Iran: Suicide rate up 5% in 2017 compared to previous Year

Posted on: August 6th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – According to the World Health Organization (WHO) statistics in 2017, nearly “800 000 people die due to suicide every year”.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports the rate of attempted suicide higher among women than men; however, four times as many men die due to suicide than women.

Iran’s Suicide Rate: Iran, the state-run newspaper, reports that between five to seven people per every 100,000 commit suicide in Iran.

According to the Iranian National Coroner Office, the suicide rate in Iran increased by 5% between *March 2017 and March 2018 compared to the twelve months before that period. A rise of such magnitude may not seem alarming, but once the statistics are assessed in more detail, the figures are shocking.

Despite no recorded or accurate statistics on adolescence suicide in Iran, multiple reports in recent years indicate that suicide is not exclusive to adults (18+ years old). An increasing number of children and teenagers as young as 10, 12, and 15 years of age are committing suicide as a result of feeling hopeless about resolving their emotional distress and other issues in their lives.

Iran Newspaper reports that the increase in suicide among children and teenagers in Iran is alarming. Women, men, adolescents and children commit suicide for a variety of reasons, most of which have economic roots. Other reasons include heartache caused by a romantic relationship, academic failure, inability to contain and control emotions and feelings, psychological problems, substance abuse, domestic violence and genetic predisposition.

—-

* The rates cited in this article correspond to the Iranian solar calendar which starts on March 21st (or the first day of spring) and follows the Zodiac months.

Report: New Wave of Mass Protests in Iran

Posted on: August 5th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) –  A new wave of widespread protests that began on Tuesday, continued across Iran through the week for six days. Protesters included merchants, shopkeepers and other citizens who gathered in objection to the worsening economic conditions in Iran. Their main concerns were centered around the issues of unemployment and the rising of prices and exchange rates. Rising prices, inflation, and unemployment have led to protests since December 2017.


First Day of Protests
Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Protests in Isfahan on Shapur Jadid Street began with a strike by merchants and shopkeepers, which led to other citizens joining in on the protest. The gathering quickly turned violent when security forces attempted to disperse the crowd with tear gas and gunshots.

In Karaj, people gathered in Gohardasht Square to hold a protest rally. According to reports, many women participated. Some protesters were reportedly arrested by security and plainclothes forces and are currently held at a Basij-operated center in the Gohardasht neighborhood.

Second Day of Protests
Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Protests in Rasht and Shiraz were accompanied by the heavy presence of security forces. Some of the videos from Shiraz indicate that a 7-year-old was shot with tear gas by police forces.

Protesters in these burned tires on the streets to counter the effects of tear gas and chanted slogans including “Our enemy is right here, they are lying claiming it’s the U.S.”, “Guns and tanks are no longer effective, mullahs should get lost,” “No to Gaza, no to Lebanon — I give my life only for Iran,” “The nation begs while *He acts like he’s God” and “Down with high prices”.

Mass protests also occurred in Isfahan and Karaj.

Third Day of Protests
Thursday, August 2, 2018

Protests were reported in twelve Iranian cities: Isfahan, Shahinshahr, Najafabad, Karaj, Mashhad, Shiraz, Sari, Tehran, Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Qahderijan and Arak.

Peaceful protests turned violent in Isfahan and Shiraz when security, plainclothes and Basij forces shot at the protesters with guns and tear gas. In the videos from Thursday, protesters are seen throwing rocks at the Iranian authorities in response to the gunshots. Protesters are also seen starting fires in order to counter the effects of the tear gas.

Many protesters were reportedly arrested in Mashhad and Shiraz.

Fourth Day of Protests 
Friday, August 3, 2018

Protests occurred in five different cities: Karaj, Qahderijan, Tehran, Qazvin and Kermanshah.

Fifth Day of Protests 
Saturday, August 4, 2018

Since the early hours of Saturday, a strong presence of security forces had created an ambience of intimidation in many of the Iranian cities. Reports indicate that large protests were held in the central city of Qom, Karaj and Tehran.

