May 31, 2023

Redefining Middle Eastern Alliances: Sultan of Oman Mediates Diplomatic Shifts Between Iran and Egypt, Iran’s Hijab Law: A Tug of War between Government and Citizens, Iranian Diplomat and Belgian Aid Worker Released in Oman-Mediated Exchange, and more

Week of May 29th, 2023 | Iran Unfiltered is a digest tracking Iranian politics & society by the National Iranian American Council 

Redefining Middle Eastern Alliances: Sultan of Oman Mediates Diplomatic Shifts Between Iran and Egypt

In a recent political shift, Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressed open acceptance towards rekindling ties with Egypt. The statement surfaced during his meeting with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, the ruler of Oman. Iranian news agency, IRNA, reported that Khamenei stressed on boosting cooperation between Iran and Oman, given their shared interest in the crucial Strait of Hormuz.

Before arriving in Iran, the Sultan had visited Egypt, and there were reports indicating his possible role as a mediator between Cairo and Tehran. Khamenei further cited the proactive foreign policy of President Ebrahim Raisi’s government for the budding relations with Saudi Arabia.

Haitham bin Tariq, Sultan of Oman, concluded his two-day visit to Iran, leading a high-profile delegation. His departure followed a meeting with Khamenei. Omani officials reported that Nasser Awfi, Oman’s Energy Minister, engaged in discussions with Iran’s Oil Minister, Javad Oji, covering topics like the Hangam-Bakha field development and gas exports to Oman.

Four economic agreements, bolstering cooperation in energy and free zones, were signed between Iran and Oman. President Ebrahim Raisi noted that the countries had advanced from commercial to investment stage relations. The Sultan also confirmed improved regional ties and a significant rise in business exchanges since Raisi’s visit to Oman the previous year. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Iran’s Foreign Minister, announced the ongoing finalization of a comprehensive strategic document for cooperation between the two countries. 

There are suggestions that the Sultan might have carried messages from the U.S. government to Iran. Axios reported that White House Middle East adviser Brett McGurk traveled to Oman earlier this month for discussions with Omani officials on possible diplomatic outreach to Iran regarding the nuclear program and potentially other issues. 

Oman’s history of mediating between Iran and the U.S. is well-documented, including its significant role in the secret talks leading to the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement. Those talks allegedly began after Sultan Qaboos, the late Omani ruler, wrote to Khamenei. However, the talks were only confirmed years later by officials of the Islamic Republic, including former president Hassan Rouhani, who revealed they took place with Khamenei’s consent. Haitham bin Tariq, the current Sultan and state head at 69 years old, ascended the throne in 2020 upon Sultan Qaboos’s passing. The late Sultan had reigned over Oman for fifty years.

Sultan Haitham’s visit to Tehran amid the rapidly changing political landscape has aroused significant interest, with potential implications for Iran’s relationships both regionally and with the West. With Oman’s history of successful mediation, all eyes will be on the political developments following this landmark visit.

Ghalibaf Retains Speakership; Equal Votes Ignite Tensions in Iranian Parliament Vice Speaker Elections

In a high-stakes session last Tuesday, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf secured his position as the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament for the fourth successive year, edging out challengers Elias Nadran and Fereydoun Abbasi, as per reports from Iranian state media.

The stakes, however, rose dramatically for the second vice-president position. In an unprecedented event, both Mojtaba Zonnouri and Ali Nikzad received an equal number of votes – 152 each – sparking tensions within the parliament. The standoff even escalated to physical conflicts during several vote recounts. The stalemate was eventually resolved through a lottery, decreeing that Ali Nikzad, the deputy speaker of the parliament from the previous year, would have to yield his seat to Mojtaba Zonnouri.

Iran’s Hijab Law: A Tug of War between Government and Citizens

The contentious “Chastity and Hijab” bill continues to stir public opinion in Iran. The government, represented by the Legal Deputy of Ebrahim Raisi, staunchly defends the law while advocating for its use as a unifying factor rather than a divisive tool. However, the heavy penalties proposed for citizens not observing the mandatory hijab have proven very controversial.

