Posts in category Civil Society

Nasrin Sotoudeh demonstrating in front of the Bar Association
Civil SocietyFree Speech

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Stages Sit-In

Arseh Sevom–Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh is protesting her three-year suspension from practicing law with a protest in front of the Iran Bar Association. She has been joined by a number of other dissidents, including Mohammad Nourizad and Mohammad Maleki. Sotoudeh explains the reasons for her protest beginning with this point: “The Iranian government has been depriving dissidents from the right to life, education and work for many years.”

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Civil SocietyFeatured Topics

The Day I Became a Feminist

Arseh Sevom–Feminism is essentially the idea that women and men should have equal rights and opportunities. “The notion of freedom for men is not reality in Iran as long as women are not equal” Safoura Elyasi writes. She spoke to several Iranian male activists about their relationship to feminism. One told her: “A lot of people think that women are not currently in the right situation to be treated equally, so we should not extend equality to them. Equality needs to be in the act. It’s related to power. This idea that women are not ready for equality so they should not have it is flawed. In addition to civil actions, we need underlying cultural changes.” In part one of a two part article, we hear from three different men.

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Civil SocietyFeaturedFeatured Topics

Nasrin Sotoudeh: Equality Will Prevail

Arseh Sevom — In this exclusive interview with Arseh Sevom editor Mohammad Reza Sardari, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh discusses the very personal impact of her struggle for equality and justice. She tells of a young son who lost his childhood. “I grew up all of a sudden,” he tells her. In 2013, she was released from prison after serving three years of a six-year sentence for her activities defending the rights of her clients. In this interview, she reminds all of us that there is a price worth paying for the achievement of justice and equality.

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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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