NOTE: This video is in Persian. The ‘context’ has been conveyed to us by a very reliable source, although we do not currently have a transcription in English. We are currently working to obtain a copy of this video with English subtitles and/or a written transcription in English. Anyone fluent in Persian & English that could assist us in this effort would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
by, Ghasedane Azadi | Freedom Messenger
Here is the message in it’s entirety;
“Ideology goes into the heart of a person, you cannot kill that ideology unless you kill that person, and for us to deal with this, we have to kill 1.7 billion people.” – Reza Safa
by, Morgan Frances | Wink News | h/t Blazing CatFur
FORT MYERS, Fla.- A pastor visiting Southwest Florida is on a mission to inform Americans about the dangers of Islamic extremists and ISIS. He has a unique perspective. He grew up as a radical Muslim in Iran.
“I grew up in a radical home in Iran,” said pastor Reza Safa. “My father was a Muslim scholar, and ever since I was a child I started practicing Islamic law.”
As a teenager, Safa says he heard the voice of God, and made the decision to convert to Christianity.
“Of course, right after that,” he said, “my troubles began. My accepting Christ, my father decided he wanted to kill me. My mother tried to put me in a mental hospital. My father disowned me, and so I had a very hard life right after my conversion.”
The things he preaches can seem extreme.
“Ideology goes into the heart of a person,” Safa explained. “You cannot kill that ideology unless you kill that person, and for us to deal with this, we have to kill 1.7 billion people.”
He’s referring to the number of radical Muslims in the world. He says they believe the Earth is corrupt and the only solution is to establish Islamic law for the entire planet.
“Some get involved with ISIS and warfare because the situation has opened up for them to get involved physically with weapons and mass killing,” Safa said, “and some don’t.” He continued, “(for) those who do not, (it) doesn’t mean they don’t have that same desire. It just means they haven’t taken that step yet.”
Safa believes military force won’t fix anything, and his view of the future is dark: the religious war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims has been going on for 1,500 years. Safa believes lasting peace is just a dream.
Iranian blogger, Soheil Arabi. Photo courtesy of: HRANA
by, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran | David Wood @ Answering Muslims
IRAN: A blogger found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammad in his postings on Facebook has been sentenced to death. An informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the blogger, Soheil Arabi, will be able to appeal the decision until September 20, 2014.
Agents from the Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Sarallah Base arrested Soheil Arabi, 30, and his wife in November 2013. Arabi’s wife was released a few hours later, but he was kept in solitary confinement for two months inside IRGC’s Ward 2-A at Evin Prison, before he was transferred to Evin’s General Ward 350. Branch 76 of the Tehran Criminal Court, under Judge Khorasani, found Arabi guilty of “sabb al-nabi” (insulting the Prophet), on August 30, 2014.
“The way he was arrested was illegal. It is not clear how the agents were able to enter their home at that time in the morning. All the doors were locked and family members were asleep. Agents entered his home and bedroom. He and his wife were arrested and some of their photographs and personal belongings were taken after their home was searched,” said the source.
“Soheil had eight Facebook pages under different names, and he was charged with insulting the Imams and the Prophet because of the contents of those pages. He has accepted his charges, but throughout the trial, he stated that he wrote the material without thinking and in poor psychological condition,” the source told the Campaign.
The source noted that the Tehran Penal Court issued its ruling without regard for Article 264 of the Islamic Penal Code. “Article 262 of the Islamic Penal Code states that if a person insults the Prophet of Islam, his punishment is death. But in Article 264, it explicitly says that if a suspect merely claims in court that he said the insulting words in anger, in quoting someone, or by mistake, his death sentence will be converted to 74 lashes. I would like to emphasize that if only the suspect claims this, he will not be eligible for death, and there is no need to even prove his claim,” added the source.
“Unfortunately, despite this Article and the explanations provided, the judges issued the death sentence. They didn’t even take any notice of Soheil’s statements in court in which he repeated several times that he wrote the posts under poor [psychological] conditions, and that he is remorseful. Three of the judges ruled for the death sentence, and two ruled for imprisonment,” said the source.
According to the source, Soheil Arabi has another judicial case. On September 4, 2014, Branch 15 of Tehran Revolutionary Court under Judge Salavati sentenced Arabi to the maximum punishment of three years in prison on charges of “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “propaganda against the state,” through his writings on Facebook.
