Breaking the Language Barrier on Human Rights

Ahmadinejad and Rahim Mashaei Directly Responsible for Hossein’s Life | VOA Interviews Friend of ‘Blogfather’

October 03, 2010

On September 21, 2010, Ahmad Jalali Farahani, a journalist and close friend of Hossein Derakhshan, spoke to Voice of America about his friend and the reason why he returned to Iran when the risk of imprisonment was known. This interview was conducted at the time when Hossein Derakhshan was in danger of receiving a death sentence. Since this interview, the Iranian regime announced a sentencing of 19 1/2 years imprisonment for the well-known blogger.


Translation by Siavosh Jalili for P2E

VOA: Mr. Jalali, it is said that Hossein Derakhshan returned to Iran after being offered a job by those close to Mr. Ahmadinejad, and then he was arrested. Do you confirm this information?

Jalali: Exactly. When Hossein wanted to go to Iran, I was one of the people who was in touch with him. I begged him not to come to Iran. However, he explicitely said that Mr. Rahim Mashaei and those around him have offered him a job, and they had even told him they had a position for him. They had offered Hossein the post of the director of the international department at Press TV. The process of having Hossein Derakhshan in Iran was modeled after *Payam Fazlinejad’s project. In other words, officials close to Mr. Ahamdinejad and, in particular, Mr. Rahim Mashaei wanted to make another Payam Fazlinejad out of Hossein Derakhshan for the ruling establishment. However, Hossein in the past, and in his weblogs and websites, had directed scathing critcism toward the regime and Mr. Khamenei in a very explicit and audacious manner. You should know that Mr. Rahim Mashaei and Mr. Ahmadinejad are directly responsible for the life of Hossein Derakhshan because the letter guaranteeing his safety upon return to Iran was issued by these gentlemen.

VOA: Mr. jalali, the family of Hossein Derakhshan has been silent about his arrest. Given the alleged close ties members of the family have with the leader of Iran, why has the family not brought up the issue of a pardon for their son with the Leader?

Jalali: Hossein’s first marriage was officiated by Mr. Khamenei. This event, itself, shows that Hossein’s family is really close to people in high levels of the Iranian regime. Hossein’s father is very influential in the Tehran Bazzaar. I ask his family, especially Hossein’s mother, to give up this conservative and reserved approach to the case. In my view, and the views of many of Hossein’s friends, the life of their son is more important than other considerations and expediencies. I want to use this medium to tell Hossein’s family that this is the best time to inform the media, and not to simply follow his case through hidden and secretive lobbies, because [shedding light on his case] will help Hossein’s fate.

*Translator’s Note: Payam Fazlinejad was a journalist working at a film magazine called “Cinema”. He had expressed views in favour of pluralism in cinema, but he was overall apolitical in his approach to work. After a major crackdown on film magazines, Payam was arrested for a short period of time. Once released, he seemed to have joined the hardliners (and this is what is meant by trying to turn Derakhshan into a Fazlinejad). Fazlinejad works with the pro-government and ultra-conservative Fars news agency and Kayhan Daily. He has played a role in the interrogation of bloggers back in 2002. He is alleged to have ties with Iranian security intelligence services by Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Peace laureate), Ali Reza Nourizadeh (journalist), and professor John Mccain of London Westminster University.

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