September 29, 2023

Violence in Zahedan One Year After “Bloody Friday”, 570 Political and Civil Activists Call Mousavi House Arrest “Gradual Murder,” and More

Week of September 25, 2023 | Iran Unfiltered is a digest tracking Iranian politics & society by the National Iranian American Council 

Zahedan Unrest: Protests, Gunfire, and Calls for Accountability Following Friday Prayers

After Friday prayers, security forces fired on protesters in Zahedan, nearly one year to the day following the “Black Friday” massacre in the city that left scores dead and injured hundreds more. Masjid Maki’s outpatient clinic treated the wounded, according to the Baluch Activists Campaign.

Friday prayers on September 29, 2023, in Zahedan were held under heavy security with a notable presence of law enforcement personnel, led by Moulavi Abdolhamid. After prayers, Zahedan’s crowd was much larger than usual. Crowds chanted “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to the Basij.”

Gunfire echoed through Zahedan. Police advanced from Khayam Streets 4, 6, and 8 to Khorramshahr Street, firing tear gas and bullets at protesters. Iranian officials, however, sought to downplay the concerning reports. Mehdi Shams-Abadi, the prosecutor of Zahedan, has described the situation in the city as “normal” and stated that there have been no shootings in Sistan and Baluchistan today. He claimed that the images of injured individuals around Masjid Maki in Zahedan are from the past. 

In his sermon today, Moulavi Abdolhamid Ismailzehi, the Sunni Imam of Zahedan, stressed the tragedy of last year’s “Bloody Friday,” saying, “That day remains a somber memory for Iran’s aware populace and the global community.” 

He elaborated that over the past year, local residents have sought justice, hoping the culprits will face both legal and Islamic repercussions. However, many remain highly skeptical given the failure to hold nearly anyone accountable for the gross abuses committed last year. Moulavi Abdolhamid concluded by emphasizing that “bereaved families, widows, and fatherless children demand more than compensation. They demand accountability and justice.”

570 Political and Civil Activists Issue Declaration on Mousavi House Arrest: A 13-Year Long Gradual Murder

More than 570 political, social, cultural, and civil activists have signed a statement asserting that the ongoing house arrest of Zahra Rahnavard, Mir Hossein Mousavi, and Mehdi Karroubi is a “gradual murder.” In the statement, the signatories stated that: “On the anniversary of the ‘Women, Life, Freedom’ protest movement, despite the countless sacrifices and damages suffered by Iran’s people over the past year, political prisoners continue to be incarcerated, die suddenly, and launch hunger strikes. The government mismanages crises and suppresses protests.”

The activists further stated that, “The 13-year-long house arrest of these political leaders, which began with a violation of the law, continued with inhumane methods, and followed the despair of the prisoners breaking their resistance, along with the increasing daily pressures, is currently witnessing a form of gradual murder. The latest reports suggest that the medical tests conducted on the detainees passing through various layers of security filters, particularly security agents, have shown repeated discrepancies in their health conditions, and in recent months, significant changes in their health have occurred.”

After only 24 hours following the release of the collective statement, news of threats and harassment against the statement’s signatories were published. Faizollah Arab-Sorkhi, Zahra Shojai, Ali Asghar Khodayari, and Morteza Sarmi were among the signatories to the statement who were subsequently threatened via telephone calls and told to retract their signatures or await court summons. Arab-Sorkhi wrote on social media: “The security apparatus is trying to persuade or compel individuals, including myself, to retract their signatures. I suggest lifting the house arrest; it is both easier and less costly.”

Zahra Shojai also wrote that she was contacted and told that the author of the statement “has connections with foreign espionage services, and the substance of the matter is incorrect, and some signatures are fake.” Furthermore, the person who called her said, “Engineer (Mir Hossein Mousavi) has crossed the Islamic Republic, and Mrs. Rahnavard herself opposes release from house arrest.”

Ali Asghar Khodayari, another signatory of the statement, wrote that an agent asked him, “If someone dies of natural causes at the age of 60-70, is the system responsible?” He responded, “If someone is free, they may die at the age of 20, and their death could be natural, but if someone has been under house arrest for 13 years and cut off from society, their age at the time of death does not matter; the responsibility lies with the system.”