F R E E S O H E I L A R A B I N O W !
by, Iakovos Alhadeff | i.a.
The Conflict in Ukraine
The conflict in Ukraine is only a part of the energy war between Russia and United States. Europe is very poor in terms of energy resources, but very rich in all other aspects. Both U.S.A. and Russia want to dominate the European energy market, since this does not only involve economic gains, but aslo increased diplomatic power. Energy is very important for all developed economies, and energy providers normally have political power over energy recipients.
Russia is the richest country in natural gas reserves and the number one oil producer. It is not however the richest country in oil reserves. Please note that the richest countries in energy reserves are not necessarily the largest energy producers too. At the following Wikipedia link you can see Gazprom’s European market shares. Gazprom is the Russian state owned natural gas giant, and on average it holds 30% of the European natural gas market.
Moreover Russia supplies a large part of the oil consumed by European countries. This energy dominance is a big pain for United States, since it gives Russia political power over NATO members. Therefore the Americans wish to provide Europe with alternative sources of energy, and more specifically with alternative sources of natural gas, since natural gas is most of the time delivered through pipelines, and it creates a greater dependency on the part of the energy recipient than oil, which is normally transferred with ships.
The Nord Stream and the South Stream Pipelines
Most of Gazprom’s natural gas, approximately 80% of it, is distributed to Europe through Ukraine. At the following link you can read about the disputes between Russia and Ukraine over natural gas distribution.
That’s the reason the Americans are so keen to help anti- Russian and NATO friendly Ukrainians. The Russians on the other hand do not like this dependency on Ukraine, and have developed the North Stream pipeline which delivers Gazprom’s natural gas directly to Germany through the Baltic Sea, thus bypassing Ukraine. You can see at the following BBC map the North Stream pipeline with Green color.
Source BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14803065)
Russia wants to also develop another pipeline, the South Stream, which you can see with the blue color on the map, which will again bypass Ukraine and will deliver Gazprom’s natural gas to Southern Europe. When both these pipelines will be ready, the Russians will not depend anymore on Ukraine to supply the whole Europe with Russian natural gas. As you can see the South Stream will cross the Black Sea, and from Bulgaria will distribute natural gas to Southern Europe.
To develop the South Stream pipeline, Russia needs the help of Bulgaria, and also the help of Turkey, since the Exclusive Economic Zones of both Bulgaria and Turkey are involved. One, but not the only, reason there was so much noise about Crimea was because of Crimea’s effects on the Ukraine and Russian Exclusive Economic Zones. Crimea is the piece of land under Ukraine on map 2
As you can see, if Ukraine controls Crimea, Ukraine would have a saying on the South Stream crossing the Black Sea, since it would fall inside Ukraine’s exclusive economic zone. But if Crimea belongs to Russia, Ukraine does not have a saying on the construction of the pipeline. And Russia annexed Crimea as we all know. And as you can see on map 3, from whowhatwhy.com, which is accurate, the Russians designed the pipeline nearer Turkey to totally avoid Ukraine.
The Europeans are divided on the issue of the South Stream. As you can see at the following Reuters’ link,
some countries perceive it as a positive development i.e. Germany, Italy, Bulgaria. The important point to note is that once the South Stream is ready, together with the North Stream, will allow Gazprom to supply with natural gas the whole European Continent without relying on the Ukrainian pipelines. Moreover, as you can see on the following Wikipedia link, Ukraine is the 26th richest country in the world in terms of natural gas reserves, which further adds to its geostrategic position.
U.S.A. and Europe
As I already said, the Americans and the Europeans want to have many sources of natural gas, in order to limit the economic but mainly the diplomatic influence that Russia enjoys over NATO members, and which arises by the 30% of Gazprom’s share in the European market. It also has to do with competition issues. The more energy options a country has the cheaper it buys its energy.
The Americans and the Europeans want to bring natural gas from the energy rich Caspian Sea to Europe. The Nabucco Pipeline and the Pans Adriatic Pipeline are two of the possible routes. The Nabucco pipeline which you can see with red color on map 1 will bring Caspian natural gas to Europe through Turkey. The other possible pipeline, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline TAP, which you can see on map 4 below, will again bring natural gas from Caspian Sea to Europe through Turkey.
