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Saturday’s Iran Mini Report – December 29, 2018

Saturday's Iran Mini Report - December 29, 2018

• Hundreds Of Tehran Students Protesting At Azad University

Hundreds of university students in Tehran gathered on Saturday to express their anger at a bus crash that killed and injured dozens of their peers on December 25.

The official IRNA says “hundreds of students” are protesting and their numbers are growing. The report also adds that some family members of students killed in the crash are also present on the campus.

From photos and videos circulated the crowd appears to be large.

ISNA reports that the protest is spontaneous as students gathered in the parking area for the university buses, holding banners, protest against the university’s transport system and voice other grievances about the management of Azad University.

• Iranian political prisoner Mehdi Farahi Shandiz taken to solitary confinement

The Iranian regime has transferred Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, teacher and political prisoner in Karaj Central Prison, to solitary confinement. Farahi Shandiz has been kept in solitary confinement for an entire week for unknown reasons. There’s no news of his conditions.

Farahi Shandiz has been in prison for eight years and has been under constant torture and persecution by Iranian regime authorities and prison guards. In 2011, Farahi Shandiz was sentenced to three years in prison. But after eight years, he was given an extension until 2023 under trumped-up charges and made-up allegations.

• Iran Hangs Young Woman, Another Victim Of Sexual Violence

A 25-year-old woman identified only as Noushin, 25, was hanged in Iran, the state-run Young Journalist Club reported on December 22, 2018.

The news agency did not mention the exact place and time of execution.

Noushin had been interviewed by a state-media reporter the same day she was hanged when she was waiting in the courtyard for her execution.

• Official Says Social Media More Popular Than Iran’s State TV

An Iranian Culture Ministry official says the messaging service Telegram is Iran’s most popular media outlet.

Speaking at a seminar on media in Tehran on 26 December, Hamidreza Ziayiparvar, the ministry’s director general for media studies and planning said Telegram has 40 to 45 million users in Iran.

Telegram was banned in Iran in the aftermath of January 2018 protest demonstrations in which the messaging service was used to mobilize protesters and organize widespread anti-government demonstrations. However, the ban had very little impact on Telegram’s popularity as users quickly learned to use VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to circumvent filtering.

The official, a journalist by profession, stressed that people did not leave Telegram despite the ban imposed by the government.

• Iran’s Oil Exports To Asia Slump To Five-Year Low In November

Iran’s oil sales to the four major crude buyers in Asia plunged in November to the lowest level in more than five years, as Indian imports slumped and South Korea and Japan had halted purchases before the U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil industry returned.

The combined oil imports from Iran of China, India, South Korea, and Japan dropped by 12.7 percent annually in November to 664,800 bpd, Reuters reports, citing data from governments and ship-tracking sources.

The November Iranian imports of the four major Asian buyers are also down from October’s 762,000-bpd average.