The bill, named “Supporting the Culture of Chastity and Hijab”, stipulates numerous monetary and non-monetary penalties for women failing to adhere to the mandatory hijab. The bill, published by local media, is set to undergo a review for its two urgent requests next week in parliament.

This legislation follows the “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement and the tragic killing of Mahsa Amini. Many Iranian women have increasingly rejected the compulsory hijab, choosing to appear in public spaces without the hijab. This resistance against a law many believe infringes upon their rights traces back to the inception of the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, has described the hijab as a “Sharia and legal restriction,” insisting that breaking this rule is both religiously and politically forbidden. Mohammad Dehghan, the Legal Deputy of President Raisi, has emphasized the hijab’s symbolic importance, declaring the Islamic Republic meaningless without it.

The proposed legislation prescribes penalties for non-compliance with hijab rules. Authorities are expected to issue warnings to first-time offenders, leveraging new technology and smart systems. Subsequent violations incur increasing fines. For instance, the fourth offense will attract a penalty of two and a half million tomans. The bill also penalizes inappropriate clothing, with a fine of two million tomans for tight clothes or exposed body parts and eight million tomans for full body nudity in public or online.

Critics argue that these rules infringe on personal freedoms, specifically with women who oppose the dress code facing repercussions. The bill specifies that fines unpaid within a month will double, and the Central Bank will be informed for recovery from the offender’s bank account. Prominent figures opposing the mandatory hijab risk professional and cyber space activity bans.

Currently, several female Iranian actresses, including Ketayoun Riahi, Fateme Motamed Arya and Afshana Baygan, face legal action for defying the mandatory hijab. Business owners are also not spared, with potential penalties for not enforcing the hijab rule among their clientele. Businesses found in violation may lose their operating license.

Transport companies must enforce these prohibitions, or risk losing discounts and tax exemptions. There have been reports of women denied entry into the Tehran metro for failing to comply with the dress code. Government employees and teachers face penalties for violations, including salary deductions, dismissal, and potential disqualification from holding managerial positions.

The bill has met with resistance from hardline government supporters, who believe it doesn’t go far enough. They criticize the proposed punishments as being too lenient and ineffective at curbing what they consider improper hijab practice. Etemad Newspaper reported the opposition of the Promotion of Good and the Prohibition of Evil headquarters, who believe the bill is not comprehensive and lacks key provisions.

Renowned civil and student activist, Sepideh Reshnou, has been summoned to Evin court over a new case, fueling tension in the ongoing debate. Reshnou is known for her vehement opposition to the mandatory hijab. The summons to Evin court, announced through her Instagram, further illustrates the deepening divide.

In recent developments, Majid Emami, secretary of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, confessed the government’s struggle in dealing with the growing number of women refusing to wear the hijab. He suggested the need to calibrate the handling of such cases according to the level of violation.

Institutions that have sought to enforce stringent adherence to the mandatory hijab law are seeing more significant pushback from citizens, including through membership cancellations at public places like the National Library.

The bill also faced criticism from Mohammad Mahdi Hosseini Hamdani, Imam of Juma Karaj and Khamenei’s representative in Alborz province, who compared the hijab to the Berlin Wall. He was backed by Ahmad Alamulhoda, a staunch critic of the “Chastity Hijab and” bill.

Meanwhile, the controversial secretary of the headquarters of Amr Be Ma’rouf and Nahi Mankar, Seyyed Mohammad Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani, was dismissed. Golpayegani had advocated for penalties for “Internet taxis”–Tepsi and Snapp–ferrying passengers without a hijab.

The bill has further implications for celebrities and individuals of cultural, social, political, and sports influence. Violation of the hijab rule could lead to professional and cyberspace activity deprivation for three months to a year.

