By Hossein Abedini
Iran’s internal situation is growing worse as the regime continues to violate the inalienable human rights of the Iranian people and remains committed to its fundamentalist ideology and interventionist foreign policy, threatening the peace of the entire world.
The Iranian regime executed no less than 64 persons only in the first three weeks of January. In 2014, 721 individuals were documented to have been executed under Rouhani’s rule. It goes without saying that the real number of executions is actually much higher. It is a matter of record that Iran has the highest number of executions per-capita in the world.It is difficult to find out the true figures owing to persecution and the lack of transparency and journalistic freedoms in the religious tyranny ruling Iran. Following the Iran-Iraq war, in 1988, the regime executed scores of political prisoners.
Most estimates put the number at 30,000 and more than two decades later, it is no less challenging to extract exact figures pertaining to regime-authorised executions. It is also difficult to ascertain that how many of these executions are politically motivated, since the mullahs, use executions as a tool to intimidate an already exploding public who are up to their eyes under the repressive rule of the mullahs. Hence executions take place under various disguises, such as homosexuality, fornication and blasphemy to name a few.
The suppression of press is still prevalent, and seems to have intensified following the January 7 barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, France. The regime is understandably perturbed over the open discourse regarding Islamic Fundamentalism – which it adheres to and promotes – in the wake of the attack. Recently, the Iranian judiciary banned the newspaper Mardom-e-Emrouz for merely publishing a picture of actor George Clooney wearing a “Je suis Charlie” button. It didn’t end there. The Iranian Parliament took upon itself to draft legislation that seeks to impose lifetime ban on journalists who publish content considered objectionable by the regime. Furthermore, it was announced that the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance would begin monitoring text messages sent by Iranian citizens, expanding the scope of witch-hunting to include all users apart other than those active on social media sites such as Facebook. All these actions ought to make it clear to the West and the International Community where the regime stands on the issue of violent extremism: with the aggressors and against the victims.
It is important to remember that all this is happening under the Iranian regime’s President Hassan Rouhani, who has been labelled as a “moderate” by Western policy-makers. Rouhani’s duplicity on the nuclear issue may give that impression, but the situation inside Iran shows that this is merely a window dressing. For example, despite the 60 percent decrease in global oil prices, the Rouhani administration is proposing a budget, which would increase allocation to the hardline Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by an alarming one third. The IRGC is particularly close to Supreme Leader Ali Khomeini, and is at the forefront of domestic oppression and the export of terrorism abroad It controls the terrorist Quds Force, which then pulls the strings of Shiite militias active in Iraq and Syria that have been carrying out widespread killings of Sunnis. Locally, the IRGC controls the civilian Basij militia, which intimidates and inflicts violence against people, specifically women, to compel them into quietly obeying discriminatory, chauvinist laws.
Unfortunately, the West is yet to remove its optimistic lens, and see the situation for what it really is. The regime is not at all ready for reform, and the West’s refusal to acknowledge the regime’s repression of the Iranian populace and meddling in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and elsewhere, is only emboldening it. The International Community would do well to pay heed to the concerns raised by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its President-elect Mrs Maryam Rajavi. Regime change by the Iranian people and their Resistance is the only viable solution for defeating the Islamic fundamentalism that threatens the world since as long as the Iranian regime exists, it will remain an enemy to global aspirations of peace, popular rule and stability.
Hossein Abedini is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. He was seriously injured during an assassination attempt on March 14, 1990 in Istanbul, Turkey by agents sent by Tehran.