Let Down by Iran's Leader, Young Advocates Leave Politics
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: December 26, 2004
TEHRAN, Dec. 25 - As repression of political protesters increases in Iran and disenchantment with the change-oriented president, Mohammad Khatami, grows, many of the young foot soldiers in the protest movement have been retreating from politics.
Their frustration took full expression this month when Mr. Khatami visited Tehran University. More than 1,000 students showed up, boisterously expressing their disappointment with Mr. Khatami, whom they elected overwhelmingly in 1997.
"Enough lies," shouted angry students, as many turned their backs to the president.
"The students had no idea that they would face a defeated head of government after seven years," said a statement issued by the leading student movement, the Office for Consolidation of Unity, expressing concern that Mr. Khatami had not made more progress on change.
Mr. Khatami has been widely criticized for his failure to curtail repression against journalists and protesters during his tenure. Close to 100 pro-change newspapers and journals have been shut down and scores of advocates of change have been jailed and intimidated by the hard-line elements in the government.
Some politically active young people have said they are quitting politics and giving up hope for improvement in the current system.
In the latest wave of repression, more than 20 journalists and Internet technicians, most of them young and two of them women, were arrested in late summer and released only this month.
One by one, most of them appeared in front of the state-run television confessing to a series of crimes. After their release they said they had spent three months in solitary confinement and had been tortured. One woman, Fereshteh Ghazi, who had not confessed, ended up hospitalized.
A statement from the European Union in late November to protest the arrests helped to win their release, some of those released said.
Arash Naderpoor, one of the detainees, had an Internet company and gave a domain to one of the sites advocating change two years ago. He spent 97 days in solitary confinement.
"I am quitting political work for good in Iran," said Hanif Mazroui, the son of a change-oriented politician, Rajabali Mazroui, who did technical work for one of the Web sites and was arrested. "Politics is not like the game of chess here and the other side does not abide by the rules."
Another who was arrested, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that he and a few others would join a handful of journalists who left the country after their release. "It was the prison first and now the interrogations that has made life a living hell for us," he said.
The collision between change-oriented politicians close to President Khatami and younger advocates became apparent this month. Eight advocates called for a referendum on political change under the supervision of the United Nations, posting a petition on a Web site, www.60000000.com. But the politicians close to the president rejected the call, even though they had campaigned around holding a referendum in the parliamentary election of 2000, which led to their victory.
Despite the differences between the older change-oriented politicians and the younger advocates of change, Ahmad Zeidabadi, a journalist and university professor, said he did not think young people were pulling out of the movement for good. "Young people are disappointed but they have not given up their opposition," he said.
posted on 12/25/2004 9:58:56 PM PST
Workers living below minimum wage in Iran: Union Chief Sat. 25 Dec 2004
Iran Focus Tehran, Dec. 25 The acting director-general of the workers union of the city of Shahre-Rey (southwest of Tehran) yesterday said that workers were currently living below the poverty line.
Ali Tarkashvand said that workers desire to work with dignity with the hope of earning salaries to be able to have a reasonable lifestyle. Currently the only thing the workers have is their dignity and nothing else, he added, referring to the fact that, workers present salaries is nowhere near enough to cover their daily expenses.
The union chief went on to say that currently there is talk of a ten percent inflation which would affect the already-soaring price of basic household products. Tarkashvand said that over the past year the price of many products had increased at an overwhelming speed, in some cases increasing by over 50 percent.
Inflation is caused by those who dont have to worry about the price of bread; with massive personal wealth and salaries of millioners who dont have to worry about the price increases. However workers earning just 106,000 Toumans ($120), suffer extreme difficulties from even the smallest inflation increases, he said. He called for an end to government corruption, which is widely suspected to be a fundamental cause of Irans economic setback.
posted on 12/25/2004 10:07:41 PM PST
There was an article not long ago about Iran testing drones. I think that answers the UFO sightings.
posted on 12/26/2004 6:00:57 AM PST
(Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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