According to Morteza Saremi’s Telegram message, he had been contacted by the Ministry of Intelligence, who asked him: “Why did you sign Mousavi’s statement? I responded, “I do not know you, so why should I answer you?”. They told me that I should respond to the judiciary if I did not respond.” In these calls, these individuals were told to provide evidence for the claims made in the letter. They were also told to prepare these documents for court presentation.

Raisi’s Directive Backs the Dismissal of Professors

Etemad, a Tehran-based newspaper, recently published a report on the Raisi government’s “purification” of universities. The article claimed a resolution was passed by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution one month after Ebrahim Raisi’s government took office that has served as a pretext for expelling professors. The directive specifies the conditions for terminating professors in high-ranking bodies responsible for recruiting academic staff.

Mohsen Barhani, a suspended professor at the University of Tehran, spoke with the newspaper about how Raisi’s directive impacted him. Barhani stated to Etemad that he had no private complaints, financial issues, or ethical issues, but was suspended because he defended his fellow Iranians on Twitter and Instagram from a jurisprudential and legal perspective. Notably, Barhani had criticized the execution of Mohsen Shekari during last year’s nationwide protests. His opinion carries weight as he holds a doctorate in criminal law and is both a legal scholar and a practicing lawyer with a background in religious studies.

Security pressures on Iranian academics intensified after the nationwide protests escalated with the killing of Mahsa Amini, leading to many dismissals of professors. The start of the academic year, and the recent one-year anniversary of Amini’s killing, has resulted in reports of arrests, dismissals, suspensions, and multiple security pressures on students and faculty across universities in Iran. Additionally, salary cuts or reductions, forced retirements, university security summonses, security agency summonses, and deprivation from professional opportunities, research budgets, and scientific projects have also been exerted on university professors recently. Among the more recent developments, Reza Faraji Dana, a professor at the University of Tehran and a former Minister of Science, resigned from the Academy of Sciences in protest against the intervention of the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

According to Mohsen Barhani, “a few individuals with ulterior motives have decided to suspend any professor, even if they are permanently appointed, for their own reasons. What job security remains for professors in this case? If this approach is established at the University of Tehran, the mother university, it is expected to spread across all other cities in a domino-like manner.”

Noor 3 Satellite Launched Successfully by Iran

Iran’s Minister of Communications, Isa Zarepour, announced on Thursday that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps successfully launched its third military satellite into Earth’s orbit. According to state media reports, the reconnaissance satellite, known as Noor 3, has been placed in orbit at 450 kilometers (280 miles) above the surface of the Earth.

Iranian media reports indicate that Noor 3 was launched using a rocket known as the “Qased” that consists of three stages. In March 2021, the Revolutionary Guards claimed to have launched the “Noor 2” satellite into space using the same three-stage rocket. The Revolutionary Guard also announced in April 2020 that it had launched the Noor 1 satellite into an orbit 425 kilometers from Earth using the Qased rocket. As of that time, the Revolutionary Guard stated that this was the first “multi-purpose” satellite with a “defensive application” placed into orbit by the country.

According to security experts, Tehran could theoretically deploy long-range missiles using technology similar to that used for launching satellites. Rockets with the capability to exit the atmosphere have significant overlap with technology to deploy intercontinental ballistic missiles, which many nations utilize for the possible delivery of nuclear weapons. Despite this, Tehran has repeatedly refuted the U.S. claim that Iran’s aerospace program is a cover for the development of long-range ballistic missiles, and has claimed that it has never sought to develop nuclear weapons. Due to technical difficulties, Iran has been unable to successfully launch several satellites in recent years despite having one of the most extensive missile programs in the Middle East. 

Reviving Ties: Iran and Egypt Explore Economic Collaborations and Diplomatic Renewal

Ehsan Khandouzi, the Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, has announced that the Iran-Egypt bank will soon increase its capital. He made this announcement following a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Mohammad Maait, in Cairo. Khandouzi also expressed his hope that his first visit to Cairo in a decade would “revitalize collaborations and assist the government’s economic diplomacy efforts.”

His two-day trip to Egypt was primarily intended to attend the annual meeting of the Ministers of Economy for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB is an international financial institution proposed by China to facilitate multilateral development and finance infrastructure projects in the Asian region. The Islamic Republic of Iran became a shareholder and member of this bank in April 2015. A total of 33 countries from Asia and 17 countries from other continents are members of this organization.

