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Iran News Digest-May 2, 2014

However, whether coincidentally or not, US and German officials both made remarks about the talks with Iran in Vienna. Merkel, meanwhile, remarked that she still wants diplomacy to be pursued, but is willing to re-impose sanctions if it fails.

Actress’s Appeal for Human Rights

Iranian-born actress Nazanin Boniadi, who plays CIA analyst Fara Sherazi on the acclaimed US television drama “Homeland,” has published an op-ed regarding the human rights situation in Iran. Specifically, the essay calls attention to the imprisonment of Pegah Ahangarani, an actress sentenced to 18 months in prison for her peaceful activism.

Boniadi is human rights activist herself, working as a spokesperson for Amnesty International and supporting Unlock Iran. Her op-ed begins by saying that “at first blush” Ahangarani’s biography “could read very much like my own.” The difference, she emphasizes, is the freedom of the United States as compared to the violent repression of the Iranian regime.


In one of the latest examples of that repression, the regime has just banned access to a messaging app that was recently purchased by Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg, according to FoxNews.com. The regime cited Zuckerberg’s ownership of the app as the reason for the banning, referring to him as an “American Zionist.”

While Zuckerberg is Jewish, it’s not clear what Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, head of the country’s Committee on Internet Crimes meant by the accusation of Zionism. Zuckerberg, who is married to a non-Jewish woman, is not known for his religious views, nor for political activism.

An Ambivalent Story of Qisas

An Associated Press article has evidently picked up a story being circulated by the Iranian news agency ISNA. It reports on the April 15 “act of mercy” in which Samereh Alinejad released her son’s killer from the gallows, as is her right under the Iranian doctrine of qisas. The AP article indicates that the Iranian government’s promotion of the story may be aimed at encouraging the families of victims to release the perpetrators of legitimate crimes.

Unintentionally or not, the story also brings attention to the public nature of Iranian executions and the often arbitrary way in which they are carried out. An original INU editorial explores the topic in greater detail, highlighting possible motivations on the part of the regime for the circulation of the Alinejad story.


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