Internationally, this ongoing situation in Iran has not gone unnoticed. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, expressed concern over human rights conditions in Iran during a press conference marking the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Iranian Diplomat and Belgian Aid Worker Released in Oman-Mediated Exchange

Iranian diplomat Asadollah Asadi, who had been serving a 20-year sentence in Belgium for conspiracy to commit a bombing in France, has been released and has returned to Tehran, welcomed by officials. This development follows a prison exchange agreement mediated by the Kingdom of Oman, as confirmed by the Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Twitter.

Olivier Vandecasteele, a Belgian aid worker arrested in Iran and charged with espionage, cooperation with the U.S. government, currency smuggling, and money laundering, was released as part of the same deal. Vandecasteele, previously managing the Refugee Council program in Iran, a Norwegian organization, had spent 455 days in a Tehran prison.

Belgium’s Prime Minister, Alexandre de Crewe, confirmed Vandecasteele’s release and return to Belgium. “Olivier spent 455 days in Tehran prison in unbearable conditions. He is innocent. If all goes according to plan, he will be here with us this evening, finally released,” the Prime Minister was quoted by AFP.

The exchange was executed on Friday, May 26, following an agreement allowing nationals imprisoned in the opposite country to spend the remainder of their sentences in their own nations, as stated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Oman.

Asadi was convicted of handing over 500 grams of potent explosives to former members of the Mojahedin organization who were aiming to detonate it during a gathering in France. European police identified him as a key official in Iran’s intelligence network across the continent, marking the first Iranian diplomat to face charges of involvement in a terrorist act on European soil.

Three other individuals – Amir Saadouni, Nasimeh Noami, and Mehrdad Arefani – were also sentenced in the same Belgian court for aiding Asadi. The trio, Iranian nationals who had obtained Belgian citizenship, had their citizenship revoked and were handed prison terms ranging from 17 to 18 years.

Vandecasteele, who had provided humanitarian aid in Iran and Afghanistan for six years, was taken into custody in February 2022. His arrest had led to diplomatic maneuverings, culminating in a phone call from the Belgian Foreign Minister to his Iranian counterpart to request Vandecasteele’s transfer. This prisoner exchange agreement, ratified by both Iran and Belgium last year, faced a legal challenge in Belgium but was upheld by the Belgian Constitutional Court on March 3 this year.

Notably, Amnesty International expressed concern regarding the prisoner swap. While it welcomed the release of Vandecasteele, the organization called on Belgian authorities to file an international lawsuit against those responsible for his detention and torture. Amnesty warned that such prisoner exchanges could encourage Iran to take more hostages and commit other crimes, thereby further jeopardizing human rights abroad.

Press Freedom on Trial: Iranian Journalists Face Court for Reporting Mahsa Amini’s Death

Two journalists, Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloufar Hamedi, who have been imprisoned because of their reporting on the killing of Jina Mahsa Amini in September 2022 have gone before the courts for the first time after months of imprisonment.

Elaheh Mohammadi, a reporter from Hammihan newspaper, appeared in her first private court hearing on Monday. The trial took place in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court under the headship of hardline Judge Abulqasem Salavati. As of yet, the date for the following session remains unknown, though Mohammadi’s lawyer reportedly described the initial hearing as “positive.”

On the day of Mohammadi’s hearing, a group of journalists and civil activists gathered with her family outside the courthouse on Moalem street in Tehran, as reported by journalist Mina Akbari. She described Mohammadi’s arrival to the courthouse in a black-windowed van and her subsequent defense against the accusations in the presence of the judge, her lawyer, and a camera crew from the Judiciary News Agency.

Tuesday, May 30, also witnessed the first trial hearing of Niloufar Hamedi, reporter for the Sharq newspaper. Mohammad Hossein Ajurlo, Hamedi’s spouse, confirmed the commencement of the first hearing of his wife’s trial. According to his Twitter statement, the trial was held privately in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court, likewise presided over by Judge Salavati – the same as Mohammadi’s trial.

