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Iran News in Brief – July 21, 2023

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THIS PAGE WILL BE UPDATED WITH THE LATEST NEWS

UPDATE: 7:00 PM CET

Controversy Erupts Over Hijab Patrols in Iran

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The relaunch of “morality police” patrols in Iran, led by the clerical regime, has sparked conflict.

President Ebrahim Raisi denies responsibility for their reinstatement, fearing public backlash. However, a senior official from the regime’s State Security Forces has asserted that Raisi personally ordered the operationalization of the hijab patrol.

The state-run Etemad newspaper wrote on Thursday, July 20: “In the past few days, following the revival of hijab patrols, the government’s executive officials have gone to great lengths to persuade the public and media that the president and the government are not involved in launching these patrols. However, during a conversation with “Etemad newspaper,” a senior police official revealed that the plan was executed under the direct order of the president, who serves as the head of the Supreme National Security Council. The interior minister, as the deputy representative of all forces in the police, also played a significant role in the implementation of this plan.”


Rights Experts, NGOs Ask Un Rights Chief To Help Halt Looming Iran Execution

AFP – Dozens of rights experts and NGOs have asked the UN rights chief to urgently intervene to prevent the execution of an Iranian boxing champion sentenced over his role in 2019 protests.

The appeal came after Mohammad Javad Vafaei-Sani on Wednesday saw his execution verdict confirmed to him before he was taken to a secluded section of the Vakilabad prison in the city of Mashhad where he is being held, according to the letter sent to Volker Turk overnight.

“We request your urgent public intervention to save the life of Iranian political prisoner (Mohammad Javad Vafaei-Sani),” said the letter, which was signed by 85 international rights advocates and groups.

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Call For Un Rights Chief To Prevent Execution of Iranian Boxer: Letter

GENEVA, July 20 (Reuters) – Dozens of rights activists as well as prominent lawyers and former prosecutors have written to the U.N. Human Rights chief urging him to intervene to try to prevent the execution of an Iranian boxer, a letter showed on Thursday.

Mohammad Javad Vafa’i Thani who was imprisoned for his role in anti-government protests in 2019 was informed on Wednesday that his execution verdict had been finalised, according to the letter dated July 19.

“We ask that you make an urgent public call for the Iranian authorities to halt Vafa’i Thani’s imminent execution sentence,” said the document, signed by 83 people including the former head of the International Criminal Court Judge Sang-Hyun Song, more than a dozen current and former U.N. human rights officials as well as former prosecutors.

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UPDATE: 5:00 PM CET

Morality Police Patrol In Iran: ‘They Beat Me Hard When They Wanted To Put Me in the Car’

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The Iranian moral police are again actively looking for women who do not wear the headscarf in accordance with the regulations. After the mass protests following the death of Mahsa Amini (22), the so-called Gasht-e-Ershad was barely visible for ten months.

Maryam, a 30-year-old woman from Tehran, is one of those norm-breaking women. She is a supporter of the Iranian opposition, the People’s Mujahideen (MEK), which is banned in the country, and therefore cannot give her full name. In an interview via Telegram, she says that she herself has also received blows from the moral police. “I was approached several times and that led to heated discussions. They hit me hard when they wanted to put me in the car. They took us to the ‘morality police office’, where there were countless girls who, like me, had been arrested for ‘not wearing a headscarf properly’. Some were detained, others were released after a few hours. In the end, they let my girlfriend and me go because we persisted in our resistance.”

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UPDATE: 7:00 AM CET

To Prevent Protests, Iran’s Regime Resorts to Executions, Arrests

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As we close in on the first anniversary of Iran’s nationwide protests that began in September 2022, the mullahs’ regime has resorted to a series of repressive measures to prevent social anger from flaring up again. On July 19, a judge at Mashhad’s Vakil Abad Prison, upheld the death sentence of Mohammad Javad Vafa’i Thani, a political prisoner sympathizing with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Mr. Vafa’i Thani was sentenced to death on the bogus charge of “corruption on Earth,” a vaguely defined crime that the regime uses against dissidents. Mr. Vafa’i Thani, 27, among the boxing champions in Mashhad’s boxing clubs, was arrested in March 2020 for taking part in the November 2019 nationwide protests. He was tortured for a long time and sentenced to death after being tortured to make incriminating confessions.

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Former IRGC Commander Warns About the Resilience of the Iranian Resistance

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The regime’s demonic propaganda machinery has distorted pre-revolution history to minimize the role of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) and true freedom fighters in the events leading to the overthrow of the Shah dictatorship. They portray them as having had little impact apart from some futile armed actions. According to this narrative, it was Khomeini (the regime’s founder) who bravely opposed the Shah in 1963, even though it is widely known that Khomeini held reactionary views and opposed women’s suffrage. They claim that it was only Khomeini alone who drew his sword to fight against the Shah and, in 1979, miraculously descended from the sky like Superman and with just one simple order he forced Shah to escape the country, resulting in the people’s rising and revolution.

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The Precarious State of Iran’s Retirement Funds: Budget Deficits and Resource Shortages

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The Iranian government has decided to merge 18 retirement funds in response to a budget deficit of 3,000 trillion rials (approximately $6 billion) and its increasing debt to these funds. Retirement funds in Iran are called “time bombs,” not because they are all considered bankrupt, but because they can lead to the destruction of both the economy and the Iranian society, along with bankruptcy. For more than a decade, the Iranian regime has been dealing with the retirement fund crisis through tricks such as assigning shares, transferring factories and even lands to the funds to pay off their debts. Nevertheless, official reports show that out of a total of 18 retirement funds in Iran, 17 are bankrupt or on the brink of bankruptcy.

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Political Prisoners Protest “Fabricated Charges” Against Maryam Akbari Monfared

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The opening of a new case against Maryam Akbari Monfared, who has been in prison without furlough for 14 years, has been protested by current and former women political prisoners. These women consider the new case as “revenge of the judiciary because she was seeking justice.” Forty-four current and former women political prisoners have protested in a letter the “fabricated charges” against Maryam Akbari Monfared and the opening of a new case against her by the judiciary. The letter refers to Maryam Akbari Monfared’s 14 years of imprisonment without even a day of furlough and her exile to Semnan Prison in central Iran.

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Iran Holds World Record of Internet Interruption in 2023

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Iran, India, and Pakistan were the top three countries leading in new internet restrictions for the first half of 2023. This is hardly surprising given that Asia has long been the focal point of internet shutdowns, with these nations ranking 2nd, 1st, and 4th, respectively, in terms of restriction counts globally since 2015.

Iran had the most internet disruptions in the first half of 2023, with 14 cases in total. All of these occurred in Zahedan during Friday protests over the Zahedan massacre. India closely trailed Iran, with 9 recorded cases of internet restrictions. The majority of these restrictions happened during protests.

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Also, read Iran News in Brief – July 20, 2023