Amir-Abbas Fakhravar

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Amir-Abbas Fakhravar
Born (1975-07-06) July 6, 1975 (age 39)
Tehran, Iran
Occupation Writer
Organization Confederation of Iranian Students
Institute of World Politics
Awards Annie Taylor Award

Amir-Abbas Fakhravar[1] (Persian: امیر عباس فخرآور‎, aka Siavash (Persian: سیاوش), born July 6, 1975) is an Iranian jailed dissident, award winning writer and the recipient of the Annie Taylor Award.[2] In 2002 he and Arzhang Davoodi co-founded the Confederation of Iranian Students (CIS), an organization that aims to institute democracy in Iran.[3] Fakhravar serves as the Secretary General of the Confederation of Iranian Students and President of the "Iranian Freedom Institute" in Washington, D.C. Currently, Fakhravar serves as Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at the Center for the Study of Culture and Security at The Institute of World Politics.[4]

Amir Fakhravar has testified before the Senate Homeland Security committee[5] and the House Foreign Affairs[6] on U.S-Iran relation, Foreign Policy, U.S. government broadcasting and Iran's Nuclear issues. Fakhravar among his CIS team briefed parliament members at the European Parliament[7] and Parliament of Finland,[8] the Parliament of the United Kingdom,[9] Parliament of Israel,[10] Parliament of Germany,[11] and Parliament of Canada.[12] He has been a foreign affairs and Iran expert at FOX News, Alhurra, CNN, CBN, VOA, Radio Farda and CBS.

Biography[edit]

According to an article in Front Page Magazine, a conservative online political magazine, Fakhravar was born on July 6, 1975 in the capital city of Tehran, Iran. His father "Mohammad-Bagher Fakhravar" was an enlisted member in the Iranian Air Force and his mother "Parvaneh Pir-Dehghan" had a lot of influence on him. He delivered his first political speech at the age of 17, in 1993, while a senior in high school.[13] The speech was directed to Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani after which he was arrested.[13] Fakhravar received his high school diploma in Mathematics and Physics in city of Shiraz.[13] In December 1994 he gave another speech while attending medical school in Iran's Orumiya province.[13] He was arrested and sentenced to a three-year jail term which was later partially suspended.[13] He was also suspended for two semesters and later transferred to Bushehr University of Medical Sciences.[13] In 1997 he published his first book titled "سبزترین چشم زمین" (Sabztarin Cheshme Zamin, The Greenest Eyes on Earth). Fakhravar was on the frontline of the Iran student protests, July 1999.[13] Fakhravar was a writer and a columnist for two banned and pro-reform dallies, Khordad and Mosharekat.[14][15] Khordad (newspaper) was closed in November 1999, and its chief editor Abdollah Noori sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.[16] Mosharekat was closed during closure of 17 reformist newspapers in April 2000.[17] Amir Abbas was arrested while with his sister, Mahlagha Fakhravar, during student uprising on August 2000 and sent to Evin Prison. Later that year Fakhravar was taken from his home on December 31 by five men in civilian clothing to the Evin prison and tortured heavily until he had to be transferred to "Ghamar-e Bani Hashem" hospital in Tehran for emergency treatment.[13] In November 2007, Fakhravar received the Annie Taylor Journalism Award.[18] Fakhravar is the author of three books, an honorary member of English PEN, PEN Canada, and International PEN.[14][15][19]

A number of prominent Iranian political prisoners, including some who shared the same cell as Fakhravar in jail, have argued that Fakhravar was not in fact a leader of the student movements in 1999 and have accused him of spying for the Iranian government while in jail and exaggerating his story of escape.[20][21][22] These critics include Bina Darab-Zand, an imprisoned human rights activist; Nasser Zarafshan, an Iranian human rights attorney and former Evin detainee who shared a cell with Fakhavar; Nasrin Mohammadi, the sister of Akbar Mohammadi, the political dissident who died in Evin prison while on hunger strike; Mohsen Sazegara, an Iranian dissent who was also imprisoned in Iran; Najmeh Bozorgmehr, the Financial Times' Tehran correspondent who closely followed the 1999 pro-democracy Tehran; and Ahmad Batebi, another prominent political dissident who is pictured with Fakhravar in Evin.