Hamedi, during the hearing, refuted all allegations, insisting that her journalistic duties were performed within the ambit of the law and posed no threats to Iran’s security. However, Ajurlo disclosed that family members were excluded from the hearing, and the defense attorneys were denied the opportunity to present their case. This session, filmed by the Judiciary’s media center, lasted less than two hours. Following the hearing, Hamedi’s case was adjourned to an undisclosed date. 

Elaheh Mohammadi and Niloufar Hamedi’s lawyers met their clients in person a day before their hearings. The journalists both face serious charges including collusion against national security and propaganda activity against the regime. However, these reports were prepared with the approval of their respective newspapers, as confirmed by their managers.

According to Shahab Mirlohi, Mohammadi’s lawyer, defense attorneys were not allowed to present their case during the initial court session given insufficient time to thoroughly study the case; they only met with their client once, less than 24 hours before the hearing. Despite these serious flaws, the head of the court did not permit Mohammadi’s lawyers to raise any formal objections. Just like Hamedi’s hearing, Mohammadi’s hearing was also closed to the public and to her family, though was filmed by the Judiciary media center. The U.S. Department of State’s spokesperson, Matthew Miller, has denied the allegation of the journalists’ cooperation with the US.

Several organizations, including the Tehran Journalists Association and the International Federation of Journalists, along with numerous journalists and political and civil activists globally, have demanded a “fair and public” trial, allowing the defendants to defend themselves publicly. Furthermore, concerns have been raised regarding the lack of trial for those responsible for Mahsa Amini’s death, while journalists face trial – and unfair ones at that – for merely reporting on the event. This situation emphasizes the critical state of press freedom in Iran, with journalists facing trial for simply performing their duties and those responsible for human rights violations going unprosecuted.

Iran’s Supreme Court Affirms Death Sentence for Mohammad Ghobadlou Amid Growing Human Rights Concerns

Amir Raisian, the defense attorney for Mohammad Ghobadlou, a detained protester, reported that the Supreme Court had affirmed his client’s death sentence without considering defense objections. Ghobadlou, held in the 5th ward of the Rajaei Shahr prison in Karaj, saw his appeal dismissed, a verdict arrived at despite the outcry triggered by last week’s execution of three other protestors arrested in Isfahan.

The confirmation of Ghobadlou’s sentence pertains to a case at the criminal court; another one pending at the Revolutionary Court also carries the potential death penalty. Ghobadlou, 22, is accused by the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran of fatally running down police officer Second Lieutenant Farid Karampour during the nationwide protests.

Raisian, speaking to Sharq newspaper, voiced disappointment over the Supreme Court’s refusal to review certain objections raised by the defense, specifically those concerning forensic medicine, mental health, and evidence such as CCTV footage. Furthermore, he expressed hope that the Karampour family might sympathize with Ghobadlou’s mental health condition, potentially aiding in his defense.

Mohammad Ghobadlou’s trial, broadcast on state media, took place on Oct 29,2022, presided over by Abulghasem Salavati of the 15th branch of the Revolutionary Court. Salavati is notorious for issuing severe sentences in political cases, and his decisions have led to multiple death sentences for protesters since the demonstrations of 2009.


In a heartrending revelation, Masoumeh Ahmadi, Ghobadlou’s mother, revealed via social media that her son suffers from bipolar disorder and had been deprived of necessary treatment in the months preceding his arrest. The BBC Farsi team has reportedly procured documents verifying Ghobadlou’s mental disorder. Despite inconsistencies in the official account of the killing of Farid Karampour and the story circulated at his funeral, the prosecution has leveled charges against Ghobadlou for assaulting motorcycle police officers and causing Karampour’s death, along with injuries to five other agents.


