Monday, 29 June 2009

IMHRO: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Security is grave threat to minorities in Iran

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



The latest meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Security (SCO) in Russia regarding the security situation in Iran is a major cause of concern for Iranian minorities.

Iran Corporation with SCO is not only against minorities in Iran but is threatening world security. In the long term it could cause another cold war.

Chinese, Russian, and Belarusian companies have made major investments in the oil and gas industries, ignoring environmental concerns. And it is not only oil and gas.

“The Iranian government already allows Russia to have great influence on security issues in Iran. IMHRO can confirm that the Ervand Free Zone project in the southwest of Iran in the Ahwaz area is, in fact, a cover-up of a Russian interception station for US forces in Iraq. “There is, reportedly, highly sensitive equipment installed on those sites”, Reza Washahi told IMHRO.

The Iranian government is planning to build two more nuclear reactors in the Ahwaz area. Chemical and Biological weapons factories are reported being built in Kurdistan, Ahwaz and Azerbaijan. Training camps in various parts of Ahwaz, Kurdistan and Baluchistan have been set up to train terrorists and militia with the purpose of harming neighbouring countries.

“Minorities in Iran do not want to be blamed for the destructive ambitions of the Iranian government. They want to live in peace with the world. They have enough challenges with poverty and the oppression of the Iranian government”

The Iranian government should stop these projects in minority neighbourhoods. They would have great environmental impact on minorities.

IMHRO appeals to the International community to put pressure on Iran regarding these activities.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

CNN: Feared Basij militia has deep history in Iranian conflict

They may wear a uniform, or ordinary street clothes. Their numbers are unclear. They rush the streets with brute strength.

They are the Basij, Iran's volunteer paramilitary group that for more than a week has cracked down on the thousands of protesters in the bloody aftermath of the Islamic republic's disputed presidential election.

Amateur video shows members of the Basij, wearing plain shirts and pants and wielding clubs and hoses, dispersing protesters and beating a handful of Iranians at a time.

"The Basij militia forces tried to break up the demonstrations using batons, electric shock and water cannons," a student in Tehran, whose name was withheld for his safety, told CNN's Don Lemon on Sunday. The student said he was injured at a protest by the feared militia.

Monday's demonstrators dismissed a warning from the Revolutionary Guard that people who "disturb the peace and stand up to security forces" would be met with a strong response. "The guardians of the Islamic revolution and the courageous Basiji together with the security forces are following the orders of the supreme leader and following him unquestioningly," the Guard said, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

While the Basij -- the word means "mobilization" in the Farsi language -- is often described by outsiders as shadowy and mysterious, Iranians have had run-ins with the militia for three decades.

The Basij was established in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who famously declared that Iran could never be destroyed with a 20-million-man militia. Khomeini, who ushered in the Islamic revolution that ousted Iran's ruling shah 30 years ago, felt that his country suffered from Western influences that the shah embraced.

He created the Basij as a popular auxiliary arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, a military unit under the direct control of Iran's supreme leader, to defend the principles of the movement.

The group, at least at first, was made up of men either too old or young to serve in the Revolutionary Guard. Until now, they were perhaps best known for the "human wave" attacks during the Iran-Iraq war that reportedly cleared out minefields for the professional military. Many of the Basij reportedly received plastic keys to wear around their necks like dog tags, marking their entry to "paradise" when they died in martyrdom.

"Basij members made up with zeal what they lacked in military professionalism," said Michael Eisenstadt, a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute's Military and Security Studies Program.

After the Iran-Iraq war, the Basij returned to its role as an internal security force to enforce Islamic morality. While Iran in recent years has claimed more than 12 million in the ranks of the group, Middle East experts put the figure closer to 300,000 -- though they concede it's difficult to quantify a sprawling militia that has full-time and reservist cadres.

The militia is known to recruit members from rural and urban areas and to organize mainly at mosques around Tehran and other major cities. Watch report on Basij militia »

"Through the mosques, they have funds, ideological and political indoctrination and military training," said Ali Alfoneh, a fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute who has researched the relationship between Iranian civilians and the Revolutionary Guard.

