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

IRAN: Worries Mount over Sanctions’ Ripple Effect

Although the United States and its allies insist that the latest round of U.N. sanctions against Iran targets high-level government officials rather than the general population, interviews with a number of analysts, activists and journalists in Tehran reveal a growing concern over the impact on the country's middle class.

Iranian officials denied reports that opposition prisoners had been tortured at the U.N. review in Geneva. Credit: Omid Memarian/IPS

Iran Pressured to Open Doors to U.N. Rights Investigators

The Iranian government rejected charges that it has violated human rights and freedom of speech and assembly before a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva Thursday - the same day that the Iranian opposition's request to hold a peaceful protest was denied by authorities.

Hassan Khomeini (right) is greeted by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Jun. 4 at the memorial event for his grandfather. Credit: Courtesy of Mehr News Agency

Divisions Sharpen as Iran Girds for Renewed Protests

A week before the first anniversary of Iran's contested presidential elections, the disruption of a speech by the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini during a memorial service for the founder of the Islamic Republic on Jun. 4 has once more publicly exposed the rift within the top level of Iran's leadership.

A group of friends go shopping in Tehran.  Credit: Saba Vasefi/IPS

Iran’s Hijab Crackdown Intensifies as Election Anniversary Nears

It might be hard to imagine that a woman's attendance at a university would be contingent upon the way she dresses.

"It's always a cat-and-mouse game," says software designer Austin Heap. Credit: Courtesy of Andy Hall/Observer

New Software Could Outwit Tehran’s Censors

While the Iranian government has intensified its aggressive efforts to expand Internet filters, Austin Heap, a young programmer in the U.S., says he has developed software that would enable Iranians to evade their censors.

Roxana Saberi Credit: Courtesy of Roxana Saberi

Q&A: “They Knew I Was Not a Spy”

When world leaders meet in Washington later this month for a summit on nuclear security that is expected to include discussion of sanctions on Iran, they should also address the country's human rights situation, says Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi.

Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary-general of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Credit: Ehsan Norouzi

RIGHTS: Iran Rebuffs U.N. Criticism, Denies Abuses

International human rights groups and Iranian activists say Iran's decision to reject major recommendations made by the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday is disappointing and signals that Tehran has no intention of easing the crackdown on dissent in the country.

Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal (left to right).  Credit:

US-IRAN: Ahmadinejad’s Offer for Prisoner Swap Angers Families

Six months after Iranian authorities arrested three U.S. citizens who mistakenly crossed the unmarked border between Iran and Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Iran could be willing to exchange them for Iranians imprisoned in the United States.

Mehdi Karrubi Credit: Arash Ashoorinia (

Q&A: Attack on Karrubi Was a “Coordinated Effort”

Hussein Karrubi, the son of Iranian opposition figure Mehdi Karrubi, whose car was struck by two bullets on Thursday in Qazvin, a city near Tehran, tells IPS the Islamic Republic is trying to silence and intimidate his father.

Shirin Ebadi Credit: Omid Memarian/IPS

Q&A: “The Government Took My Sister Hostage”

The Iranian government has intensified its pressure on political and human rights activists since the harsh crackdown on protesters on the holy day of Ashura, arresting major political figures and even their family members, including Noushin Ebadi, the sister of Noble Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi.

IRAN: Revolutionary Guards Tighten Economic Hold

News that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps is withdrawing a billion dollars from the country's Foreign Reserve Fund in order to complete Phases 15 and 16 of the gigantic South Pars gas project has generated concern among Iranian analysts, who believe the move reveals the military organisation's excessive power over Iran's economy.

Protests by opposition supporters raged in the streets of Tehran Saturday. Credit: Shahram Sharif

IRAN: Ahmadinejad Victory Sparks Protests and Claims of Fraud

Just a few months after a right-wing government gained power in Israel, Iran's hardliner president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was declared the winner in Friday's election, although his main rival has not accepted defeat and reformist supporters were skirmishing with security forces in the capital Tehran Saturday.

A child waves a poster of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist candidate who is President Ahmadinejad

IRAN: Reformist Candidates Complain of Too Many Ballots

Fears that the state apparatus controlled by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is laying the groundwork for possible fraud in Friday’s presidential election appear to be growing among his two reformist challengers and their supporters.

Arash Sobhani Credit: Shoja Lak/IPS

Q&A: Notes From Iran’s Underground Music Scene

As Iran’s conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad fights for his political future against two reformist challengers in the June elections, Arash Sobhani, a lead figure in the country’s underground music scene, says it’s a very tough time to be an artist in Iran.

Silva Harotonian Credit:

IRAN: Lawyers Seek Reversal in Second "U.S. Spy" Case

In a case that human rights activists say echoes that of recently released journalist Roxana Saberi, the Iranian government has imprisoned a woman employed by a U.S.-based non-profit organisation working to improve child and maternal health in the country, alleging that she acted as a spy for the United States.

Dr. Munir Jiwa Credit:

Q&A: Islamophobia Alive and Well in the U.S.

In an Apr. 6 address to the Turkish Parliament on the final day of his European trip, President Barack Obama praised Muslim Americans for "enriching the United States".

Roxana Saberi Credit: Eustacio Humphrey/ZUMA Press

RIGHTS-IRAN: Intl Support Mounts for Jailed Journalist

Since Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was sentenced to eight years in prison last week on the charge of spying for foreign governments, human rights and press freedom groups have become increasingly critical of the political nature of her case and the harsh and unprecedented penalty.

Dr. Kazem Jalali Credit: ISNA

Q&A: U.S.-Iran Detente Unsettles Persian Gulf States

Dr. Kazem Jalali, an influential conservative member of Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, and rapporteur of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, sees possibilities for a thaw with Washington, but believes that many Arab states in the Gulf "see their interests in keeping the current state of continual conflict among the west, the U.S., and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Dennis Ross Credit: WINEP

POLITICS: Obama’s New Iran Envoy Met With Scepticism

The appointment of Dennis Ross as a special advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has found a cool reaction in Tehran and some U.S. policy circles.

Robert Baer Credit: Hossam el-Hamalawy

Q&A: "U.S. and Iran Share an Equal Monopoly on Violence"

"Obama is going to have continuous pressure from Israel to attack Iran and, in some way, their nuclear facilities, and this is going to be tied up with Gaza and Lebanon," according to Robert Baer, a former top Central Intelligence Agency operative and the author of "The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower."

Graffiti reading "Shirin Ebadi = American" was spray-painted on her office by an unruly crowd on Jan. 1. Credit:

Q&A: "I Feared I Could Be Killed in the Mayhem"

A few days after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Iranian authorities to take immediate measures to ensure the safety of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi, she told IPS in a telephone interview from Tehran that police stood by and watched as her house was attacked by a mob.

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