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Iran Security Agents Prevent 50th Anniversary of Writers Association

Iranian Writers Association meeting in 2016, in Tehran.

Iranian security forces on Friday May 25 prevented the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Writers Association, the oldest and most prestigious trade union for Iranian writers.

Upholding human rights, organizing Iranian writers and campaigning against censorship are the focal points of the Iranian Writers Association’s activities.

Akbar Massoumbeigi, a member of the Writers Association reported on social media that security agents “brutally stormed” the venue of the writers’ gathering at a member’s house and barricaded the street in which it was located.

The report added that security agents confiscated all the posters and memorabilia that members had prepared for the ceremony during the past year.

“They fear even a simple gathering at a private home,” wrote another member, Hassan Mortazavi, on his Facebook.

Last November, security agents had stormed a similar session when a group of writers were commemorating an Iranian novelist who had passed away.

Both of Iran’s security establishments, the IRIGC Intelligence Organization and the Rouhani administration’s Intelligence Ministry, have been preventing gatherings by various political and cultural groups including the National Front and the Writers Association during recent years.

Meanwhile, The Center for Defending Human Rights in Iran has recently asked President Hassan Rouhani to stop violations of law and human rights by the Intelligence Ministry and other “parallel intelligence organizations.”

In a statement issued on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, the Writers Association of Iran emphasised its mission to counter censorship, defend human rights and organize Iranian writers.

The Association was established in 1968 by 49 prominent Iranian writers including Jalal Al-Ahmad, Bahram Bayzai, Darioush Ashouri and Mohammad Ali Sepanlou.

The association organized a major literary event in 1978 shortly before the 1979 revolution which was instrumental in creating an atmosphere of dissent and political excitement.

In the 1990s, two of its activists, poet Mohammad Mokhtari and writer Mohammad Jafar Pouyandeh were murdered by “rouge elements” in the Iranian Intelligence Ministry.

Others, such as author Ali Akbar Saeedi Sijani were murdered in custody only because they wrote letters to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to inform him of violation of human rights in the country.

The murders were part of the state sponsored organized crimes that mainly targeted intellectuals and political activists during that decade. The murders were later disclosed by Iran’s reformist President Mohammad Khatami and the outspoken reformist press that was allowed to operate in Iran during his term of office in late 1990s and early 2000s.