Fakhravar and his supporters vehemently deny these allegations, saying that the attacks are motivated by petty jealousy and a vendetta by Fakhravar's enemies on the Iranian left.[20]

Imprisonment[edit]

He spent time in Evin prison and Qasr prison where, according to Amnesty International, Fakhavar was subject to torture and solitary confinement, including white torture.[23] In February 2003, he and imprisoned student demonstrator Ahmad Batebi signed an open letter which criticized the Iranian authorities. The letter stated, "We wish to openly and overtly express our dedication to all universal covenants. We want to show our respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, universal peace, non-violence, environmental protection, permanent progress" and added that "violence has absolutely no place in our struggle, neither in our words nor in our deeds."[23] Shortly afterwards, he was reportedly beaten in front of judges in the court room where his appeal was being heard.[23]

During the course of Fakharvar's imprisonment he was granted occasional prison leave.[24]

In United States[edit]

Political activism[edit]

Since his arrival, he has called for a unified Iranian opposition to the Islamic government, in order to bring regime change in Iran.[25] Daily Telegraph called him "unifying figure"in July 2, 2006; "Amir Abbas Fakhravar, 30, has become the poster child of some of the leading neo-conservatives in Washington and, less than two months after leaving Iran, the former medical student who spent five years in jail and still bears the scars on his youthful face, is being championed as the person who can unite his country's fractious opposition."[26] Also, Michael Ledeen, an AEI scholar and Iran expert who co-hosted the lunch with Mr Perle, said of Mr Fakhravar: "He's a unifying figure. He's strong physically and psychologically. I think he's extraordinarily smart. He's one of the few Iranian opposition figures I've met who can think through the way Westerners look at Iran and help them understand."[26]

Amir Abbas Fakhravar has met with President George W. Bush several times. September 6, 2007, Washington Post in an article "Bush & Fakhravar: Fates Entwined" wrote about it; "George Bush isn't talking to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But he is speaking to Iranian student dissident Amir Abbas Fakhravar."[27] He met American officials from the Pentagon to the State Department, as well as with Vice President Dick Cheney.[28] July 20, 2006, Fakhravar testified at U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs representing Independent student movement, along with Michael Ledeen (American Enterprise Institute), Ilan Berman (American Foreign Policy Council), Ray Takehy (Council on Foreign Relations) and Jim Walsh[disambiguation needed] (Massachusetts Institute of Technology),[29] where he called the Iranian reform movement a "dead end" and advocated regime change.[30] and senior administrators in the State Department and The Pentagon and also with American experts and analysts on Iran, like professor Bernard Lewis and others.[31]

Fakhravar attended numerous conferences in the US and Europe to discuss the situation of young Iranians, jailed journalists, and political prisoners. He is a regular speaker on the current situation of Iran on college campuses, and the international stage. Fakhravar spoke at a panel with Václav Havel, Natan Sharansky and Jose Maria Aznar at the International Democracy and Security Conference in Prague in June 2007.

Iran Democratic Transition Conference[edit]

Fakhavar was amongst one of the speakers and organizers of the Iran Democratic Transition Conference, an event hosted by The Institute of World Politics and the Confederation of Iranian Students.[32] The conference was held at George Washington University and the Congressional Visitors Auditorium between January 22–24, 2011.[32] Fakhavar also participated as an organizer and speaker in a follow-up conference titled "Iran Democratic Transition Conference: 'Remembering Neda, Symbol of Freedom and Democracy in Iran'"[33] The event, sponsored by the Center for Culture and Security at The Institute of World Politics, the Confederation of Iranian Students, and the Iranian Freedom Institute, took place on June 19, 2011 at George Washington University.[33]

