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Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Other Stories

October 10, 2017
Weekly Roundup
2 min read
Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Other Stories

Dear friends 

Yesterday we woke to the news that Iranian-British national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe could face a further 16 years in prison. Under Iranian law, she could soon be able to have temporary release. But instead of being told she would be able to spend a few days with her daughter, she was told that the Revolutionary Guards have reopened her case and brought new charges against her. It’s devastating for Nazanin and her family. Nazanin has been suffering from severe depression and denies all charges against her. Her husband, Richard, has called on the UK government to condemn her treatment. We know for a fact that Nazanin was working as an administrator in Thomson Reuters Foundation and BBC World Service Trust. She has repeatedly asked her jailers, the Revolutionary Guards, why she’s being treated with such cruelty. The most likely answer is that the Guards are using her in their battle for power against President Rouhani’s administration. 

As part of this battle for power, the Guards also threatened the US military last week. If the US introduces new sanctions, or decides to classify the Guards as a terrorist outfit, they say they’ll retaliate in kind, and treat the US military as if they’re the equivalent of ISIS. These comments can be dismissed as military swaggering, but, as always, there’s a very serious side. An increase in tensions between the US and the Islamic Republic can only be bad for the region, and will put a huge damper (to say the least) on any discussions on other issues affecting the Middle East. 

The most recent news from Iran continues to be grim. Iranians have been shocked by the story of a young man who was brutally murdered by three men he thought were his friends. Sadegh Barmaki was bludgeoned with an ax and then set on fire — and the murderers filmed it all and posted it online. Violence on social media continues to be a horrific reality, and not unique to Iran. But one sociologist wonders if, in Iran’s case, this violence has in part been spurred on by the phenomenon of public executions. The more these public punishments become the norm, he suggests, the more Iranian society is at risk of being sensitized to violence. Of course, social media makes it all too easy to share these horrific images and videos, but it’s so important for Iranian society (and others) to look at the importance of education and how it might help to instil values most Iranians want to live by.

As always, please let me know if you have any comments. 

Warm regards 



Labor Activist Dies Because of Medical Neglect in Prison

October 9, 2017
Shima Shahrabi
5 min read
Labor Activist Dies Because of Medical Neglect in Prison