See the FDI Legacy site and archives
See the FDI Legacy site and archives
Dec. 22, 2005: The Islamic Republic's new nuclear "negotiator," Javad Vaidi, told representatives of the EU-3 during a brief meeting on December 21st in Vienna that he had nothing to offer, but that the Europeans should come back in January for a new round of "negotiations." Sources in Tehran tell FDI that the nuclear "negotiations" with the European Union are being guided in Tehran by Revolutionary Guards Corps political director Yadollah Javani, a Rev. Guards general who is part of the new generation of leaders brought into power by president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As Mayor of Tehran, Ahmadinejad went to Moscow shortly before his election.
According to a top nuclear affairs advisor to French president Jacques Chirac, Ahmadinejad's "Russian connection" may have played a role in the decision to convert a suspected nuclear weapons development site at Lavizan-Shian into a Tehran municipal park. Not long after Lavizan-Shian was exposed as a potential nuclear site in August 2003, Ahmadinejad took over the site, razed the buildings, carted away the rubble, and declared it a public park - according to the official story. But according to President Chirac's nuclear advisor, Ahmadinejad may have been instrumental in a ruse, devised in cooperation with Russian intelligence, aimed at preventing international inspection of the site. (Before and after pictures of Lavizan-Shian are available here.)
Dec. 19, 2005: Iran's new president is targeting Christians and other religious minorities for persecution, FDI Executive Director Timmerman writes in National Review on-line.
Dec. 12, 2005: Iranian journalists may have been murdered in airplane crash, critics say. The condition of an Iranian government C-130 Hercules packed with journalists was so bad that the original pilot refused to fly, Iranian sources tell FDI. The government had to bring in a back-up pilot, who radioed ground control almost immediately after take off from Tehran's Mehrebad airport, asking for an emergency landing. The authorities denied three requests for an emergency landing - including at the new Imam Khomeini airport outside Tehran - and the plane was circling back to Mehrebad when it crashed into an apartment complex, killing all on board as well as bystanders on the ground. Among the journalists on board were several known critics of the regime.
Nov. 25, 2005: Confronting Iran: Why the world community must refer the Islamic Republic to the UN Security Council for eventual sanctions, from Frontpagemag.com
September 17: "Former U.S. hostages ID Ahmadinejad," from Newsmax.com
FDI Executive Director Kenneth R. Timmerman called on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly to send Ahmadinejad back to Iran, in an address to pro-democracy demonstrators in new York on Sept. 14.
Click here for the full story and more pictures.
Sept. 15, 2005: Stay tuned for FDI exclusive reporting on demonstrations at the United Nations headquarters in New York protesting the arrival of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Former U.S. hostages in Tehran formally identified the terrorist-president, and took issue with a U.S. intelligence report leaked to the press in August that their identification of Ahmadinejad as a key interrogator of seucrity and intellgence officials at the embassy was just a case of "mistaken identity."
Ahmadinejad today told reporters in New York that the Islamic Republic was willing to transfer nuclear technology to other "Islamic" nations, AP reported from Tehran. After meeting with the turkish Prime Minister at the UN, he said: "Iran is ready to transfer nuclear know-how to the Islamic countries due to their need."
Sept. 14, 2005: ACTION ALERT: PRO-DEMOCRACY GROUPS PROTEST THE ARRIVAL OF ISLAMIC REPUBLIC PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD IN NEW YORK ON WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 14, 2005. More than 50 prominent Iranian-American community leaders from Los Angeles are flying into New York on a special charter to join protesters who have arrived by bus, train and car. Meet them on the streets of New York across from United Nations Plaza from 9 AM through 5 PM. The special flight from Los Angeles has been coordinated by Marzepor Gohar (Iranians for a Secular Republic).
Among the groups participating in "Iran UN Protest 2005" are the National-Secular Party, Iran Society, Marzeporgohar, Alliance of Iranians (TX), National Iranian Congress, Social-Democrats, Iranian Council, Free-Thinkers, Pan-Iranist, Iran of Tomorrow and the Students Movement Coordinating Committee (SMCCDI)
The main protest will be held at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza at 1st Ave and 47th East.
