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Headlines: New 'Restrictions' on Returning Expats

12 Aug 2010 23:326 Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Iranian press, and excerpts where the source is in English. Click on the link to the story to read it in full. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow other news stories through our Twitter feed.


Iran Puts New 'Restrictions' On Returning Expats

RFE/RFL | Aug 12, 2010

The Iranian government has set new restrictions on Iranian expatriates coming into the country, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Mohammad Sharif Malekzadeh, head of the High Council of Iranian Expatriates, said on August 11 that Iranians residing abroad can return to Iran for academic reasons only after being approved by certain institutions, ILNA reported.

Asked if the "Iranian expatriates with political problems" who want to return to Iran to take part in academic activities would face any difficulties, Malekzadeh said that "certain institutions will do their duties in this regard."

Ashtiani outrage spurs Iran to commute stoning sentences to hanging

Guardian | Aug 12, 2010

Iran appears to be quietly changing the sentences of Iranians awaiting death by stoning to hanging after international outcry following the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two.

Mariam Ghorbanzadeh, 25, who was six months' pregnant and miscarried after being beaten up in Tabriz prison this week, was initially sentenced to death by stoning for adultery but her sentence has been commuted to hanging in a rapid judicial review. The decision is thought to have been driven by the Iranian authorities' desire to avoid further international condemnation over the barbaric punishment.

Woman Sentenced to Death by Stoning Reportedly Appears on Iranian Television

NYT | Aug 12, 2010

Sakineh Ashtiani, an Iranian woman whose sentence of death by stoning for the crime of adultery has sparked an international campaign to save her, reportedly appeared on state television in Iran on Wednesday night.

"She was severely beaten up and tortured until she accepted to appear in front of camera," Mr. Kian said. The lawyer added that Ms. Ashtiani's two children "are completely traumatized" after watching the broadcast.

According to Reuters, Ms. Ashtiani's description of the prelude to her husband's murder, translated into Persian by state television, began with the assertion that the man she was convicted of having an affair with first suggested the crime:

"He told me: 'Let's kill your husband.'

"I totally could not believe that my husband would be killed. I thought he was joking," Ms. Ashtiani said. "Later, I found out that killing was his profession. He came and brought all the stuff. He brought electrical devices, plus wire and gloves. Later, he killed my husband by connecting him to the electricity," she said.

British ambassador to Iran hits back after 'thick' jibe

Telegraph | Aug 12, 2010

Simon Gass said the comments were "illogical and worthless" and showed "a lack of respect for human dignity."

The remarks were made by Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, a vice-president of Iran, in a speech on Monday to education officials.

Mr Rahimi railed against various countries supporting UN sanctions on Tehran, calling Australians "a bunch of cow herders" and saying South Koreans should be "smacked in the face until they become human".

He said: "England has nothing. Its inhabitants are not human, its officials are not responsible, and it doesn't even have any natural resources. [They are] a bunch of thick people ruled by a mafia.

"They have plundered the world in the last 500 years and the young lad in charge now is even more stupid than his predecessor," Mr Rahimi added.

Higgins, last AP bureau chief in Iran, dies at 66

AP | Aug 12, 2010

Alexander G. Higgins, who covered the U.S. Embassy siege in Tehran as The Associated Press' last bureau chief in Iran and served as a longtime AP bureau chief in Geneva, has died. He was 66.

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Why is a commentator speaking over her "confession"? Aren't they both speaking Persian?

Anonymous / August 13, 2010 12:31 AM

Well I assume she may be speaking with a thick accent or in a dialect but nevertheless the whole thing is an attempt to defend the barbaric nature of the regime and is full of propaganda and lies - typical of the islamist regime in Tehran.

Whatever she may have done - note that there is little due process in these islamic courts - she does not deserve to be stoned.

Agha Irani / August 13, 2010 1:50 AM

I agree with what Mr Rahimi said about England completely, even though I'm 100% anti-IRI!

Alborz Atashband / August 13, 2010 9:45 AM

She was speaking Azeri

Anonymous / August 13, 2010 2:06 PM

The RFE/RFL article is misleading. Its title implies that there are official "new" restrictions on Iranians abroad returning to Iran. The only evidence in support of this is the statement from Malekzadeh that isn't talking about any new restrictions, just the same arbitrary treatment of returning expats (particularly those with a political past) as has been the norm under Ahmadinejad's government (and to a certain extent Khatami and Rafsanjani). Returning Iranians who were politically active against the Islamic Republic have always faced great scrutiny when returning to Iran. There are a lot of stupid rules, regulations and restrictions for Iranians returning to Iran (e.g. military service restrictions) and this story gives the impression that another "official" layer has been or will be added. In reality, it's just Malekzadeh mouthing off and the comments should be read in the context of the whole Keyhan/Rahim Mashaie controversy around this last Iranian expat propaganda conference by the Ahmadinejad government (i.e. he is saying to their hardliner critics don't worry we are not going to let CIA spies in and your friends at etelaat will be able to deal with anyone they don't like, while also trying to say to Iranians abroad that they can come back without any worry...a bit contradictory but what else would we expect). But I don't think any of this adds any new restriction per se.

