Iran Update
Volume: 1 - Issue:  13 16 March 2010
Iran Update
Dear Friend,

We are delighted to present you with the current issue of Iran Update, a publication of International Solidarity for Democratic Change in Iran (ISDCI).  
 
Iran Update endeavours to report on topics related to the movement for democracy, human rights, and freedom in Iran on a regular basis. We invite you to subscribe your friends to this newsletter and contribute articles or ideas related to our work.
 
Iranians ignore Khamenei's fatwa, prepare for 'Fire Festival' 
ISDCI
16 March 2010

A few days ago an apprehensive advisor of Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iranian regime, thought it a good idea to ask 'His Holiness' what his religious edict on Chahrshanbeh Souri, an ancient Iranian custom to usher in Nowrooz, held on the night before last Wednesday of the year was. The Supreme Leader who finds himself the target of cries of "Down with Khamenei" replied that it "has no basis in Sharia (Islamic religious law) and causes a lot of harm and corruption, therefore, it would be appropriate to avoid it."

The regime's security forces have been busy discovering caches of millions of firecrackers which are traditionally used in fireworks to celebrate on this day. State media has broadcast talk shows admonishing people from celebrating the customary Chahrshanbeh Souri, where young and old jump over burning bushes and sing merry rhymes to symbolically shun evil and usher in good. Threats of violence against protesters on Tuesday night issued by various security officials and Basij forces are published in State-run newspapers.
 
Meanwhile, the regime has sentenced six Ashura day protesters to death, closed down more newspapers, disolved a political party of the defeated internal faction of the regime, and announced dismantling of a PMOI backed cyber network in Iran.
 
The streets of Tehran, however, are crackling with fireworks every night since last week. Massoud Rajavi, the popular leader of the Iranian Resistance has called for extensive protests as night falls on Tuesday in commemoration of Chahrshanbeh Souri. Mir-Hossein Moussavi has asked people not to participate to avoid antagonizing the regime, evoking disdain from protesters let down by Mr. Moussavi's lack of leadership in past protests and his increasingly ineffectual exhortations.
 
Most analysts see Moussavi and Karroubi as failing to burn bridges with Khamenei and his clerical rule and incapable of stepping towards a democratic and secular future despite the opportunity provided them by massive street protests over eight months after the sham elections of June 2009.
 
Chahrshanbeh Souri is an opportunity for the mass movement for democratic change in Iran to once again show the true balance of power in Iranian society today. The regime of Khamenei and his cohorts is isolated and illegitimate. It rules with increasing violence and intimidation at home, terrorism and warmongering abroad. The time has come for the world to join Iran's brave people to shun this regime and let Iranians freely change their fate as they so decide.

 

Iran's Khamenei shuns ancient fire festival 
CNN
Reza Sayah
16 March 2010
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's supreme leader is attempting to extinguish an annual event celebrating the last days of winter and the Persian calendar year, and the government is strengthening its security presence in the days leading up to a major holiday, Iranian media reported.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday urged Iranians to dismiss the ancient practice of fire jumping and feasting on Chaharshanbe Soori, a festival held on the eve of the last Wednesday before spring -- this year, March 16. The activities date back thousands of years.
The festivities have no basis in Islam, and can cause "harm and corruption," Khamenei said in a statement published by Iranian news sites. "It is appropriate to avoid it," he said.
...
Read More  
 
Merkel says Iran sanctions looming 
AFP
15 March 2010
BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday the time was nearing for sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, as Tehran has rejected Western efforts to find a negotiated solution.
Speaking to reporters after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Merkel said: "I made clear that we are coming to the phase where there should be sanctions against Iran."
"Iran has not accepted the constructive offers we have made and has even rejected them," she added.
Merkel's comments came a day after French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the European Union was ready to impose unilateral sanctions as Western powers struggle to forge a consensus within the UN Security Council.
 ...
Read More  
 
Path to a new Middle East rests on those campaigning for freedom in Iran 
The Daily Caller
Jamie Fly
15 March 2010
...There is indeed a linkage between all of these regional problems, but the Obama administration has the sequence reversed. Regime change in Iran, not continued pressure on Israel and the Palestinians, represents the best chance this administration has to remake the Middle East...
Engagement has failed. It is time for the United States to actively support the democratic opposition in Iran via increased U.S. broadcasting, technology, and restoration of funding for programs that highlight Iranian human rights abuses.
The regime in Tehran is on its way out. If President Obama is serious about creating the "new beginning" that he spoke about during his Cairo speech, he needs to realize that the path to a new Middle East rests on the shoulders of those campaigning for their freedom in the streets of Iran, not via renewed peace process diplomacy.
...
Read More  
 
Clenched fist of Iran spurns Obama's diplomacy 
The National
Michael Theodoulou
14 March 2010
With the Obama administration's year-old policy of engagement with Iran hitting a shambolic dead end, the US president is under growing domestic pressure to support the Iranian opposition - a strategy some maintain he has already adopted.
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Read More  
 
Thank you for your readership. We welcome your comments. 
 
 
Sincerely,
 
ISDCI News Group
In This Issue
Iranians ignore Khamenei's fatwa, prepare for 'Fire Festival'
Iran's Khamenei...shuns ancient fire festival
Merkel says Iran sanctions looming
Path to a new Middle East rests on those campaigning for freedom in Iran
Clenched fist of Iran spurns Obama's diplomacy
Quick Links
 
Congressional Briefing - House Majority Support
for Ashraf Residents
Several members of the US House of Representatives from both parties will hold a congressional news briefing to announce a bi-partisan House majority resolution supporting humanitarian rights of the Iranian dissidents residing at Camp Ashraf, Iraq. The lawmakers will also denounce the suppression of dissidents across Iran.
Briefing will be followed by an Iranian cuisine reception, marking the Iranian New Year, Nowruz, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.
 
WHERE: 2247 Rayburn House Office Building
WHEN: 12 noon, Wednesday, March 17, 2010
CONTACT: U.S. Committee for Camp Ashraf Residents, Majid Roshan, E-mail: info@usccar.org, Phone: (202) 640-1947