Iran General NewsResistance Continues Inside Iran and Abroad

Resistance Continues Inside Iran and Abroad

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By Hamid Yazdan Panah

The dissident movement within Iran is alive and well, though little attention is being paid to it in the international community. Iranian dissidents, both inside the country and abroad have continued their struggle to bring attention to human rights and the lack of civil and political liberties within the country. These campaigns include organized hunger strikes by political prisoners within Iran, with growing concerns for the health and well-being of those who on hunger strike. The Iranian diaspora has also refused to remain silent, with the National Council of Resistance of Iran set to hold a major rally in support of democratic change in Iran on July 9th in Paris.

The Iranian diaspora will look to make a strong appearance in support of human rights and democratic change at the annual convention held in Paris by the National Council of Resistance of Iran on July 9th. The event looks to be a major gathering of Iranian dissidents and their international supporters, including hundreds of senior political dignitaries, parliamentarians, human rights and women’s rights activists from the United States, Europe, and many other countries.

The convention will focus on the prospects for democratic change in Iran, with a focus on the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, the rise of terrorism in the region and the prospects for a peaceful solution to these policy dilemmas.

Iranian’s outside the country have also rallied to the cause of political prisoners and have successfully campaign to bring the issue of human rights to the forefront of policy agendas. This past week more than 270 Members of the European Parliament called on the EU to condition all further relations with Iran on “a clear progress on human rights and a halt to executions.”  Protesters also confronted the regime’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Germany and Norway to protest the Rouhani administration’s continual violation of human rights.

Human rights groups have reported that at least five political prisoners are on hunger strike in various prisons throughout Iran. This includes labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh who has been on hunger strike for more than 45 days in protest against “repression of activities of workers and teachers by the security charges”. Azimzadeh is the secretary of the board of the Free Trade Union Workers of Iran, and is currently serving a six-year term of imprisonment in the notorious Evin Prison in Iran.

Political prisoner Alireza Golipour who is also incarcerated in Evin Prison has also launched a hunger strike to highlight the ongoing torture and mistreatment of political prisoners. Golipour himself has systematically been deprived of proper medical care, despite the fact that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer. Golipour is serving a 39-year sentence for crimes which are political in nature, including associating with opposition organization.

Other notable prisoners on include Shahram Pour Mansouri who according to reports is in critical condition after starting a dry hunger strike on June 8th. Pour Mansouri remains incarcerated in Gohardasht prison and has reportedly been subject to torture and mistreatment.

The denial of proper medical care to prisoners is illegal under international law, but is a routine practice by the Iranian regime in order to prolong the suffering of prisoners, intensify their isolation and kill them through negligence.

The solidarity between Iranians inside and outside Iran is a testament not only to the deep roots of the organized resistance, but the fervent desire for freedom felt by Iranians no matter where the are in the world. This desire is witnessed in the steadfast resistance of political prisoners, the tireless campaigning of human rights activists, and will surely be on display in the gathering on July 9th.

Hamid Yazdan Panah is an Iranian-American human rights activist and attorney focused on immigration and asylum in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

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