. Still, any war of aggression must be opposed too for reasons to do with international law and national self-determination.

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25. Eamonn - January 17, 2008

1.
Not saying things like

““Regime change in Iran must come from within.”

would be a good start. It amounts to saying that you are happy to let the beardy bastards run everything forever. Imagine you are an independent trade unionist or women’s rights activist in Iran and you read that.
2.
We must rid ourselves of the idea that my enemy’s enemy is my friend. My enemy’s enemy is my enemy’s enemy until proven otherwise. And some things are true even if it’s George Bush that is saying them.
3.
Recognise that although religious people can participate in progressive politics and draw on their faith to do so, political movements and governments that have a religion as their sole interpretative framework/guide for action cannot be regarded as progressive political actors. It’s well time to revive the inherent link between democratic leftism and secularism. And not drifting into the kind of sloppy thinking that sees Muslims as some kind of new global proletariat would be a good idea too.

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26. Eamonn - January 17, 2008

by the way, the pragmatic reasons for Chávez kissing up to the mullahs would be what?

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27. Iran And Foreigners « El Nuevo Pantano - January 18, 2008

[…] And Foreigners I have some things to say in the comments that follow this post over at The Cedar […]

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28. Garibaldy - January 18, 2008

Eamonn,

Oil prices. And fear of an attack by the US at some point.

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29. eamonnmcdonagh - January 18, 2008

How does being friendly to Iran help him on either of these points given that Venezuela itself has loads of oil and the vast physical distance between Iran and Venezuela?

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30. Garibaldy - January 18, 2008

Collaboration to keep the price of oil high, and to counterbalance the US pressure on producers like Saudi is what I meant. As for the military thing, solidarity. Make it more difficult to invade Iran in the eyes of the world, and harder for him to be next.

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31. WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2008

Eamonn, I would be broadly in agreement with your 3 points. I’ve said it before that in this (Irish) society it would be near inconceivable for the left to consider the sort of alliances, tactical or otherwise with religious groups if only because of the clear distinction between left goals and religious goals and the clear antagonism between the two over past century, and that while it is also clear that there are many people of religious faith who are socialist or progressive (and I think of CORI or some of the Jesuit organisations) that the faith itself can only go some way along a road. I’d hesitantly suggest that the sort of thinking we’ve seen on that front is of a nature that could only develop – ironically – within an essentially secular post-religious society which had an inability to recognise (or was willing to ignore) the dynamics of religious belief. It’s understandable I think that people would wish to express solidarity, particularly in the wake of the Iraq war/aftermath etc… but solidarity is quite different – to me at least – to the sort of uncritical identification that leads a small sector of the left to posit a new ‘global proletariat’ hewn from a hugely diverse range of humanity). One of the more entertaining aspects of this process was to see the rapid fixation amongst some on the early response of the Soviets to Muslims within the USSR – an analysis which completely and mistakenly elided short to medium term tactics with long term goals.

Garibaldy, while you’re no doubt right about Chavez’s strategy, although as regards oil he seems to do things which weaken oil prices (such as redistribution or aid to the US and London while simultaneously shoring up oil prices more broadly and still working with Saudi etc, I can’t help feeling that the optics are dismal. Chavez is a democrat, is far from a demagogue and has interesting and useful social experimentation going on. It’s a world away from the religious/political structures in Iran (which is in it’s own way as I’ve noted above a regional hegemon). Why waste time allying with a society which has no interest in socialising, etc, etc..

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32. franklittle - January 18, 2008

” I’d hesitantly suggest that the sort of thinking we’ve seen on that front is of a nature that could only develop – ironically – within an essentially secular post-religious society which had an inability to recognise (or was willing to ignore) the dynamics of religious belief.”

I think that’s a very astute point. People who have fundamentally rejected or abandoned religion, or never had a connection with it, are far less likely to understand what religious belief means to those who have it, practice it and teach it.

