Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The Latest from Iran (5 December): The Victory of Nasrin Sotoudeh's Hunger Strike

Nasrin Sotoudeh0715 GMT: A Fight Over the Economy. A telling incident as Minister of Industry Mehdi Ghazanfari blamed the Central Bank for economic problems as it has been "incapable of providing foreign currency to cover the needs of the country": "Last year, the sanctions only hit the banking and shipping sector, but now, commerce too has been shut."

Ghazanfari indicated that the Government had rescued Iran from the Bank's mistakes, as between March and September, $11 billion out of $27 billion for imports came from "non-[Central] Bank foreign currency".

0710 GMT: Opposition Watch. The banned Islamic Iran Participation Front has put out a statement that “inside the ruling establishment no determination exists for holding a free, just, healthy and legal election". It called for opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi to be freed from house arrest as “the first condition for trust-building".

The Front, a leading reformist party, was banned by the regime in 2010.

0640 GMT: While the regime was promoting its claimed capture of a US drone, I was just as interested throughout Tuesday on a developing story which is unlikely to be mentioned in Iranian State and semi-official media.

After 49 days, imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh ended her hunger strike. During those seven weeks, authorities relented on their ban on family visits, and Sotoudeh's husband wrote yesterday that officials had withdrawn the ban on travel outside Iran on their 12-year-old daughter.

Those might seem like small victories, but they are the first won by political prisoners since hundreds were seized in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 Presidential elections. Indeed, as we noted in Tuesday's coverage, Sotoudeh was the first detainee to win recognition from MPs --- apart from attention in 2009 to the Kahrizak detention centre after at least three protesters were killed --- that there might be something wrong with the conditions under which political prisoners are being held.

Sotoudeh's hunger strike was briefly accompanied by that of other female detainees at Evin Prison. Will their demands over treatment be heeded? And is there any way that the regime can be pushed to consider not only treatment but the actual deprivation of liberty for those who have dared to dissent or to defend others who have protested?

from EA WorldView: EA Iran

Posted via email from lissping