News / Middle East

Iranian Government Releases Prisoners for Persian New Year

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Iran has released a top politician, a film maker and a journalist, among others, to mark the Persian New Year. Al-Arabiya TV is also reporting that an opposition activist who took part in opposition demonstrations has been sentenced to death.

The Iranian government is making a gesture to its opposition adversaries by releasing several prominent detainees to mark the Persian New Year, Nowrouz. Three of them were released on bail.

Click to Listen:

Download/Play Audio File

One of the prominent figures from the televised trials of opposition leaders last summer, Mohsen Mirdamadi, was temporarily released in exchange for nearly half a million dollars in bail. Mirdomadi leads the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the country's top reformist party.

Film-maker Mohammad Rasoulof was also granted a temporary release on bail, according to opposition Web sites Kalameh and Rahesabz. Director Jafar Panahi, in whose company he was arrested, remains in custody.

Opposition journalist Akbar Montajabi was also reportedly released. But Irandokht, the newspaper for which he worked, was closed by the government earlier this month.

Paris-based press watchdog Reporters Without Borders indicated on its Web site that three other journalists and bloggers arrested since the beginning of the year, were also released earlier this week.

Writer Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham in Britain, who runs the popular Iran blog Enduring America, says that the Iranian government continues to use a "carrot-and-stick" approach towards the opposition Green Movement, noting that Mohsen Mirdomadi was released at almost the same time that his party was banned:

"Mirdomadi's release happens at almost the same time they slap a ban on the Islamic Iran Participation Front, so you get almost a carrot-and-stick here, which is: all right, we will let Mirdomadi out temporarily, at the same time this organization that he heads up is put beyond the pale,” said Lucas. “So, if they behave themselves, then a temporary release might be coming, or they might have to have to have set up personal bail conditions."

Lucas says he does not think the Iranian government strategy is going to work in the long term:

"The regime is basically trying to break this movement, but they are trying to break it at the same time not just simply by complete oppression, but by giving just a little bit, in exchange for silence and concessions,” Lucas adds. “This is a long-term game, and the government could not land a knock-out blow on these folks. Now, they many be trying to win a battle of attrition, but I do not see them doing it."

Ten opposition demonstrators, who were accused of being enemies of God, were recently given death sentences for participating in anti-government demonstrations in December. Al-Arabiya TV reports another young demonstrator was sentenced to death Wednesday.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid