The Names of the Others

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By Saleem Vaillancourt

IranWire is thrilled and relieved that Jason Rezaian, Amir Hekmati, Saeed Abedini and Nasrollah Khosravi were released from Iranian jails on January 16. The lives of these four Iranian-American men and their families can now resume – after interruptions that have lasted far too long. Rezaian, Hekmati and Abedini should never have been jailed at all. And we’ll know more about Khosravi’s own unjust imprisonment in the coming days. A fifth Iranian-American, Siamak Namazi, remains in prison. But we worry that dozens of other Iranians – who are just plain Iranian, and not also American – are being forgotten in the rush to declare a new dawn.

Let’s remember the others – as many as we can, even just a fraction of the whole – because most of the world will never know their names.

Atena Farghadani: still in jail for drawing cartoons of Iranian politicians. Omid Alishenas: still in jail for defending the rights of Iranian children. Omid Kokabee, a physicist with American academic connections: still in jail for refusing to cooperate with Iranian intelligence. Bahareh Hedayat: still in jail for her work as a women’s rights activist. Nargess Mohammadi: still in jail for human rights work. Abdolfattah Soltani and Mohammad Seifzadeh, both human rights lawyers: still in jail for representing clients persecuted by the state.

Mahvash Sabet, six of her colleagues, and dozens of others: all still in jail for being Baha’is. And within this crowd are Kamran Mortezaie, Vahid Mahmoudi, Faran Hessami, Kayvan Rahimian, Shahin Negari, Nasim Bagheri Tari, Azita Rafizadeh, Foad Moghaddam, Amanollah Mostaghim and Azizullah Samandari: still in jail for helping young Baha’is pursue their violated right to higher education.

Yaran-i-Iran (Friends of Iran), the former leadership group of the Bahai's in Iran, who were imprisoned in 2008

Zahra Kaabi: still in jail for being a journalist: so too (according to our sister campaign Journalism Is Not A Crime) for Yaghma Fakhshami and Vahid Asghari and Soheil Arabi and Saman Safarzai and Afarin Chitzaz and Sarajeddin Mirdamadi and Saeed Pourheydar and Roya Saberinezhad Nobakht and Reza Entesari and Saeed Razavi Faghi and Nahid Gorji and Mostafa Azizi and Khosro Kordpour and Keyvan Mehregan and Kasra Nouri and Isa Saharkhiz and Alireza Beheshti Shirazi and Arvin Sedaghat Kish and Arash Honarvar Shojaie and Adnan Hasanpour and Abolfazl Abedini and Saleh Tamouli Tarafi and Ehsan Mazandarani and Mehdi Alizadeh Fakhrabadi and Hamzeh Zargani and Adel Sadoni and Nematollah Kami and Chari Mohammad Moradov and Seyed Masoud Seyed Talebi and Ami Golestani and Sakhi Rigi and Hanieh Sane Farsi Shotorban and Mohammad Reza Golizadeh Akhlaghi and Shahnam Golshani and Fariborz Kardarfar and Mustafa Abdi and Habibolah Beygzadeh and Amir Akramipour and Mehdi Reyshahri-Tangestani.

The list goes on – but we don’t want to exhaust you. And anyway: sometimes it seems that all of Iran is still in jail.



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