The Basij has had a growing role since 2003, when it was beefed up as a first line of defense amid suspicions of a possible U.S.-led invasion, Eisenstadt said
"I think cannon fodder is a fair way to characterize them," said Eisenstadt, who noted the militia seems to emerge during the initial moments of an uprising as the Revolutionary Guard and law enforcement forces organized their reaction.
See timeline of events in Iran »

While experts say there is a hardline ideological core to Basij, its members, who often come from lower-class backgrounds, are attracted to the perks that the Basij (and its superior agency, the Revolutionary Guard) has to offer: a little cash, a seat at a university and a bit of authority.

"Not every single one is devout, not every single one is ready to kill," said Alfoneh, a native of Iran.

The Basij noticeably took the lead in crowd control last week when tens of thousands of Iranian demonstrators spilled into the streets of Tehran to protest the presidential election. Iran's election authority declared hardline incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the winner of the presidential race, sparking outrage in supporters of popular opposition leader Mir Hossein Moussavi.

"The first people who were really available were the Basij," Eisenstadt told CNN. "There are Basij bases throughout the city and beyond, and they were able to respond quickly."

As the government got a handle on the massive demonstrations in recent days, the Basij remains present and vigilant in the aftermath of the June 12 election.
Badi Badiozamani, an Iran analyst, has sifted through scores of amateur video from the frontlines of the protests. Dozens of those clips show Basij members, wearing black shirts and pants or plainclothes with camouflaged vests, detaining young men outside their homes as their mothers and sisters scream in the background.

One clip shows a young man whose head is hooded in a dark cloth, squatting behind a car, while another man is shown face down with his hands tied behind his back.

"We saw that these forces took the detained person out into the alley, and into an unmarked car," Badiozamani said. "Today I saw again Basijis grab a young man, put him on a unmarked motorcycle and take him away."

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

guardian: Iran bans election protest footballers

Their gesture attracted worldwide comment and drew the attention of football fans to Iran's political turmoil. Now the country's authorities have taken revenge by imposing life bans on players who sported green wristbands in a recent World Cup match in protest against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election.
According to the pro-government newspaper Iran, four players – Ali Karimi, 31, Mehdi Mahdavikia, 32, Hosein Ka'abi, 24 and Vahid Hashemian, 32 – have been "retired" from the sport after their gesture in last Wednesday's match against South Korea in Seoul.

They were among six players who took to the field wearing wristbands in the colour of the defeated opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi, which has been adopted by demonstrators who believe the 12 June election was stolen.
Most of the players obeyed instructions to remove the armwear at half-time, but Mahdavikia wore his green captain's armband for the entire match. The four are also said to have been banned from giving media interviews.

The fate of the other two players who wore the wristbands is unknown. None of the team members were given back their passports upon returning to Tehran after the match, which ended in a 1-1 draw – a result that ended Iran's hopes of qualifying for next year's tournament.

Karimi is one of Iranian football's best-known stars, having played for the German club Bayern Munich. Ka'abi played for Leicester City for several months during the 2007/8 season. Hashemian and Mahdavikia play for the German teams Bochum and Eintracht Frankfurt.

The gesture acutely embarrassed Iranian officials. The team's chief administrative officer, Mansour Pourhiedari, initially claimed the wristbands had been intended as a religious tribute to a revered Shia figure in the hope that it would deliver a victory on the pitch.

Iran's hardline media have since linked the protest to the arrest on Saturday of Mohsen Safayi Farahani, who headed the country's football governing body under the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami. He is one of several dozen opposition politicians, intellectuals and journalists to have been detained.

Hezbollah, a pro-Ahmadinejad website, accused Farahani, a member of the pro-reform Islamic participation front, of bribing the players to wear the symbols. Farahani was one of several prominent figures accused by Ahmadinejad of corruption during the recent election campaign.

Ahmadinejad, a known football fan, has taken a close interest in the sport's affairs. In 2006 Iran was banned from international competition by the world governing body Fifa after claims of improper interference by his government. The ban was later lifted.

This year the national team coach Ali Daei was sacked, reportedly on Ahmadinejad's orders, after a 2-1 home defeat by Saudi Arabia.