Concerns are mounting over the fate of other prisoners, including those sentenced to death or facing potential death penalties, such as Mujahid Korkur, Milad Armon, and others. Human rights organizations have registered alarm over the impending executions, while accusing the Iranian courts of basing judgements on forced confessions. On May 29, Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi, and Saeed Yaqoubi were executed in the “Isfahan House” case, causing a domestic and international backlash and igniting fresh protests across Iran.


Amnesty International, in its statement on Tuesday, highlighted the urgency of the situation of several prisoners at imminent risk of execution and called for immediate action. Raha Bahraini of Amnesty International, in her statement to BBC Farsi, accused the Islamic Republic of leveraging executions to quell protests and deemed its actions increasingly brutal and cruel.

Over 100 Lawyers Summoned Amid Protest Fallout: A Wave of Judicial Confrontation in Iran

Reports from Iran indicate that over 100 lawyers across various cities have been summoned to the Security Prosecutor’s Office of Evin prison. The summons documents didn’t specify any charges, only instructing the lawyers to present themselves at the Security Prosecutor’s Office of Evin Prison in Tehran.

Adel Magdas, a member of the Bushehr Bar Association’s Board of Directors, confirmed yesterday that the number of summoned lawyers seems to exceed 100. Magdas added that he accompanied some of these lawyers to the issuing branch. He emphasized the importance of the Bar Association’s Board in supporting its members, especially when such legal summons are involved.

Two summoned lawyers have reported that they were asked to sign an “undertaking” and an “expression of remorse”. Abuzar Nasrallahi, one of these lawyers, revealed to Vokala Press news website that lawyers refusing to sign a commitment to “adhere to the law and principles of the system” might face another summons.

Nasrallahi, who appeared at the prosecutor’s office with other summoned lawyers on May 31, declined to give his commitment, asserting his innocence. He explained that in response to the leader’s amnesty order, it was suggested that they sign a pre-drafted commitment letter to suspend prosecution.

Media reports state that most of these summons began on May 8, 2023, issued by Branch 7 of the Evin Security Prosecutor’s Office. High-profile lawyers like Mohammad Seifzadeh, Mohammad Hossein Aghasi, Mohammad Ali Kamfiroozi, and others are among those summoned.

Notably, the common thread amongst these lawyers is their defense of the arrested and convicted protestors of 2022 or their criticism of the government’s actions during the protests. Human rights group Harana reveals that 55 lawyers have been arrested since the beginning of the 2022 nationwide protests, with legal cases filed against them.

Mohammad Hadi Jafarpour, a member of the Fars Province Bar Association, disclosed that the summoned lawyers were asked to sign a pre-drafted “commitment” expressing regret for supporting the protests or being arrested during these activities. Human rights activists in Iran have reported that at least 129 lawyers have faced “judicial confrontation” since the protests started. Mohammad Shivai, head of the legal department and secretary of the Center’s Bar Association’s Support Commission, stated last week: “We are prioritizing and supporting the lawyers throughout the country, especially the members of the Center’s Bar Association.”

Iran Unveils Khyber Missile Amid Rising Tensions

Iran’s Ministry of Defense unveiled its latest missile, the “Khyber” on Thursday, May 25. Developed by the Aerospace Industries Organization under the Ministry, the missile reportedly has a range of 2,000 kilometers and is considered part of the “Ballistic Khorramshahr” missile generation.

Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, Iran’s Minister of Defense, described the missile as one of the most advanced produced by the Aerospace Organization. It boasts a high-explosive warhead weighing 1,500 kg and is fueled by liquid propellant. Ashtiani further described the Khyber missile as a precision weapon, capable of evading radar and penetrating enemy air defenses. 

The IRGC Aerospace Force Commander highlighted that each Khyber missile could hit 80 targets, meaning 100 fired missiles could potentially turn into 8,000 rockets, capable of devastating 8,000 enemy targets. IRNA, the official news agency of the Islamic Republic of Iran, pointed out the missile’s rapid preparation and launch time as one of its remarkable features, making it a versatile tactical and strategic weapon.

