Insider news & Analysis in Iran

A controversy surrounding the Freedom of Speech Award given out by the Germany international broadcasting company Deutsche Welle last week. Was called to attention on Monday by Iran human rights sources. The recipient, Sadegh Zibakalam, is considered a so called advocate of reform and was sentenced to prison in March for the crime of speaking to international media about the nationwide uprising that began in late December. But Zibakalam is also a staunch defender of the existing regime, having gone as far as saying that he would stop talking about a given topic if ordered by intelligence services, and would even take up arms to defend the Islamic Republic.

Turk Activist Naser Alirezaie was arrested on Friday, April 27, for revealing the death of an 18-year-old girl after the car she was in crashed while being pursued by the so-called Guidance Patrol (Gasht-e Ershad).

By Edward Carney

On Sunday, Iran Human Rights Monitor reported that an activist by the name of Naser Alirezaie had been arrested and charged with “spreading lies” after he revealed information about the death of an unnamed young woman and the injury of her male companion in a traffic accident involving members of the Guidance Patrol, or morality police.

On Friday, the human right sources reported that over 100 Iranian activists had been indicted for their roles in the mass protests that took place throughout the country in late December and January. Some of those indictments represent national security charges, meaning that the arrestees could face long prison sentences or even execution. Indeed, judiciary officials previously warned that death sentences were likely for people deemed leaders of the protest movement, which gave rise to unusually provocative, anti-government slogans such as “death to the dictator.”

On Wednesday, the free press advocacy organization Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index, which confirmed that Iran remains one of the least safe countries for journalists. In a ranking of 180 countries based on various indicators of press freedom, Iran occupies the 164th slot, in line with the rankings that it has received since the Index was first compiled more than 20 years ago.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that the official Telegram account for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had been shuttered at roughly the same time that other government entities were banned from using the popular instant messaging service.

On Tuesday, the Financial Times published an article examining the ongoing development of the Iranian tech industry and its potential for helping the Islamic Republic to weather its ongoing economic crisis. Last week, Iranian currency fell to a record low of more than 60,000 rials to the dollar, as a result of a variety of factors including government mismanagement and escalating fears that US President Donald Trump will re-impose sanctions suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal, or bring new economic pressures to bear

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