Nasty Iran, Persepolis

Activists' parents accuse Tehran of torturing their sons:
Fears that Iran is systematically mistreating political prisoners and dissidents have been further fuelled after the parents of three detained student activists claimed their sons had been tortured.
In a letter to the country's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, the parents alleged that the students have suffered a catalogue of physical and psychological abuses since being incarcerated in Tehran's Evin prison in May.
Two weeks ago I got to see the animated feature version of Persepolis. One of the things I drives home very effectively is that the fundamentalist regime in Iran has been much, much worse in terms of human rights and torture (never mind personal freedoms) than the old Shah regime, with its notorious CIA-trained SAVAK security service, ever was. Even more so, the film makes a very effective point in showing how fundamentally retarded that government was, much like any government that seeks to police the private moral life of its citizens -- in other words, an extreme version of what the "secular" regimes in many Arab countries have resorted to. Think of Egypt, and those trials to forcibly divorce public figures judged to be apostates, or the current contradictory statements of the Mufti, or among the opposition of the ridiculous moral crusades regularly brought out by the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the PJD and its supporters (such as at-tajdid newspaper) in Morocco.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,