People were heard chanting “Iranians, it is time to demand your rights from this regime”, “Down with the dictator”, “Don’t let fear conquer, we are all together”, “The nation begs while He acts like he’s God”.

Some reports claim that 50 of the female protesters were arrested in recent days and transferred to the quarantine ward in *Varamin’s Garchak Prison.

Many of the state-run media or news agencies with ties to the government have either denied the existence of protests or play them down as rallies incited by opposition or simply gatherings with strictly syndical demands.

The police forces in the cities of Mahdasht and Gohardasht (both located in the Alborz province) imposed restrictions on traffic and banned driving after 6PM in these areas.

Reports from sources close to security institutions, one person was shot dead in Karaj and at least 20 others were wounded.

Ali Hendiani, the director of the seminary in Eshtehard county, said: “Protesters threw stones at the seminary building and broke the prayer room’s windows…These people were dispersed by the anti-riot security forces, and the police have identified them and are on the search for them. Some have been arrested, and the mission to find the other protesters continues.”

Sixth Day of Protests 
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Despite the persistence of security measures and the heavy presence of security forces aimed at intimidating citizens, protests were held in the city of Kazerun (located in the Fars province).

There are reports that protesters attempted to rally in Shiraz (capital of the Fars province), Tehran, Karaj and Qom, but strong police presence prevented these rallies from taking shape.

 

Mobile Services Cut Off

Subscribers of Irancell, an Iranian telecommunication service provider, reported that mobile services in parts of central Tehran and the city of Zanjan were interrupted. Some of the clients of Operator Network, another cell phone service provider, reported that they received a message regarding a temporary and nation-wide interruption to their service. It is not yet clear whether this stoppage is part of the Iranian security apparatus’ attempt to control the protests. In previous protests, there was precedence in taking such measures to curb protests.

Protester Death

Reza Shakarami, General Prosecutor for the Alborz province, denied reports attributed to him about the death of a young man from Karaj during a night protest. “The shooting [leading to the protester’s death] and the circumstances surrounding it are under investigation. Any quote cited from me regarding the murder of the victim by the rioters or any other individual is denied,” he said. The victim referred to by Mr. Shakarami was identified on social media as Reza Otadi.

Salman Samani, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, has reacted to online invitations to assemble. “In the last month, dozens of invitations and calls to protest rising prices, inflation and living conditions have been widely distributed. The source of the majority of such calls is outside Iran, but the invitations have been reposted and shared by people inside Iran,” he said.

Reactions from Iranian Authorities

Ali Motahari, Member of Parliament for Tehran, told a state-run newspaper that the authorities are trying hard to resolve the issues [the protesters have voiced their concerns about], and if the people wait and be patient a few more months, the conditions will improve. He also blamed certain movements who made attempts for the Iran Nuclear Deal to fail and whose actions paved the way for a Trump presidency, the pretext to withdraw from the **Deal.

Meanwhile, Kheirollah Tarkhani, a security official in the Alborz province, stated: “We have been trying to appease the protesters and listen to them. However, we have realized that their protests are not about economic demands and are aimed at the political structure. The small, scattered protests are not the sum of the people’s economic grievances and demands.”

——
* Reference to Iranian Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei
** Gharchark is a women’s prison south east of Tehran; reports point to prisoners facing deplorable conditions in this prison (https://www.en-hrana.org/comprehensive-report-womens-ward-evin-prison)
*** Ali Motahari is implicitly referring to the Revolutionary Guards commanders and some hardliners whose interference in neighboring countries coupled with their push for an aggressive missile program created the conditions for Trump’s withdrawal from the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, aka Iran Nuclear Deal)

Exclusive: Audio Files Reveal New Details in Sexual Assault Allegations Against Iranian Parliament Member

Posted on: July 20th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – HRANA has obtained verified audio excerpts of conversations between Iranian Parliament member Salman Khodadadi and some of the women whom he allegedly sexually abused. The conversations are in the Turkic/Azeri language (the video includes a Persian translation), HRANA has provided an English translation below:

 

First Segment   

Salman Khodadadi: I’ll tell you what’s going to happen at the end of all this. Whoever wishes to ruin me will fail. Even if someone starts to inquire, you’re a widow! They’d probably say it was a *sigheh (temporary marriage). There are a thousand ways [around it].  It cannot be proven [that it was an illicit relationship or rape].