Monday, 22 June 2009

MNN: Five more Christians arrested by Iranian Security officers

Iran (MNN) ― Adding to the recent arrest of two Christian Iranian women, Iranian security forces recently raided an underground church in Karaji and arrested five Muslim converts to Christianity.

Among them was the church leader, Javad Abtahi. During the raid, plainclothes security officers confiscated several Bibles and then handcuffed the Iranian Christians and took them to an unknown location.

Jonathan Racho, regional manager for Africa and the Middle East with International Christian Concern, said, “We believe that the latest arrest shows that there is a spike in persecution against Christians in Iran.” This “clamp down on Christians,” as he called it as well, also includes the arrest of two Iranian women, Marzieh and Maryam, back on March 5.

The location of these women is known as they are being held in the “notorious Evin prison,” Racho said. The prison is located in Tehran, the capital and largest city of Iran.

Since the five Christians were arrested, there still has been no news as to their location. A relative of one of the five asked official for a location, but the official would not give them the information.

“There is no news about their release, so we assume that they are still imprisoned,” Racho said. Thus, he said they believe the Christians could be facing any sort of hardship at the hands of the Iranian officials.

Racho recently said, speaking to ASSIST News, “Iran should refrain from invading Christian houses, arresting converts and confiscating their properties. Iran must allow its citizens to choose what religion to follow. We call upon Iranian officials to release the five Christians arrested in Karaji as well as Marzieh and Maryam.”

Though the church in Iran now must be more careful than ever where and when they meet, the recent arrests have not stopped the Gospel from spreading in Iran.

“It has not stopped Christianity from spreading in Iran. We have information that Christianity is truly spreading like a wildfire in Iran,” Racho said. “Many Muslims—thousands of Muslims—are coming to Christ, thanks to the courage of Iranian Christians who are working very hard to spread the Good News.”

Racho and the rest of ICC ask you to pray for revival in Iran as many more Iranian Muslims come to Christ. He also asked everyone to pray for the safety and release of the five Christians and the two women, Marzieh and Maryam, earlier arrested.

In addition to prayer, Racho mentioned two tangible ways you can help ICC and the church in Iran. First, you can go to their Web site - - and sign a petition for the release of Marzieh and Maryam.

Then, he asked you to please continue supporting ICC as they help with evangelism efforts and the underground house church in Iran. Click here if you would like to help.

Monday, 15 June 2009

IMHRO: Many arrested in minorities area

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)



After fixing the election result demonstration wide spread in the minorities’ area in Iran.

In respond Iranian security service arrested many people on 13th and 14th of June.

Police opened responded by live ammunition in Ahwaz, Kurdistan, Baluchistan and Azerbaijan. In Ahwaz area in Susa city at least 2 people killed and many injured. In Mariwan city in Kurdistan reported that young 2 men shot, in Baluchistan in Zahedan 3 people killed and in Azerbaijan and Ardabil at least 3 people killed during demonstration.

Revolutionary guards and Militia forces like Basij, Ansar Hezb Allah and Ashura Brigade Equipped by chain, knife and guns attacked people.

A.J form Ahwaz told IMHRO that “slogans soon changed toward supreme leader in Iran”,

H. K from Kurdistan said they arrested many people in mid night, they took them from bed”

Reza Washahi IMHRO researcher said “Many minorities did not take apart in election. They just took the opportunity to express their opposition against the system. How ever election in Iran is not meeting international standards of election”.

Mobiles and land line phones cut and also power cut reported in some areas. Main road blocked and curfew ordered in some minority’s area. Iran also jammed BBC and Voice of America (VOA) broadcasting in Middle East and partly in Europe.

IMHRO condemns recent arrest and suppression of minorities In Iran.

Women imprisoned for their faith

Iran (MNN) ― Iranian security forces arrested Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad and Maryam Rustampoor on March 5, 2009, labeling them "anti-government activists," Voice of the Martyrs reports.

