The Poet Iran Executed – David Keyes
As Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani was dangling from a noose two weeks ago, one wonders what he would have thought about Western leaders who call President Hassan Rouhani a moderate. Shaabani criticized the regime by speaking out against repression of ethnic Arabs in Khuzestan province, but since the regime sees itself as the representative of God on Earth, his fate was sealed. It’s not called a theocracy for nothing.
Islamic scholar and former Iraqi parliamentarian Iyad Jamal al Din once told me of Iran’s Supreme Leader: “Ayatollah Khamenei is a man just like me. He’s a cleric and I’m a cleric. But he says, ‘I am the representative of God.’ From him, these words make me sleepless. You all [in America] sleep normally because you don’t know what that means. I know what it means. He means that he is right and the others are wrong. And wrong must not live. You should be defeated and destroyed.”
Can the world trust a government which doesn’t even trust its own people? Can the West rely on a regime which so fears dissidents that it puts them to death? Shaabani, and the more than 300 Iranians executed since Rouhani took power, are powerful reminders that the Iranian government remains as fanatic as it is dangerous. The writer is executive director of Advancing Human Rights. (Daily Beast)