Turkey and Iran
It is clear how important Turkey is for the Americans and Europeans, since both the Nabucco and the TAP pipelines will have to pass through its territories to deliver Caspian natural gas to European markets. And I am not talking for the obvious economic benefits. I am talking about Turkey’s increased geopolitical power. It is very important for the Americans and Europeans to have Turkey on their side, so if they decide to take sanctions against Russia and there is a disturbance in natural gas supply, Turkey will not cut off supplies from the Caspian Sea too to support Russia. Currently it is very painful for the Americans and the Europeans to take sanctions against Russia, since Gazprom provides a large share of the natural gas consumed in the European markets. As you can see on map 5 below
Iran’s is also very important for the Americans and the Europeans. Iran is situated on the Caspian Sea and it will be very difficult for the Americans to ensure stable natural gas supply to Europe if they face a hostile Iran. Moreover Iran is a very energy rich country, one of the richest ones in fact, and its natural gas could be transferred to Europe too. The Nabucco and TAP pipelines are supposed to transfer natural gas from NATO friendly Azerbaijan, but other countries can be connected on the pipeline network too. Therefore both Iran and Turkey are extremely important for the American and European efforts to provide Europe with abundant non Russian natural gas.
The increase in Turkey’s and Iran’s geopolitical power poses a lethal threat to Israel. You have to keep in mind that Turkey and Iran are two of Israel’s lethal enemies. Iran’s goal is to eliminate Israel, and Turkey, an ex Israel ally, does not seem to be further away from this view, under the leadership of Recep Erdogan. Actually everybody knows that it is mainly Iran, Turkey and Qatar that support and provide funding to Hamas, which is recognized by U.S.A., the E.E., Japan and other countries as a terrorist organization. Hamas runs the Gaza Strip, and came to power with elections in Gaza. It is Hamas that fires all these rockets that you hear about from Gaza to Israel. At the following article you can read about the funding of Hamas.
In this changing geopolitical map, Israel does not seem to be able to count on United States for its survival, as it has for so many years done. This has already caused a deterioration in the American- Israeli relations, and an improvement in the Russian-Israeli relations. You have to keep in mind that rich natural gas fields were also found in the Mediterranean See, in the region between Greece, Turkey and Israel. This could be also an energy alternative for Europe as you can see on map 6
The problem is that it is very difficult and very costly to build a pipeline network through the Mediterranean See, if Turkey is involved in the project. But with the current political situation between Turkey and Israel this does not seem to be feasible, at least not for Israel’s part of energy.
The natural gas found in the Israeli sea, might be the only chip that Israel has in this energy hungry world. It seems that Israel is giving Russia a role in its energy wealth. At the following Bloomberg link you can see the cooperation between Gazprom and the Israelis.
It seems that in a world where Israelis cannot count on the protection of the Americans, they are moving towards Russia. They are not connected to Russia in the same way they were connected to the U.S.A., but it seems they are somewhere between these two countries. At the following Financial Times link, you can see that Israel did not vote against Russia in the U.N. resolution about Ukraine. It rather preferred to abstain.
The FT examines the causes for this behavior and at the end of the article says:
“But the strongest motivation for Israel to stay out of the Ukraine fracas lies in the present day and closer to home: Russia is a strong and growing power in the Middle East.
Israel needs to engage Moscow on several vital issues: Iran’s nuclear programme and the dismantlement of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. Moscow is the biggest foreign patron of Bashar al-Assad’s Syria and a major supplier of arms to the Middle East in general.
Behind closed doors, Israel has prevailed on Russia to refrain from supplying game-changing weapons to Syria that could land in the hands of Hizbollah, its best-armed regional enemy.”
Moreover as you can see at the following Wikipedia link, Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister, is a Russian Jew. He was born in Russia, served in the Russian Army, and later immigrated to Israel with his family. It is “strange” that the Israelis chose a Russian soldier as their Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Some people are confused because the U.S. is still giving Israel some financial aid. For example they recently offered Israel 200 million dollars in terms of financial aid. But Israel was receiving approximately 3 billion dollars a year in American aid some years ago. This 200 million dollars, is some of the last money Israel is receiving from United States as you can read at the following article
For Israel there is another big problem, namely the pipelines that will transfer natural gas from the Persian Gulf to European markets, and more specifically the pipelines that will transfer natural gas from the Persian Gulf’s South Pars/North Dome field. South Pars/North Dome is the richest natural gas filed in the world and it lies between Qatar and Iran. It is jointly owned by Qatar and Iran. You can see it on map 7.
