Posts in category Civil Society Watch


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Civil Society Watch

#Iran: Abuse in Soccer Schools, Feminists Speak Out, Economy and Sanctions

Arseh Sevom–Women’s day passes us by and we can look forward to another 364 days dominated by men. Award winning reporterNaeimeh Doustdar wrote for Arseh Sevom: “I know I should be a feminist and am a feminist, yet I wonder why others, men and women, are not. Discrimination is complex, and the struggle is complex. The ideals of feminism are not simply for the benefit of women…” [fa] This week’s review paints a picture of a society struggling with difficult issues: rights, abuse, corruption, and poverty.

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Civil Society Watch

#Iran–Negotiations, Prisoners of Rights, and More

Arseh Sevom–Wow, is Iran ever in the news. Nuclear negotiations, prisoners of rights, fertility treatments, and sanctions relief all feature this week. What we didn’t include could fill an entire newspaper. Arseh Sevom congratulates physicist Omid Kokabee on the award of the Andrei Sakharov Prize from the American Physical Society and calls for his immediate and unconditional release from prison. We are watching other developments with interest.

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Civil Society WatchSanctions

US Sanctions Law Shuts Down Online Courses in #Iran

“Few things illustrate the bone-headedness, short-sightedness, and sheer chauvinism of the political structure of the United States better than the extent to which its ideologues are willing to go to score cheap domestic political points with narrow interests in the pursuit of a sanctions regime that has clearly run its course.” Those were the words sent to the students of the online course “Constitutional Struggles in the Muslim World” this morning. A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman reminds us that Coursera needs to apply for a license to operate and that the office of the treasury has a history of approving educational licences.

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Civil Society Watch

#Iran — Can you See the Music?

Arseh Sevom –We cherish the small victories: the small acts of solidarity, defiance, kindness. Maybe seeing musical instruments on television seems trivial, but we see it as a win. A small win, yes. But one nonetheless. The rest of the news isn’t quite as rosy: the economy remains disastrous for Iran’s working class. Promised liberalization of society is stalled. Still, the current Iranian administration works to connect Iran with the rest of the world. “The last six years have taught us that no country can succeed alone,” Iran’s president tell the World Economic Forum. Yes, and no country can thrive without space for dissent, celebration, and basic rights. We’ll be looking for more small wins in the months and years to come.

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Civil Society WatchSanctions

#Iran — Where’s My Gold?

Arseh Sevom – Anyone who has every read Joseph Heller’s classic novel depicting the insanity of war and military life, Catch 22, won’t be surprised by speculations of unscrupulous profiteering in the name of country and honor. Iran’s Babak Zanjani — deal-maker extraordinaire – seems to have walked right off the pages of Heller’s book. He’s a billionaire many times over thanks to international sanctions against Iran and his clever manipulation of his position as the Islamic Republic’s bagman. Recently he began a new stint as a prisoner in Iran’s Evin Prison.

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Civil Society Watch

#Iran: I’m Dreaming of Citizens’ Rights

Arseh Sevom—In this season of celebrations, we begin by wishing all our readers happy holidays. A Citizenship Rights Charter has been presented to the people of Iran. The charter, like the constitution of Iran, guarantees nothing in the end. It’s as substantial as a dream. Meanwhile, the interim nuclear deal seems to be doing little to change the economic reality for Iran’s population. An EU Delegation visited Iran for the first time in six years. Their meetings with Sakharov Prize Honorees Nasrin Sotouden and Jafar Panahi has led to protests from hardline factions.

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Civil Society Watch

#Iran — Time for Attention to Human Rights

Arseh Sevom–Trust, but verify: that is the message of the recent nuclear agreement with Iran. The completed agreement sent hopes of better times soaring in Iran where a whole generation has felt itself sacrificed to hardline policies and the results of sanctions. If trust can be built in the wake of these negotiations, there is an opportunity for the international community to engage Iran on its human rights record. That is the next step.

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Civil Society Watch

#Iran — Can Activists Return Safely?

Arseh Sevom – It’s been more than 100 days since Hassan Rouhani took office. Despite slow progress on human rights, many exiled activists are planning to return. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear negotiations are about to restart, and Iran’s top negotiator is working to get his country’s message out via social media. Over 25 NGOs and civil rights organizations wrote a letter asking UN representatives to vote to hold Iran accountable for continuing human rights violations. The message: human rights are not negotiable.

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