Despite Rouhanis Assurance; the Citizens Jailed Once Arrived in Iran

Friday, July 31, 2015 2:06:26 PM

Irans foreign minister Mr.  Javad Zarif who has lead the nuclear negotiations for the Islamic Republic of Iran for the past 20 months stated:  We do not jail people for their opinions.  In an April 28 interview with Charlie Rose:  -a statement that angered activists, ex-political prisoners and many other experts on the regimes human rights violations.

During his presidential campaign in 2013, President Hassan Rouhani--whose government Mr. Zarif serves as Foreign Minister-- had promised the release of political prisoners.  Additionally Rouhani promised a more moderate government with much reform to allow freedom. But in fact arrests and executions have escalated under Rouhani by all accounts. Furthermore, President Rouhani gave assurance for many Iranians who had left Iran during the 2009 unrest to return without consequences which was certainly not true, many were arrested, jailed and given stiff sentences upon return.  The following are a few examples of individuals who were indeed arrested for their opinion and some upon their return to Iran.


Esmaeil Gerami Moghadam

Esmaeil Gerami Moghadam, a spokesman and member of Central Council of the National Trust Party (Etemad-E-Melli) was arrested once arrived to Iran at Imam Khomeini international airport at 4:00 A.M morning Friday, 17 July 2015.

He is held in the Evin prison and allegedly detained by Intelligence Service officials as Mr. Gerami Moghadams brother called from the prison by detainee phone call.

Mr. Gerami Moghadam was left Iran on 2009 to educate in India and finally went to Malaysia.


Saeed Pourheydar


Iranian journalist and blogger Saeed Pourheydar was previously arrested in 2009. After Pourheydar was released on bail, he left Iran for the US during which he testified to Human Rights organizations, including the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, about torture and prison abuse. He returned to Iran in late 2014 and was subsequently arrested and charged with "propaganda against the state," "insulting the president," and "spreading lies through cyberspace. He is currently awaiting trial and is suffering from very ill health.


Majid Moghadam

Majid Moghadam, a civil rights activist, was arrested on Dec 3, 2014 when he returned to Iran from Turkey. He had been arrested previously in 2009 for taking part in the presidential protests of that year and was transferred to the now notorious Kahrizak detention center; a concentration camp style, beastly and inhumane dungeon of horrors that was dedicated to torture of political dissidents in 2009. Mr. Moghadam was one of the witnesses of Kahrizak who spoke openly about his experience.

Mr. Moghadam was sentenced to 6 years in prison on charges of acts against the national security, utilization of satellite TV receiver and insulting the supreme leader.


Hamid Babaei


Hamid Babaei, a finance Ph.D. student in the Liege University of Belgium, was arrested on Aug 13, 2013 when he returned to Iran. He was sentenced to 10 years in a 10 minute trial without a lawyer, on charges of espionage and colluding with hostile states. He is currently being denied medical attention for a variety of ailments.


Mostafa Azizi


Mostafa Azizi, a television producer and screenwriter returned to Tehran to visit his relatives in January 2015. He is a Canadian resident. In February 1, Azizi was charged with "insulting Iran's supreme leader and spreading propaganda against the Islamic establishment. The charges may stem from some of Azizi's social media posts.

On June 1 2015 he was sentenced to 8 years in prison. PEN Canada has demanded Mr. Azizis unconditional and immediate release.


Sarajedin Mirdamadi


Iranian journalist Sarajedin Mirdamadi returned to Iran in 2013, after living in France for 13 years. Upon arrival his passport was seized. On July 27, 2014, he was sentenced to six years in prison.

He was charged with Propaganda against the regime and conspiracy against national security.

It must be noted that Mr. Mirdamadis father is the Supreme Leaders uncle.


 Hossein Nooraninejad


Hussein Nooraninejad, an Iranian journalist who was studying in Australia was arrested upon returning to Iran in April 2014 on charges colluding against the regime.


Ghoncheh Ghavami


Ghoncheh Ghavami, 26, an Iranian-British woman, detained June 2014 outside Tehran's Azadi Stadium for taking part in a protest against a ban on female fans entering the stadium to watch mens volleyball game.

The Tehran court convicted Ghoncheh to one year in prison in November for spreading anti-state propaganda.

Finally, Ghoncheh Ghavami was pardoned by the Court of Appeal in Iran due to an international campaign and shock over her case.


Roya Nobakht


Roya Saberi Nejad Nobakht, 47, from Stockport, who has been charged with "insulting Islamic sanctities", due to a comment on her Facebook page criticizing the regime.

She was charged with "gathering and participation with intent to commit crime against national security" and "insulting Islamic sanctities", according to a copy of her charge sheet seen by The Independent.

She was initially sentenced to 20 years in prison but the sentence was recently reduced to 7 years but without any official papers.


The question then is, was Mr. Zarif who has led the nuclear negotiations absolutely oblivious to the existence of political prisoners in a country for which he is foreign minister or did he just lie?  Either way it is not comforting to know that the two men behind a historic nuclear deal-- of all things, are caught somewhere between incompetence and a lie.



By: Kaveh Taheri