At 3:30 PM, former hostages from the US Embassy in Tehran, Iranian torture victims, and a former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights will provide first-hand evidence of the involvement of IRI president Ahmedinejad as "a practioner of and an agent of terror of" the Islamic Republic. Bickman Tower Hotel, 49th St & 1st avenue. Open to accredited journalists. (Contact: justice4Freedom@aol.com)
September 13, 2005: "NYPD: Deport This Man!" Why NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly should escort the terrorist-president of the IRI to Kennedy airport. From today's Washington Times.
Click here for a picture from the early days of the 1979-1981 hostage crisis in Tehran that appeared in the Iranian press at the time. It depicts the hostage-takers milling around surveillance cameras on the grounds of the U.S. embassy in preparing. The young man in the lower left hand corner is believed to be Ahmadinejad. (Photo courtesy of Marzeporgohar)
August 31: "Mullah's Best Friend." Why German Chancellor Schroeder won't win this time by demonizing Bush. From National Review On-line
Aug. 8, 2005: The KDPI today released the names of 17 Iranians killed in the clashes in northern Iran when regime helicopter gunships machine-gunned crowds of protesters in recent days. The clashes have spread beyond Saqqez and Mahabad to Sine, Sardasht, Piranshar, Marivan, Shino, Baneh, Divan and Dareh.
On August 5, Reza Pahlavi sent a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, urgently requesting his "kind personal intervention to put as much pressure as possible on the Islamic Republic of Iran to end such practices."
Aug. 4, 2005: The regime unleashed combat attack helicopters on crowds of demonstrators in the Iranian Kurdish town of Saqqez on Thursday, killing 13 demonstrators and wounding more than 200, according to eyewitness reports on Los Angeles-based Radio Sedaye Iran and National Iranian TV (NITV). The killings came from a regime effort to put down three weeks of protests in northwestern Iran following the assassination of a prominent pro-democracy activist on July 9
August 2: Tonight PBS ran a documentary filmed in Iran on a "reformist" newspaper, Shargh, that supported Hashemi-Rafsanjani during the latest presidential elections, that revealed the very real, difficult choices Iranians must make if they remain in Iran.
Bill Moyers of PBS destroyed any positive impact this very intriguing film may have had by interviewing Council on Foreign Relations Middle East "expert" Judith Kipper, who urged the United States to open diplomatic relations with the current regime. Send your comments to PBS...
Otherwise, stay tuned for a protest of the upcoming visit of IRI "president" Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to the UN General Assembly in New York on September 15 by visiting this website...
Opposition sources say demonstrations are scheduled for tomorrow in front of Evin prison and in front of the United Nations office in Tehran, to protest the continued detention of political prisoners by the regime. The mother of jailed activists Akbar and Mohammad Mohammadi vows she will protest in front of Evin until her two sons are released.
Iranian-Americans will hold similar demonstrations tomorrow in front of the UN office in Washington, DC at 18th and K street between 4-7 PM, and in front of UN headquarters in New York.
August 1, 2005: The regime today delivered formal notification to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it was resuming production of uranium hexafluoride at a conversion plant in Isfahan, and would be breaking IAEA seals on production equipment on Aug. 2. French foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy responded that Iran's actions would trigger "an exceptional meeting of the IAEA council of governors" in Vienna. "If despite this Iran carries on, we will need to go to the Security Council," he told Agence France Presse.
July 27, 2005: Unrest continues today in Iranian Kurdish areas. Strikes and protests are now in their eighth day in Mahabad and other cities in the northwest of Iran. The protests began after the cold-blooded murder of a Kurdish pro-democracy activist, Shivan Qaderi, and two others on July 9 by government security forces. Qaderi's body was then dragged through the town behind a Toyota jeep. (Caution: the family has made available graphic photographs of the man's dead body, to document his torture at the handsof regime agents). Regime military forces today attacked demonstrators in the city of Oshnavieh, reportedly killing four people. Kurdish journalists, cited by the BBC on Monday, reported that three people were killed on Monday and seven others in previous days by regime forces.