Since then, the two women have been held in three different police detention centers and finally were sent to Evin Prison, which is notorious for its treatment of women. They have been subjected to repeated interrogation, but authorities have told their families that no judge is available to review their case.
""Their only crime is that they are committed Christians who follow the teachings of Jesus," Farsi Christian News Network explained. "They are being unfairly labeled as 'anti government activists' because of the hostility of the government towards practicing Christians."

The prison allows 30-year-old Marzieh and 27-year-old Maryam to call their families on the telephone for just one minute each day. Marzieh reported in the last telephone call, on March 28, that she had an infection and a high fever. "I am dying," she said. Maryam is also ill and needs medical attention.

Bail has been posted at the exorbitant amount of US $400,00. Authorities also searched the two women's apartment, confiscating their belongings. However, their faith in God remains strong despite their circumstances.
"I've taken up my cross; I now have to bear it," one of them said.

Muslims make up 99 percent of the population of Iran, which is a theocratic Shiite republic, and Christians make up less than half of one percent. The constitution guarantees religious freedom, but in reality, Christians face discrimination when they try to meet even the basic needs of their lives, including housing, education, and employment.

Evangelism and the production of Christian literature are also prohibited. Defection from Islam is punishable by death.

Friday, 12 June 2009

IMHRO Condemn Bombing and Execution in Zahedan

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)


IMHRO strongly condemns the bombing campaign at the mosque in Zahedan, and also condemns the Iranian Government for the execution of 3 Sunni Baluchi men, charged with involvement in the bombing, just 2 days after bombing happened.

“This clearly shows that the three Baluchi men did not have access to a lawyer, and did not have a right to appeal against the death penalty. It is a case of arbitrary arrest and execution: they just rounded up these three men and hanged them,” Reza Washahi IMHRO researcher said.

This is not the first time that the Iranian government has rounded up people and quickly executed them. We are never able to find out the details of theses cases.

Violence is the result of suppression: all Baluchi political parties are banned in Baluchistan and members of them are in exile. The vacuum left by absent of political parties has provided an environment in which extremist activity can grow in the area.

The International Community must investigate arbitrary arrest and execution in the Baluch area. In recent weeks at least 90 people have been arrested in Baluchistan.

There are at least 10 Million Baluchi people living in south east Iran and they suffer from various forms of discrimination. The Baluchi people, alongside other minorities in Iran, must not speak their mother tongue, and do not have social, economic, or political rights. Lack of state investment also results in a high unemployment rate.

As Baluchi people are mainly Sunni, they also suffer from discrimination in education and when seeking work. The official theocratic ideology of the Iranian Government considers non Shia as infidels, and many Sunni leaders have been executed in Baluchistan.


Please write to one or more of the following, asking them to investigate the situation in the Baluchi area of Iran.

Secretary General United Nations
The Honourable Ban Ki-moon
United Nations Headquarters,
Room S-3800,
New York, NY 10017,

Supreme Leader of Iran
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei,
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Navanethem (Navi) Pillay
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,

Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad
The Presidency
Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan Intersection
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
E-mail via web site

European Parliament Human Rights Committee

Bureau d'Hélène Flautre au Parlement Européen,
8G130, rue Wierz,
B-1049, Bruxelles,

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St, Vali Asr Ave
South of Serah-e Jomhouri,
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Time: Can Iran's Minorities Help Oust Ahmadinejad?

The presidential candidate was greeted last Monday at the airport by a jubilant throng, chanting "Azerbaijan is awake, and is supporting its son!" That slogan, shouted in the Azeri language, might sound a little discordant, given that Mir-Hossein Moussavi is running for President not of Azerbaijan, but of Iran. But the enthusiasm of his home-state crowd in East Azerbaijan may help explain — at least in part — why Moussavi is currently the strongest challenger to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the June 12 election.

