Feb. 25 – A draft law in Iran which human rights advocates say would give the Iranian government unfettered control over the country’s internet is expected to move forward despite a lawmaker voting against the legislation.

The controversial protection bill’s key principles were approved in parliament this week and is expected to be reviewed by a special committee which has powers to ratify legislation and “provisionally” implement the law.

Conservative politicians said the bill was intended to protect Iranian citizens from harmful online content and support businesses in the country.

Human rights NGO Article 19 has condemned the bill, calling it “draconian” and has accused the government of pushing the bill through parliament without due process.

The family of Baquer Namazi — an 85-year-old man unjustly imprisoned in Iran — marked the sixth anniversary of his detention on Tuesday and called on US President Joe Biden “to do everything in his power” to bring him home.

Namazi was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “collaboration with a hostile foreign government,” a charge he has always denied.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price called on the Iranian government to release Namazi — who has several serious medical conditions — in a statement issued on Tuesday. Namazi’s lawyer, Jared Genser, called the detention a “gross violation of [Iran’s] obligations under international law.”

And Iraj Pezeshkzad, a prominent Iranian author passed away in his sleep in January at the age of 94, at his home in Los Angeles.

Pezeshkzad was one of Iran’s best-selling authors and is widely known for writing the cult classic “My Uncle Napoleon,” a coming of age story set during the Second World War.

The book was published in English by Random House, and was also turned into a highly successful TV series which was banned briefly following the 1979 Iran revolution.

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