July 23: An Iranian hard-line weekly close to the Revolutionary Guards Corps, Partoo Sakhan, ran an advertisement in today's paper calling for volunteers for a new "martyrdom-seeking division" to carry out suicide attacks against Western and especially U.S. targets.. In its headline, the ad quotes IRI founder Ayatollah Khomeini: "Martyrdom-seeking operations embody the pinnacle of a nation's greatness and the apex of its epics." It calls on volunteers to submit two photographs and a copy of their identity cards to a Tehran Post Office box, to be selected for suicider training.
July 13, 2005: The White House has issued a statement calling for the "Unconditional release of Akbar Ganji in Iran. "Through his now month-long hunger strike, Mr. Ganji is demonstrating that he is willing to die for his right to express his opinion. President Bush is saddened by recent reports that Mr. Ganji's health has been failing and deeply concerned that the Iranian government has denied him access to his family, medical treatment, and legal representation. ...The President calls on all supporters of human rights and freedom, and the United Nations, to take up Ganji's case and the overall human rights situation in Iran. The President also calls on the Government of Iran to release Mr. Ganji immediately and unconditionally and to allow him access to medical assistance. Mr. Ganji, please know that as you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you." The original statement is here.
Here are the latest photos of Akbar Ganji in prison.
July 12 newsflash: Thousands of protesters gathered in the streets in front of Tehran University today, calling on the regime to free political prisoners, including jailed journalist and author, Akbar Ganji. According to callers from Tehran who gave live reports to National Iranian TV in Los Angeles, some 4,000 to 10,000 protestors had gathered, despite a police crackdown. Toward 8 PM local time (11:30 AM Eastern time), female protestors who had taken off their chadors were being assaulted by regime riot police and plainclothes bassiji enforcers, and hauled off to police stations. According to local residents, the regime shut down all phone service in the vicinity of the demonstration, so callers had to go to other parts of the city to get information out to overseas broadcasters. Despite the crackdown, NITV reported, the crowds of demonstrators continued to grow after the evening rush hour. Developing...
First photos of the demonstration are available here. Click on the small image to be taken to a larger picture on the yahoo news server.
More pictures of demonstrators carrying banner, demanding the release of jailed journalist Akbar Ganji (courtesy of IranPressNews)
June 30: The Washington Times today reveals that Iran's radical new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has been positively identified by three Americans held in the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Iran as one of their interrogators during the hostage-crisis. "As soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew that was the bastard," said retired Army Col. Charles Scott, 73, a former hostage who lives in Jonesboro, Ga."He was one of the top two or three leaders. The new president of Iran is a terrorist."
That is not the only element of Ahmadinejad's terrorist pedigree. Other sources have identified him as an executioner at Evin prison, whose role was to administer the coup de grace with a revolver to condemned political prisoners. Later, he became a founding commander of the Qods Force, the overseas terrorist strike force of the Revolutionary Guards.
In comments that appeared in today's edition of Iran News in Tehran, the new president vowed to ignite a worldwide Islamic revolution. "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen and the Islamic revolution of 1384 [the current Iranian year] will, if God wills, cut off the roots of injustice in the world," Ahmadinejad said. "The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes, tyranny and injustice has reached its end. The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world."
June 25: Several websites have posted photographs of empty polling places in Tehran. Regimchangeiran has collected them on its blogspot. Here are photos of polling places from Iran Focus; and traffic webcams of main thoroughfares in Tehran on election day, virtually empty of traffic, thanks to SOSIran.
