One of IHEU’s Dutch member organization, HIVOS (the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation), is being targeted by the Islamic regime in Iran.
Since the administration of president Khatami, predecessor of the current president, HIVOS has had contacts with civil society groups in Iran advocating for women’s rights and the abolition of the death penalty. HIVOS funded their activities and, with the consent of the then government, took staff to the Netherlands for training. But following the arrival of the current president Ahmadinejad in 2005, the aid agency has been under fire.
For the last two years HIVOS has been unable to send money to Iran. Some of the activists supported by HIVOS have been followed, bugged and even arrested and questioned about their relations with the Dutch humanist organization.
After the disputed 2009 elections, people were arrested and questioned again about their relationship with HIVOS. This time it was used as evidence of their planning to overthrow the government.
According to a HIVOS spokesman this is absolute nonsense but HIVOS is struggling to know how to respond to the allegations. HIVOS says: “So far we have not responded as it may throw oil on the fire and put our people in danger. But now we have been openly mentioned it is perhaps time to give a reply.”