Khandouzi also mentioned the formation of a joint project committee between the two nations. In the past week, an Iranian minister has met with his Egyptian counterpart a second time. In New York last week, the foreign ministers of Iran and Egypt met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

According to Iran’s correspondent in New York, the meeting with Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, was considered “significant.” In response to a question regarding the possibility of reviving relations soon, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian responded, “Whenever the roadmap for enhancing relations is agreed upon in the context of the New York discussions.” Considering his response, it seems premature to expect an immediate thaw in Iran-Egypt relations, especially since both sides have not yet agreed to reopen their embassies in Cairo and Tehran.

Iran and Egypt had a strong relationship prior to the Islamic Revolution. After the establishment of the Islamic Republic system, however, ties were severed. Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, ordered the then Foreign Minister to end Iran’s relations with Egypt three months after the revolution. Anwar Sadat’s historic peace treaty with Israel, which recognized Israel formally, was the primary cause of Khomeini’s anger. In September 1978, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords, mediated by then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter.

Despite efforts by successive Iranian governments to restore ties with Egypt, no tangible results have been achieved. Nevertheless, around three months ago, Ali Khamenei, the leader of the Islamic Republic, hosted Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman and expressed his willingness to strengthen relations with Egypt. In his visit to New York, the Iranian Foreign Minister described Egypt as an important country in the Islamic world and in the region. He believes that the strengthening of Tehran-Cairo relations will not only benefit both nations but also the region and the entire Islamic world.

The Life and Legacy of Nemat Ahmadi: An Iranian Lawyer’s Journey

At the age of 68, Nemat Ahmadi, a lawyer and legal scholar, passed away on September 22nd. Originally from Zarand, Kerman province, Iran, Mr. Ahmadi was born in 1955. His studies at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law began in 1971, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in history in 1993. He later taught law and history at the Imam Jafar Sadiq University and the Islamic Azad University, where he became a member of the academic staff in 2004.

Following the 1997 elections and the formation of the reformist government under Mohammad Khatami, Nemat Ahmadi’s media and legal activities increased significantly. In his role as a lawyer, he handled the cases of several reformist political activists and journalists. He served as one of the lawyers in the well-known “Kerman Mass Murders” case, where six members of the Basij militia were accused of murdering five citizens despite authorities’ claims that they were “missing persons.” After the judicial authorities cited the apparent “consent of the victims’ families,” the execution sentences were revoked, triggering outrage among legal experts and activists.

Ahmadi, one of the lawyers representing the families of the Kerman Mass Murders victims, viewed the case as an attempt to hold the national security forces accountable. Ahmadi in an interview with Iranian Students’ News Agency argued that, regardless of whether the families consented to a reprieve for the basij members, the basij members were terrorizing the public and committing corruption. As a result, their actions had a public component and undermined public faith in the security services – as a result, the families alone should not have the sole decision on whether to grant a reprieve.

In 2009, following the announcement of the results of the tenth presidential election in Iran and the widespread and peaceful street protests that erupted, the Iranian government retaliated severely, arresting numerous journalists and political activists and initiating security-related cases against them. Ahmadi represented several of the political activists who were arrested during these protests–the Green Movement–, including Feizollah Arab-Sorkhi, a senior member of the Organization of Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, and Faezeh Zahedi, a senior member of the National Trust Party. At a time when the government had blocked all communication channels for detainees, Ahmadi sought to inform the public about the situation of his clients.

Recently, Ahmadi was expelled from the university and his lawyer’s license was revoked due to his legal and media activities. As a response, Ahmadi stated that he had previously reported a complaint against him by a “security institution”, emphasizing the non-political nature of the case. A member of the Central Bar Association’s board of directors, Farshid Farahnakian tweeted, “The revocation of Mr. Nemat Ahmadi’s license was based on non-political reasons, which were confirmed and pursued seriously by the private complainant, and his disciplinary violation as a lawyer was confirmed by the definitive judgment of the Supreme Disciplinary Court for Judges.”

In addition, the university declined to continue its collaboration with Ahmadi last year. He explained his situation by stating, “First, they cut my salary,” and added, “It is not a retirement of any kind; it is a forced expulsion. Nevertheless, Ahmadi leaves behind a legacy of outspokenness against an oppressive regime and unwavering dedication to his fellow citizens and clients who share his passion for dissent and protest.