I’ve also personally observed that Islam seems to be given a pass by some elements on the left for practices that would be anathema to secularists or the west in general not merely for political reasons of solidarity, but out of cultural relativism. ‘Sure it’s part of their culture to do X’. A mingling of culture and religion rarely ends well.

Slightly off-topic, there’s a good feature piece on the struggle of the Iranian bus workers in Tehran in the new issue of New Internationalist.

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33. soubresauts - January 18, 2008

I’ve also personally observed that Islam seems to be given a pass by some elements on the left for practices that would be anathema…

By some elements on the right as well, of course.

WbS, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the U.S. might invade>/i> Iran. That’s clearly not on. Equally clearly, Cheney & co want to attack Iran — with their mighty bombers and missiles — to keep the war industries going and for political reasons. And the American forces are ready to do so.

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34. soubresauts - January 18, 2008

Sorry, that last paragraph should be:

WbS, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that the U.S. might invade Iran. That’s clearly not on. Equally clearly, Cheney & co want to attack Iran — with their mighty bombers and missiles — to keep the war industries going and for political reasons. And the American forces are ready to do so.

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35. eamonnmcdonagh - January 18, 2008

all the other members of OPEC more or less hate Iran for ethno/religious reasons and there definitely isn’t going to be any invasion of Venezuela and, at the very worst, there will be an air assault on Iran rather than an invasion so the there is no excuse for being so friendly with such a backward regime that I can see

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36. Garibaldy - January 18, 2008

As I said initially, I don’t support what Chavez is doing, but I can understand it. There’s already been a US backed coup attempt. If I were Chavez, I wouldn’t be so confident about the impossibility of military action as you.

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37. Eamonn - January 18, 2008

ah yes, but you said (hinted) above that you thought the US might *invade* Venezuela. Of course there might be an attempt to unseat Chavéz via a coup but that’s something they, the Venezuelans, are even more unlikely to be able to get help from Iran with.

Something else; declamatory anti-imperialism vs. doing things that actually promote independence and development. Anybody remember the 1995 OAS conference in Mar del Plata? Lula and Kirchner scuppered the FTAA and sent Bush home, in the politest manner possible and without ever mentioning the devil and/or Chomsky , with a flea in his ear. Now the Americans are having to negotiate “free”-trade agreements one country at a time.

Lula would have my vote as the leader who has done most for the real, as opposed to rhetorical, independence of Latin America countries in recent years

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38. Garibaldy - January 18, 2008

I said that Chavez had legitimate cause for worrying about it given that they have already tried a coup, have been constantly demonising him, and have shown a penchant to rachet up tension with the aim of justifying military action and invasion. Again, what I said was that if world opinion makes it difficult to invade Iran, then that benefits Chavez and his country by making it more difficult to invade him. Iran would not help with any invasion, and I never said it would.

The OAS was indeed a great success. Lula has done some good things. But I don;t think we should ignore Chavez’ subsidy of reforms at home and abroad, so I’d be inclined to disagree.

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39. WorldbyStorm - January 18, 2008

Actually there is a great article in the Guardian today which points to how oil has distorted the Venezeulan economy, just as it did with the Saudi’s etc. Ironically, one of the biggest issues has been the way in which oil is so cheap internally that it represents a net transfer from the general population to the upper middle classes at the expense of the poor. Got to say I think that in a world shifting towards a post-oil or near post-oil stance this may present real problems for Chavez and his successors…

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40. Pat - January 26, 2008

Eamonn

I fear I may have been sloppy in my choice of words. By Regime Change From Within, HOPI means that the People of Iran themselves must overthrow the Mullahs. Liberation cannot come via a US invasion, that way you will have democracy Iraq style.

The people of Iran deserve support against the Mullahs, if you go to the HOPI site you will get info on the struggles of workers, women and students. http://www.hopoi.org

An Iranian Socialist is coming to Dublin and will speak in the Teachers Club on Wednesday 6 February at 8 pm and at the Phil in TCD on Thursday at 7 pm. Torab may also speak in UCD at lunchtime on Thursday (TBC). Details below.