Ultimately, I am asking you to please delete everything that you have on your cell phone, and change your number so nobody can contact you. In exchange, I will help you. You just have to make this matter disappear. Call them, and make sure to update me.

I’m stressed out; I have a reputation [to maintain].  They are going to ruin me. Do you want them to destroy me?

Call them and tell them that you were emotional and are now feeling guilty and that the accusations against me are weighing on your conscience. Tell them what you said wasn’t true, and that I am a good person who helps everyone.

[If you do], then I will come so we can talk and resolve this matter; but please [call them] first.

*Sigheh is a form of temporary marriage, especially recognized by the Shiite division of Islam, where a man could marry a woman on a temporary basis. Some argue that the sigheh can be performed by the couple without the presence of an officiant.

Second Segment

Salman Khodadadi: [Yelling] Hope you’ll end up in a grave with your parents!

What do you think you can do anyway. What have I really done? You whore! What did I do, you whore! You came to my place, you widow, and I f…ed you! You frustrate me every day. What did I do to you, shameless woman!

Let’s assume that I f…ed you, what should I have done? Is there anything to do after this?

You are a widowed woman! Do you realize that you’re hurting your own reputation as well? Get lost; know your place in order for me to help you.  

You dishonorablele woman! You have nothing. You are hungry for a few dollars. I told you I’ll pay you, I will even pay your rent. What did I ever do to you?

We can assume that you came to me and desired me, that you wanted it and let me f… you.

Get lost, you blind bitch! I know everything. Sit down tight [and keep quiet] so that I can help you. And let me tell you, if you open your mouth, I’ll gouge your eyes out!

If you let me, I will help you, I will help you financially so that you won’t have to suffer anymore.

Third Segment

Salman Khodadadi: [In a pleading voice] Call them and tell them that you lied. Don’t ruin me! You will destroy me! That is not a godly thing to do. You won’t get anything out of it either. Tell them you made these [allegations] up; that I have no knowledge of it, that I never touched you. The truth is that you are a widow! What truth are you planning to tell? I beg you, call and tell them you were angry when you said those things.

You have ruined my reputation. Based on what you told them, they will kick me out. Call them and tell them you are sick and on medication. You have scandalized me! Call them right now, otherwise, they are going to issue a case against me and ruin me. Tell them what you said wasn’t true, that you are sick and had become emotional and said those things out of spite.

Don’t tell them that you talked to me. Don’t tell anyone where you were. They will take me in and destroy me.

I prepared what I had promised you but you ruined me. Don’t ever mention my name again.

I asked someone to take action.

What did I ever do to have ruined you? I kept my promise.

Why was it necessary to tell them that you came to my office on Valiasr Street (in Tehran)? These things are not to be told!

I have one request from you: change all your numbers. You don’t know anyone by the name of Haj Salman. Nothing else is to be said.

——

In June, HRANA published a testimonial from a young woman who alleges that Salman Khodadadi sexually assaulted her. 

Salman Khodadadi’s Background:

Salman Khodadadi was born in 1962 and was recruited by the Islamic Republic’s security apparatus in his youth. During the 1980s purge of political dissidents he was working in the East Azerbaijan Intelligence office. He made an unsuccessful run for Parliament in the early 1990s but was appointed as Director of Ardabil’s Intelligence Bureau and later as the IRGC commander in Malekan.