Death Sentences in Iran’s Poisoned Alcohol Case: A Harsh Response

According to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Judiciary, the Revolutionary Court in Karaj has sentenced four individuals to death for poisoning alcoholic beverages. Numerous deaths and cases of blindness occurred in Alborz province as a result of bootleg and substandard alcohol sales during the spring and summer of this year.

The official authorities had previously reported that these counterfeit alcoholic beverages were manufactured using industrial alcohol from a factory in the vicinity of Karaj that manufactures hygiene products. According to Masoud Sotoudeh, a spokesperson for the Iranian Judiciary, 11 individuals were arrested in connection with this case on September 26th, and based on the verdict issued, the first four defendants who were found to be most responsible were sentenced to execution based on charges of “corruption on earth through crimes against physical integrity.”

The report indicates that four additional defendants were sentenced to five years in prison, two other defendants were sentenced to three years in prison, and the last  defendant was sentenced to one year in prison. 

A spokesperson for the Iranian Judiciary stated that these sentences have been communicated to the defendants and their lawyers, and they will be sent to the Supreme Court if they do not appeal. On his Twitter account, Mehsan Borhani, a judicial lawyer, criticized this verdict as an error. Investigations conducted by the Iranian judiciary have revealed that industrial alcohols were distributed illegally and outside the network by an individual who owned a hair spray manufacturing facility in Eshtehard. A variety of industrial alcohols, including methanol, were mixed with water and various essences and widely distributed as alcoholic beverages.

According to the spokesperson for the Iranian Judiciary, the first-row defendant in the case was the primary supplier of toxic alcohol. As Mr. Sotoudeh stated, “This individual, despite being required to produce ethanol for hygiene purposes, obtained industrial alcohol (methanol) and sold it. Although this defendant knew there was a problem with the alcohol and had a background in chemistry as a laboratory technician, he introduced them into the production cycle of alcoholic beverages without testing them or obtaining lab results.”

As a result of ingestion, particularly in the liver, methanol can be converted into several toxic substances, such as formaldehyde and formic acid. Formic acid, for example, may cause various tissue injuries and gastrointestinal, neurological, ocular, and metabolic acidosis symptoms, even resulting in death in severe cases of poisoning.

In the official report, the first through fourth-row defendants were involved in the production and distribution of alcohol on a large scale in an “underground and illicit” manner. In the recent case of poisoned alcohol sales during the spring and summer of this year, seventeen people died and 191 were injured.

Iran prohibits the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. In Iran, the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages has led to the continuous production of homemade alcoholic beverages, which are not subject to health inspections or laboratory testing and have caused a large number of deaths. The Iranian Legal Medicine Organization reports that dozens of Iranians lose their lives every year as a result of poisoning caused by the consumption of substandard alcohol.

There is a lack of transparency in the economic cycle and the supply and demand market for alcoholic beverages. The World Health Organization estimates, derived from official declarations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, indicate that the average level of alcohol consumption in this country exceeds that of many countries where alcoholic beverages are legal.

Challenges and Concerns: Ebrahim Raisi Inaugurates New School Year Amid Education Issues in Iran

Ebrahim Raisi, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, inaugurated the new school year in Baharestan, a province of Tehran. Various teacher’s associations and organizations in Iran have criticized the quality of education in the country, the lack of security in schools, the poisoning of students in the past year, and the widespread expulsion of teachers.

There are also ceremonies commemorating the anniversary of school students’ deaths during nationwide protests in 2022. It includes individuals such as Nika Shakarami and Sarina Ismailzadeh, both of whom were 16 years old and were killed by the government authorities in Tehran and its suburbs.

At the opening ceremony of the new school year in Baharestan, Tehran province, Mr. Raisi stressed the importance of family and school collaboration in shaping the identity of Iranian-Islamic students. According to reports, Raisi declared that “social and economic crises” have made the pursuit of education in Iran a “serious challenge.” These remarks by Mr. Raisi come amid unfavorable economic, social, and political conditions in the country. As a result, a growing number of students are apparently unable to continue their education.

During the previous school year, the Teacher Coordination Council of Iran reported issues and pressures facing teachers. They stated that, following the start of protests and dissatisfaction of citizens in 1401 and the teachers’ sit-ins to protect the sanctity of schools and the students who were under financial pressure, 350 teachers in Kurdistan were subjected to reduced wages, rank downgradings, absenteeism records, and disciplinary action.

