Wednesday, 30 December 2009

O World! Enough hesitation! It’s time to act

Hundreds of newspapers have been shut down in Iran; international reporters have been banned; hundreds of Iranian journalists are in prison; internet has almost been shut down; the sophisticated filtering system has blocked the contact of the Iranian people with the world; the police is massacring people in the streets in broad daylight and then blames the violence on the people themselves; the government is giving out lies after lies; all the minority ethnic and religious groups are suffering from the official oppression; prisoners have been tortured, raped, murdered; the Basij militia shoots unarmed civilians in the streets; students have been expelled from the universities because of protesting against tyranny…

While you, people of the world, are celebrating the New Year by embracing your loved ones with joy, while you dance to the Christmas tunes, the young people in Iran are dancing to the macabre music of the bullets and embrace batons and teargas. While you are hugging each other and wishing a happy new year, mothers in Iran are forbidden to shed tears for their children who were brutally murdered by the police trucks running them over. The people of Iran are alone, they are broken, they are tired, but determined to go on.

Do you think this has nothing to do with you? Do you think that you only need to worry about your domestic affairs? Do you think that saying a few words of condemnation will redeem you from your global responsibility towards human rights? Is this the global citizenship you preach?

This is the most dangerous State in the world. Hesitate in acting and you will see how this government, rooted in lies, will destroy your own children. What do you expect? Do you think that a totalitarian regime that does not show mercy to its own children will have pity on your people? Do you think that this beast will stay calm and watch you? Wrong! Hesitate and see.

The people of Iran have spoken with their torn throat and through the last sparkle of life in Neda’s eyes; they have written their vows with their own blood on the pavements in the streets: They want to be global citizens, they resent terrorism, tyranny, lies, wars, nuclear weapons… and they have died the most brutal deaths for speaking out. Why are you watching silently? Do you think you are safe? Do you think that this cancer will be contained inside the borders or Iran? Do you think that the rotten claw of this grim reaper will not reach you? Wrong. Hesitate and see.

It is time to act. There are people drowning in Iran. Do not believe the lies of the Iranian government. This government that denies all these brutalities is the same that denies the Holocaust, that claims that there are no homosexuals in Iran, that Neda Agha Soltan was killed by CIA, MI6 and BBC, and there is freedom of press in Iran.

How to act? We do not want any violence. This government is falling. Just do not support the government. Do not recognise the current government of Iran. Do not negotiate with them – How can any negotiation with someone who tells nothing but lies and is willing to break any promise, be fruitful? Do not be deceived by their lies. Expel the Iranian ambassadors and diplomats. You will lose nothing and will gain everything by supporting the future of Iran. Hesitate, and you will be run over by the evil machines of this rotten government. Hesitate, and you will be weeping over the graves of your own children.

It is time to act. Hesitate, and when you regret your hesitation, it will be too late.

Arash Hejazi, 30 December 2009

Friday, 13 November 2009

Arash Hejazi’s Interview with The Times / November 13, 2009

Iranian doctor Arash Hejazi who tried to rescue Neda Soltan tells of wounds that never heal

As Arash Hejazi sat in an Oxford coffee bar, members of Iran’s Basij militia in Tehran were demanding his extradition outside the British Embassy.

The previous day the Iranian regime had sent an Oxford college a letter of protest over a scholarship given to honour Neda Soltan, the student killed during a huge demonstration against electoral fraud in Tehran in June. The letter also suggested that Dr Hejazi was responsible for her murder.

Read more

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

An Overview on Iran's Reaction to The Queen's Colleg Scholarship in the Name of Neda

Ahmadinejad versus Oxford University and Neda

The Iranian Embassy Objects to the Queens College’s Neda Scholarship

The Queen’s College venerates the memory of Neda Agha Soltan; the Iranian Government blames it on Arash Hejazi!

Read more here:

The Power of Neda: Media Revolution in Iran

How Neda Challenged Ahmadinejad and Censorship in her Death

How the video of Neda Agha Soltan’s death marks a defining moment in the history of media. Has it changed the concept of Freedom to Publish in the digital age?
Read more:

Thursday, 15 October 2009

An exceptional opportunity for short story writers

Lion Lounge Press is an independent publishing company that specialises in creative writing, both short creative fiction and non-fiction, as well as poetry.