The rights and concerns of Iran's ethnic minorities are enjoying a prominence in this year's race far greater than during any previous election in the Islamic Republic. Both Moussavi and the other reformist candidate, Mehdi Karroubi, have traveled far and wide in Iran to court Lors, Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans, Azeris, Baluchis and other non-Persian minorities who together make up almost half of the population. Under Ahmadinejad's government, there has been greater repression of political and media activity among the minorities, a fact the state justifies by citing U.S. government efforts to undermine the Islamic Republic by funding opposition activities among minorities in the border regions. Despite the country's patchwork of intertwined ethnicities, religions and languages, Iranians from all backgrounds harbor a strong sense of national identity. Still, the central government has historically been wary of the minorities who mostly inhabit Iran's peripheral provinces. (See pictures of Ahmadinejad visiting New York)

At a campaign event in Tehran last week, Moussavi blasted what he called the current government's "securitization of minorities," and said if elected, he would allow greater official use of minority languages. He also nodded to calls by the country's Sunni Muslims to build a mosque in Tehran. (Read "Will the Economy Be President Ahmadinejad's Downfall?")

In Tabriz on Monday, addressing a cheering crowd of about 30,000 in his native Azeri, Moussavi trumpeted, "Azerbaijan has always stood up against dictators. Azerbaijan's champions have changed the destiny of Iran." He cited the names of important Azeri figures in Iran's democratic tradition.

Azeris are the most integrated and influential among Iran's minorities. While it is rare for a Kurd or an Arab to occupy a high office in the Islamic Republic, many of the leading figures in today's regime are Azeri, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Read about women trying to run for president in Iran's election)

As his name indicates, the country's most powerful man is from Khameneh, a breezy town northwest of Tabriz, dotted with sycamore trees, gushing streams and approximately 5,000 residents. Portraits at a local museum highlight the small town's disproportionately large share of Iranian VIPs, starting with Khamenei, going back about a century, and ending with reformist candidate Moussavi.In fact, Moussavi is not only from the same town as Khameini, but according to locals is actually related to the Supreme Leader. Moussavi's relative Majid Motameni, 82, a gentle old man with sparkly eyes, when asked about Moussavi's rumored family ties to the Supreme Leader, told TIME that Moussavi is
the grandson of Khamenei's paternal aunt.
Khamenei himself was actually born in Mashhad in the northeast, where his father had been studying at a seminary. Another local relative said that when SAVAK, the Shah's intelligence service, had been chasing the revolutionary cleric, Khamenei had hidden at his aunt's place in Khameneh for one night. Even as they reminisced about the town's most powerful son, its people prepared to welcome the candidate of reform who hopes to succeed the conservative Ahmadinejad. The town square was covered with neon-yellow get-out-the-vote banners proclaiming "Every citizen a campaign headquarter."

Esmail Pourshaban-Khameneh, 60, a motorbike mechanic, has set up an actual Moussavi campaign headquarters and closed down his garage for a month in order to mobilize support for the reformist. Pourshaban supports the candidate, "not because he's from here, but because we remember his service during the war [against Iraq in the 1980s, when then-prime minister Moussavi is credited with helping overcome crippling shortages]. Back then we were in a dire economic situation, yet no one felt that food was too expensive."

Despite Iran's unprecedented oil income over the last four years, many Iranians are struggling financially amid high rates of inflation and unemployment that plague most families. Thus the candidate's economic focus at his Tabriz rally. "Iran is a rich country," Moussavi said. "Poverty is not our destiny. It is the government's mismanagement that has led to this."

In response, supporters chanted, "Death to the government of potatoes," referring to Ahmadinejad's distribution of some 400,000 tons of free potatoes in villages and town across the country last month. The potatoes were snapped up in a blink, but many accused the government of trying to buy votes.

Moussavi's campaign swing through East Azerbaijan has been a sweet homecoming. Almost everyone asked on the streets said they would vote for him because of his past record as a wartime prime minister — and, of course, because of his Azeri background. But to best Ahmadinejad, Moussavi will need not only on the votes of the urban elite and ethnic minorities, but also the backing of many of those villagers all over Iran who were grateful for those potatoes.

Monday, 8 June 2009

CNN: Baha'is say jailed leaders in Iran face harsh new accusation

Seven Baha'i leaders jailed in Iran face a possible new accusation that could lead to the death penalty, the religious group said Thursday, and a major human rights group has called for their release.

