Beneath the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Charm Offensive
by Majid Rafizadeh, frontopagemag.com, Jan. 10, 2014
Even after the secret deals revealed by several outlets including The Washington Timesbetween President Barack Obama and the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Obama continues to urge the international community and American people to place trust in the Iranian regime regarding its nuclear ambitions and economic sanctions. It is crucial to examine some of the recent underlying human rights records in Iran, which have surprisingly not elicited any criticism from the liberal politicians, and have gone untold in the liberal media. This raises an intriguing issue, as President Obama has not mentioned or even condemned the Islamists in Tehran for this appalling human rights record.
Although the new Iranian government has tried to project a moderate picture, and although President Obama seems to believe in the charm offensive of this Islamist state, recent human rights reports show that there has been no improvement in the Iranian regime’s human rights records. In fact, the situation has deteriorated under the new Iranian government. In addition to the continued persecution of minorities and non-Muslims, the recent appalling human rights records have shown an upswing in stoning and public executions, reminiscent of the Islamic Middle Ages and Sharia laws.
For the first several months of the new Iranian president’s term, activists both inside and outside of Iran have formed campaigns aiming to end executions in Iran, and to put an end to stoning and public executions.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked second in the total number of executions, only after China. Though, if the proportion of the total population to the number of secret executions were considered, Iran would be ranked number one. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, at least 529 people have been put to death in cities across the nation in 2013. Intriguingly, more than half of these executions, around 300, were carried out since President Rouhani assumed office in late August. Meaning that more than half of the executions were carried out in only the past four months.
It is also worth mentioning that most of the people who are executed, did not receive due process in court, and were mainly executed because of violations based on Islamic and Sharia law. Many of Iran’s condemned were accused of being a “Moharebeh” or “Mofsed fi Alard”, translated as meaning something near “waging war” against God and Islam.
Ironically, on Human Rights Day, the Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani told high-ranking Judiciary officials, “The Judiciary will not take notice of irrational words and lies and will resolutely continue its work, because we believe that the highest human rights values are recognized in Islam.”
The stepped-up pace of public executions and stoning come as the new Iranian government is working to achieve its political objective of pushing for the West to take initiatives in lifting economic and political sanctions on Iran. President Obama has already taken steps to release billions of dollars, based on the recent executive order and nuclear deal. Yet, there has not been any, or even slight, condemnation for this appalling and egregious human rights record. The number of executions and stoning are on an upswing, as Iranian leaders are reaching another deal with the United States and the P5+1.
It is crucial to point out that the number of reported executions is official, and public— there are hundreds of others who are executed in secret locations, with some even executed collectively. For example, according to several credible reports, in Karaj’s Ghezel Hessar prison, eight prisoners were collectively executed on Thursday, December 18.
Recently, the European Parliament delegation returned from a six-day visit to Tehran, marking the first official visit to Iran in more than six years. The five-member delegation was led by the chairwoman of the European Parliament’s friendship delegation with Iran, an MEP for the Left party Cornelia Ernst, Austrian Social Democrats Isabelle Durant and Josef Weidenholzer, and Tarja Cronberg from Finnish Greens. During their five-day visit, at least 38 death sentences were carried out, according to Iranian media sources. Many other executions in prisons were conducted in secret, with no news were released.
Nevertheless, the crucial issue is that there has been no condemnation or criticism issued by any liberal politicians in the delegation or from mainstream media. Instead, the liberal media and politicians continue to praise the new Iranian government for its charm offensive and “moderate” policies.
Many opposition activists have pointed out that the current Obama administration is the weakest in US history when it comes to dealing with the threat of Islamists in Iran and their hegemonic agenda. The Iranian Islamists are attempting to impose their geopolitical hegemonic ambitions and agenda, both in the region and globally. They have recently been extremely successful with this, because of the deals with President Obama and the process of lifting sanctions and pressures. The Iranian regime has also been able to increase its lucrative oil sales as well.
On the contrary, while in Islamic Republic of Iran Tarja Cronberg told EuroNews that she was impressed that women are now serving in the Iranian Parliament. Though the leftist and democratic members who are impressed by this face failed to mention the fact that only nine out of 290 parliament members are women.
While the leftists and social democrats remain silent in Europe regarding Iran’s appalling human rights records of executions and stoning, and while President Obama is proceeding with removing pressures and sanctions on Iran, it remains unclear whether President Obama will issue any sort of statement condemning or criticizing this appalling record of stoning and public executions.