Rgds

Pat

War on Iran – what is the truth behind the crisis?

Torab Saleh leading Iranian socialist, political activist and founding member of ‘Hands off the People of Iran’ (HOPI) will speak on the nature of the Iranian regime, the relationship with the United States and the real reasons for going to war.

The recent stand-off in the Strait of Hormuz shows that tensions still run high between the United States and Iran. The threat of war has definitely not gone away. In fact war in the form of sanctions has intensified. But it is not the Ahmadinejad government that is suffering. Sanctions hit the poorest and the most vulnerable, never the elite. The people of Iran are suffering, not their rulers.

HOPI defends the Iranian people, not the regime. In this presentation, Torab Saleh looks at the nature of this regime and its relationship with the United States. He describes the history of the current conflict and goes behind the current media speculation to explain what is really going on in the Middle-East.

Come along and take part in this vital discussion. There will be plenty of time for debate and questions.

The meeting will be chaired by Des Derwin, Dublin Council of Trades Unions. Anne McShane, HOPI Ireland will also speak.

Venue: Teachers Club, 36 Parnell Square (West), Dublin 1.

Date: Wednesday 6th February 2008.

Time: 8 pm.

Torab Saleth is an Iranian socialist who took part in the Iranian revolution in 1979. In exile he became the editor of the journal ‘Socialism and Revolution’. He is currently on the editorial board of the journal Critique and a prominent member of Workers Left Unity Iran

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41. eamonnmcdonagh - January 26, 2008

I still don´t get why the Iranian people have to do it all on their own. If it wasn´t for the Cuban and Russian military aid to Angola and economic and cultural sanctions the white south African state would have remained in power to this day

Sometimes intervention works, sometimes it doesn´t

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42. Pat - January 26, 2008

I dont think intervention would work in this case. I think we just need to look at the example of Iraq. If there was a US invasion then it would strengthen the power of the Mullahs. Even if the US “took” the cities of Iran it would be a hollow victory and given the Iraq example its unlikely to bring freedom or democracy to the Iranian people.

If Cuba or VEnezuela were to offer assistance to the Iranian opposition I’m sure they would accept it. But that doesnt seem very likely.

Support the struggles of Iranian workers, women and students. Thats the way to help the creation of an a free and democratic Iran.

Why not come to either the Teachers Club or TCD meeting?

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43. Pat - January 26, 2008

Speaking of Chavez, I wonder if he will respond to this letter and talk to his bloodthirsty buddy.

Open letter to President Chavez from Iranian labour and student activists
By Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
Tuesday, 15 January 2008
Mr Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias,
President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Dear Mr President:

We hear the news of the release of two of the FARC’s hostages with renewed hope for the future of Colombia. The release of Clara Rojas and Consuela Gonzalez is not only a joyous event for their families but a development with great potentials for Colombian society.

Even the most right-wing news agencies in the world acknowledge Your Excellency’s crucial role in negotiating the release of these two captives. The negotiation process that you have gone through has been a difficult one – requiring uncommon patience on Your Excellency’s part. We sincerely hope that many more people will be reunited with their families and friends through your positive intervention in bridging the communication gap between the FARC and the Uribe government.

Your Excellency, we believe that your negotiation and persuasion skills can be put to further use in the release of captives in other parts of the globe. In particular, as you have developed very close relations with successive Iranian presidents, we hope that you can use your influence to help free the genuine trade unionists, democrats and socialists locked up in Iran.

Today there are many workers, students, women and journalists in Iran’s prisons. In December 2007 around 40 students were arrested for demanding freedom, liberty and singing the Internationale. Over thirty of them are still in prison – with rumours that Saeed Habibi may have committed suicide. Iran’s jails are also full of labour activists who have tried to set up trade unions and organise workers in their struggles to improve their pay and conditions. Mahmood Salehi and Mansour Osanloo are two such organisers. Salehi, who has just one kidney, is in a critical state. He was arrested in 2004 because he tried to organise a May Day rally. Osanloo is the leader of the Vahed Bus Company trade union. He tried to re-launch the trade union and raise the workers’ low wages. He was beaten up by vigilantes connected to the regime and imprisoned.