June 24: Illegal ballot boxes in California. The Islamic Republic has once again rented space in a Los Angeles hotel and in other locations to place illegal ballot boxes for the second round of the presidential election farce. SMCDDI has put out an urgent action, calling on pro-freedom activists to go to the Crown Plaza Hotel at Commerce Casino at 6300 E. Telegraph, Commerce CA 90040 to protest the hotel's collaboration with the Islamic Republic regime. The direct phone number of the hotel manager, Mr. Joe Zarrahy, is 323-823-4001. His assistant's direct line is 323-832-4001. FDI has phoned Mr. Zarrahy to confirm the presence of the illegal ballot box and will post more information as it becomes available.Thanks to your calls, the regime closed this polling station.
June 22: The pro-Rafsanjani forces are organizing in the United States, attempting to sway public opinion and the media into believing the legitimacy of the presidential election farce. It's not surprising that they are counting on the support from the Left in America. (This link will take you to a press release, off-site, from the Progressive Newswire). This is yet another attempt by regime supporters to spread pro-regime propaganda in the United States.
FDI believes the current election in Iran is more aptly termed a selection, since all eight candidates allowed to run (seven finally appeared on the ballot last Friday) were vetted and approved by the Islamic fundamentalist Council of Guardians. None of the selected candidates supports dismantling absolute clerical rule (Velayat-e faghih) or the establishment of a secular government.
Read this extraordinary account, from Marzeporgohar, of the efforts by pro-democracy activists in the United States to prevent illegal ballot boxes from being used in California and in Canada.
June 17, 2005: Flash: The Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran and other pro-democracy groups are calling on supporters to phone or fax hotels that are hosting regime ballot boxes in the United States. Click here to download a PDF file with the names, addresses and fax numbers (75 kb). Click here to read the SMCCDI urgent action.
FDI Executive Director Kenneth R. Timmerman calls the "selection" in Iran today a "sham election." Read his article in today's Washington Times.
June 15, 2005: Opposition coalition urges Iranians to boycott election. An unusual coalition of opposition leaders, human rights activists, and community leaders in exile have called on Iranians to boycott the "rigged, anti-democratic " June 17 presidential selection in Iran. In a letter they released to explain their move, the signers noted that since "the mullahs consider any vote in the election to be a vote for the regime," it was better for Iranians to boycott the polls. Signers included prominent supporters of monarchy, constitutionalists, members of the center-Left National Front, women's leaders, writers, and broadcasters. Read the full text of the declaration and the list of co-signers.
Police today broke up a protest outside Tehran's Evin prison by more than 100 people demanding the release of all political prisoners, Reuters reported from Tehran. One of the organizers, Seifollah Akbari, said that police with batons had beaten several demonstrators and detained two women and a man. Protesters were demanding the release of journalist Akbar Ganji, who published a scathing investigative book on former (and possibly future) president Hashemi-Rafsanjani and his responsibility for ordering the murder of Iranian dissidents.
June 12, 2005: Tehran women protest regime. Iranian women gathered today in front of the University of Tehran to protest human rights abuses by the regime. Click here to see a picture of the demonstration, courtesy of the the Iranian Student News Agency. The sign reads: "We are the Children of Cyrus the Great. We are the messengers of human rights."
June 11, 2005: FDI Executive Director Kenneth R. Timmerman introduced Iranian freedom fighter Roozbeh Farahanipour to the Democracy Celebration rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC, hosted by Citizens United. A transcript of the event is now available from Marzeporgohar.
June 8, 2005: LA opposition to hold hunger strike. Opposition leaders in Los Angeles announced today they would hold a hunger strike this Saturday, June 11, in sympathy with hunger strikers in Iran who are protesting the re-arrest of Akbar Ganji and other journalists. The LA hunger strikers will be lead by Reza Pahlavi at the Los Angeles Federal building in Westwood.
May 28: Opposition accuses regime of assassination in Paris. Opposition leaders in California held a memorial service in Los Angeles today for Dr. Kasra Vafadari, who was found dead ten days ago in his apartment in Paris, stabbed in the neck. Dr. Vafadari, a Zoroastrian cultural and political figure, had taken French citizenship and lectured on pre-Islamic religions at the University of Paris. (See IranPressNews in Farsi). So far, the French authorities have called his murder a domestic squabble, not a political assassination. However, if top counter-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguiere picks up the case and determines that Vafadari was assassinated, it will be the first time since 1997 that the regime has chosen to strike at dissidents living outside of Iran. The previous assassination campaign claimed more than 100 victims, and was led by former president Hashemi-Rafsanjani, who is jockeying to stage a comeback in the June 17 elections.