The Lion Lounge Press is currently accepting submissions of the above description for their 2010 publications, and I would like to extend an invitation to you to pass on our details to your Creative Writing students.

In August of this year, Lion Lounge Press published the first issue of its literary journal, The Lounge Companion, in which we managed to include both previously unpublished authors from various creative writing courses around the world, as well as established and critically acclaimed writers.

Though The Lion Lounge does not offer pecuniary compensation for shortlisted submissions, we realise that publication is in itself a form of remuneration, especially for those that are looking to make a name for themselves as writers, and we would also like to stress that in no way do we intend to seize hold of the writers’ copyright. In fact, contracts will be drafted with shortlisted authors in order to protect their interests.

The next issue of The Lounge Companion is scheduled for publication in March 2010, and we will continue to accept submissions for it until the 31st December 2009.

We also welcome submissions for our other 2010 publications, including travel writing and other genre fiction. Please have a look at for more details. The website also includes downloadable posters in pdf-format, that I would otherwise gladly email to you, should you so wish.

If you have any queries regarding the above-mentioned, please do not hesitate to ask.

All submissions are to be sent to

There are no thematical restrictions. All themes, thoughts, and ideas are welcome.

Prose Criteria: a maximum of 3 short stories, of no more than 2,500 words each
Poetry Criteria: a maximum of 5 poems on no more than 5 pages in total
Submission Deadline: 31st December 2009

Email your submissions as MS Word document (.doc) attachments, and state ‘Prose,’ or ‘Poetry’ in the subject line respectively.
You’re more than welcome to submit both prose and poetry, though please submit them separately.

Kind regards,

Leon Turner

Founding Editor

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Mr. President Obama: It’s the Persian Gulf. Please don’t step on a nation’s dreams – an open letter to President Obama

October 11, 2009


Your Excellency,

President Obama,

First of all, I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate you for your Noble Peace Prize. I really hope this prize can get your message through to the hearts and minds that are sealed with hatred and lust for power.

I am Arash Hejazi. You might have heard my name before, as I am the doctor who tried to save Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot during the peaceful demonstration against the frauds in the Iranian elections, the same woman you have mentioned twice in your speeches in the last four months.

I am the one who left his country to bear witness to the absolute cruelty and injustice that ended up in the death of that innocent girl who was shot in the chest by an Iranian pro-government militiaman and bled to death under my eyes.

Mr. President,

I was there when Neda died. I made sure that the world saw the look in her eyes just before she died. I testified about the circumstances of her death, so that every tyrant in the world would know that there is always someone watching.

She died for a reason there; she died for a dream at a time when all dreams were shattered. She died to bring back dignity to a country that was becoming one of the most hated states in the world. She tried to show the world that Iran was not about nuclear activities, terrorism and fundamentalism, but about believing in dreams, courage, dignity, unconditional love, and paying any price necessary to get one step closer to freedom. Her death introduced anew the purity of a three thousand year old nation to the world.

I have lost everything since I bore witness to this crime, I have lost my career, my decent life in Iran, my family security, my safety, my country, and now I am on my own in this large world, without money, without a job, and with a family to support.

But I don’t regret what I have done and I would have done it again if the clock turned back; although the world watched that innocent look in Neda’s eyes and did nothing. Millions of people shed tears, but no one did anything. As usual, everybody watched, they cursed the tyrant, they blessed the martyr, but no one took a step to support a nation that has been the homeland to the first declaration of human rights.

Nevertheless, I am not writing this letter because I want you to do something. No, the people of Iran will fight and gain their freedom without asking for the help of any authority in the world. What makes me compelled to write to you is that although we don’t need anyone’s support, we appreciate if the world does not try to distort the truth.

Neda did not die for a country, but for a dream called Iran. One of the major symbols of Iran in the hearts of the Iranians is the Persian Gulf, a beautiful gulf in the Middle East that in your speech, you have referred to as ‘The Gulf’.

Mr. President, the Persian Gulf has been called the Persian Gulf BC by Daryus the Great and Herodotus in the fifth century; by Claudius Ptolemaues in the second century BC and by Quintus Curticus Rufus in the first century AD, and its official name is still the ‘Persian Gulf’. The United Nations has issued two editorial directives in which the states have been asked to only use “Persian Gulf” as the official and standard geographical designation for the body of water.