2012 Trip to Israel[edit]

In late January/early February, Amir Abbas Fakhravar and CIS team visited Israel where they spoke with members of parliament and Israeli opinion makers.[4] January 28, 2012, Ynetnews an Israeli newspaper wrote Tzipi Livni meets Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Iranian opposition member.[34] Jerusalem Post wrote Livni's statement came during a meeting she and Kadima MK Nachman Shai held with Amir Abbas Fakhravar and Saghar Erica Kasraie of the Confederation of Iranian Students in Tel Aviv. January 28, 2012, Ynetnews an Israeli newspaper wrote Tzipi Livni meets Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Iranian opposition member.[10] Fakhravar had an interview with Jerusalem Post and said "Attack will bring ayatollahs, allies, public legitimacy."[10] Fakhravar was speaker on a panel discussion at the 12th Annual Herzliya Conference "Iran: Will Sanctions Work?"[35] During the trip, Fakhravar also visited the Israeli Knesset on January 31, 2012 to meet with MK Shai Hermesh (Kadima).[10] The trip had been noted in several articles in the Jerusalem Post and other national Israeli Media. Channel 2 TV- Jerusalem – Amir Fakhravar's Interview with Ulpan ShiShi on prime-time news. Several campaigns were started on Facebook and Social media after this interview with the direct message of this interview : We (the Iranians) Love Israel. Israelis Love Iranian, Iranian Loves Israel.[36][10]

Islamic Republic's government in Iran made a lot of noise about this trip. Iran's state TV[37] and several major newspaper and official websites[38] had their focus on it. Here is Iranian State TV's prime-time news about this trip.[37]

2009 Iranian Green Movement[edit]

In June 2009, in remarks to the Center for Security Policy, Fakhravar stressed the importance of not losing momentum created by the Green Movement: “this demonstration is much bigger,” than 1999 because, “we couldn’t talk to the world…we didn’t have any media coverage and we felt alone.”[39] April 8, 2009, two months before the start of Green Movement, Fakhravar wrote an article for the Jurist.org about the importance of social networking in encouraging democratic revolutions However, the speed with which Iranian weblogs are growing raises the hope and prospect that, with the help of weblogs and satellite media, the young generation will have the means for establishing a "free and democratic Iran" in a revolution yet to come."[40]

Political views[edit]

On February 4, 2003, he wrote an open letter to the world and asked international communities help Iranians for their fight for Freedom and Democracy; "We call on our brethren to join us in a complete and total boycott of all elections – unless it is a free and fair referendum on the type of the future regime. This collective boycott will demonstrate to the world the level of the regime's unpopularity. And also call on the international community to support our goal, namely, a referendum with United Nation's observation." this letter was published by International Pen when he was still in Evin Prison and under torture.[41][42]

While he was on hunger strike in front of the United Nations headquarters in New York with Akbar Ganji to highlight the plight of Iranian political prisoners, he was interviewed by Jahanshah Javid. In the interview, he denied that he is a monarchist or in favor of war with Iran; indicating that he preferred an internal revolution.[43] In March 2007, speaking at the Secular Islam Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida, he called for the US to help to overthrow the government in Iran by supporting the "silent army" (the internal opposition movements in Iran) via encouragement through media, along with tough economic sanctions on Iran.[44] In an interview with Ynet Fakhravar said that if the West launches a military attack on Iran, "The top brass will flee immediately. People will come out onto the streets protesting, why are we being bombed? Many of the regime' mid-level officials will shave their beards, don ties and join the (civilians) on the streets."[31]

Election boycotts[edit]

In the 2005 Iranian presidential elections, he supported boycotting the elections in Iran, claiming that the regime has no legitimacy and that the presidential elections should be turned into a referendum, a claim also supported by Abbas Amir-Entezam, the longest serving political prisoner in the middle east.[45] Fakhravar strongly opposed president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attempts of a "second cultural revolution," such as appointing hardliner clerics such as "Amid Zanjani", famous for his work as a religious prosecutor, as chancellor of Tehran University.[46]

Relationship with neo-conservatives[edit]

