99% of candidates from relatively moderate Iranian parties who applied to run in Iran’s parliamentary election next month have been excluded by the body charged with vetting candidates, according to an Iranian official from one of those parties. The official said that "out of over 3,000 reformist candidates across the country, only 30 have been approved” by the Guardian Council. In total, almost two-thirds of the 12,000 candidates who applied to run next month were either disqualified or withdrew their candidacy. The widespread disqualifications are in tension with predictions, including from administration officials charged with promoting the recently-implemented agreement, that the deal would empower reformers.
Instead there has been an increasingly harsh crackdown on artists and young people as hardliners seek to assert their dominance both internally and externally. A filmmaker and two poets were recently sentenced to long prison terms and hundreds of lashes on charges of antigovernment activism and immorality. Another poet who had been involved in the Green Movement, which organized mass protests against the regime in 2009, was arrested upon her return to Tehran this month. On a military level, Iran has conducted two ballistic missile tests in violation of UN Security Council resolutions since the adoption of the deal, and the Iranian regime is still holding Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American businessman who was detained in October. Over the weekend it was revealed that an Iranian-backed militia abducted three U.S. citizens in Baghdad.
The moves to crack down on dissent were flagged by Iranian leaders almost immediately after the deal was announced, and have remained consistent. Last July Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stated he “won’t allow the Americans to make economic, political or cultural inroads [into the country] or have a political presence in Iran.” On Tuesday, after Implementation Day, he warned against American “deceptions.”
Recent campaigns by politicized NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have brought the question of NGO funding to the fore of Israel’s policy debate. Reactions have included proposed legislation in the Knesset, as well as editorials in local and international newspapers. Even the U.S. Ambassador to Israel has weighed in – indicating the centrality, and delicate nature, of this issue.In this context, NGO Monitor’s new database, which provides data on all donations to 27 politicized Israeli NGOs in the years 2012-2014, will help facilitate a more responsible, professional conversation.
Where does our data come from? According to Israel’s Non-Profits Law (1980), NGOs must submit an annual financial report listing all their donors. In addition, as of 2011, NGOs that receive funding from “foreign governmental entities” – meaning a government body or a supposedly non-governmental group that receives most of its budget from a foreign government – must submit quarterly reports to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (Rasham Amutot) with details on such funding and the purpose behind the donations.
These laws provide a good framework to inform the Israeli public about funding to local NGOs, in particular monies originating from foreign governments, and should be seen as a model for funding transparency.
However, the data are disparate, and any meaningful analysis requires extracting this data from a variety of sources and trying to make sense of it. At NGO Monitor, we decided that the available information should be more accessible and navigable.
As mentioned, our research tool collates data from annual reports over three years (2012-2014), dedicating an entry for every donation recorded by 27 political NGOs during that period. Users can sort by NGO, year, and donor, and can also filter by donor type (private or governmental) and funding originating from church groups. (A separate tool created by NGO Monitor allows for similar analysis of donations reported in NGOs’ quarterly submissions to the Registrar.) (To read the rest of the post, go to TheTower.org)