Your Excellency, we believe that your close relations with the Islamic Republic’s leaders, together with your undoubted persuasion skills, can help free these prisoners. These are not criminals: they are people who merely protested for better rights for workers, students, women, journalists and other sections of society. We are sure that your intervention in this regard, with a government that is much friendlier to Venezuela than Uribe’s Colombia, can bring about a positive outcome.

Yours respectfully,
Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network
Workers’ Action Committee (Iran)

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44. eamonnmcdonagh - January 26, 2008

Thanks for the invite but I live in Buenos Aires :=))

There’s a huge difference between

“the People of Iran themselves must overthrow the Mullahs”

and

“I dont think intervention would work in this case”

The first one is an objectively reactionary position, as far as I can see. the second one we can discuss. A few random points…

1.
There isn´t going to be an American, invasion. they haven´t enough soldiers for their existing committments never mind take on more.

2.
There might be an air assault on Iran´s nuclear facilities. It won´t be aimed at introducing democracy but who would be sorry if it led to the downfall of the mullahs. This seems very unlikely though.

3.
There is the example of Sierra Leone, where British military intervention put an end to the civil war, protected the democratic system – very flawed I know, but still miles better than rule by the hand choppers – and set the stage for the return of democracy to Liberia.

4.
as regards iraq, i wonder if the Kurds, at the very least, consider themselves less free and less democratically governed than under saddam

5.

“In fact war in the form of sanctions has intensified. But it is not the Ahmadinejad government that is suffering. Sanctions hit the poorest and the most vulnerable, never the elite.”

I disagree with this. The current sanctions regime (voted for by those great of the US imperialism, Russia and China) and the new ones currently being discussed seem quite tightly aimed at the nuclear industry and the leadership. Could you give us an example of how sanctions might be affecting ordinary people who are not employed as nuclear engineers, for example.?

Provided sanctions are carefully targeted I believe they are a legitimate tool for placing pressure on dangerous and reactionary regimes.

If the UN were to impose sanctions on counties occupying other people´s territory like Morocco, Armenia and Israel would you find them equally distasteful ? Are you against sanctions in general or just sanctions against Iran?

Sometimes intervention helps democratic forces in countries with oppressive regimes, sometimes it doesn´t. It depends on what kind of intervention, by whom, with what purpose and with what hope of success considering the conjunction of forces in play

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45. Pat - February 5, 2008

I dont think there is anything reactionary in saying that regime change must come from within and you have written nothing which would change my mind. Its a position which is held by the left in Iran and is also agreed to by the workers, students and feminist activists. All of the protests have had banners with anti-imperialist slogans. There hasnt been a single instance of a protest calling for US intervention.

As for Iraq what about the hundred of thousands of dead? Surely you must know that effectively Islamic Fundamentalists are in control and Iraq is Hell for Women.

I’m not aware of any independent representative Iranian groups calling for sanctions. Thats the differnce with South Africa,the Occupied Territoris etc.

Finally, Irans nuclear facilities. These are scattered across the country, if there was an attack on them then radioactive waste would also be scattered. We are talking about fully functioning reactors in several sites.

Anyway, come to the meeting.

Thers also a meeting in UCD:

Meeting: Thursday 7 February 1pm in room C214, Arts Block , UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4.

Speaker: Torab Saleth.

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46. Pat - February 5, 2008

Oops! I missed your note that you live in BA! I’m afraid we cant pay your plane fare.

Here are some articles by Torab:

The Class Nature of the Iranian Regime
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/83485

Defiance grows
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/671/iran.htm

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47. WorldbyStorm - February 5, 2008

I like HOPI. They make a fair bit of sense…

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