While building solidarity between activists in the U.S. and Iran can be a powerful way of supporting social justice movements in Iran, progressives and leftists who want to express solidarity with Iranians are challenged by a complicated geopolitical terrain. The U.S. government shrilly decries Iran’s nuclear power program and expands a long-standing sanctions regime on the one hand, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes inflammatory proclamations and harshly suppresses Iranian protesters and dissidents on the other. Solidarity activists are often caught between a rock and a hard place, and many choose what they believe are the “lesser evil” politics. In the case of Iran, this has meant aligning with a repressive state leader under the guise of “anti-imperialism” and “populism,” or supporting “targeted” sanctions.
Parastoo Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli, Iranian journalists and bloggers who were arrested last week, are being kept in solitary cells at Tehran’s Evin prison. Latest reports from Iran indicate that the two are held by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (Sepah) in the so-called ‘Ward AA’ (do Alef). The AA Ward of the Evin Prison is not under the jurisdiction or supervision of the Iranian Prisons Organizations, and is illegally run by the Intelligence Department of the IRGC.
Last week, agents stormed the houses of Dokouhaki and Rasouli and arrested the aforementioned, confiscating their laptops and other personal belongings. The two have been charged with “acting against national security” and “propaganda against the regime” – loosely defined charges that are repeatedly used in a range of cases. The real reasons for the arrests are, thus, not clear. So far, the journalists have been denied the right of access to attorney and no visitation with their family has been granted.
The international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws is shocked to learn that the Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests against journalists and women’s rights activists. This is a worrying development, as it shows the pressure on political activities and prisoners are mounting in Iran.
Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests of activists and journalists, accusing them of charges such as "acting against national security". Marzieh Rasouli, blogger and jouornalist, is one of the latest arrested on such charges. Pressure on political prisoners is mounting. It has been reported that Ms. Rasouli's personal effects, such as her laptop and mobile phone, were confiscated and when she was arrested. Security officicals said that she was taken to Evin prison.
Alieh Eghdam Doust, women’s rights activist was released from prison today on January 8, 2011 after serving a three year prison term. Alieh was sentenced to serve three years in prison after she was arrested on June 12, 2006 along with nearly 70 other protesters in Haft-e Tir Square, during a protest demanding equal rights for women. Alieh was subsequently tried in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Courts, on charges of acting against national security and sentenced to 3 years and four months in prison and 20 lashes.
In 2010 Shabakeh had their project, Equal Despite Difference under the WRRC Programme. The project brought together a network of Iranian lesbians in Germany and other parts of Europe to form a network and online space. Their focus is on human-rights, free-speech and anti-VAW.
Zanan TV was launched on 25 November 2011, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because Zanan TV is an alternative space for marginalized women who are violated by the state and silenced by mainstream media in Iran. It is a space for building the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran.
The International Day against Violence against Women is observed on the anniversary day of the “Unforgettable Butterflies” of the Dominican Republic, when three sisters, the Mirables, were killed in the struggle against the dictatorship in their country. It was this heartbreaking incident that caused the United Nations to designate one day for publicising opposition to violence against the women the world over. We Iranian women also have many “unforgettable butterflies” in our civil nonviolent resistance Movement, such as Parvaneh Eskandary, Haleh Sahabi, and Neda Agha Soltan, our three generations of Unforgettable Butterflies, who were victims of brutal violence that is blazing more heatedly today.