The implication of Neda in your speech was heart-warming for the Iranian Nation; however, when you omit the word ‘Persian’ from the Persian Gulf, you are stepping on the dreams of Neda and a nation that have nothing left but their dignity and their dreams. I am sure that you have no intention of stripping a nation from what is rightfully theirs.

I have lost everything for a dream, and I believe that you Mr. President are one of the few politicians left in the world who still believe in dreams.

I salute you and I wish you the very best in the long journey ahead of you. I hope you too wish the best for a nation that is struggling towards its dream for freedom and prosperity amidst the blood of its loved ones.

Sincerely yours,

Arash Hejazi

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Arash Hejazi's open letter to Ahmadinejad

Mr. Ahmadinejad, it’s enough. Shame on you! Open your eyes!

In the past three months, millions of the Iranians declared that they don’t want you; in different tones, in the campaigns before the elections, on the day of the election and during the protests after the election; despite and your ruthless and cruel oppression. Have you asked yourself even once that why these people don’t like you and why they show you their dislike, even for the price of their securities and lives?

In between the justifications that even you don’t believe in them, in between your meetings with your companions when you blame everybody, from the east to the western ends of the world, for inciting the Iranian people to uprising in objection to your policies, have you ever asked yourself why these people do not give up?

Mr. Ahmadinejad,

How many times have you claimed the death of Neda is ‘suspicious’? Have you ever asked yourself what had she done to deserve such a fate? Despite all the undeniable evidences and proofs published about Neda’s death, what evidence have you published to show that you are telling the truth? In the election debates you said that liars are cowards. But you lied even then. Liars are shameless, they don’t have a conscience. The liars shoot a young and innocent girl in the chest in the broad daylight and then blame fantastic conditions for her death......

[read the rest of this open letter here]

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Arash Hejazi's website relaunched

After the 'unexpected shutdown' of my website after my testimonial for Neda's murder, I have managed to restore my website at a new domain. Please kindly update your book marks to:
From now on I will update my blog at the above mentioned address.
Arash Hejazi

Friday, 4 September 2009

Neda Agha Soltan murder witness at risk of torture in Tehran prison

Caspian Makan, the fiancé of Neda Agha Soltan, a young woman killed in the recent protests in Iran, has been held in detention since 26 June, after he made a statement linking her murder to the pro-government Basij militia.

Currently held in Evin Prison in Tehran, Caspian Makan is reported to have told his family that if he signs a "confession" saying that the People's Mojahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI), a political body banned in Iran since 1981, killed her, then he may be released.

Amnesty International said it fears he may be forced to sign such a "confession" under torture or other ill-treatment, given the pattern of human rights violations in Iran following the election. The organization said that he may be a prisoner of conscience, held for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.
(read the rest)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The face of Abbas Kargar Javid — man accused of killing Neda Soltan

August 20, 2009
The man accused of killing Neda Soltan has been identified as Abbas Kargar Javid, a pro-government militiaman, after photographs of the Basiji’s ID cards appeared on the internet.

The identification challenges the Iranian regime’s claim that foreign agents shot the young woman, who became a global symbol of resistance to the Government of President Ahmadinejad.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

International Publishers Association Calls for the Immediate Release of Publishes List of Arrested Iranian Journalists, Publishers & Writers

Source: International Publishers Association
Geneva, 31 July 2009
Following the massive wave of arrests targeting bloggers, journalists, publishers and writers, the International Publishers Association (IPA) publishes a list of some of those under arrest (see Note for Editors), and demands their immediate release.
IPA also calls on the Iranian authorities to drop the investigation of Arash Hejazi, the publisher who provided the first aid to Neda Agha-Soltan, killed during the street protests on 20 June 2009.
Publisher Arash Hejazi (Caravan publishing) is pictured on video trying to help 26 year old Neda Agha-Soltan during her last moments. On 29 June 2009, Mr. Ahmadinejad called for a probe into Neda's "suspicious" death, and sent a letter to judiciary chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi-Shahrudi requesting a serious investigation to help identify "the elements" behind Neda's killing. A few days later, Iran's police chief, Ismail Ahmadi Moghaddam, declared that Arash Hezaji, Paulo Coehlo’s publisher in Farsi, who was present at the death of Neda during opposition street protests in Tehran, was under investigation by both Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and by the international policy agency (Interpol). Since then, Interpol has denied any knowledge of the case.
Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, declares: “A climate of terror has taken over Iran since the 12 June elections. Massive arrests have been targeting journalists, bloggers, writers and publishers as a way to stifle freedom of expression. Ahead of Iran’s review by the United Nations Human Rights Council, IPA is urging the Iranian authorities to release immediately all the journalists, bloggers, writers and publishers who have been engaged in non-violent demonstrations, thus exercising their right to freedom of expression. In addition, IPA is also calling on the Iranian authorities to drop the investigation of Arash Hejazi, the publisher who provided the first aid to young Neda, killed during the street protests on 20 June”.