My comment is not to defend the government or Malekzadeh's statement in any way (see third paragraph), but I think RFE/RFL (and for that matter PBS/Frontline/Tehran Bureau) should be careful in the way they present the story. The reality is that many in the Iranian "diaspora" rely on these news outlets in order to figure out what is going on in Iran and for that matter to decide whether they should visit their loved ones in Iran. By presenting stories such as this in a misleading way, you are doing a disservice to a major part of your audience. You need to get it right, people are relying on you!

What your article should have pointed out (clearer in BBC persian's summary of Malekzadeh's statement) was the ridiculousness of saying to Iranians abroad that they should come back but that their acceptability from a political/security perspective will be determined by the relevant authorities FOLLOWING their return (i.e. come on back, and if we decide once you return that you pose a political/security problem, we'll promptly escort you to Evin prison). If the High Council of Iranian Expatriates wanted to really accomplish something, it would at least be able to ensure that Iranians abroad are able to get a political/security green light for returning to Iran BEFORE they arrive in Tehran. But what can you expect from a regime so divided that the different branches of government are at each other's throats every other day (see Majlis v Ahmadinejad v. judiciary) and and yesterday's "insiders" are today's "leaders of sedition".

Get it right! / August 14, 2010 9:38 PM

io vorrei fare un appello a tutte le autorità iraniane che vogliono impiccare Sakineh..Vi prego non fatelo, a nome di tutto il mondo..Non spetterebbe a voi decidere sulla fine della vita di Sakineh, ma spetterebbe ad un Dio, indipendentemente se è il vostro dio o il nostro..L'importante che capiate che non dovreste stroncare la vita di una persona, ma non solo, poichè così facendo stroncherete anche quella dei figli e di tutte quelle persone che vogliono bene a Sakineh..vi prego non uccidetela, cercate di guardare oltre, e di compredere che la cosa giusta da fare è lasciare al vostro Dio che ella venga giudicata..Noi esseri umani non siamo nessuno per giudicarci a vicenda, poichè se ad ogni reato, oppure ad ogni regola religiosa infranta, ci dovesse essere una esecuzione mortale, ci autodistruggeremo da soli...vi prego non uccidetela, poichè perdonare è la cosa giusta da fare..Perdonando, un giorno il vostro Dio ve ne sarà grati..La relione è una sola cosa che è composta da tanti rami: islam, cristianesimo,buddismo ecc...,indipendentemente a quale ramo una nazione crede, ella non dovrebbe provocare morte, ma pace e amore..IL messaggio chiave che la religione in se e per se ci da è uguale per tutti i suoi rami..Tale messaggio è: non uccidete e amate e vivete nella pace, poichè essa è la cosa più bella che ci sia..Quindi spero che queste parole vi facciano capire quanto è importante rispettarci a vicenda, poichè così facendo un giorno potreste vivere, dopo la vostra morte, in un mondo di pace e gioia..Ma per meritarvelo non bisogna uccidere, poichè uccidendo non si risolve niente..ma bisogna credere e vivere in pace con se stessi e con gli altri..(can you translate the text please?, because I do not know English well)....

[via Google translate: I would like to make an appeal to all who want the Iranian authorities hanged Sakineh .. Please do not do it on behalf of the whole world .. not for you to decide on the end of life Sakineh, but it would be a God, whether it is your or our god .. that's important to understand that you should not crush the life of a person, not only because doing so would undermine even the children and all those who wish well to Sakineh .. please do not kill him, try to look beyond, and compredere that the right thing to do is let your God that she is found to be .. We humans are not anyone to judge each other, as if each offense, or any religious rule broken There should be a deadly execution, we self destruct on their own ... please do not kill him, because forgiveness is the right thing to do .. pardoning one day your God will thank you .. The one thing that is Relion is composed of many branches: Islam, Christianity, Buddhism etc ... regardless of which branch a nation thinks, she should not cause death, but peace and love .. the key message that the religion itself and whether it is from same for all branches .. The message is: do not kill and love and live in peace, because it is the most beautiful thing there is .. So I hope these words make you understand what is important to respect each other, as well doing one day you might live after your death, in a world of peace and joy to deserve it .. But we must not kill, because killing does not solve anything .. but you have to believe and live in peace with oneself and with others...]

fulvio / October 4, 2010 6:07 PM