Monday, October 29, 2007

How Tehran's Intimidation Reaches Into Canada

Last week I wrote a column about the obstacles pro-democracy Iranians encounter when they look beyond their borders for support and solidarity. I mentioned the important work being done by a young Iranian émigré blogger in Canada, Arash Kamangir, a 28-year-old University of Manitoba student who tracks dozens of Persian-language blogs, translates his findings and posts regularly at his English-language site, Kamangir.net.

After the column appeared, Arash and I traded notes on how he might determine the veracity of a suspicious Iranian Press TV report (also carried in Persian FARS News, which cited AFP as its source) which claimed Norway's Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, was urging western countries to back off in their pressure on Tehran and dismantle their own nuclear capabilities instead.

Kamangir did some digging (of the kind the "professional journalists" at AFP should have done in the first place) and discovered that what Støre really said was rather more nuanced than Iranian readers were allowed to know. He reported his findings.

Now, a group of conservative Iranian MPs has publicly attacked Kamangir. They are accusing him of being some kind of stooge for American neoconservatives. They have also published Kamangir's real name and a photograph of him.

Kamangir presents reason to be believe that the stoolie in this escapade is none other than Hossein Derakhshan (Hoder), a darling of the Guardian.

Here's Samira Mohyeddin on the dubious Mr. Derakhshan. Here's Danny Postel raising similar, troubling questions.

UPDATE, OF A KIND: Arash draws my attention to an urgent call for action in the case of Makwan Moloudzadeh, a 21-year-old Iranian Kurd who faces imminent execution after confessing to having had a sexual relationship with another boy, seven years ago. Moloudzadeh's confession came after a reportedly brutal "interrogation," and after the police shaved his head, put him on a donkey and paraded him through the streets so people could throw things at him. His accusers have withdrawn their charges, and the alleged witnesses have renounced the testimony attributed to them, but Iranian authorities are planning to lynch Moloudzadeh anyway.

8 Comments:

Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Hi Terry, there is no e-mail for you here. Could you shout out to simplyjews at gmail dot com? I have an update for you on the subject, not for publishing but could be interesting to you, seeing as the heroes are based in Canada...

Best (and this comment could be trashed, of course).

10:43 AM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Done, Snoop.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Kamangir said...

Kamangir.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Sean Pelette said...

I notice in the Guardian profile of Derakhshan the following;

"He also last visited Iran last June to cover the presidential elections for his readers. There he was shortly detained and interrogated by the Ministry of Intelligence before being forced to write an apology to be able to leave Iran a week after he had planned to."

The courage to change indeed.

5:29 PM  
Blogger Simon said...

Hi Terry, thanks for the tip about the latest victim of the insane mullahocracy of Iran....and for introducing me to Kamangir's blog. It's a good one. As for Derakhshan...I hate to jump to conclusions...but my first impression is that he's not only a useful idiot...but a pompous mega asshole as well!!

4:17 PM  
Blogger Transmontanus said...

Hey folks. News, viz Derakhshan:

http://tinyurl.com/27vwna

5:23 PM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

It was an interesting article, thanks.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Blazing Cat Fur said...

Ugh lay low for a week end and miss all the fun. Good work guys!

7:08 AM  

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