The Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) was founded by Abbas Edalat in 2005. CASMII claims to be “independent of all political groups and governments, including the Iranian government”, but a number of its senior members are in fact agents of the Iranian regime. Tellingly, the group’s website, www.campaigniran.org, was formerly hosted by the same company, Patrix LLP, as that of the Iranian Embassy in Britain. The founder of Patrix LLP also happens to be on CASMII’s International Steering Committee, which comprises the following individuals:
CASMII also has an Advisory Board, whose members include:
Until recently, the London-based charity International Islamic Link described itself on its website as the “office of his eminence Hazarat Ayatullah Nasir Makarem Shirazi”.
Ayatullah Shirazi is a senior Iranian cleric, and served on the Assembly of Experts that drafted the Islamist constitution of the Islamic Republic after the Iranian Revolution of 1979. He believes that “the Holocaust is nothing but superstition,” and that homosexuals should be killed.
In 2009, International Islamic Link was granted £15,000 by Brent Council in London for the promotion of “religious freedom and tolerance”.
Madness, you say? You haven’t heard the least of it yet.
As a result of lobbying of MPs by Stop the Bomb, the Charity Commission recently announced that it was conducting a “pre-investigation assessment” of International Islamic Link. By this time, however, the charity had removed all references to Ayatullah Shirazi from its website.
Upon conclusion of its assessment, the Charity Commission expressed its satisfaction with International Islamic Link’s claim that it “has no private or public link with Ayatullah Nasir Makeren [sic] Shirazi”.
Quite how an organisation can, in a matter of weeks, go from being the personal office of a prominent Holocaust denier to having “no private or public link” with him is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the Charity Commission has now exonerated International Islamic Link of any affiliation with the Iranian regime.
Madness, you say? We think so too.
Cross-post by Peter Tatchell – Harry’s Place
The final sessions of the Iran Tribunal investigation into the execution of 20,000 political prisoners in the 1980s has opened in The Hague.
The charges against Iran include crimes against humanity.
In one very bloody seven month period, from August 1988 to February 1989, at least 4,500 people, some of them women and teenagers, were executed,according to Amnesty International. This works out at an average execution rate of one person almost every hour for over 200 days.
The current regime of President Ahmadinejad refuses to acknowledge these mass killings or provide any redress.
The Iran Tribunal, inaugurated in 2007, comprises leading judges and lawyers from around the world, including former prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and at the special tribunals on Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
British legal experts on the tribunal’s legal steering committee include Prof John Cooper QC and Sir Geoffrey Nice, Gresham professor of law and a former prosecutor at the ICC.
The tribunal was set up after past attempts to get the United Nations to investigate the killings were blocked by Iran’s allies in the Human Rights Council.
Most of the people executed were democrats, secularists, liberals, students and left-wingers. They were shot by firing squads or hanged from cranes, usually after prolonged torture and unfair, summary trials. Some women were raped before their execution. The victims were buried in mass graves. Many of the bodies have never been recovered.
The previous session of the tribunal, the Truth Commission in June 2012, heardwitness testimonies of floggings, burnings, slashings, nerve constriction, suspension from ceilings and mock executions. The sexual abuse of detainees was commonplace. Prisoners were often kept in solitary confinement in tiny two-square metre cells; and subjected to sleep deprivation and starvation rations. Many were stripped naked and exposed to prolonged extreme heat or cold. Children as young as 11 years old were among those tortured and hanged.
A member of the Iran Tribunal, Professor Payam Akhavan, observed:
“It (the tribunal) is a unique opportunity for the Iranian people to hold those in power accountable for past injustices to build a better future based on the rule of law.
“Instead of being punished, the perpetrators of these heinous crimes have been promoted to senior positions in government; members of the Death Commission sit on the Iranian Supreme Court, in its parliaments and in its Cabinets….without accountability for past crimes, it will be difficult to build a culture of human rights in Iran and to move beyond the present culture of impunity,” he said.
Unlike the massacres in apartheid South Africa, Darfur, Srebrenica and General Pinochet’s Chile, there has never been any international outrage at the mass killings in Iran. The victims and their loved ones have never had any opportunity for justice and legal redress.
This tribunal is the first time the full scale of the executions and the suffering of the victims has been subjected to authoritative judicial investigation and documentation. For the loved ones of those who were murdered, documenting these horrendous crimes is the first step towards exposing the perpetrators and hopefully one day bringing them to justice.
Repression continues in Iran today, with frequent arbitrary arrests, sham trials, torture, forced confessions and the incarceration and execution of political prisoners.
Since the fraudulent presidential elections in 2009, Amnesty International hasdocumented an intensifying crack down by the Tehran regime. Its alarming report, published this year, is entitled: We Are Ordered To Crush You: Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran.
Within the last week, three campaigners from the persecuted Baluch ethnic minority community have been hanged, after unfair trials and confessions extracted under torture.
In June, four Ahwazi Arab men, members of another victimised minority nationality, were executed for “enmity against God and corruption on earth.” Their families say they were tortured into confessing to the killing of a law enforcement official.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmad Shaheed, a former foreign minister of the Maldives, this week presented a report that warned of worsening discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, women and gay people.
