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Iranians Looking Abroad to Escape State-Controlled Internet

Data privacy and censorship concerns are driving Iranian companies and individuals to foreign Internet servers because domestic providers are powerless to protect their customers against state spying and control. “Company executives have told me in private that they prefer to have their servers managed abroad because if they are filtered they won’t lose their foreign […]

Call for Submissions: Syrian Studies Association Prizes for Outstanding Dissertation and Article on Syria

Call for Submissions: Syrian Studies Association Prizes for Outstanding Dissertation and Article on Syria In order to promote and highlight excellence in research, the Syrian Studies Association each year awards prizes for the best writing on Bilad al-Sham until 1918 and on Syria in the period following. Show More Summary

Mass Child Marriage Ceremony in Iran Denied by Local Officials

Fifty high school students were married in a mass ceremony in the Iranian city of Parsian, according to local news reports. But city officials have been downplaying the event and distancing themselves from the idea of encouraging child marriage. The “celebration” was first mentioned by the chairperson of the Wedding Committee in Parsian’s Women’s Affair […]

Imprisoned Reformist Iranian Journalist Hospitalized After Prolonged Hunger Strike

Issa Saharkhiz, imprisoned reformist journalist and former political prisoner, was hospitalized on March 9, 2016 due to life-threatening health deterioration from successive hunger strikes. “My father has lost more than 20 kilograms. My family says he looks like someone entirely different. It is natural for anyone to develop severe problems and weight loss after some […]

Cartoon 142: International Women’s Day

On this May 8, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran wishes a happy International Women’s Day to all women worldwide.

Iran Elections: Reformists Win Voter Support Despite Roadblocks and Irregularities

While facing non-stop impediments, reformists and centrists achieved significant gains in Iran’s recent elections, even after hardline bodies broke the law to prevent candidates close to President Hassan Rouhani from winning voter support. Show More Summary

Cartoon 140: Hardliners Only!

“The enemies of our revolution introduced the notion of ‘hardliner’ and ‘moderate’ from the first day…They used to think that the most hardliner of all was our honorable Imam [Khomeini] that day; and today, they think that I, the meager servant, am the biggest of hardliners. ‘Moderate’ is a beautiful word, but Islam does not […]

Harsh Sentences of Human Rights Activist and Wife Confirmed by Iran Appeals Court

An Appeals Court in Iran has upheld the 15-year prison sentence of the student activist Arash Sadeghi for “collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” “spreading lies in cyberspace” and “insulting the Founder...Show More Summary

Former Political Prisoner Gets One-Year Prison Sentence On Recycled Charges

Navid Kamran, a former political prisoner, has been sentenced to one year in prison without any new evidence supporting the charge against him of “propaganda against the state,” he told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.  “When the agents came into the shop jointly owned by me and [former prisoner of conscience] Arash […]

Harakat al-Hawiya al-Arabiya al-Druziya: Defending Druze Identity in Suwayda’

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Harakat al-Hawiya al-Arabiya al-Druziya, using the familiar colours associated with the Druze sect. Although the Druze originate from a sect within Shi’i Islam, the religious movement evolved over time such that the Druze identity is deemed separate from that of the Shi’a. Show More Summary

Iranian Activist Receives Six-Month Prison Sentence for Facebook Posts

The civil rights activist Esmail Ahmadi-Ragheb has been sentenced to six months in prison for “propaganda against the state” by Branch 1 of the Revolutionary Court in Shahriar, Tehran Province, for posting content on social media that was critical of government policy. In an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Ahmadi-Ragheb […]

Pro-Rouhani Political Prisoner Urged Iranians to Vote in 2016 Elections

“Now President Rouhani should carry out his promise of two years ago to free political prisoners.” The mother of a young man believed to be the first political prisoner of the government of President Hassan Rouhani is calling for the release of all political prisoners, after her son urged support for the president from his […]

Iranian Music Distributors Sentenced to Three Years in Prison

Three music distributors have each been sentenced to three years in prison and fined 200 million rials (approximately $6,600 USD) for “insulting the sacred” and “propaganda against the state” by a Tehran appeals court. Mehdi Rajabian,...Show More Summary

Iran Vote: Political Freedoms Must Be Rouhani’s Top Priority

Electorate Wants Human Rights and Rouhani Must Deliver March 1, 2016—In the elections for Parliament and the Assembly of Experts held across Iran on February 26, the Iranian electorate handed the country’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and the hardline candidates he openly supported, a significant setback, voting in moderate candidates in many cities and provinces […]

The Dir’ al-Watan Brand: Liwa Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi A logo of Liwa Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi The previous post profiled the emergence of Liwa Dir’ al-Watan (Homeland Shield Brigade) as a Damascus-based militia during the autumn of 2015, complete with its own media office and social media profile. Show More Summary

Rouhani Administration Under Pressure to Shut Down Iran’s Most Popular Mobile App Prior to Election

Telegram Has Emerged as Major Platform for Reformist and Centrist Candidates Iran’s Telecommunication’s Ministry has been under intense pressure by hardline organizations, including Iran’s Police, to shut down a number of the most popular...Show More Summary

Liwa Dir’ al-Watan: A New Pro-Assad Militia in Damascus

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Liwa Dir’ al-Watan The brand of “Dir’ al-Watan” (“Homeland Shield”)- and more broadly the concept of a “shield” force- gained increasing currency among pro-Assad militias last year. In part, this branding...Show More Summary

Iranian Teacher’s Union Leader Sentenced to Six Years in Prison

The secretary general of the Teachers Association of Iran, Esmail Abdi, has been sentenced to six years in prison for “propaganda against the state” and “collusion against national security” by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court. The verdict was issued to Abdi’s lawyer on Tuesday, February 14, 2016, a source told […]

Prominent Reformist Journalist Protests Solitary Confinement with Third Hunger Strike

The imprisoned political journalist Issa Saharkhiz has resumed his hunger strike after being placed in solitary confinement on February 21, 2016 despite having lost an alarming amount of weight. He has also not been allowed to meet with his lawyer, according to his son. “My father has lost more than 20 kilos (44 lbs.). When […]

Iran to Spend $36 Million on Internet “Smart Filtering,” to No Avail

The Iranian government, in a joint project with several domestic universities, is spending $36 million to develop what it calls “smart filtering” in order to strengthen its Internet censorship capabilities. Smart filtering refers to the selective blocking of content within a website, as opposed to the complete blocking or shutting down of an entire website. […]

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