Fakhravar has been accused by numerous people of having ties with neo-conservative pundits whom endorse a U.S. war with Iran.[20][47][48][49] He has received support from Sheldon Adelson for his activities, and had told Adelson that if US attacks Iran, the Iranian people will be "ecstatic".[50]

Books, awards and honors[edit]

Still, the scraps of prison
Hanooz.jpg
book cover
Author Amir-Abbas Fakhravar
Language Persian and English
Publication date
2005
Books
Awards and honors

Documentaries[edit]

  • Fakhravar's trip to Israel, IRIB Islamic Republic's state TV made a documentary about Fakhravar's trip to Israel and called him a breaker of Iran-Israel taboo. February 2, 2012.[55]
  • "Iranium" is a 2011 documentary film that explores the Iranian nuclear program as it pertains to strategic threats against the West, and Islamic fundamentalism in Iran. Amir Abbas Fakhravar is one of the experts in this movie.[56]
  • Student uprising July 9, 1999, Unfinished Story Islamic Republic's state TV made a documentary about July 9, 1999 and pointed at Fakhravar as the mastermind of that student uprising. July 6, 2011.[57]
  • "The Case for War:In Defense of Freedom" in 2007, Amir Abbas Fakhravar participated Richard Perle presented this documentary articulating his view of the challenges facing the U.S. post 9/11, and debating with his critics including Richard Holbrooke, Simon Jenkins, and Abdel Bari Atwan. The film was broadcast by PBS in their series America at a Crossroads.[58]
  • Forbidden Iran in 2004, Fakhravar's story and his organization was one of the main parts of this documentary about Iranian Student Movement and July 9, 1999.[59][60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Various spellings of the Persian name can also include: Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Amir A. Fakhravar, AmirAbbas Fakhravar, Amir-Abbās Fakhr-āvar, Amir-Abbas Fakhr-Avar, Amir Abbas Fakhr Avar.
  2. ^ a b Annie Taylor Award Recipient Amir Abbas Fakhravar at Freedom Center's Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida November 2007 Annie Taylor Award
  3. ^ Joseph Puder (June 7, 2010). "The Revolution Within". FrontPage Magazine. Archived from the original on August 24, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Amir Abbas Fakhravar as a Research Fellow and Visiting Lecturer at the Institite of World Policts, IWP, April 26, 2000.
  5. ^ Iran's Nuclear Impasse: Next Steps Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  6. ^ Is America's Overseas Broadcasting Undermining our National Interest and the Fight Against Tyrannical Regimes? House Committee on Foreign Affairs
  7. ^ . Amir Fakhravar at EU Parliament., EU Parliament, May 7, 2012.
  8. ^ . Amir A. Fakhravar's speech at Finland Parliament., Finland Parliament, May 9, 2012.
  9. ^ VOA. VOA program on Amir Fakhravar's speech at UK Parliament, Voice of America, October 29, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e . Iranian dissident Amir Fakhraver tells Knesset members the Iranian people are not like their government., Jerusalem Post, February 1, 2012.
  11. ^ . Iranian Opposition figure Amir Abbas Fakhravar met Ropert Polenz, Chairman of German Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee., Jüdische Zeitung, April 25, 2012.
  12. ^ . Amir Fakhravar and James Bazan (Canadian Parliament Member)., Canadian Parliament, May 2010.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h Jacob Laksin. One Day in the Life of Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Front Page Magazine, November 12, 2007.
  14. ^ a b c d e [1], International Pen, November 15, 2004.
  15. ^ a b c [2], PEN Canada, March 2004.
  16. ^ Iranian Courts used to suppress political opinion and journalistic freedom, Amnesty International, December 1999.
  17. ^ Iranian protest at press closures, BBC, April 26, 2000.
  18. ^ a b [3], June 1989.
  19. ^ a b c [4], International Pen, April 2003.
