Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Iranian Writers Guild's Uncertain Future

Iranian blogger, Behrouz Sayyedi, Roozonline:
Two years have passed since the Writers Guild elected its board of directors, however, permission for it to convene and elect new officers has been denied. Each time the sitting board has attempted to hold such a meeting, they've been contacted by national intelligence officials and informed they are not allowed to meet. READ MORE

Last month the meeting was to be held in the home of famous Iranian poet, Simin Behbehani but it was banned. Another meeting scheduled for last Tuesday at a hotel in north Tehran was scuttled after the hotel manager was contacted by the information ministry and instructed to deny access to the participants.

This organization's meetings have consistently met with opposition from certain political corners. Some Intelligence ministry officials show particular sensitivity to this group and block at every turn attempts by its members to meet and organize. The serial murders that occurred took the lives of some of the most active members of this organization. They've been allowed only limited activity after events such as earth quake disasters. About a decade ago 134 writers signed a letter declaring, "It is evident the right to investigate, research and write belongs to all individuals. The right to publish is necessary to promote national culture. Interfering with the private lives of individual writers is against democratic principals and ethics."

Though some members of Khatami's administration allowed and to an extent encouraged the formation of the Writers Guild many were later criticized for their support. This of course is contrary to the 26th provision of Iran's constitution which states, "Political parties, organizations, associations, Islamic and recognized minority religions are free to exist as long as they do not pose a threat to freedom, national unity, Islamic law and the Repbulic's constitution."

The Writers Guild first established in 1968 remains unsuccessful in obtaining permission to regularly meet and organize. Even though they enjoyed a more open climate during Khatami's government, they are even less likely to achieve their goals with the new administration.