Majid Tavakoli Becomes a Symbol of a Growing Student Movement

Majid Tavakoli, an Iranian student leader who had been imprisoned twice for his defense of human rights, was violently arrested on December 7 after he gave a speech at a gathering of students at Amir Kabir University (Tehran) to commemorate Students’ Day. Three years earlier in December 2006, he had been among students who protested Ahmadinejad’s speech at Amir Kabir University and called him “ a source of prejudice and corruption.” This year, Tavakoli was speaking to Amir Kabir students in the midst of student demonstrations throughout the country. Below are excerpts from two articles which defend Tavakoli and address the meaning of the Iranian government’s claim that he was arrested while dressed in a woman’s hijab. The first article is by Mujtaba Saminejad, a journalist, human rights activist and blogger. The second is by Shakiba Shaker Hosseini, a young feminist activist.
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Socialists Inside Iran Differ on the Green Movement

Recently, Alborz, an Iran-based site devoted to a critique of political economy, has published articles which represent differing views among socialists inside Iran concerning the future of the Green Movement. Below are excerpts from two articles which represent some of these differing views.
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Put Human Rights Defense on Par with Nuclear Safety Concerns, says Feminist Attorney, Shadi Sadr

On November 9, 2009, Shadi Sadr, a young feminist attorney and journalist received the “Dutch Human Rights Defenders Tulip” for her work in Iran. In her acceptance speech she wrote: “As long as the issue of human rights is not raised at least in a parallel way to the nuclear issue at all levels of political and economic negotiations with the Iranian government, and sanctions and other possible guarantees of action do not include both areas, one cannot accept that some real effort has been made to stop the violation of the rights of Iranian citizens.” The English translation of her speech is reprinted below. For more information on Shadi Sadr and for a translation of her article on the rapes of young women protesters imprisoned after the forged June 2009 election, see http://iranianvoicesintranslation.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html
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Last Statement by Kurdish Activist, Ehsan Fattahian

On November 11, 2009, Ehsan Fattahian, a young Kurdish activist and political prisoner was executed in Sanandaj, Iran. He had been arrested in July 2008 and imprisoned for his association with Komalah, a Kurdish opposition group which considers itself Marxist. His execution was carried out by the Iranian government despite expressions of protest inside and outside Iran. The English translation of Fattahian’s last statement is being reprinted from the official website of the Iranian Green Movement. My corrections have been interpolated in square brackets. For more information about Fattahian’s case, please see the article, “What Happened to Ehsan Fattahian?” in Tehran Bureau (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/11/what-happened-to-ehsan-fattahian-the-kurdish-activist.html)
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The Poor Face a Logjam in the Labyrinths of Work

Translator’s Note: The official unemployment rate in Iran stands at 18%. Unofficial rates however are as high as 40%. The official minimum wage is $263 per month, and the legal working day should not exceed 8 hours or a total of 44 hours for 5.5 days. (1) Many of the unemployed have no choice but to accept lower wages and longer working hours. Below are large excerpts from a report by the reformist Iranian Labor News Agency, which describes the types of jobs, wages and working hours that unemployed Iranians are forced to accept.

For more information about poverty in Iran and about the history of the Iranian Labor News Agency, please see my translator’s note to the article entitled “Poverty Line: A ‘Hoax?” (2)
1) http://www.khabaronline.ir/news-19323.aspx
2) http://iranianvoicesintranslation.blogspot.com/2009/10/poverty-line-in-iran-hoax.html
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