Iran is now being described as the second largest prison for journalists worldwide following the wave of arrests among the intellectuals, including publishers, since the June street protests. The following is a list of named arrested journalists, writers, and publishers since the protests of last month:
Ahmad Zeidabadi - Journalist
Maziar Bahari - Journalist
Said Leylaz - Journalist
Homa Rousta - Actress
Jila Bani Yaghub - Journalist
Issa Saharkhiz - Journalist
Keivan Samimi - Magazine Publisher
Abdolreza Tajik - Editor
Mojtaba Pourmohsen - Journalist
Mehdi Khazali - Publisher (Hayyan)
Kambiz Norouzi - Secretary of the Legal Committee of the Iranian Journalists'
Alireza Beheshti - Editor in Chief (Kalameh Sabz newspaper)
Shokoufeh Azar - Journalist
Behzad Basho - Cartoonist
Hengameh Shahidi - Journalist
Mahsa Amrabadi - Journalist
Masood Bastani - Journalist, Blogger
Misagh Bolhasani - Poet
Mohammad-Reza Yazdan Panah - Journalist
Majid Saidi - Photographer
Satiar Emami - Photographer
Said Movahedi - Photographer
Mehdi Zaboli - Photographer
Shadi Sadr - Journalist
Arash Hejazi - Writer, Publisher (Prosecuted)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Monday, 3 August 2009

The Hunted Evolves Faster than the Hunter: The Problem of Censorship in Iran

The Hunted Evolves Faster than the Hunter: The Problem of Censorship in Iran

By Arash Hejazi

Publishing Perspectives, August 3rd, 2009

My name is Arash Hejazi. I am an Iranian doctor, novelist and founder and editorial director of the Tehran-based Caravan Books Publishing House. Sadly, I’m now better known for my association with the brutal murder of Neda Agha Soltan — as the doctor who tried to save her life and then went out into the world to tell her story. Neda’s death was a brutal and horrible experience for me.

Before this terrible incident I was known primarily to others for my literary work, publishing writers ranging from Paulo Coelho (which I translated from the Portuguese myself) to Nobel Laureate J.M.G. Le Clezio. I was known as a free speech advocate and fought against censorship. I say ‘I was’ known for these things because I cannot return to Iran and am now being prosecuted in my own country for telling the truth. The Iranian intelligence services are looking for me and I cannot return...

Read the rest at Publishing Perspectives, August 3rd, 2009

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Neda Agha Soltan’s alleged shooter

Images of three cards that have been attributed to the shooter of Neda Agha Soltan were published on the internet. I am here confirming that the photo of the individual that appears on this card completely matches the particulars that I recall of the individual who was seized by people a few minutes after Neda was shot, and who was shouting “I didn’t mean to kill her.” However, on that day, his beard had been shaved off, but he had his mustache. But in order to be 100% certain, since sometimes an innocent person is wrongly accused, we should consider another form of proof about this individual.

Because after people seized the shooter, they took his shirt off his body, and on the shooter’s back, I saw some old scars. These scars resembled the traces of wounds produced by a cutting instrument or something sharp.

Please note: I have only identified the owner of the photos. I can’t confirm his personal details. Furthermore, don’t discount the possibility of human error.
I hope that this information can help in bringing this case to justice, and likewise I call on my fellow-citizens to avoid all violence. This information is valuable insofar as it assists in the arrest of this individual. As for the rest, let the law take its course. This individual has the right to be fortunate enough to select an attorney and to defend himself. When people take the law into their own hands, they can cause unintended harm [literally “burn both the good and the bad together.”]

