Friday, February 12, 2010

Nothing but a Name Left from the Islamic Republic

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Rooz Online English /

As pressures mounts on activists and political groups in Iran, the largest student alumni opposition group (Advar Tahkim Vahdat) has not been immune to such regime tactics. In the latest development, Ali Malihi, one of the organization’s spokespersons and a member of its policy committee was arrested yesterday in front of his house. Security officers had on November 2 made an unsuccessfull attempt to arrest him. According to a report from the Rahana news agency, after searching his house and confiscating his personal belongings, officers transported Malihi to an un-disclosed location. The journalist’s brother was also detained for several hours. With Malihi’s arrest, this is the sixth person who have been arrested from this group. In addition to Malihi, Ahmad Zeidabadi (secretary-general), Abdollah Momeni (head of central committee and spokesperson), Salman Sima (member of political committee), Rashid Esmaeili (member of the policy committee, Ardavan Gheraati (member of the organization’s chapter in Kohkiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province), and seyyed Kouhzad Esmaeili (head of the organization’s chapter in Gilan province) are behind bars. It must be noted that after the election more than 10 members of the organization were detained and some later released on bail. In addition, the organization’s news website ( had been inaccessible for some days after it was blocked several times. Some have connected the website’s unavailability to cyber attacks by groups supporting Ahmadinejad against critical websites.

Previously Radio Zamane website, Amir Kabir University news bulletin and Twitter were subjected to similar attacks. The Advar Tahkim Vahdat organization released a statement ahead of the February 11th rallies for the victory for the 1979 revolution criticizing the Islamic Republic’s deviations and the new wave of arrests, inviting the public to participate in the rallies. Commenting on post-election events, part of the statement reads, “A bitter reality faces us; a nation which, in a time-span shorter than a century experienced several social-political movements and two large revolutions, and did not ignore the struggle for freedom and independence for a moment, driving to victory one of the most glorious and popular revolutions in human history thirty years now, is now in a situation in which the demand for self-determination and democracy colors the everyday life of a large portion of its citizenry, and for more than eight months the slogan, ‘Where is my vote?’ has become the central pillar of its ‘green movement.’” The statement then comments on the goals of the 1979 revolution: “In our belief, the political crisis in Iran today results from the defiance of the people’s will by the rulers and their indifference toward the revolution’s goals including independence, freedom, and finally the ‘Islamic Republic’s’ deviance.”