These pipelines are the real cause of the current war in Iraq and Syria. Muslims are divided in Sunis and Shias. And the Shias want to transfer the natural gas through the route Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon-Mediterranean Sea- Europe and the Sunis through the route Qatar-Saudi Arabia-Jordan-Syria-Turkey-Europe. You can see both the Suni (purple color) and Shia (red color) pipelines at the following map.
Sunis and Shias are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq. As you can see on map 9, if Sunis take Syria and Iraq, (where the majority consists of Shias) Shias cannot go ahead with their pipeline. The only other route to reach Europe would be through Turkey. But Turkey is on the Suni side. Similarly, if Shias control Syria and Iraq, Sunis cannot construct a pipeline that conects Qatar to Turkey.
The problem for Israel is that Americans are supporting the Sunis in this conflict. Americans are very good friends with Qatar, one of the owners of South Pars/ North Dome. The Russians support the Shia pipeline i.e. Iran.
It is known that Qatar is one of the countries that heavily fund Hamas, which is the terrorist organization that throws rockets from Gaza to Israel, and it is officially recognized by U.S.A. and Europe as a terrorist organization as you can see on the first paragraph of the wikipedia link,
Therefore Israel cannot count on the Americans at least for as long as they back their lethal enemies. Because they consider Hamas as a terrorist organization, but it does not seem that this is how Obama feels.
On the other hand, Iran is with Russia on this fight, and together they support Assad in Syria. But Iran is also funding Hamas. But it is in direct competition with Qatar on this pipeline fight. But it is Iran’s nuclear program that is the lethal threat to Israelis. And it is the Russians that control the nuclear program of the Iranians. And the Americans do not seem very interested in preventing Iran from developing its nuclear arsenal. As you can see on the fourth paragraph of the following Wikipedia link, it is the Russians that developed the first nuclear factory in Iran.
And as you can see on the following Reuters link, the Russians will develop another 8 nuclear reactors in Iran.
If you also take into account that Obama is a president who seems to have strong ties with the Muslim world but also with the Muslim Brotherhood, it should not be a big surprise that the Israelis have a Russian soldier as their Minister of Foreign Affairs. You should also have a look at this video about how U.S.A. indirectly helps Hamas.
You should also do some research on the relations of the U.S.A. and Qatar, and on the relation of Qatar, Iran and Turkey with Hamas. It will help you understand the current geopolitical situation.
For example, at the following Reuters link,
you will read about the 11 billion dollar deal between U.S.A. and Qatar. Obama is selling Qatar patriot misiles. And Qatar is funding Hamas. And the primary goal of Hamas is to eliminate Israel.
It seems that the 21st century will be a very difficult one for Israel.
A Short Guide to Understanding the Middle East…
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces: General Hassan Firouzabadi. Photo courtesy of: Fars News Agency
by, Fars News Agency
TEHRAN (FNA)- Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces General Hassan Firouzabadi lashed out at Saudi Arabia for supporting Takfiri terrorist groups in Iraq, and said Riyadh’s support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant will backfire soon.
“If the ISIL win, they will definitely continue their offensive against Saudi Arabia,” General Firouzabadi said on Friday.
He described ISIL as a brainchild of the US and UK governments, established to get “revolutionary Muslim youths” killed in Syria and Iraq.
Firouzabadi stated that Saudi Arabia has asked the United States to let ISIL militants destroy Iraq.
“This (ISIL) is also a serious threat, even bigger than Israel,” he said.
ISIL is a Takfiri extremist group which has its roots in the insurgency against the US-led invasion on Iraq in 2006, and was later developed to a bigger group in Syria in 2012.
The group is known to be responsible for mass murders and extremist acts of violence across Syria and Iraq.
ISIL leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who was a detainee at US Bucca prison in 2005, has announced himself as the caliph of the Muslim world.
– – –
A captured ISIS member identifies Emir Abdul-Rahman al Faisal as a key supporter of ISIS. Transcript below, Original version aired on Al Arabiya here: http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-…
ISIS Confirms Saudi Royal Family Support: (In Arabic)
English Translation of Transcript:
Interviewer: “Why do you (ISIS) monitor the movement of the Free Syrian Army?”
ISIS Captive: “I don’t exactly know why, but we received orders from ISIS Command”
Interviewer: “Who among the command at ISIS gave you these orders?”