Again, I emphasize: do not allow anger to stain your honor in any way.

With hope for better days,
Arash Hejazi

BBC's interview with Arash Hejazi on Neda Agha Soltan's death

A note for future generations

My fear, however,
is of dying in a land
where the wage of the grave-digger
is higher than the price of human freedom.
Ahmad Shamlu, Iranian contemporary poet

After my June 25th interview on BBC regarding my personal observations on Neda Agha Soltan’s brutal murder, I read in the press on July 1st that a warrant had been issued by Iranian government for me to be arrested.
As I mentioned in my interview with BBC, such a desperate move towards concealing the truth regarding this cruel crime was to be expected from an administration that is built on lies and injustice. I predicted in the aforementioned the interview that they were going to denounce what I said; that they were going to put so many things on me. This administration, instead of trying to find the real murderers of this innocent girl and several other victims and accept responsibility for its inefficiency, is trying to blame every other single soul, country or body that has done nothing wrong.
Pressure is being put on my friends and family in Iran who had nothing to do with this incident. My 70 year old father who is a university professor and a distinguished member of the academic society has been questioned without even knowing what he had to do with any of this.
I just did what every decent human being would have done at the same situation. I tried to save a victim, and when the truth about the circumstances of her death was being distorted by the Iranian State media, I testified for what I had witnessed.
I have lived my life in such a way that does not leave regrets for me. As a trained physician, I was one of the first doctors that travelled to Bam after that terrible earthquake, just to be there for those innocent victims who were on the verge of losing their hopes.
This time, I was there for another innocent victim, by mere accident, without having a clue on what I was going into. But this time, this victim was not killed by a natural disaster. It was greed and lust for power that shed her blood.
I am also a writer, and if you read my novels, my articles and my speeches, you will realise that I have always advocated human rights and have always paid a price for it.
I have always tried to live a truthful and honest life and have never betrayed my values.
I believe what I did in trying to save Neda and tell her story was the right thing to do. I believe, as my dear friend Paulo Coelho says, that god is the lord of the valiant. I believe that the truth shall set us free. I did everything according to my conscience and if I have to pay a price for it, so be it. But I have the right to defend my honour and dignity.
I swear by god who is my witness and I swear by my honour, that I told the truth and nothing but the truth about what I saw.
The Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic of Iran were founded on what Iranian people still stand for today. People relied on these beliefs when they fought against tyranny and then when they sacrificed so much blood to defend their country against the invasion of another tyrant, ruling Iraq with iron fist.
However, this lie undermines every other statement of this specific administration of Iran; this administration that has distorted the history of WWII, claims that freedom of press and speech is openly practised in Iran, claims that Iranian prisons hold no political prisoners, claims that there are no censorship practised on books, information, media and the press of Iran, and pretends that it respects civil rights such as freedom of assembly, freedom to protest and equal rights for Iranian citizens, regardless of their gender, race and religion.
In the past twenty days, the world has witnessed through the tearful eyes of the brave Iranians that all these claims have been nothing but lies. I am sure the world will not believe this new lie and will understand that a doctor, writer and publisher has done nothing but what his conscience has dictated, in rushing to help those who needed help, and telling the truth.
Neda was not the only person slain in Iran during this turmoil. Have all those people, innocently murdered, been victims of an international conspiracy? Why aren’t the murderers of the other victims being prosecuted? Or perhaps one should blame the recklessness and inefficiency of the uncontrolled armed militia who failed to wisely handle the legitimate protests of Iranian citizens towards injustice.
I am just a witness. Why prosecute a witness instead of prosecuting the murderer? Have not enough blood been already shed? Should I have remained silent against this gruesome crime, out of fear? Is this the message we are preaching for our next generations?
I believe that no decent global citizen will ever fail to support me and thousands of other Iranians who were beaten, imprisoned, prosecuted and slaughtered, only because they wanted to be a free nation and join the world in the path towards prosperity and justice and share their rich culture and their history of bravery.
I am proud to be part of this. I have done what every decent person would have done, and for that I am being threatened; just as all these martyrs did what every free soul would have done, and for that they were murdered; murdered by a dark hatred towards anything they stood for: freedom, truth, and justice.
Arash Hejazi
July 2nd 2009