Rouhani Opens Possibility for Engaging US

On February 6th, President Rouhani suggested before an audience of foreign ambassadors and diplomats in Tehran that Iran would deal with a “repentant” United States. Rouhani stated that the U.S. was an “oathbreaker” and that Iran had “proven in these years that it’s precise when it comes signing commitments” and that it “stands with its signature.”

Rouhani dangled the possibility of engaging the United States: “If America reverses course on its wrong path and apologizes for its past interventions and talks with respect with our people, we are ready to accept its repentance.” 

Yashar Soltani Sentenced

Today, investigative journalist Yashar Soltani was sentenced to five years imprisonment. Two years ago, Soltani had released a report documenting corruption in the Tehran municipality having to do with giving away government property for political purposes.

According to his lawyer, his charges include “collecting and publishing classified information related to the Judiciary’s General Inspection Office and publishing false information with the aim of disturbing public sentiment.”

Soltani has 20 days to appeal his sentence.

http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-46982106

Political Prisoners Sentenced

On Saturday, Abolqasem Salavati, the head judge of Tehran’s infamous Revolutionary Court Branch 15, handed out 6-year sentences against political prisoners Farhad Meysami & Reza Khandan.

Their lawyer says the ruling is not final & they will appeal it.

On January 5th, Meysami had written a letter criticizing both the Revolutionary Court 15 & the Trump administration’s policies.

Update in Esmail Bakshi Case

In the aftermath of the rearrests over the weekend of activist Sepideh Gholian & labor leader Esmail Bakhshi, 21 Iranian judiciary lawyers have signed a letter saying that Bakhshi can’t get a fair trial in Shush.

The lawyers say that to try him in Shush would have no “legal justification” given Bakhshi’s allegation of torture while in the custody of Shush judicial authorities.

http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-46963549

Esmail Bakshi Rearrested

Labor leader Esmail Bakhshi was rearrested last night in Iran.

He was first held for a month over his role in the Hafte Tapeh worker protests in the city of Shush. Upon release, he alleged he was tortured, leading to public outcry and investigations by various government institutions.

Officials eventually stated that Bakhshi was not tortured and state television aired a film of Bakhshi’s “confession” on Saturday.

Another former detainee alleging torture, activist Sepideh Gholian, was also arrested again over the weekend. She has since called for a public trial.

http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-46941685

Arrest of Sepideh Gholian

Today, activist Sepideh Gholian was arrested once again in Ahvaz.

She was first arrested in November in connection with the labor protests by workers of the Ahvaz Steel Company. On Saturday, Iranian state TV aired a film of her “confession.” She, along with labor leader Esmail Bakhshi, says she was tortured while in custody.

http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-46937475

Arrest of Amir Amir-Goli

Today, BBC Persian reported Amir Amir-Goli, a member of the editorial board of the leftist Gam magazine, was reportedly arrested. Previously, on January 9th, the magazine’s editor-in-chief Amir Hossein Mohammadi-Far and Sanaz Allah-Yari, another member of its editorial board, were arrested.

The magazine supported and wrote reports on the recent labour protests by workers of the Hafte Tapeh factory and Ahvaz Steel companies.

http://www.bbc.com/persian/iran-46908375