Editor’s Choice

They say that an optimist is someone who knows that one step forward and two steps back is a dance, not a defeat. In 2013, those acting for a vibrant civil society in Iran wore out their dancing shoes. This post presents a brief and incomplete overview of the last year of posts from Arseh Sevom.


The Cyrus Cylinder preserves a proclamation from Cyrus the Great which has been called the first declaration of human rights. Hirad Abtahi, first legal adviser of the Presidency of the International Criminal Court, examines the proclamation in a recently published book, stating that it can be summed up thematically as calling for dialogue, tolerance, and peace.


Post image for Iran: All’s Not Well in the World of Cinema

Whether it is preventing filmmakers from making films or protesting the decisions of international festivals and awards committees, film has been in the news lately when it comes to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Envelope Please… “In the end, life is but memories. Bitter memories. Sweet Memories. There’s more to life than work…” a character [...]

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The Editor. February 18, 2013

A Letter to My Torturer

Post image for A Letter to My Torturer

In a bit of political drama, Saeed Mortazavi was arrested on February 7 and held for 24 hours. This came after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad played a tape recording of Ali Larijani’s (Speaker of Parliament) lesser known brother trying to use the status of his well-known family for financial gain. (You can read all about the encounter [...]


Post image for Iran: Bill Before Parliament Would Smother NGOs

The Main Shortcomings of the Non-Governmental Organizations Bill Arseh Sevom – In 2010, Arseh Sevom published a report on the Non-Governmental Organizations Bill, Legalizing the Murder of Civil Society (pdf), which has been in and out of committee for more than five years (click here for more information). Several years after it was originally presented [...]


Dr. Mohammad Maleki, former chancellor of the University of Tehran, is a long-time dissident. As the first post-revolution chancellor of the University of Tehran, he attempted to institute direct democratic management of the institution. Among other subjects, this letter refers to the destruction of that experiment, and his own imprisonment. While in prison during the 80s [...]


The Editor. October 26, 2012

Sanctions: Who stole my medicine?

Post image for Sanctions: Who stole my medicine?

Arseh Sevom – The lives of six million patients in Iran are adversely affected due to shortages of medicine, as an immediate result of unprecedented sanctions. On top of the existing crippling sanctions, the European Union ministers agreed to a new set against Iran, on October 15, These new sanction ban the import of natural [...]


The Editor. October 22, 2012

Iran — Human Costs of the Drug Wars

Post image for Iran — Human Costs of the Drug Wars

Arseh Sevom — The Islamic Republic of Iran is often praised for its efforts to control drug trafficking on its borders. With the help of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it has managed to professionalize its border control. In a recent article in the New York Times, journalist Thomas Erdbrink points out [...]


Post image for Opposing Int’l Support for Drug Trafficking Prevention While  the Death Penalty Exists for Drug-Related Offenses

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly oppose the continuing use of the death penalty in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We are concerned that Iran’s radical policies, which allegedly aim to eradicate drug-trafficking and result in the execution of several hundred prisoners every year, are supported in part by international funding.

Of the countries that continue to apply the death penalty in their domestic jurisdictions, Iran leads in number of executions per capita. Many of these executions are conducted in secret and go unreported by official sources. According to reports from human rights groups that document executions in Iran from both official and unofficial sources, roughly 650 executions were carried out in 2010 and 670 in 2011. At the time of the publication of this statement, at least 332 individuals have been executed in 2012. Of these executions, it is estimated that more than 70% are for drug-related offenses.


The Editor. August 23, 2012

Uncertainty Fuels Economic Woes in Iran

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Interview with Dr. Sara Bazoobandi, Economic Analyst by Reza Haji Hosseini Arseh Sevom – The shadow of sanctions is over Iran. Economic sanctions with the objective of putting pressure on the government are hitting ordinary people hard. Prices are rising moment by moment. The value of the currency is dropping, the price of gold is [...]


Post image for Eager to Help: Iranians Respond to Earthquakes

Overwhelming Volunteer Response to Earthquake in Azerbaijan Province  Volunteerism reached high levels in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Iran. Iranians inside and outside the country formed online communities to organize relief efforts. Weblogina writes [our translation]: After the unfortunate earthquake in Eastern Azerbaijan during the recent week a flood of information poured into [...]


Post image for Statement Against the Execution of Four Ahwazi Arabs and the Death Penalty in Iran

Statement Against the Execution of Four Ahwazi Arabs and the Death Penalty in Iran    Concurrent with the execution of four Iranians in Saudi Arabia, and despite warnings by human rights activists and institutions, four Ahwazi Arab prisoners — Taha Heidarian, Abdolrahman Heidarian, Abbas Heidarian, and Ali Sharifi — were secretly executed by the Iranian [...]