The seven -- six arrested on May 14, 2008, and another arrested in March 2008 -- have been charged with espionage for Israel, propaganda against Iran, and "insulting religious sanctities," an Iranian deputy prosecutor said in February.

Now Baha'i officials say families of those imprisoned have been told that the seven may face the charge of "spreading of corruption on Earth," a count that the group says "carries the threat of death" under Iran's penal code.

Kit Bigelow, director of external affairs of the National Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States, told CNN the seven have not had a trial or access to their lawyer, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. She said that while they have been told of their charges, they haven't gone to court to hear the charges.
"They have been denied due process," Bigelow told CNN. "Technically, they have been in jail for a year without having been formally charged. The charges have been made in the public domain, but not in the legal domain."

Human Rights Watch, the world rights monitoring group, used the anniversary of the arrests of six of the Baha'is to call for their release or a prompt trial, with "fair and open proceedings."

"These Baha'i leaders have been languishing in prison for a year now, with no access to their lawyers and no glimmer of a trial date," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement on Thursday. "These reported new charges only add to the fears for their lives under a government that systematically discriminates against Baha'is."

Other governments and groups, including the United States, have criticized the accusations and the jailing. In February, the U.S. State Department issued a condemnation of the accusations, saying they "are part of the ongoing persecution" of Iranian Baha'is.

The Baha'i community -- which numbers approximately 300,000 -- has been persecuted in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where they have been regarded as apostates and heretics. A recent survey by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal agency, documented the repression of the group in Iran.

More than 200 Baha'i leaders have been executed there since 1979, when the Islamic republic was formed, and more than 10,000 "have been dismissed from government and university jobs" and recently have endured "increasingly harsh treatment," the USCIRF report said.

USCIRF said Baha'is may not establish places of worship, schools, or any independent religious associations in Iran and "are barred from the military and denied government jobs and pensions as well as the right to inherit property, and their marriages and divorces are also not recognized." Baha'i holy sites have been desecrated and destroyed, the agency said.

In a news release this week, the Baha'is say the new accusation of "being spreaders of corruption" had been leveled against the Baha'is executed after the Islamic republic came into being.

"That it may now be resorted to in this case is a further demonstration that the authorities have no basis for any allegation against these seven individuals, other than blatant religious persecution," the Baha'i movement said.

An Iranian official told CNN in February the Baha'i leaders are accused of masterminding "the secret activities of Baha'ism which is banned by law."

"They are accused of espionage and unlawful connection and getting money from outside and other activities," said Mohammad-Javad Larijani, secretary general of Iran's Human Rights Committee.

"I think unfortunately there are people, not all of them, there are people under the Baha'i names, they are engaged in a lot of activity against Iran and used by the White House especially and the Zionist regime," Larijani said. "We are very, very sensitive on the issue of espionage and using the civil structure in Iran for other external services."

Thursday, 4 June 2009

IMHRO 2009 Mine Monitoring Report: Mine fields increased in Minorities’ areas of Iran

Iranian Minorities’ Human Rights Organisation (IMHRO)


Iranian government have increased the number of minefields in South West, Mid West and South East Iran, as well as expanding the minefields which are already there. Minefields in these areas are some of the largest minefields in the Middle-East and include one of the largest minefields in the world, which has more than 20 million mines. The minefields have been left following 8 years war between Iran and Iraq

The Iranian Government have not yet signed the Ottawa Treaty, which includes the following declaration: “Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction”
[ii]. 158 countries have signed the Ottawa Treaty so far.

According to sources inside Iran, the government are planning further minefields despite their misleading propaganda which talks about decreasing the number of minefields.

Almost every week somebody becomes the victim of a mine; mainly women and children. Many archaeological sites belonging to minorities have been damaged by minefields, as Government try to wipe out their ancient background. There is also a policy inhibiting the return of indigenous farmers to these areas. The demography of the area is behind Iran’s policy to increase minefields.

IMHRO is very concerned regarding the expansion of minefields in Iran. The problem is not only mines; it is also Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and in particular, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), left behind following war and military maneuvers made by the Iranian army. Many children playing in these areas are at risk of being injured by unexploded ordinance.