The French government has criticized the missile test, calling it a violation of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Anne-Claire Legendre, spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry, expressed concerns about the test amid the ongoing tension over Iran’s nuclear program. U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller echoed these concerns, labeling the development of ballistic missiles as a serious threat to regional and global security.

This unveiling comes just two days after the Israeli armed forces commander suggested possible military action against Tehran over its nuclear program, coinciding with stalled efforts to resurrect the nuclear agreement. A previous report by the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) acknowledged that despite decades of U.S. sanctions, Iran has managed to develop the largest missile program in the Middle East, even surpassing Israel’s program. 

Military analysts concur with this evaluation of Iran’s missile program with weapon ranges potentially threatening Israeli and American bases in the region. Despite opposition from the U.S. and Europe, the Islamic Republic continues to assert its right to develop its “defensive” missile program, one of the contentious points in negotiations to revive the JCPOA.

Surging 76% Food Inflation as Iran is Included in Top 20 of Misery Index

Iran has experienced a dramatic 76% increase in food prices over the past year, according to a report released by the Iranian Statistics Center on Thursday, May 25. Key commodities such as meat and oil have seen prices double amid surging inflation, as per the newly published data.

The report highlighted an ‘annual inflation’ rate for the 12 months leading up to May, a metric comparing the inflation rate to the same period from the previous year. However, the figures presented by the Statistics Center are consistently lower than those released by the central bank. For instance, the Statistics Center reported a 50% inflation rate for March compared to the same month last year, while the central bank’s report reflected a 14% higher figure, indicating a 64% inflation rate. This discrepancy was observed in other months as well, such as April, where the central bank reported an inflation rate of 70%, contrasted with the Statistics Center’s estimation of 55%.

Iran has also found itself in the top 20 countries on the 2022 Misery Index, according to a report by esteemed American economist and Johns Hopkins University professor, Steve Hanke. The Misery Index, an economic indicator established by American economist Arthur Akon in the 1970s, combines the unemployment and inflation rates to provide an overarching assessment of a country’s economic status. Iran ranked 19th out of 157 countries in Hanke’s list.

As per Hanke’s analysis, the misery index in Iran is largely driven by the country’s inflation rate, rather than unemployment. Other countries experiencing high levels of economic ‘misery’ in 2022 included Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, and Venezuela. The top five countries with the highest Misery Index were Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Syria, Lebanon, and Sudan, largely due to extreme inflation and elevated unemployment rates.

Border Tensions Escalate: Iranian and Taliban Forces Clash Amid Conflicting Claims

A day following the fatal skirmish between Iranian forces and the Taliban at the border, two senior Iranian military leaders arrived at the scene. While Iranian officials deem the conflict detrimental to all parties involved, the Taliban’s Foreign Ministry contends that Iran initiated the clash. According to Donyaye Eghtesad, an informed security source concerning the recent border dispute with the Taliban forces on the Iran-Afghanistan border revealed that on Saturday, May 27, a convoy of narcotics traffickers attempted to infiltrate Iranfrom the east. However, they were discovered and intercepted by the Iranian border guards.

The source further explained that following this engagement, the Taliban forces stationed at the border, who were oblivious to the situation, opened fire on the Iranian forces, thereby escalating the conflict between the two sides. During this skirmish, tragically, one of Iran’s border guards was killed and multiple people from the Taliban were also killed. However, precise statistics regarding the casualties are currently unavailable.

Saturday, May 27, witnessed a clash between Taliban forces and Iranian border guards in the Kong Nimroz and Zabul districts. Both sides have confirmed casualties, with the Taliban acknowledging one fatality and Iranian media reporting two dead border guards.

