On Incarceration in Iran, and Beyond: 27 March 2020
For audio only, find the podcast on SoundCloud.
This podcast takes you to several cities/countries affected by COVID-19 to discuss social, economic, and political challenges facing their societies, with emphasis on the most vulnerable groups and on what this pandemic reveals about the human condition (wow, big phrase). Based on personal and incisive conversations with various interlocutors on location, we hope both to learn from others and to provide some solace as we address how we are collectively experiencing and dealing with similar challenges.
We will be speaking with our guests, one or several at a time, via Skype, and will try to have brief, informative, and non-draining calls within 20-30 minutes.
Look out for upcoming episodes in the coming week(s) from Doha, San Francisco, Vancouver, and more. Listen to the previous episodes in the series on Gaza here, Dublin here, Cairo here, and the first interview on Iran here.
Hosted by Noura Erakat and Bassam Haddad
Production Set by Khalid Namez
Edited by Alicia Rodriguez
Directed by Bassam Haddad
Research by Naim Mousa
Data shown is as of March 29.
- Total confirmed cases: 38,309
- Total confirmed deaths: 2,609
- Total confirmed recoveries: 12,391
- Total active cases: 23,278
- Total open critical or severe cases: 3,206 (14%)
- Average daily number of deaths in past week: 136/day
- Some prominent figures who have died from the disease: Mohammad Mirmohammadi (Member of the Expediency Council), Nasser Shabani (Senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Commander), Fatemeh Rahbar (conservative politician and four-time Parliamentarian, died before the start of her fourth term)
- Some prominent figures who have contracted the disease: Iraj Harirchi (Deputy Minister of Health), Ahmad Amirabadi Farahani (MP, Qom), Ali Akbar Velayati (Senior Advisor to Supreme Leader Khamenei for International Affairs)
- January 26th: Government claims COVID-19 has not and will not spread to Iran
- On February 19, the Ministry of Health announced two confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city of Qom, which is a center for religious learning in the country. The Ministry later announced that both individuals died. On February 21, new cases were reported in Tehran and the province of Gilan. Parliamentary elections were held to record low turnout despite the risk of spreading contagion.
- On March 9, approx. 70,000 detainees are released on medical furlough
- On March 13th, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei implies that the virus might be a "biological attack"
- On March 19th, March 20th, and March 25th, there were revolts of incarcerated people in Tabriz and in two cities in the province of Lorestan in response to COVID-19 fears and to new lockdown measures introduced in wake of the spread of COVID-19.
Golnar Nikpour is Assistant Professor of History at Dartmouth College and co-editor of Jadaliyya's Iran Page. Nikpour is a scholar of modern Iranian political and intellectual history, with a particular interest in the history of law, incarceration, and rights. She is currently finishing her first book, The Incarcerated Modern: Prisons and Public Life in Iran, a study of prisons and punishment in 19th-21st century Iran that situates the expansion of Iran's modern prison system (and public discourses on those prisons) in the context of the global expansion of incarceration. Nikpour is also a member of the Radical History Review editorial collective as well as co-founder and co-editor of B|ta’arof, a journal for Iranian arts and writing, where she has written extensively on the intellectual and cultural histories of Iran and its diaspora.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of the forthcoming book, A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine. Bassam is Co-Project Manager for the Salon Syria Project and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book tittled Understanding The Syrian Tragedy: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).
Noura Erakat is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Africana Studies and the Program in Criminal Justice where she teaches topics such as human rights law, humanitarian law, national security law, refugee law, social justice, and critical race theory. Her scholarly interests include humanitarian law, human rights law, refugee law, and national security law. She earned her BA and JD from Berkeley Law School and her LLM in National Security from the Georgetown University Law Center. She is a Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya e-zine. Prior to beginning her appointment at GMU, Noura was a Freedman Teaching Fellow at Temple Law School and has taught International Human Rights Law and the Middle East at Georgetown University since 2009.