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Cablegate: (Sbu) Demarche: Recent Arrests in Iran

VZCZCXRO2842
PP RUEHDIR
DE RUEHC #4557 3131240
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 091223Z NOV 07
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 3006
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 3159
RUEHDIR/IRAN RPO DUBAI PRIORITY 0054

UNCLAS STATE 154557

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV IR UK SZ PREL KDEM
SUBJECT: (SBU) DEMARCHE: RECENT ARRESTS IN IRAN


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Department is concerned about the
growing number of political prisoners in Iran, and a recent
series of arrests specifically targeting human rights
defenders. Department requests posts ask that host
government,s embassy personnel in Tehran inquire about the
arrest of political prisoner Abbas Khorsandi and others
arrested on the same day. END SUMMARY.

----------
OBJECTIVES
----------

2. (SBU) Begin Objectives.

-- Note that we value the host government,s cooperation in
assisting human rights activists and defenders in Iran.

-- Note that the USG continues to be concerned about the
plight of political prisoners in Iran, as reflected in
Ambassador Khalilzad,s speech before the UN General Assembly
in NY on Wednesday, October 31.

-- Request that host country,s embassy personnel in Tehran
inquire with their contacts in Iran to seek more information
about Abbas Khorsandi, a political activist and the five
others who were arrested on the same day. Post may leave
information in paragraph 3 as a non-paper with host
governments.


----------
BACKGROUND
----------

3. Begin Background.

(U) Abbas Khorsandi is reportedly a political activist who
was arrested on September 9, 2007, in his home in Firuzkuh,
Tehran province. He was previously arrested in early 2005
and held for several weeks. He may be/have been a member of
the Democratic Party of Iran; the USG cannot confirm
membership. In February 2005, Human Rights Watch issued a
press release noting his arrest. Khorsandi has a history of
heart attacks and suffers from diabetes.

(U) Amnesty International has confirmed that five others were
arrested on the same day in Tehran and Sanandaj: Meisam
Roudaki, Bahram Rasekhifar, Mansour Faraji, Ghasem Shirzadian
and Sepideh Puragha,i. Amnesty International noted that
Puragha,i is active with the Student Committee for the
Defence of Political Prisoners, but it is unclear if the rest
of the group, including Khorsandi were as well.

(U) End Background.

----------------
POINT OF CONTACT
----------------

4. (SBU) The POC for this request is Kate Lurie in the
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (202-647-4753).
RICE

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