Iranian Queer Railroad

Iranian Queer Railroad:

The IRanian Queer Railroad (IRQR) is our new organization’s name since October 9, 2008. For IRQR, we are working to create a simple structure and focus upon supporting Iranian queers to be safe on their journey and to arrive in a new country to live and be free.

The Underground Railroad was an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th century Black slaves in the United States to escape to free states and mainly to Canada with the aid of abolitionists who were sympathetic to their cause. In Canada they had their freedom. In the past few years one of our major activities was about asylum seekers who must escape Iran due to their sexual orientation and we will continue this work under IRQR. Iranian queer refugees are resettling in Canada, and also in United States and in parts of Europe. ...

Via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi at Facebook.

Iran Update: 2009-07-20

29 Tir 1388. One month since the June 20 uprisings began, it's clear the Middle East will never be the same.

CNN: 'Middle East is changed forever.' Hamid Dabashi writes: 'With the commencement of the civil rights movement in Iran in June 2009, the moral map of the Middle East is being changed right in front of our eyes, with the democratic will of one nation having thrown a monkey wrench into the geopolitics of the region. The moving pictures of Iranians flooding colorfully into the streets have forever altered the visual vocabulary of the global perception of "the Middle East."' Read the full article at the link.

Models wear green for Iran. Via Rah-e Azadi, this article (Italian) shows fashion models sporting green armbands for Iranian solidarity.

Arutz Sheva: Iran VP denies resignation. Just in from A7: 'Iranian vice president Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie denied quitting his post Monday after state run media announced in the morning that he had resigned following hardliner criticism. Mashaie, whose son is married to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s daughter, once said that Iran is a “friend of the Israeli people.”'

British embassy official reported freed on bail. Xinhua: 'Iran has released on bail head of the security and political division of the British embassy in Tehran Hossein Rassam, who was arrested due to involvement in Iran's post-election riots, local English-language Press TV reported on Sunday. ...'

Video: Protestors brave tear gas, chant against "dictator" Khamenei. Azarmehr has a clip of protestors chanting "مرگ بر خامنه ای" and burning pictures of leaders. Notice that many of these folks aren't even trying to hide their faces from the camera.

Winston at TSOM: Obama's dangerous presidency. The Spirit of Man: 'But as far as I see Mr. Obama has been busy disabling/dismantling the United States arsenal of freedom with his massive public spending bills and coward attitude in matters of foreign policy and has aimed to really turn America to a socialist dead-land like France, Canada or Britain. That said, nothing has enraged me more about him than his bizarre and dangerous approach towards the Iranian regime since taking office in January. He's proven to be a dangerous man.'


Iran Report: 2009-07-13

Iran report, 22 Tir 1388. Social networking spies, tempers ablaze in Tehran, and disgraceful deal-making.

Iran's Facebook police. NPR:

A trusted colleague - who is married to an Iranian-American and would thus prefer to stay anonymous - has told me of a very disturbing episode that happened to her friend, another Iranian-American, as she was flying to Iran last week. On passing through the immigration control at the airport in Tehran, she was asked by the officers if she has a Facebook account. When she said "no", the officers pulled up a laptop and searched for her name on Facebook. They found her account and noted down the names of her Facebook friends.

Khomeini, Khamenei pictures burned in Tehran. Via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi on the infamous Facebook, 37 beautiful seconds of a poster of the theocrats being torched, to cheers of "Marg ba diktator!"

Terrorists for journalists. The Belmont Club comments on a reported swap of suspected Qods Force hostages for detained journalist Roxana Saberi.


Concert for Iran - Ashkenaz, Berkeley

Via Shirzad Sharif at tribe.net:

Date & Time:
Sunday, July 26, 2009
8:00 PM

Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center
1317 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA


Benefit Event $5 donation, proceeds go to support Human Rights Watch & Ashkenaz!

Local Bay Area Iranian musicians, activists and visual artists come together for an evening of Iranian national music and performance of freedom songs in solidarity with the Iranian people's freedom movement.

Shirzad Sharif: (Dutar, Tanbur, Tonbak & Daf)
Kaveh Hedayati: (Vocals, Setar)
& other special guest musicians...

Visual Artist: Neda Sharif

For more information please visit:

Iran Update: 2009-07-12

A little late in coming, but here's a couple of links to posts on the 18 Tir (July 9) protests and other recent events in Iran and the Iranian world.

"Buy yourself some ice cream." The Spirit of Man has video of a group of people gathering in western Tehran and being politely asked to disperse by the local police. TSOM emphasizes that the ordinary street cops aren't the enemy here:

I've heard/read so many times about police officers not wanting to beat up people or engage in street clashes. I've heard/seen that only Basijis and plain-clothed thugs attack and kill people mercilessly. And what we see in this short clip may confirm that police do not want to be violent. These regular police agents live in that country and I doubt that things happening around them have started to affect them as well. They're underpaid and not well taken care of. Their main body is consisted of conscripts and they hate their jobs for all I know. They live in the very same country and they can not be against the will of their brothers and sisters. I hope these signs of crack among regime's security apparatus grow bigger and deeper. Only if regular army starts to protect people next time Basijis shoot into the crowds or IRGC refuse orders to massacre people. That'll be the end of the mullahs.

Sohrab Erabi dies in Evin. Azarmehr has the bad news:

19 Year old Sohrab Erabi, one of the thousands of protesters who have been imprisoned, has died while in custody in Evin prison. Sohrab had passed his university exam entrance this year and would have enrolled as an undergraduate student in September. He was arrested on Saturday 20th June and taken to Evin prison.

Dream until your dream comes true. Also from Azarmehr, a video tribute to the Iranian people who have risked and sacrificed so much in the struggle for freedom.

Commentary. Beginning today, my semi-regular Morning Report feature will be replaced with Iran-focused roundups like this one. Additionally, Dreams Into Lightning will focus mainly on Iran-related events for the foreseeable future.