Furthermore, the Teacher Guild Association of Bushehr Province highlighted security concerns experienced by teachers and stated that, “Teachers throughout Iran, including those in Bushehr Province, have not been shielded from this oppression.” In Bushehr Province, hundreds of teachers have been subjected to wage deductions, demotions, absentee records, and disciplinary action.”

In addition, the Teacher Guild Association of Fars Province addressed issues within the education system, stating: “We are starting the new school year at a time when several thousand children have dropped out of school for various reasons.” Approximately one-fourth of first graders have not yet enrolled in school, according to a report from the news site “Tajarat News.” It is described as a “warning bell for potential dropouts.”

Tajarat News reports that “Mehr, the start of autumn, does not have the same freshness as it used to, nor does the ringing of school bells bring vitality to autumn mornings.” According to recent statistics released by the Iranian Parliament’s Research Center, many education experts are concerned about the future of Iranian children’s education. Approximately 1.2 million students have dropped out of school in the past school year, a 17% increase over the previous six years, according to the center’s report.

According to some education experts, the Iranian government attributes its inefficiency in managing the education system to “sanctions and threats from enemies,” while many of the educational challenges are a result of flawed government policies. According to the Human Rights website “Hengaw,” Iranian government forces have detained at least 110 student protesters and 43 teachers in the past nine months. In addition, 17 teachers and five students have been sentenced to imprisonment and flogging. According to “Hengaw,” 47 of the 110 detained students are Kurdish citizens, while 47 are Baluch citizens. Twelve of the detained children and adolescents are reported to be from families of those who were killed during the nationwide protests in Iran last year.

During the previous school year, there were multiple reports of student poisonings in predominantly girls’ schools in Iran. Despite the fact that reports of these suspicious poisonings have ceased since late last school year, no public reports have been provided by government authorities regarding the origins and potential causes of these incidents.

Amir Abdollahian: “Sultan Oman Initiative” Remains on the Table

Concluding his week-long presence at the 78th UN General Assembly, Hossein Amir Abdollahian engaged in a significant meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Al-Busaidi, raising speculation about possible ongoing diplomatic exchanges between Iran and the United States. In response to queries from IRNA news regarding any recent communications between Tehran and Washington during his stay in New York, Amir Abdollahian commented, “Naturally, there is an ongoing exchange of messages between the two parties, and it is not a new development, but it will be interesting to see the outcome in the future.”

Amir Abdollahian underscored Iran’s commitment to diplomatic and negotiation efforts aimed at lifting sanctions, emphasizing the importance of the “Sultan Oman Initiative” in this endeavor. When pressed by IRNA about the American perspective on the “Sultan Oman Initiative,” Amir Abdollahian replied enigmatically, “I cannot go into too much detail; ask the Omanis.”

However, he suggested that the “Sultan Oman Initiative” remains an innovative diplomatic tool that is still actively under consideration. He stressed that while this initiative forms a crucial part of diplomatic efforts to expedite the return of all parties to their commitments under the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), it does not entail Sultan Oman introducing a new text or plan. Notably, reports from Amwaj Media have suggested that Iranian nuclear negotiators have been granted direct negotiation licenses with the United States, citing anonymous “high-ranking informed” sources. This decision is attributed to Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Amwaj Media speculates that a successful meeting between Iranian and American negotiators may pave the way for a broader gathering involving representatives from the United Nations Security Council member countries, including the United States, France, Britain, China, and Russia. These developments unfold amid announcements by three European countries involved in the JCPOA negotiations—Britain, France, and Germany—that they intend to maintain arms control sanctions, originally slated for removal by October 18 under JCPOA provisions.

Amwaj Media reports have also indicated Iran’s intent to revive the “Muscat process,” signifying private and public negotiations between Iran and the United States, with Oman as the facilitating host. These reports also hint at upcoming visits to Oman by Ali Bagheri, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator and deputy foreign minister, and Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy for the Middle East and North Africa, suggesting a renewed diplomatic push.

Nevertheless, reports further allege that negotiations between Bagheri and European counterparts faltered due to European demands for the release of detained nationals. Amir Abdollahian also sought to visit Washington, DC amid his trip to New York for the UN General Assembly, though the U.S. denied his ability to travel. Following the publication of Amwaj Media reports, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement, dismissing the media coverage as “sensationalist,”  unreliable and often employed for political publicity. The U.S. also indicated that there are no current plans for talks related to Iran.

