Closing the Strait of Hormuz: Shooting Oneself in the Foot?
August 10 -- Professor Paul Stevens of Chatham House says that any attempt by Iran to close the Strait of Hormuz would be "very foolish... I don't think they could physically do it anyway, because it would produce a huge response and it wouldn't just be the Americans, because every oil importing country is dependent upon the Strait of Hormuz staying open." Asked if Iran could use oil as a weapon, Stevens says, "If Iran said we will cut production, it could have an effect on the market and push the price up, but then if Iran did cut production, [Iran itself] could well suffer in terms of loss of revenue" [audio in Persian].
Prominent University Professors Forced to Retire
August 12-- Former Tehran University chancellor Mohammad Maleki says Iranian authorities want to get rid of experienced professors and replace them with educators they themselves have trained: "Essentially, their goal is to ruin the genuine Iranian culture [and] delude themselves by seizing universities" [audio in Persian].
Lashings, Jail Sentences Handed Down to Workers
August 10 -- Referring to recent jail terms and lashing sentences issues to four male and female workers, the head of the Independent Iranian Laborers Union Jafar Azimzadeh says that, in most countries, "Whipping animals is a crime, but here [in Iran], societal development has been reversed to the point that lashing sentences are issued against workers who celebrate May Day." [article in Persian].
Iran's News Agency Smears Nobel Peace Laureate
August 13 -- Journalist Isa Saharkhiz, lawyer Mehrangiz Kar and university professor Sadegh Zibakalam discuss possible reasons for a report by Iran's official IRNA news agency that falsely alleges that Shirin Ebadi's daughter has converted from Islam to Baha'ism--an act which in Iran could be deemed apostasy and be punishable by death [article in Persian / article in English].
Kurdish Journalist Arrested on Unspecified Charges
August 9-- The brother of Kurdistan Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights founder, Massoud Kordpour, says intelligence officers refuse to let his family visit or call Kordpour, who is described as not just a rights activist, but also a "journalist reporting on political prisoners in interviews with national and foreign media and a teacher with 21 years of experience" [audio in Persian].