ISIS Captive: “Prince Abdulrahman Al… Faisal, who is also known as Abu Faisal”
*Note: Prince Abdul-Rahman Al Faisal is a brother of King Abdullah and former Commander of the Saudi Air Force
by, Associated Press | NDTV | h/t Trop
Tehran: Iran’s official news agency is reporting eight Facebook page administrators have been handed jail sentences from eight to 21 years.
The report by IRNA says the defendants are convicted of plotting against national security, spreading propaganda against the ruling system and insulting officials. It did not identify the defendants or the Facebook pages.
The report said Sunday that the court issued its verdict against the eight young Facebook activists in April following several court appearances.
Facebook is officially banned in Iran, as are other popular social media websites like Twitter and YouTube. Their mobile apps are banned as well.
Many Iranians manage to access the banned sites through VPNs and proxy servers.
An Iranian court has sentenced eight people to a combined 123 years in prison for various charges including insulting the country’s supreme leader on Facebook.
The sentencing is the latest in a recent crackdown on Internet freedom in the country. The eight, who were reportedly all Facebook users, were arrested last year by the Cyber Unit of the Revolutionary Guard.
The Revolutionary Court in Tehran gave them prison sentences ranging from seven to 20 years for charges of blasphemy, propaganda against the Iranian state, spreading lies, and insulting Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
by, Abraham Rabinovich | The Washington Free Beacon
YERUSHALAY’IM, Y’israel: The firepower of the Israel Air Force (IAF) will be four times greater by year’s end than it was two years ago, according to its commander, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, enabling Israel to bring another round of fighting with Hezbollah to a swift end.
“We can destroy [Hezbollah’s] military capabilities and the infrastructure that supports its activities on a scale that would take decades to rebuild,” he told a conference on national security, “an unimaginable scale”.
The vast number of rockets in the hands of the Lebanese militia—reportedly as many as 100,000—makes it imperative for Israel to shorten the next round of fighting. Hezbollah can only fire a limited number of rockets each day. In the three-week war with Israel in 2006 it fired 4,000 rockets.
Eshel acknowledged that Hezbollah now has precision rocketry capable of hitting Israel’s northernmost air force base and to interfere with operations. However, he said, it would not diminish the IAF’s offensive capabilities, which can be projected from other bases as well. The air force commander warned that Israel’s anti-rocket defense systems, like Iron Dome, while effective, were not hermetic. In a war with Hezbollah, Israel would be able to protect “its national resources and urban areas,” he said, but not all of its civilians. In the 2006 conflict, 40 civilians were killed by rockets.
The use of precision munitions and upgraded intelligence, based in part on satellites, accounts in good part for the increase in the IAF’s effective firepower, Eshel said. The air force could carry out thousands of accurate strikes in a single day, he said. “I believe our capabilities are second only to those of the United States.”
By the end of this year, the air force will be able accomplish in 24 hours what it took three days to accomplish in the war with Hezbollah eight years ago, Eshel said.
While Eshel said that Israel would make efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Lebanon, his warning that attacks would be directed at infrastructure supporting Hezbollah appears to refer to roads and other public targets, perhaps including Beirut Airport, through which Iran sends weaponry to Hezbollah. He said that Hezbollah’s positioning of weapons in civilian areas would not exempt the rockets and command centers located there from attack.
חייל האויר הישראלי: The Israeli Air Force (IAF)
by, Shadi Paveh | Gatestone Institute
The notes from Dr. Azam’s medical journal include a crushed toe, broken fingers, missing fingernails, broken ribs, a skull fracture, severe abdominal bruising, marks of flogging on her back and feet [and] extensive damage to her genitals.
Dutch authorities expressed shock and sadness over her execution and cut off diplomatic relations with Iran for approximately 20 days.
Roya Nobakht, 47, presently being detained as a political prisoner in Iran, may face execution for insulting Islam. She has lived in Stockport, England with her husband for the last six years and holds dual British-Iranian citizenship.
Her husband, Daryoush Taghipoor, has stated that his wife was arrested while visiting a friend at Iran’s Shiraz airport last October for comments she had made on a Facebook group calling the government of Iran “too Islamic.” According to a copy of her charge sheet seen by the UK’s Independent; she was transferred to Tehran and charged with “gathering and participation with intent to commit crimes against national security and insulting Islamic sanctities”– crimes punishable by death.