Between September 2008 and April 2009 at least 250 people have become victims of minefields, most of them women and children. Local media are banned from reporting mine-related casualties.


New minefields have added to the large number of minefields already present following 8 wars between Iran and Iraq. The government has only cleared up the minefields in areas surrounding new oil fields that are being developed.

Policy of no return of farmers to their land in Ahwaz area is blamed for not acting to clear up of minefields. (I’m not sure about the policy so don’t know how to re-word this bit)

New minefields are being developed alongside the border with the Republic of Azerbaijan. Minefields increased in new oil development.

Number of minefields has increased in the areas of Narmshir and Pir Sooran. The Government have been using drug smugglers and armed rebels as an excuse for expanding the minefields. Government also continue to block the news of mine-related casualties from Baluchistan.

In the Mid and North West there are new minefields. Many villages have suffered casualties and the Government deliberately do not clear up minefields in Kurdish areas. Ghasreh Shirin, Mehran, Dehloran, Sumar, Dashteh Zahab, Azgaleh, Nousood, Baneh, Sardasht, Asbeh Shiler and Mariwan cities are among the areas most highly affected by minefields.

Turkmen Sahara
Many people living in rural areas are affected by and become casualties of minefields. Minefields have increased around farms and ports.

Export of mines
Not only has the Iranian Government not stopped the increase of minefields inside Iran but they’ve also increased the illegal export of mines to Afghanistan and Iraq. They have supplied mines to terrorist groups in Afghanistan
[iii] and Iraq. The export of mines to African countries has also been reported.

One of the big issues for minorities in Iran who live alongside the border is being surrounded by huge minefields. Despite more than 20 years having passed since the end of the last war, the Iranian government continues to delay clearing minefields and instead have increased minefields, using security as an excuse for not taking action.

Iran is a producer of mines. It has been recently reported that landmines made in Iran were found in Afghanistan
[iv]. Afghanistan is one of the biggest victims of minefields in the world.

In November 2006 the UN group monitoring the arms embargo on Somalia reported shipments of arms including landmines from Iran to combatants in Somalia in violation of the arms embargo on the country. The November report states that on 25 July 2006 an aircraft carrying arms, including an unknown quantity of mines, from Iran landed at Baldogle airport and was met by senior members of the Courts Union and the Dayniile Islamic Court. The type of mine, antipersonnel or anti vehicle was not specified.


Please write an appeal to UN Mine action bodies and ask them to call on Iran to clear their minefields of mines and UXO. Ask that they halt the increase and expansion of minefields. We urge you also to write to the Iranian government to show your support for Minorities, voice your concerns and ask for mine clearance in Minority areas.

Please send your appeal to:

United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
Two United Nations Plaza,
6th Floor,
New York, NY 10017,

United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)
Mine Action TeamOne United Nations Plaza,
20th Floor, New York,
NY 10017,

United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)
United Nations,
Room S-3170,
New York, NY 10017,

Supreme leader of Iran
Sayyed Ali Khamenei
E-mail via web site

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Navanethem (Navi) Pillay
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10,

Chairwoman of European parliament Human Rights committee

Mrs Hélène FLAUTRE
Bureau d'Hélène Flautre au Parlement européen,

8G130, rue WierzB-1049,
Bruxelles, Belgique





[v] Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1676 (2006),” S/2006/913, 22 November 2006 p. 62

AP: Arson attack in restive Iranian city kills 5

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An arson attack on a bank killed five people on Monday in a southeastern Iranian city where a mosque bombing days earlier killed 25, state media said.

The attacks were both in the restive city of Zahedan, which sits at a crossroads between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran and has seen a sudden explosion of violence in the run-up to June 12 presidential election.

The mosque bombing on Thursday was claimed by a Sunni militant group Jundallah, or God's Soldiers, which Iran says has links to al-Qaida. The group has been fighting a low-level campaign against Iran's Shiite leadership for years.
State-owned Press TV said the arson attack targeted the Mehr Financial and Credit Institute, linked to the paramilitary Basij militia which is often involved in crackdowns on dissidents. The state news agency said the city was now calm and police had arrested suspects.