Rasul Mousavi, the Director General of South Asia for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, warned in a tweet about the strategic loss that any conflict would pose to both nations, implicating a colonial conspiracy in the current tension at the Zabul-Nimroz border. He urged both nations to remain vigilant and be wary of the detrimental consequences of conflict. Contrarily, the Taliban Government of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense asserted in a statement that Iran provoked the border conflict. This statement contradicts the Iranian authorities’ claim that the Taliban instigated the altercation.

An Iranian National Security Commission parliament member compared the conflict to a familial dispute, suggesting that it could be resolved through dialogue rather than military action. This sentiment was echoed by Ismail Kothari, Tehran’s parliamentary representative.

News of the conflict sparked reactions across social media and among prominent figures from both countries. Notably, Ahmad Massoud, leader of the National Resistance Front—an opposition group to the Taliban—indirectly addressed the close ties between the Iranian government and the Taliban in a tweet.

Concurrent to the ongoing dispute, Iranian military commanders Ghasem Rezaei and Kyomars Heydari visited the Sistan region in Sistan and Baluchistan province. Prior reports revealed that Iranian and Taliban officials agreed to send an investigation team to the site of the conflict at the Sosoli Hirmand checkpoint. Meanwhile, the previously blocked Silk Bridge border crossing between Iran and Afghanistan reopened following the calming of tensions. The latest clash follows several border skirmishes since the Taliban seized power in August 2021, often attributed to the unfamiliarity of new Taliban forces with border rules and protocols.

Loss of a Luminary: Celebrated Iranian Philosopher and Translator, Bagher Parham, Passes Away at 88

Pioneering Iranian philosopher and translator, Bagher Parham, died at 88 years of age in Sacramento, California, his son Ramin Parham announced on Twitter. A founding member of the Iranian Writers Association, Parham had been living in Sacramento since 2000.

Born in 1935 in Rudbar, Iran, Parham’s translations in the realm of philosophy and sociology remain seminal texts in Iran and have undergone numerous reprints. Among his renowned translated works are Hegel’s famous treatises, Karl Marx’s ‘Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy,’ and Georges Gurevich’s ‘Studies on Social Classes.’

In addition to his work as a translator, Parham was an accomplished author in his own right. His published works include ‘Society and Government,’ ‘Collection of Essays on Convergence and Oneness,’ and ‘From Ferdowsi’s Point of View.’ The news of his death marks the end of a significant chapter in Iranian intellectual history.

Revelations from Darkness: Former Iranian Prison Warden Breaks Silence on 1988 Mass Executions

In a remarkable revelation, Hossein Mortazavi Zanjani, a notorious Iranian prison warden from the 1980s, divulged the extent of the involvement of senior Iranian officials in mass executions that took place during the summer of 1988. Speaking to the BBC, Zanjani accused Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, of pushing for further executions.

Zanjani, who commanded both Evin and Gohardasht prisons, notably “confessed ” his part in those tumultuous times during an online interaction with former prisoners, where he addressed their questions and acknowledged their anger. Zanjani, in a series of conversations on the Clubhouse social network spanning several days starting May 26, expressed remorse for his role in the state’s penal system. However, this elicited questions from observers about his motives for speaking out after 35 years.

The former prison chief denied any direct role in the mass executions, stating he was not even allowed to enter the execution hall, a claim that many critics reject, arguing that Zanjani is attempting to exonerate himself or manipulate the narrative to favor the Islamic Republic. 

Zanjani admitted to learning about the executions through Ebrahim Raisi, a senior judiciary official, while also alluding to the complicity of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, in the death sentences. In response to speculation about his intentions, Zanjani stated that he remained loyal to the Islamic Republic until the mass executions, after which he disassociated himself from the regime. Despite Zanjani’s confessions, many, including former prisoner Taghi Rahmani, assert that he is not disclosing the full truth. 

Zanjani’s testimonies, while shedding light on a dark chapter in Iran’s history, have stirred doubt and speculation about his motives and the veracity of his claims, underscoring the importance of a thorough investigation into these grim events to establish an accurate historical record.

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