In an interview, Mr. Taghipoor told the Manchester Evening News that “his wife is not well at all…she has lost three stones [42 lbs]… and is scared that the government will kill her.” He also said that a confession had been extracted from his wife “under duress.” As is well documented, torture is systematically used by Iranian authorities to obtain confessions from political dissidents and even from some common prisoners.
Roya Nobakht and husband Daryoush Taghipoor. Photo courtesy of: Information Nigeria
Ms. Nobakht’s fears are not unfounded. Iran’s persecution of expatriates is nothing new. The first known case was that of Ms. Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist who died under torture in 2003 while in custody. Ms. Zahara Bahrami, a Dutch-Iranian, was hanged in 2011. Three Canadian-Iranians; Saeed Malekpour, Hossein Derakhshan and Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, along with American Amir Hekmati, were all arbitrarily arrested while visiting relatives in Iran on vague anti-government charges. With the exception of Mr. Ghassemi-Shall, who was recently released, each one presently languishes inside Iran as political prisoners under dire conditions.
Ms Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian-Iranian photojournalist who had left Iran in 1974, returned in 2003 to cover a story about Iran. She was soon arrested and detained in Evin prison on charges of espionage. As Iran does not recognize dual citizenships, Ms. Kazemi was not allowed representation by Canadian authorities. She later died in custody. The Iranian officials claimed she had died as a result of a stroke but refused to return her body to Canada. In 2005, however, Dr. Shahram Azam, a doctor with the Iranian security forces who had examined Ms. Kazemi’s half-dead body, fled Iran. He testified that the victim’s body showed extensive signs of torture administered over a few days. The notes from his medical journal include a crushed toe, broken fingers, missing finger nails, broken ribs, a skull fracture, severe abdominal bruising, marks of flogging on her back and feet, extensive damage to the genitals and peculiar deep scratches on her neck. She was 52 years old and the first victim of the Islamic regime’s war of terror on Iranians holding dual citizenship. Her body has never been returned to her son in Canada. After her murder, especially under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, diplomatic relations between Iran and Canada deteriorated significantly.
Ms Zahra Bahrami, 45, who held dual Dutch-Iranian citizenship, had travelled to Iran to visit her ailing daughter. She was arrested in 2009 for participating in anti-regime protests and taken to the dreaded Evin prison. According to eyewitnesses, Ms Bahrami was tortured so severely she could not sit or stand easily and was denied medical care for serious lung complications. On Jan 29, 2011, she was suddenly hanged at 5:00 a.m. without anyone’s knowledge. She was then hastily buried by the authorities in the absence of her children. Dutch authorities expressed shock and sadness over her execution and cut off diplomatic relations with Iran for approximately 20 days.
Mr. Amir Hekmati 31, an American born in Arizona to Iranian parents and who was visiting Iran for the first time, was arrested in 2011 and charged with “spying for the CIA.” He was tortured until he finally gave a televised confession. As a result he was sentenced to death but thanks to heavy international pressure, in 2014 his sentence was finally changed to 10 years in prison. Three Canadians — Mr. Saeed Malekpour, 39; Mr. Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, 45; and Mr. Hossein Derakhshan, 38 — were arrested while visiting relatives in Iran in 2008, on various charges. Malekpour was charged with designing software that was used in an “un-Islamic” way by third parties, whereas Ghassemi-Shall was accused of the customary espionage. Both were tortured while kept in solitary confinement for over a year and sentenced to death. Malekpour wrote from prison that his jaw had been broken while his interrogators were trying to extract his teeth with pliers, and that he had only confessed to crimes dictated to him by his interrogators under torture and threats to his family. Malekpour’s death sentence was eventually commuted to life in prison, while Mr. Ghassemi-Shall, was released in September 2013 — both due to successful campaigns by various international human rights organizations.
Derakhshan — nicknamed the “blogfather” — is best known for introducing blogging to Iran in 2001. He was sentenced for the contents of his blogs to 19.5 years in prison — the heaviest sentence ever handed down to a blogger.
The Islamic Republic of Iran does not recognize dual citizenships and considers all those who were born in Iran or to Iranian parents as Iranian citizens subject to its deadly Islamic penal code. One hundred and thirty-one offenses are punishable by death including theft, adultery, homosexuality, political dissidence, drug possession and blasphemy. It would be fair to conclude that travelling to Iran with any citizenship carries a risk. One enters a lawless and unaccountable country that lacks any degree of human rights, and where torture and hangings are an integral part of its government’s rule and survival.