Iran Linkage

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on July 29, 2009

Things are just not subsiding in Iran.

1. Demonstrating that he is unpopular in just about every political quarter these days, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is now being threatened with a loss of power from fellow hardliners. As I have mentioned before, I have no objection to having hardliners fight with one another, and bleed each other dry. It saves the reformists a lot of trouble.

2. The state of human rights in Iran continues to leave a great deal to be desired:

In an apparent response Tuesday to allegations of abuses, Iran freed 140 opposition activists detained during election protests this summer and the country’s supreme leader ordered a prison closed because of substandard conditions. The developments followed local news reports that four activists have died in custody in recent days.

However, the Interior Ministry turned down a request by opposition leaders for permission to hold an event commemorating protesters killed in the crackdown after the disputed June 12 presidential election.

The release of the 140 activists from Evin prison, one of Tehran’s two main detention facilities, came after a visit by a special parliamentary committee, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported. Those freed were not named, but the prominent women’s rights activist Shadi Sadr was reported to have been among them, released on bail. Sadr was arrested July 17.

The city’s other main prison, Kahrizak, was closed after an order Monday by the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency. It is unclear whether the detainees there have been transferred or freed.

“Kahrizak is basically a big warehouse. Citizenship rights are not respected there,” said Darius Ghanbari, spokesman of the parliamentary faction that is close to the opposition. “Interrogators routinely beat up prisoners. It has none of the necessary standards for a detention center. There are not even toilets. Diseases are rampant.”

3. And then, of course, there is the gratuitous cruelty:

Iran’s Interior Ministry refused to authorize a mourning ceremony for people killed in the violence that followed the Persian Gulf country’s disputed June 12 re- election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“No permit for gatherings or marches has been issued for individuals or political groups,” the state-run Fars news agency today cited Mohammad Abaszadeh Meshkini, the ministry’s political director, as saying, in a reference to the planned Tehran event.

I’d comment, but the inhumanity speaks for itself.

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