In the sixth Parliament (2000-2004), Mr. Khodadadi was a member of the Parliament’s Health Committee, despite having no background in that field. Toward the end of his third term in Parliament, he was summoned to court on charges of moral corruption and engaging in illicit relationships, after two women pressed charges against him. He was released on bail. Since he had been elected for a fourth term to the Parliament and was sworn in as a Parliament Deputy, his case was closed.

When two women MPs raised objections regarding Mr. Khodadadi’s credentials, his case was sent to the Parliament for further investigation. Although some of the people of Malekan had gathered in front of the Parliament demanding Khodadai’s ousting, the Parliament voted to approve his credentials and allowed him to serve his term. Mr. Khodadadi refused to comment on his case citing ongoing investigation and his reluctance to provide material for enemies and foreign media.

In the parliamentary election that followed, Mr. Khodadadi was barred from running. However, due to his membership in the 1990s in the National Security Committee, he had a close relationship with Hassan Rouhani, the current President of Iran, and other current members of Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet. Mr. Khodadadi supported Mr. Rouhani in the 2013 Presidential election and was being considered for the position of Governor of Bushehr (Iranian southern province). Mr. Rouhani later changed his mind and Mr. Khodadadi was appointed an advisor to Javad Zarif.

In the most recent parliamentary elections, Mr. Khodadadi was once again barred from running for Parliament by the Supervisory Council (operated by the Executive Branch), but the Guardian Council lobbied on his behalf and he was elected one more time.  Mr. Khodadadi had the support of the “Omid List”, a list of candidates aligned with Mr. Rouhani. Once in Parliament, Mr. Khodadadi became the Chair of the Parliament’s Social Committee.

When he first began to serve in the Parliament, Salman Khodadadi was a management studies student. During his many terms in the Parliament, he received a Master’s degree in Political Science and a PhD in International Relations.

Immoral treatment of Women Prisoners of Conscience by Iranian Authorities

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Fatemeh Mohammadi, 19, is a new Christian convert who was arrested in November 2017 and subsequently sentenced to six months in prison by the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Ms. Mohammadi was recently released after serving her sentence in the women’s ward of Evin Prison. In an open letter, she talks about the pains and suffering she had to endure during the interrogation period. Ms. Mohammadi explains in her letter the ways she was insulted, mistreated, and felt unsafe due to her gender.

HRANA has received the full text of Fatemeh Mohammadi’s letter:

In all the interrogation sessions the interrogators asked me [whether I have had] sexual relations. In the second interrogation session, one of them said: “We have asked Haj Agha(1) to come and speak to you.” [I was blindfolded, but] from the speaking manner of Haj Agha, I believe he was a cleric. The first question he asked me was: “Have you ever had any relations with anyone?” “What kind of relations?” I replied. “Bad, immoral relations,” He said. I got very frustrated and said: “I have never been involved in any relationship; you are slandering me. What you are doing is not right or moral.” The man replied: “There is evidence that you have done so.” He was speaking in a calm and emotionless manner.  I told him while crying: “How could there be evidence when I haven’t done anything? I don’t know what type of evidence you have forged against me.”

In other questioning sessions, they asked me: “What were you and the other person doing exactly in your sexual relations?” No matter how much I insisted that I have never had a sexual relationship, they would not accept it. While asking these questions they instructed me: “Remove your blindfold, turn to us and answer our questions in detail.” I told them: “It is difficult for me to speak about such topics.” They responded: “Then write it down.” Without waiting for my reply, they placed interrogation papers in front of me. “Writing is even harder than speaking,” I said. They stood up next to me and kicked my chair so that I would get scared and give in. I was under duress until the last moment of interrogation to write down what they asked me to.

Another interrogator, whose voice was different than the previous interrogators and who was the only one who did not instruct me to remove my blindfold, asked his colleague to hand me the paper in order for me to write down an explanation. I could not take it anymore and started to scream. They kicked me out of the questioning room and returned me to solitary confinement. I have to point out that in all the interrogation sessions, an interrogator would always sit very close to me.

