December 17, 2018

Press Freedom

Iran

Iran May 2, 2011

H.E Mahmud Ahmedinejad
President
Office of the President
Palestine Avenue
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: (011.98.211) 646.6415

Your Excellency:

We write again to protest your government’s ban on coverage of the bloody repression of demonstrations in the province of Khuzestan, and the mistreatment of bloggers and media contributors who attempted to tell the story.

The demonstrations were called in the provincial capital of Ahvaz on April 15 on the Internet and in online social networks to mark the sixth anniversary of violent clashes between the security forces and members of the Arab community, who are the majority in the province.  When young people gathered in a spontaneous rally on April 14, security forces reportedly fired live ammunition at them, killing three demonstrators.  Continuing protests the next day were brutally crushed by Revolutionary Guards.  At least 97 people are reportedly being held in prisons in and around Ahvaz, including Sepidar and Zyton (a secret detention centre controlled by the Intelligence Ministry).

Both national and international media were prevented from covering these events.  Those arrested include Ali Badri (of the blog, Shataljarhi), Ali Torofi (of the blog, Karoniat), and the poets, Hamin Hairi and Shahid Amori, who write for various media.

Your Excellency, as our colleagues at Reporters Without Borders have pointed out, the Iranian government does not hesitate to defend freedom of information when violence occurs in neighboring countries such as Bahrain, where blood has been shed to crush anti-government demonstrations.  Yet, it hypocritically crushes coverage of the repression of free speech in Khuzestan.

The Overseas Press Club of America, which has defended press freedom around the world for more than 70 years, suggests that this policy serves only to confirm to the world that you are afraid of your own people’s outrage if they are permitted to learn the truth.  We urge you to stop suppressing the demonstrations and allow journalists to report the facts, to analyze your actions and to convey their opinions, as guaranteed in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Main                                                                                      
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

Ali Hossein Khamenei, Ayatollah
Leader of the Islamic Revolution
Pastor Avenue
Tehran
Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: (011.98.211) 646.4373

Ambassador Mohammad Karzee
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the United Nations
633 Third Avenue, 34th floor
New York, NY  10017
Fax: (212) 867.7086

U.S. Interest Section
c/o Embassy of Switzerland (Golestan 5th)
39 Shahid Moussavi
Pastoran Avenue
Tehran
Iran
Fax: (011.98.211) 22.58.04.32

Iranian Interest Section
c/o Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20007
Fax: (202) 965.1073

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy
and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C.  20520