May 26: Oppositions demand the U.S. close illegal regime voting booths in California. Opposition activists Roozbeh Farahanipour (Marzepourgohar party), Aryo Pirouznia (Students coordinating Committee) and Roxanne Ganji are calling on the U.S. authorities to prevent the Islamic Republic from setting up illegal voting booths for the upcoming presidential election on June 17.
May 25: Referendum advocate calls for U.S. to reject elections. In Washington, DC, former reformist publisher and regime official Mohsen Sazegarah told an audience at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy today that "the United States should announce that it will not recognize this election or any election [in Iran[ until there is a change in the constitution." He added that "unpublished polls" in Iran showed that "only 28% of the voters intend to vote" in the upcoming presidential election.
May 24: Sec. Rice blasts mullahs. In a speech to the annual meeting of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice warned Iran's "unelected leaders" that the day will come when their people will demand the same rights and liberties recently sought by Iraqis and Lebanese. Read the story from today's New York Sun.
May 23, 2005: "Reformist" candidates barred. The Guardians Council barred all but six candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, spurring "reformist" politicians in Tehran to join opposition calls for an election boycott. Left in the running are re-tread Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, former police chief Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf; former radio and television chief Ali Larijani; Tehran Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; former parliamentary speaker Mahdi Karroubi; and former Rev. Guards military commander, Mohsen Rezai. A prominent journalist, Akbar Ganji, has joined other opposition leaders in calling for a boycott of the elections, Iran Press Service reports. On Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, stung by criticism, wrote to Guardians secretary general Ayatollah Jannati, asking him to reconsider his decision and to reinstate the candidacies of former Education and Training Minister Mustafa Moin and Vice President for Physical Training Mohsen Mehralizadeh, considered "reform" candidates. (Click here for an RFE/RL report).
May 19, 2005: The Senate Foreign Relations committee today held a hearing on Iran's nuclear program and what the United States can do to keep Iran from going nuclear. Geof Kemp and George Perkovitch (respectively, from the Nixon Center and Carnegie) urged Senators to mix a new cookie dough of "incentives" to encourage the mullahs not to do anything irresponsible with their new nuclear weapons. Only William Samii, of Radio Free Europe/Radio Libery dared to suggest that the United States should provide help to pro-democracy forces inside Iran as the best possible alternative to war. PDF files with prepared testimony can be found on the Committee website.
MEK/MKO disputes Human Rights report. A U.S. representative of the National Council of Resistance in Iran, a front organization for the Mujahedin-e Khalq, tells Radio Farda that a 28-page Human Rights Watch report on MEK abuse of former MEK members in Iraq is a pack of lies, and that former MEK dissidents are actually Iranian government intelligence agents. But former MEK member Mohammed Hussein Sobhani says he was imprisoned in the MEK's Camp Ashraf in Iraq for eight and a half years, transferred to the Iraqi security service for 35 days, then held in Saddam's infamous Abu Ghreib prison for another year. Other witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch tell similar stories. Georgetown University professor Raymond Tanter has come out in support of the MEK, (see also a Washington Institute Policy Watch paper Tanter wrote with Patrick Clawson) as have pro-MEK websites such as IranFocus. Read the HR Watch report on their website, or download a pdf copy here. MEK dissidents have established their own website with individual stories of abuse by MEK leaders Maryam and Massoud Rajavi, iran-interlink.org.