  20. ^ a b c . Has Washington Found its Iranian Chalabi?, Mother Jones, October 5, 2006.
  21. ^ . Know More About Abbass Fakhavar, Ahmad Batebi, December 21, 2012.
  22. ^ . Iran Hawks Reorganize, The American Prospect, November 13, 2006.
  23. ^ a b c Helping to break the Silence: Urgent Actions on Iran, Amnesty International, December 21, 2012
  24. ^ [5], New York Sun, December 21, 2012
  25. ^ Eli Lake, Iranian Dissident to Seek Support For Opposition, The New York Sun, May 9, 2006. Retrieved on April 8, 2007.
  26. ^ a b Toby Harnden, Ex-student hailed as Iran's hope, The Daily Telegraph, July 2, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2007.
  27. ^ AMAR C. BAKSHI. Bush & Fakhravar: Fates Entwined, Washington Post, September 6, 2007.
  28. ^ Eli Lake. Iran Dissident Plots Escape to Freedom From the Mullahs, The New York Sun, October 3, 2005. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  29. ^ Iran's Nuclear Impasse: Next Steps Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
  30. ^ Fakhravar's testimony PDF (23.3 KiB) at the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, July 2006. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  31. ^ a b Yitzhak Benhorin. Iranian student leader: Ayatollahs will run if Iran attacked, Ynet, January 20, 2007. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  32. ^ a b Iran Democratic Transition Conference, December 20, 2012.
  33. ^ a b Iran Democratic Transition Conference II, December 20, 2012
  34. ^ Livni meets Iranian opposition member, Ynetnews, January 28, 2012.
  35. ^ Amir Fakhravar as speaker at Herzliya Conference 2012, Israel, January 30, 2012.
  36. ^ Amir Fakhravar Interview with Channel 2, Israel, January 26, 2012.
  37. ^ a b . Islamic Republic's states tV propaganda vs. Fakhravar's trip to Israel, IRIB, February 2, 2012.
  38. ^ . Fakhravar's trip to Israel,
  39. ^ Front Page Magazine 08/24/2011
  40. ^ Amir Fakhravar, Iranian blogger's death in prison shows regime's desperation to suppress public opposition, the University of Pittsburgh, April 8, 2009.
  41. ^ Fakhravar, DAY OF THE IMPRISONED WRITER, November 15, 2004.
  42. ^ Eli Lake. Ganji Is Near Death in Iranian Prison, a Dissident Reports, The New York Sun, July 18, 2005. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  43. ^ Jahanshah Javid. The republican prince (Interview with video clips), Iranian.com, July 17, 2006. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  44. ^ Art Moore. Silent army can overthrow Iran's mullahs, Worldnet daily, March 16, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2007
  45. ^ Safa Haeri interview with Fakhravar. The Islamic Republic has no legitimacy, Iran Press Service, April 7, 2005. Retrieved on March 10, 2007.
  46. ^ Jason Lee Steorts, Message from Underground, National Review, December 5, 2005.
  47. ^ . Ledeen, Perle find 'Iranian Chalabi, Daily Kos, December 21, 2012.
  48. ^ , Is Fakhravar A Fraud?, Moon of Alabama, May 26, 2006.
  49. '^ . Heroes' in waiting, Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2007.
  50. ^ http://www.salon.com/2013/08/05/home_depot_founder%E2%80%99s_quiet_10_million_right_wing_investment/?utm_content=buffer87e34&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer
  51. ^ Still, the scraps of prison by Amir Abbas Fakhravar, July 6, 2005.
  52. ^ The Greenest Eyes on Earth by Amir Abbas Fakhravar, February 10, 1998.
  53. ^ [6], December 1997.
  54. ^ [7], East West Center, March 2010.
  55. ^ Fakhravar's trip to Israel, IRIB, February 2, 2012.
  56. ^ [8], Iranium, January 2011.
  57. ^ IRIB's documentary about July 9, 1999, July 6, 2011.
  58. ^ [9], Public Broadcasting Service, January 2004. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  59. ^ Forbidden Iran, Public Broadcasting Service, January 2004. Retrieved April 9, 2007.
  60. ^ transcript, Public Broadcasting Service, January 2004. Retrieved April 9, 2007.

External links[edit]