According to Reuters, Qatar engaged in separate diplomatic talks this week with Iran and the United States, addressing concerns related to Iran’s nuclear program and the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia. These mediated discussions in New York City, akin to earlier meetings held by Qatari diplomats, have reportedly led to a “mutual understanding.” Qatar, with its strategic regional position along the Persian Gulf, is believed to have exerted pressure on Tehran and Washington, sparking renewed negotiations and fostering diplomatic progress. These meetings occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday amid the UN General Assembly.

Iran’s Misery Index Crosses 60 Percent in Some Provinces

The annual misery index of various Iranian provinces, as published by the Statistics Center in ‘Donyaye Eqtesad’ (World of Economy), indicate that Lorestan (67.2 percent), Kermanshah (64.4 percent), and Kurdistan (63.7 percent) are most afflicted by hyperinflation and unemployment. In order to calculate the misery index, official annual unemployment and inflation rates are added together. In all of these provinces, unemployment rates were at least three to four percent higher than the national average, and inflation was never less than fifty percent. The provinces of Chaharhal, Bakhtiari, Hormozgan, Yazd, and North Khorasan are also included in the ‘seven provinces’ with Misery indexes exceeding 60 percent. Both the official unemployment rate and inflation rate in Iran have been on the rise, reaching 9 percent and 45.8 percent, respectively, in the year 1401 (2022).

This report indicates that the national misery index in the spring of this year was 60.4 percent, an increase of at least 1.2 percentage points over the winter of 1401. There was a combined inflation and unemployment rate of 69.5 percent in Lorestan, the province with the highest misery index in Iran. In Khordad 1402 (May 2023), the Iranian Statistics Center reported an annual inflation rate of 57.1 percent in Lorestan province. This is one of the highest inflation rates among the 31 provinces of Iran. Furthermore, Lorestan province reported a 12.4 percent unemployment rate in the spring of this year, ranking second among all Iranian provinces in terms of unemployment, with Sistan and Baluchestan provinces having a 12.8 percent unemployment rate.

The misery index in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province reached 69.1 percent at the end of the spring season, with an inflation rate of 57.2 percent and an unemployment rate of 11.9 percent. As a result, the province occupies the second position for the highest misery index among Iranian provinces. Yazd province, with an inflation rate of 58.8 percent and an unemployment rate of 7.2 percent at the end of the spring season this year, recorded a misery index of 66 percent, placing it third. A misery index of 64.4% was recorded in Sistan and Baluchestan province at the end of the spring season, with an inflation rate of 51.9 percent and an unemployment rate of 12.5%.

Faramorz Javidzad’s Passing in Evin Prison: U.S. Expresses Sympathy but Clarifies Non-U.S. Citizenship

Faramorz Javidzad, a 63-year-old citizen who has been held in Evin Prison since February 2022, has reportedly died from stomach bleeding and lack of medical attention. As reported by the human rights activists’ news agency HRANA on Monday, September 24th, the inmate had been transferred to Evin’s infirmary on September 22nd due to internal bleeding, and his pre-existing conditions of diabetes and heart disease. In spite of this, he was returned to the ward after a short period of time without the necessary medical care.

An informed source on Mr. Javidzad’s condition told HRANA, “Despite the judge’s agreement to transfer Mr. Javidzad to medical facilities outside the prison, prison officials failed to provide sufficient and timely medical care for this inmate, causing this tragic outcome.” In his daily press briefing at the United States Department of State on Tuesday, the agency’s spokesperson Matthew Miller was questioned on Mr. Javidzad’s connection to the United States given his prior residence in California. Miller expressed concern regarding the reports of improper medical care that led to his passing but stated that Javidzad was not a citizen of the United States.  

The 63-year-old had reportedly been incarcerated for alleged ‘financial crimes.’ The Iranian Prisons Organization responded to this news on Tuesday by denying that they had failed to transfer him to a hospital. Javidzad was ‘admitted to the hospital for surgery’ and ‘was discharged from the hospital with his own initiative and consent’, according to the Prisons Organization. According to the Prisons Organization’s official report, “the individual was transferred to medical facilities outside the prison five times during his time in prison, due to a history of gastrointestinal disorders.”

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