May 16, 2005: Referendum disputes. In a statement issued by the party's European representative today, the Iran People's Party (Hezb-e Mellat-e Iran) blasted supporters of the referendum movement for claiming the IPP had agreed to take part in an upcoming strategy conference in Gothenberg, Sweden, planned for May 26-27. Recalling an earlier statement issued in Iran, the IPP's European representative reiterated that "referendum is our national right; however due to the current situation in Iran, a national referendum is simply not possible" at the present time. IPP leaders tell FDI they fear the mullahs will stage a fake referendum (monitored, say, by Jimmy Carter), similar to a Soviet-style election. Referendum supporter Mohsen Sazegarah, however, believes the momentum behind the movement has already built up sufficient pressure to make the risk of holding an election too great for the regime to take.
May 15, 2005: Call for boycott. Housang Amirahmadi, a long-time advocate of lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic, has declared that he intends to run for president in the upcoming June 17 elections in Iran. Mr. Amirahmadi founded the American-Iranian Council, a lobbying group that has consistently supported the so-called "reform" movement in Iran and encouraged the United States to reconcile with the Islamic republic. Now that the reform movement has declared its own death, Mr. Amirahmadi is trying to resurrect a new sham movement of regime supporters in a last, desperate attempt to save the dying clerical regime. FDI urges Iranians not to fall for more false promises of reform, and instead to boycott the June 18 elections.
April 26, 2005: Iranian-Americans blast anti-sanctions activists. The Iranian-American Jewish Federation (IAJF), led by Sam Kermanian, has joined the growing ranks of Iranian-American groups to expose the agenda of an anti-sanctions lobbying group that shares many of the same policy objectives as the Islamic Republic. The National Iranian American Council (www.niacouncil.org) has been seeking for years to organize Iranian-Americans to lobby Congress against the sanctions and in favor of open economic ties with the clerical regime in Tehran. Also opposing NIAC's latest efforts to create false facts (such as a "scientific" poll showing that Iranian-Americans want sanctions to be lifted so they can invest in the Islamic Republic of Iran is the nationalist, secular Marzepourgohar movement, led by Roozbeh Farahanipour. Click here for the full text of the IAJF and MPG statements.
Earlier, the Iranian-American Republican Council denounced the NIAC poll, which claimed that four out of five Iranian-Americans opposed the Iran Freedom Support Act (see April 14, below). The IARC urged Iranian-americans to make their views known directly by phoning or writing to members of Congress in support of HR 282, and demanded NIAC's "immediate and clear retraction [of] false claims of representing the views of Iranian-Americans."
April 25, 2005: Catholic University sponsors Iranian Islamic scholars to an interfaith conference in Washington, DC on April 25-26, 2005. The invitation of Iranian clerics, many of whom lecture at top universities in Tehran where their teachings are regularly vetted by the regime, was greeted with suspicion at the State Department but finally approved at the urging of the White House, FDI has learned. Most of Catholic University's Iranian guests are considered "intellectual" ayatollahs, not "political" ayatollahs, and will be speaking about Islam and democracy...
One exception appears to be Dr. Mehdi Sanaei, the deputy for research of the Islamic Culture and Relationship Organization in Tehran, who lists degrees in political science and international relations. The 36-year old Sanaei spent three years as "cultural counselor" of the Islamic Republic of Iran embassy to Kazakhstan from 1995-1998, and the next four years as a diplomat in Russia. The regime targeted both countries throughout the 1990s as sources of nuclear and missile technologies, using intelligence operatives working under cover as diplomats, students, and private businessmen.
April 14, 2005: [From VOA News] A U.S. congressional committee has approved legislation seeking to strengthen existing U.S. sanctions on Iran and put more pressure on Iran's government on the issue of weapons of mass destruction, while providing greater support for Iranian democracy groups. The Iran Freedom Support Act declares it should be U.S. policy to support human rights and pro-democracy forces in the United States and abroad opposing what it calls the non-democratic government of Iran.
HR 282, whose authors say is supported by some 140 House members, was approved Wednesday by the House Middle East Subcommittee chaired by Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. "Iran is the full ticket. It has medium and long-range missile programs, it is believed to have (a) chemical and biological weapons program, it is pursuing nuclear capabilities, it remains the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world," he said. [Read complete VOA dispatch]
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