Sunday, June 13, 2010

Iran Halts Production of ‘Neda’ Figures

This is what happens when religious zelots and the cynics who back them (raping their country in the meantime for all the money they can get) run a country.  Watch out America, if certain right wing-nuts get their way, we'll end up being a North American 'Iran' - with moose-hunting, to boot.

From The New York Times
Published: June 9, 2010

TEHRAN — A factory in Iran has been closed down after trying to mass-produce statuettes of people who were killed in the protests that followed last year’s disputed presidential election, among them Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old who became an icon of the opposition when a video of her shooting was broadcast around the world.

The pro-government Aty News Web site reported on Wednesday that the factory, in the northern province of Semnan, was closed after just one month, though officials denied the closure.

The Web site reported that the managing director, identified only by his initials, H. M., had intended to produce figurines of Ms. Agha-Soltan and had campaigned for one of the defeated candidates in last year’s presidential election.

It also states that the factory’s 40 female employees were discovered working without the head coverings and loose-fitting clothes required by Iranian law, and that they were mixing freely with male staff members.

Ms. Agha-Soltan became a martyr for Iran’s opposition, after her death from a gunshot wound was captured on a video that circulated widely on the Internet. Government security forces killed around 70 people in their effort to suppress the protests last year, according to human rights groups.

Neda Agha-Soltan’s memory was revived in a 70-minute HBO documentary, which was broadcast last week over the Voice of America’s satellite news channel, days before the June 12 anniversary of the presidential election, which the opposition says was stolen. Opposition leaders have called for mass rallies to observe the anniversary, though the government is assembling an enormous security force to prevent them.

Mass-produced statuettes of Ms. Agha-Soltan would have been intolerable for the Iranian government, which has continued to deny that members of the government-financed Basij militia were responsible for her death last June. Iran’s state-controlled media have issued various explanations for her death, including the allegation that a BBC correspondent had arranged for her to be shot as part of a news media war against the country.

In January, Iran’s international English-language news channel, Press TV, carried a report claiming that Ms. Agha-Soltan faked her death with the aid of accomplices who later killed her on her way to the hospital.

Last month, the semiofficial Fars news agency reported that the Intelligence Ministry had produced a new documentary on Ms. Agha-Soltan that would include further evidence that her death was part of a “Western plot.”

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