Tehran Bans Dog Walking

Religious fundamentalism just has to ruin everything. From the BBC,

Iran’s capital city has banned the public from walking pet dogs, as part of a long-standing official campaign to discourage dog-ownership.

Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi said “we have received permission from the Tehran Prosecutor’s Office, and will take measures against people walking dogs in public spaces, such as parks”.

. . .

Dogs are viewed as “unclean” by Iran’s Islamic authorities, who also regard dog-ownership as a symbol of the pro-Western policy of the ousted monarchy.

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance banned the media from publishing any advertisements for pets or pet-related products back in 2010, and there was a push in parliament five years ago to fine and even flog dog-walkers.

A Decades Old Unsolved Islamist Murder

In 1988, Salman Rushdie published his excellent magical realist novel The Satanic Verses. Muslims quickly accused Rushdie of blasphemy, and on February 14, 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Kohemeini issued a fatwa calling for Rushdie’s murder.

Rushdie is still alive and well, but the book’s Japanese translater, Hitoshi Igarashi, was murdered on July 12, 1991 in his office at the University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Surprisingly, not only has no one ever been arrested for the murder, but the case was closed in 2006 without Japanese police even naming any suspects. As The Daily Beast noted in 2015, there have been persistent rumors about just how committed the Japanese police were to finding a suspect,

Igarashi’s murder remains unsolved, although clearly it was, at the very least, inspired and provoked by Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie and his novel.  A former CIA analyst and National Security Council staff member told The Daily Beast that many U.S. officials at the time believed the Iranians were responsible for Igarashi’s murder. Over the years, given Iran’s record, that belief has turned to a conviction among many in the intelligence community.

. . .

In 2006 the 15-year statute of limitations on his murder expired. Hitoshi’s wife, Masako, was still crying out for justice, pressing the Japanese police not to give up on her husband’s case.

The impression then and now, however, is that the Japanese government—like President Kirchner in Argentina in response to the bombings in Buenos Aires—was content to let Igarashi’s murder slide, and sought no real justice for the man, because he was murdered by foreign agents and Japan was dependent on Iranian oil—the very same charge that Prosecutor Nisman was set to level against Kirchner last month Nisman before he was found dead.


The Difference Between Iran and U.S. on Human Rights

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami recently took umbrage at the U.S. State Department’s complaints about Iran’s persecution of Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi. Ebadi won the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. She was recently issued a summons to appear in court, but the Iranian government refused to tell her what sort of charges she was facing.

This prompted the State Department to express “grave concern” over the court proceedings. Khatami struck back, citing the poor U.S. record on human rights at Abu Ghraib prison,

Now they [the United States] must respond to the crimes committed in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and their relentless killing of people in all parts of the world in the name of freedom and democracy and the support they provide to the brutalities and atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.

Abu Ghraib provides a nice counterpoint between how Iran and the United States handle human rights abuses that occur in prisons.

One of the ring leaders of the Abu Ghraib abuses, Army Spc. Charles Graner Jr., was recently convicted by a military court and sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Contrast this with what happened to the murderers of Zahra Kazemi, a female reporter with both Canadian and Iranian citizenship. Kazemi was arrested on June 23, 2003 after taking photographs of a prison in Tehran. Kazemi was assaulted in prison, apparently by a prison official, and died of her injuries a couple weeks later.

Iranian officials first tried to claim that she had suffered a “stroke,” but later conceded that she had died as a result of a blow to the head which caused brain hemorrhaging.

Iran charged a security official with beating Kazemi to death, but he was acquitted. Iran’s official story today is that Kazemi was standing when she inexplicably fell to the ground, hit her head, and sustained the fatal blow that fractured her skull.


Iran’s Khatami raps US on rights. The BBC, January 15, 2005.

Iran Threatened by Waves of Mini-Skirts

The Middle East Media Research Institute has an interesting transcript of Iranian leader Ali Khamenei complaining that his country faces a threat from . . . miniskirts.

MEMRI quotes Khamenei as saying in an address (emphasis added),

More than Iran’s enemies need artillery, guns and so forth, they need to spread cultural values that lead to moral corruption. They have said this many times. I recently read in the news that one of them, a senior official in an important American political center, said: “Instead of bombs, send them miniskirts.” He is right. If they arouse sexual desires in any given country, if they spread unrestrained mixing of men and women, and if they lead youth to behavior to which they are naturally inclined by instincts, there will no longer be any need for artillery and guns against that nation.


Iranian Leader Khamenei: Iran’s Enemies Want to Destroy it with Miniskirts. MEMRI, January 6, 2005.

Iran Discovers Major Oil Field

Reuters reports that Iran recently made a major oil discovery, finding an oil field that has estimated reserves of 38 billion barrels of oil. If true, that would make it one of the world’s largest undeveloped oil fields.

Reuters quoted Iran’s Oil Development and Engineering Company general director Abolhasan Khamoushi as saying that the vast oil reserves were discovered in three neighboring oil fields near the southern port city of Bushehr.

Work is currently underway to determine how much of that oil is commercially obtainable.


Report: Iran makes giant oil find. Reuters, July 14, 2003.

Iranian Authorities Crack Down on Illicit Love

In Iran, where conflicts between religious authorities and reformist student movements seems to be growing, authorities have been cracking down on illicit contact between men and women, including anything that smacks of decadent Western values — such as Valentine’s cards.

In February, Iranian police ordered shops to remove Valentine’s cards and decorations and in some cases confiscated “corrupt materials” being sold to promote the holiday.

According to the Associated Press, the crackdown appeared to be limited largely to northern Tehran, a wealthy area where exposure to Western culture is more common than in other parts of Iran.

In March, meanwhile, a Basij militia (religious police) commander told Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency that 68 men and women were arrested in Tehran for running a web sit where young men and women could meet to talk and arrange meetings.

IRNA quoted General Ahmad Rouzbehani as saying,

Some people were using an internet site to allow girls and boys to talk and arrange meetings in a place in north Tehran where they had illegal relations.

According to the BBC, the Basij regularly raid parties and gatherings where both men and women are present, but this is the first time it has targeted an Internet site.


Iranians arrested for net dating. The BBC, March 3, 2003.

Iranian cops curtail Cupid’s canoodling. Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press, February 12, 2003.