Three men convicted of involvement in the mosque bombing were hanged in Zahedan on Saturday. Clashes erupted Sunday in the city after rumors that a local Sunni cleric had been attacked. On Friday, gunmen fired on President

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's campaign office in Zahedan, injuring three people.

Pakistan's ambassador to Iran was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry over the bombing, the state news agency reported. Two Pakistani officials said Monday that Iran had partially closed a border crossing between the two countries.

Qamar Masood, a senior official in Baluchistan province on the Pakistan side of the border, said the crossing at Taftan had been closed for trading but that foot traffic was still being allowed.

The country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused enemies of promoting sectarian conflicts in Iran. Though he did not name any country, the use of the term "enemy" by Iranian officials is usually a reference to the U.S.
"Enemies were trying to create chaos but all people should remain aware," Khamenei said Monday on state radio, adding that the enemy was targeting national unity in the country.

Zahedan is the capital of the large Sistan-Baluchistan province, home to a million of Iran's Sunni Muslim minority. Sunnis are believed to make up some 6 million of Iran's 70 million people.

Jundallah, has carried out bombings, kidnappings and other attacks against Iranian soldiers since the early 2000s to press its campaign for more rights for impoverished Sunnis under Iran's Shiite government.

Iran says the group operates across the border in Pakistan, a source of concerns for the two governments which cooperate closely on the problem.

The region's Sunni discontent has led to sectarian rioting and clashes in the past.
The Sunnis are from Iran's ethnic Baluchi minority, a community also found over the borders in neighboring Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Iran has repeatedly accused the U.S. of backing militants including Jundallah specifically and ethnic opposition groups to destabilize the Iranian government.
The militant group was behind a car bombing in February 2007 that killed 11 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards near Zahedan.
Jundallah also claimed responsibility for the December 2006 kidnapping of seven Iranian soldiers in the Zahedan area. The seven were released a month later, apparently after negotiations through tribal mediators.

Adding to the region's lawlessness, the crossroads between the three countries is also a key smuggling point for narcotics. It is scene of frequent clashes between police and drug gangs.

Iran has faced several ethnic and religious insurgencies that have carried out sporadic, sometimes deadly attacks in recent years — though none have amounted to a serious threat to the government.

Besides the violence in the southeast, ethnic Arab militants have been blamed for bombings in the southwestern city of Ahvaz — including blasts in 2006 that killed nine people. Some Iranian Kurds based in northern Iraq have also stepped up incursions into Iran.

Late on Saturday, an Iranian airliner was also forced to return to a southeastern airport minutes after takeoff when a homemade bomb was found aboard, said state television, in an incident a security official called a sabotage.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Telegraph: Three hanged for mosque bombing in Iran

The men were convicted of being "mohreb" (enemies of God) and accused of belonging to a terrorist group allegedly backed by the United States, which strongly denied involvement.

The blast at Thursday evening prayers in the Shia mosque, two weeks before crucial presidential elections, also injured 125, making it the worst loss of life in an attack in Iran since the war with Saddam Hussein ended two decades ago.

The city is the capital of a troubled province on the borders of both Pakistan and Afghanistan, home to a separatist insurgency supported by many from Iran's Baluch minority, and a major trafficking route for opium smugglers.
The men were also accused of being involved in a bomb attack in the city in 2007 which killed 13 revolutionary guards.

Jalal Sayyah, from the governor's office of the province, said: "The terrorists, who were equipped by America in one of our neighbouring countries, carried out this criminal act in their efforts to create religious conflict and fear and to influence the presidential election."
After they were executed, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad issued a statement demanding that investigators quickly find and punish foreigners who he said were behind the bombing, although he did not mention any nation by name.
US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly denied emphatically that Washington was behind the attack, which it condemned.

He said: "We do not sponsor any form of terrorism in Iran and we continue to work with the international community to try to prevent any attacks against innocent civilians anywhere."

Iranian authorities have blamed a shadowy organisation called Jundollah for attacks in Zahedan. The group claims to fight for the rights of Iran's Sunni minority, but Iranians accuse it of being linked to al-Qaeda and backed by the United States.