A few days before my arrest, one of my close friends asked me to read her favourite prayer poem to her. I sent her the poem as a voice file. This was one of my last chats. As a result, when the interrogators were inspecting my Telegram account, they found this chat very quickly, and played the audio file in the small room filled with interrogators. One of them laughed and imitated my reading of the poem. They all laughed at me. They called me by my first name in a very improper and offensive manner, laughing loudly each time. The sound of the laughter of one of them made me think he was choking. I was feeling very sick during that session, and felt an excruciating pain in my chest; I could barely breathe and started to cough incessantly.

They attempted to force me to [falsely] confess to illicit sexual relations with men. At times, they pursued a line of questioning that would lead them to that conclusion. Their entire objective was to make this accusation stick and force me to make up a story about sexual relations for them to read and enjoy. I could not imagine any other motivation for their actions, because sexual relations had nothing to do with my case.  

They had told Mr. Davood Souzanchi, who was also arrested as a new Christian convert: “Did you know that Fatemeh had illicit sexual relations?” And then they would tell me: “Did you know Davood has had illicit relations with women?”

These harassments were not limited to us. They stopped at nothing, even accusing my mother of sexual affairs. They mentioned [my mother] to Mr. Souzanchi as well. When my mother discovered this, she was extremely upset.

On the first night of my arrest, I was taken to Ward 209 of Evin Prison where the women prison guards forced me to undress completely while they watched me. I successfully resisted. They even took my elastic hair band, and as a result, my hair was unruly. When they were taking me for interrogation, I was forced to wear loose pants, an overcoat, a large headcover (2), a chador, slippers, and blindfolds. The headcover they had given me was too large for my head, and my hair kept sticking out in an unruly manner. When I exited the car, an interrogator yelled at me: “Tuck your hair back in. You are making me mad. You don’t want to see me angry.” However, the headcover was too large, and my hair kept falling out. The [interrogators] screamed at me repeatedly. It was frustrating to see them so sensitive about my hair sticking out of my headcover when they had asked me to remove my blindfold and stare at them while they asked me about illicit sexual relations. I was bewildered.

When the sleeves of my overcoat would pull up and my hands & arms were exposed, the interrogator would ask me to pull my sleeves down. Since I had delicate hands, he kept staring at them.

In another session, they asked me about Christianity’s view on relationships between men and women: “Did you know such and such person [from the Christian community] had relations with other members of the community?” They were constantly resorting to character assassination against the Christian community.  

When I was in prison, I launched a dry hunger strike, despite my weak physical condition, in order to object to the insults against me and my written request for a copy of the [Bible] being rejected. On the second day of my hunger strike, my heart was in poor condition. Upon my and my inmates’ insistence, the prison officials agreed to take me to the prison’s clinic. They decided to perform ECG (electrocardiography).  When I entered the room, a man came toward me, but I did not cooperate, because it was difficult for me to accept that a man was going to perform the test on me. The shift doctor, Mr. Mortazavi, argued with me and kicked me out of the clinic. He then wrote a false report depicting me as immoral and responsible for this ordeal. A woman agent signed the report despite witnessing the entire incident.

Another noteworthy point is that in Ward 209 the shower time is 30 minutes. If an inmate takes even one minute longer than that, a woman prison warden would open the shower door without warning and start arguing and staring at the prisoners. No matter how much I asked them to stop staring, they would continue. When I protested against this practice, they told me: “Since [the prison guards] are women, there is no problem.” They were oblivious to the fact that personal space should be respected regardless if a person is a man, woman, child, or blind.

Fatemeh Mohammadi

————————————————————

HRANA has previously reported that Fatemeh Mohammadi and Majid Reza (Davood) Souzanchi, two new Christian converts, were arrested in Tehran in November 2017 and taken to Evin Prison.

