Stories written by Omid Memarian
Omid Memarian is well known for his news analysis and regular columns in English and Persian. Omid has been regularly writing for IPS since 2006. He is also a regular contributor to the Daily Beast and BBC Persian and regularly blogs for the Huffington Post. He has had op-ed pieces published in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Institute for War and Piece Reporting and In 2005, he received Human Rights Watch’s highest honour, the Human Rights Defender Award, for his courageous work. Omid Memarian received his master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism in 2009 as a Rotary World Peace Fellow. He was awarded the Golden Pen Award at the National Press Festival in Iran in 2002. | Web

UN Rights Rapporteur Forced to Grade Iran from Afar

Following the release Friday of his report to the Human Rights Council on the situation in Iran, U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed urged Tehran to engage with U.N. mandates - firstly by permitting him to enter the country.

Iranian Diplomat Confirmed Arrested in Tehran

More than seven weeks after the secretive arrest of prominent Iranian diplomat Bagher Asadi, an Iranian official confirmed his detention Thursday, although he declined to provide further details.

Rights Report on Iran Highlights Executions, Political Prisoners

More than a year into his mandate, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, told the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly this week that the rights situation in Iran remains critical, especially as it pertains to human rights defenders, journalists, and religious and ethnic minorities.

U.N. Special Envoy on Iran Details Pattern of Rights Abuses

A United Nations envoy has called on the Iranian government to release all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and to conduct an extensive, impartial and independent investigation into the violence that followed the 2009 presidential election.

From left: Merila Zarei (Actress), Asghar Farhadi ('A Separation' Director) and Tahmineh Milani (Director). Credit: CC BY 2.0

Oscar-Winning Film Unites U.S., Iranian Audiences

Amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme, perhaps nothing less than an Oscar to the acclaimed feature film "A Separation" could have brought smiles to the faces of millions of Iranians who see most news as bad news these days.

From left: Merila Zarei (Actress), Asghar Farhadi (

Oscar-Winning Film Unites U.S., Iranian Audiences

Amid mounting tensions between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme, perhaps nothing less than an Oscar to the acclaimed feature film "A Separation" could have brought smiles to the faces of millions of Iranians who see most news as bad news these days.

IRAN: Elections Playbook Starts With Crackdown on Critics

Less than two months before Iran's parliamentary elections, as much of the opposition mounts a boycott of the polls, a wave of arrests and lengthy prison sentences for political activists and journalists appears to herald a renewed crackdown in the Iranian capital.

Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

Iran Rejects Report of U.N. Rights Rapporteur

The U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran defended his new critical report on the country Thursday after it was attacked by Iranian officials, who continue to insist he will not be allowed to visit the country.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the sixty-sixth session of the U.N. General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/Marco Castro

Ahmadinejad Sticks to Script in Seventh U.N. Appearance

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address to the United Nations Thursday followed the script of his previous six visits to New York, with strong criticism of the United States, messianic language, and vague utopian statements on how to govern the world, Iranian-style.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani meets with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Credit:

IRAN: Hikers’ Fate Exposes Fractures Between Executive and Judiciary

Just 24 hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that two U.S. hikers who have been detained for nearly two years would be released on bail, the country's judiciary insisted that the decision remains under review.

Rostam Ghassemi speaks to parliament prior to the Aug. 3 confidence vote. Credit: Courtesy of ILNA

IRAN: New Oil Minister Cements Ties with Military

Last week's appointment of a ranking member of Iran's influential Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as the country's new oil minister could lead to a more unaccountable and unpredictable military with greater influence on the government in Tehran, analysts say.

From left: Ehsan Norouzi, Issac Mao, Cyrus Farivar, and Mehdi Yahyanejad Credit: Omid Memarian

New Arsenal Emerges in Struggle over Iran’s Internet

Millions of Iranians who have lived under an intense level of internet filtering and advanced monitoring systems for years may soon benefit from new technology that sidesteps the censors.

Rights situation in Iran has been drawing the focus at the the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Credit: Omid Memarian / IPS

Iran Battles U.S. At UN Human Rights Council

Forty-nine United Nations member-states have co-sponsored a resolution asking for a special mechanism to monitor Iran's human rights situation, which is expected to be voted later this week at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

MPs chant for the execution of Iran's opposition leaders on Feb. 15. Credit: Courtesy of Mehr News Agency

Iran Steps Up Crackdown on Opposition Leaders

On Monday night, Iranian security agents raided the home of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, separating him from his wife, searching his house and arresting his son, Ali Karroubi, according to the local media outlet Saham News.

Abbas Milani Credit: Courtesy of Abbas Milani

Q&A: A Portrait of Iran’s Shah, in Shades of Grey

In "The Shah", a prominent Iranian author and scholar at Stanford University in the United States offers new insights into Iran's modern history, including the 1953 coup, the revolution a quarter century later, and the current repressive political situation.

Iran's then Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki addresses a press conference at the United Nations in October 2009. Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

IRAN: Minister’s Sacking Shores Up Ahmadinejad’s Power Base

While Iran gears up for a second round of nuclear talks with Western countries next month, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's abrupt dismissal of his foreign minister on Monday indicates a new power struggle with moderate conservatives that could alter the tone and face of Iran's foreign policy machinery in the years to come.

Reese Erlich Credit: Courtesy of Reese Erlich

Q&A: “There Is No War on Terrorism”

"The U.S. intentionally confuses al Qaeda with other groups around the world fighting for their independence or liberation, but it's [just] a convenient way to whip up support and get people very afraid," says author and journalist and Reese Erlich.

Friends and colleagues say they warned Derakhshan in 2008 that traveling to Iran could be dangerous for him. Credit: Courtesy of Hossein Derakhshan

Iran’s “Blogfather” Gets 20-Year Prison Sentence

A week after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told heads of state gathered for the U.N. General Assembly in New York that his government does not jail its citizens for expressing their opinions, Iran's Revolutionary Court sentenced Hossein Derakhshan, an internationally known Iranian-Canadian blogger, to 19 and a half years in prison.

Shirin Ebadi, centre, has endured hostile mobs outside her home and offices as a result of her work as a human rights lawyer in Iran. Credit: Solmaz Sharif/IPS

Activists Warn of Rights Crisis Ahead of Ahmadinejad Visit

Speaking at a press conference in New York Friday, Shirin Ebadi, a highly-regarded Iranian attorney and the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, warned that the human rights situation in Iran is deteriorating, particularly for the many journalists and civil society activists considered political prisoners.

Abolhassan Banisadr Credit: Courtesy of Abolhassan Banisadr

Q&A: Mousavi’s Revelations Would Destroy the Govt’s Legitimacy

Responding to pro-government critics, Iran's defiant opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has said several times in recent months that he would reveal "untold secrets" from his tenure.

President Ahmadinejad at the review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in May 2010. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

IRAN: Poll Finds Dwindling Support for Govt

A recent poll conducted by a credible Iranian university centre concerning the post-election events of 2009 has found that 56 percent of participants believe President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's popularity has declined over the past year, while just 22 percent believe it has increased.

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