He noted that there had been more than 300 officially reported executions in the first eight months of this year but that the real figure is probably much higher because Iran is now less open about the number of people it puts to death.
Shaheed said that 670 people were executed in 2011, making Iran the country with the world’s highest per capita use of the death penalty.
Aside from executions, the Iranian regime stands accused of persecuting political and ethnic dissidents, Sunni Muslims and other religious minorities, trade unionists, students, journalists, lawyers, women’s rights activists and LGBT people.
A retired businessman extradited to the US on charges of selling weapons parts to Iran is to change his plea to guilty after reaching a deal with prosecutors.
Christopher Tappin, 65, had always denied trying to sell batteries for surface-to-air missiles, claiming he was the victim of an FBI sting.
The BBC’s Alastair Leithead said Mr Tappin would enter a guilty plea when he appears in court next week.
Mr Tappin, from London, was due to go on trial in Texas on 5 November.
If convicted, the former president of the Kent Golf Society could have faced 35 years in jail.
Mr Tappin was arrested by UK police in 2010 and fought a two-year battle against extradition.
The former director of Surrey-based Brooklands International Freight Services strongly denied the charges, saying he believed he was exporting batteries for the car industry in the Netherlands.
Mr Tappin was eventually flown to the US in February after British judges said the extradition was lawful.
The grandfather-of-one was then held at New Mexico’s Otero County detention centre for two months before being released from custody on bail of $1m (£620,000).
His bail conditions required him to wear an electronic tag, to surrender his passport, and to travel only to El Paso and Houston, where he has been staying with one of his lawyers.
Speaking in April, Mr Tappin, of Orpington, south-east London, said: “I’m not a terrorist.
“I’ve never had any connections with terrorism and I’m just appalled that things could come to this sort of stage – especially in my life now, when I’m 65, been retired for four years and enjoying retirement.”
The European coalition STOP THE BOMB, which campaigns for tough economic and political sanctions against the Iranian regime, demands the cancellation of the trip by a delegation of the European parliament to Iran, scheduled for October 27th.
Considering the given situation, in which the Iranian regime unwaveringly cherishes its nuclear program, continuously repeats its threats of annihilation towards Israel, represses by brute force every movement of the opposition in Iran and directly participates in quelling the protests in Syria, this visit would set the worst signal possible and subvert the Iranian opposition.
STOP THE BOMB’s spokesperson for Europe, Simone Dinah Hartmann, directly addresses the President of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz: “We urge the conference of Presidents to prohibit courting the Iranian Regime as they did in 2011. This trip entirely contradicts the spirit of the EU’s sanctions and it thwarts the recent decisions by the EU member states. Instead of increasing pressure on Tehran, this trip offers the regime the possibility to celebrate yet another propaganda success.”
Author: StB UK Director Jacob Campbell
Late last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reported to the UN General Assembly that “sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine”. Unsurprisingly, these comments were quickly seized upon by President of the National Iranian American Council Trita Parsi, a well-known and influential stooge of the Iranian regime, to justify his demand for an immediate end to the sanctions.
To be sure, ordinary Iranians are suffering. But whilst Mr Ban and the various mouthpieces of the Ayatollahs blame the sanctions, the Iranian people are not buying into the narrative.
When massive protests erupted on the streets of Tehran as the value of the Iranian currency plummeted to record lows last week, there was not a burning American flag to be seen or an anti-Western slogan to be heard. Instead, hundreds of furious demonstrators chanted, “Leave Syria alone! Think of us!” – an outpouring of the anger felt by a majority of Iranians over the $10 billion squandered by Iran’s leaders in support of Bashar al-Assad’s protracted war against the Syrian people.
But it is not just the costly Syrian campaign that provoked the unrest. “I blame the government of Iran for insisting on the continuation of its useless nuclear programme,” said one merchant from the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, where the protests began. “We don’t need nuclear power at the cost of losing our business and livelihood. Can I feed my children nuclear power? Why is the welfare of people the last thing the government thinks about?”
Although UN, US and EU sanctions have undoubtedly reduced the total amount of resources at the disposal of the Iranian state, they cannot dictate how those resources are spent. Ordinary Iranians understand this, and assign blame accordingly. They know that it is the sadistic regime which necessitates the sanctions, rather than the sanctions themselves, that is the cause of their present hardship. Even the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament – not exactly a bastion of dissent – has publicly acknowledged that President Ahmadinejad’s warped priorities and fiscal mismanagement are responsible for “80 percent” of the country’s economic woes.
Nevertheless, the West must not ignore the plight of the Iranian people. When faced with a choice between serving the interests of its population and the interests of its ideology, Iran’s clerical regime is hardwired always to choose the latter. Not even the most comprehensively crippling of sanctions will change that. For this reason, it is imperative that we do everything within our power to facilitate quick and orderly regime change in Tehran. The fate of millions of Iranians depends upon it.