They were first tried in April 2018 by Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran presided by Judge Ahmadzadeh. In this court session, Fatemeh Mohammadi was sentenced to six months in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups”, “Engaging in Christian activities” and “Acting against national security through propagating against the regime”. Majid Reza Souzanchi, 34, was sentenced to five years in prison on the charges of “Membership in evangelical groups” and “Engaging in evangelical activities”.

A source close to these two individuals told HRANA: “Ms. Mohammadi was only accused of membership in evangelical groups and evangelicalism at the time of arraignment. However, during legal questioning, the investigator, Mr. Samad Hadipour, insulted Ms. Mohammadi’s beliefs, and she defended them in response. That is when Hadipour called her an insurgent against the regime and added the charge of ‘Acting against national security through propagating against the regime’ to her case.”

In April 2018, the second day of their trial was held in the presence of Hossein Taj, Mr. Souzanchi’s lawyer, and Ms. Shadi Halimi and Mr. Behzadi, Ms. Mohammadi’s lawyers. Mr. Souzanchi’s and Ms. Mohammadi’s sentences were issued to their families in May.

Since Ms. Mohammadi did not appeal her sentence, one fourth of her sentence was commuted according to the law. Considering the reduction in her sentence, Ms. Mohammadi spent a month and a half longer than her sentence in prison. Ms. Mohammadi was released from prison on May 13, 2018, the same day her sentence was issued.


1) Haj Agha is a term used to address a religious man especially one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca.
2) The headcover referred to here, Maghna’a, is a triangular piece covering the hair, the neck and part of the chest.
3) There is a legal questioning/interrogation phase in the Islamic Republic’s legal process which is distinct from the interrogation of prisoners while they are in prison. The former is part of the legal system while the latter is led by self proclaimed “experts” of the Iranian regime’s security apparatus. To differentiate, we used “investigator” as the legal party and “interrogator” as the security agents who engage in interrogation during the detention period.

Iranian Parliament Deputy Immune from Prosecution Despite Accusations of Sexual Assault

Posted on: June 25th, 2018

Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) – Based on evidence, documents and testimonials HRANA has obtained from reliable sources, there are at least two new allegations of multiple counts of sexual harassment and assault against Salman Khodadadi, a current Member of Iran’s Parliament and the Chair of the Parliament’s Social Committee. Mr. Khodadadi was previously accused of sexual harassment and assault and was detained on the charge of raping his secretary and a visitor to his office. Mr. Khodadadi held the position of MP and was a member of the Parliament’s National Security Committee and Health Committee from 1996 to 2012. However, in 2012, Iran’s Ministry of Interior barred Mr. Khodadadi from running for Parliament. The Guardian Council reversed the ban in 2016 and allowed him to return as a member of Parliament the same year. In 2014, while Mr. Khodadadi was barred from the Parliament, he was appointed an adviser to Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif.  

A 28-year-old woman who has asked to be identified as “Z.N.” broke her silence to HRANA. She claims to be a victim of Mr. Khodadadi and that he abused his position of power. Ms. Z.N. claims Mr. Khodadadi sexually assaulted and harassed her for four years. She tells HRANA that she knew Mr. Khodadadi through her father who was Mr. Khodadadi’s colleague in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). After her father’s death, Ms. Z.N. says she was searching for a job due to her mother’s illness and their difficult financial situation.

“One day, I went to the Governor’s office to seek help. I was informed that Mr. Khodadadi would be coming there to listen to the people’s problems. Mr. Khodadadi received my letter and told me to contact him. When I did, he said that he would help me gain a position with the Audit Court.”  

According to Ms. Z.N., she followed up with that promise and Mr. Khodadadi invited her to Tehran. Ms. Z.N. says she went with her mother on her first visit but they left without receiving any results. Ms. Z.N. says Mr. Khodadadi contacted her again and advised her to return to Tehran but alone this time. Once in Tehran, Ms. Z.N. allegedly attempted to track Mr. Khodadadi down until she was finally instructed to meet him at his office.

“Once in his office, he locked the door and raped me. He warned me to not tell anyone. I will never forget that day. It was as though the whole world came crashing down on me. My muscles were locked up and I felt paralyzed. He told me I had to leave immediately because a few of his colleagues were coming to see him. I asked him whether his intention was just to rape me, instead of helping me and my family. He replied that he wanted to help and have sex with me too. I left his office and headed to the train station to return home. On the way back, all kinds of thoughts crossed my mind and I even contemplated suicide, but because of my family and their situation, I decided to keep silent…He contacted me after the incident under different pretexts and managed to get me to come to his residential home in Tabriz where he raped me again.”

“After a long period of intimidation and enticement by Mr. Khodadadi, I finally called him to tell him that I didn’t want the job anymore. I told him to leave me alone or else I would file a complaint against him. He replied that I could not do a damn thing to him and hung up the phone on me. After a while he called me back and said that he likes me and wants to talk to me. I did not accept and didn’t go see him. He was even sending me threatening messages that if I didn’t go see him, he would hurt me. I still did not go, and out of fear for my life, I constantly moved residences.”

Ms. Z.N. claims that Mr. Khodadadi had more than one victim. “Some time later, I was with friends when I heard from one of them that Mr. Khodadadi had promised her a job as well and then raped her. This friend wanted to commit suicide on several occasions. That is when I understood that I was not the only victim, but none of the victims are prepared to file a complaint out of fear for their lives.”

“I waited for some time so that he would stop his harassment, but to no avail. I finally called him and begged him to leave me alone or I would tell everyone about what happened. He replied that if I say anything he would have me killed. I was very afraid. I took a train to Tehran and decided to go to the committee responsible for the supervision of MPs. I did not know how to access this committee so I went to the Parliament’ security and told them. First, they did not listen to me until I threatened to go to the Guardian Council. Finally, they accepted to consider my story but said that I would need to provide proof. I told them that I have voice and SMS messages containing threats.”

Mr. Khodadadi allegedly contacted Ms. Z.N. several times after the complaint was filed and said that if she did not withdraw her complaint that he would harm her.

“I told him that I will go through with my complaint because it was my right. He contacted me several more times and told me to visit him to resolve the problem. Again, he promised me a job and pledged to make everything right if I withdraw my complaint. I refused…Since April 2018, when I filed my complaint, I have contacted the Parliament’s security department multiple times, but each time they tell me that they need more time to investigate.”  

HRANA has obtained a copy of the documents in Ms. Z.N.’s case, including the threatening remarks made by Mr. Khodadadi. HRANA will consider releasing the documents publicly, but will first consider the victim’s safety and the progress made with the legal proceedings.

Salman Khodadadi’s Background:

Salman Khodadadi was born in 1962 and was recruited by the Islamic Republic’s security apparatus in his youth. During the 1980s purge of political dissidents he was working in the East Azerbaijan Intelligence office. He made an unsuccessful run for Parliament in the early 1990s but was appointed as Director of Ardabil’s Intelligence Bureau and later as the IRGC commander in Malekan.

In the sixth Parliament (2000-2004), Mr. Khodadadi was a member of the Parliament’s Health Committee, despite having no background in that field. Toward the end of his third term in Parliament, he was summoned to court on charges of moral corruption and engaging in illicit relationships, after two women pressed charges against him. He was released on bail. Since he had been elected for a fourth term to the Parliament and was sworn in as a Parliament Deputy, his case was closed.

When two women MPs raised objections regarding Mr. Khodadadi’s credentials, his case was sent to the Parliament for further investigation. Although some of the people of Malekan had gathered in front of the Parliament demanding Khodadai’s ousting, the Parliament voted to approve his credentials and allowed him to serve his term. Mr. Khodadadi refused to comment on his case citing ongoing investigation and his reluctance to provide material for enemies and foreign media.

In the parliamentary election that followed, Mr. Khodadadi was barred from running. However, due to his membership in the 1990s in the National Security Committee, he had a close relationship with Hassan Rouhani, the current President of Iran, and other current members of Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet. Mr. Khodadadi supported Mr. Rouhani in the 2013 Presidential election and was being considered for the position of Governor of Bushehr (Iranian southern province). Mr. Rouhani later changed his mind and Mr. Khodadadi was appointed an advisor to Javad Zarif.

In the most recent parliamentary elections, Mr. Khodadadi was once again barred from running for Parliament by the Supervisory Council (operated by the Executive Branch), but the Guardian Council lobbied on his behalf and he was elected one more time.  Mr. Khodadadi had the support of the “Omid List”, a list of candidates aligned with Mr. Rouhani. Once in Parliament, Mr. Khodadadi became the Chair of the Parliament’s Social Committee.

When he first began to serve in the Parliament, Salman Khodadadi was a management studies student. During his many terms in the Parliament, he received a Master’s degree in Political Science and a PhD in International Relations.

Three Activists Released on the Bail

Posted on: April 24th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Sepideh Farhan, Azham Jangravi and Narges Hosseini, civil activists, were released from prison on the bail. Ms. Jangravi and Ms. Hosseini were among the women who were arrested in protest against the forced hijab, and Ms. Farahan was among the detainees in the recent protests in the country.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), three detained civil activists were released from Evin Prison and Gharchak Prison on the bail. (more…)

Atena Daemi Ended Her Hunger Strike, Golrokh Iraei Continues with Drinking Water

Posted on: April 17th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – At the request of a number of human rights defenders, Atena Daemi has stopped her hunger strike after 13 days, 6 days of which were dry hunger strike. However, Glorokh Iraei has announced that she would stop her dry hunger strike (not drinking fluids), but would continue her hunger strike by drinking water.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), In addition to the individual requests of human rights activists, particularly a group of women human rights defenders published an open letter titled “For the suppressed people and your goals, you should stay alive”, addressed to Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraei, and called them to end their strike. (more…)

Maryam Kalangari Arrested to Serve Her Sentence

Posted on: April 12th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Maryam Kalangari, 65, was arrested by the law-enforcement officers and transferred to the central prison of Arak on January 13. Mrs. Kalangari had already been sentenced to 5 months imprisonment by a court. Three other members of the Kalangari family, Bijan Kalangari, Mojtaba, and Meghdad Fouladi, were sentenced to three years imprisonment each. Kalangari’s family is among the families of survivors of the massacre of political prisoners in 1980s.

According to the report of Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran (HRANA), Maryam Kalangari, 65, was arrested by the law-enforcement officers and transferred to the Central Prison of Arak on January 13, 2018. (more…)

Mansoureh Behkish Sentenced to 7 Years and a Half in Prison

Posted on: April 5th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Mansoureh Behkish was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment on charges of propaganda against the regime and collusion against the country due to her civil activities which was approved by the appeals court last month. Members of the families of the executed and families of political murder victims in the Islamic Republic, condemned Mansooreh Behkish’s verdict and demanded her unconditional release, by writing a statement.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), the families of the executed and families of political murder victims condemned Mansooreh Behkish’s verdict of seven and a half years imprisonment, and demanded her unconditional release, by writing a statement. (more…)

Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi Beaten and Exiled to Garchak Prison

Posted on: April 4th, 2018

HRANA News Agency – Arash Sadeghi, human rights activist in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, has gone on hunger strike on January 27, 2018, following his wife, Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi were beaten and exiled. He has gone on hunger strike while he is suffering from severe illness and physical weakness.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), Golrokh Irai and Atena Daemi were beaten in Evin prison and exiled to Garchak prison in Varamin on Wednesday, January 24, 2018. The two detainees, who are currently detained in quarantine of ward 3, do not have suitable situation. (more…)