Thursday, March 13, 2014

The World’s Focus on Nuclear Questions Overshadows Iran’s Violation of Human Rights

The civil war in Syria is nearing its third year. A war that Stephen Hawking has called an “an abomination, one that the world is watching coldly from a distance,”a war that questions human’s collective sense of justice.

Iran, however, is not merely watching; it has actively supported and continues to support the war and destruction.

According to Reuters “Iran has stepped up support on the ground for President Bashar al-Assad, providing elite teams to gather intelligence and train troops.”

What connects Iran and Assad is the sectarian proxy war of Shiite against Sunni Arab states, an agenda that brings Hezbollah in the loop.


Iran sends billions of dollars to Assad while Iranian people, especially those living on the borders, flounder.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president whom many hoped would bring about change, spoke about the importance of keeping “peace in the region” in his talk at the World Economic Forum. He delivered this speech despite Iran’s continuous support of Assad.

Rouhani is the man whose approach to fight poverty in Iran was to give out food baskets to the poor, a strategy that ended in chaos and humiliation.

In addition to supporting the war in Syria and ignoring the people’s economic struggles, capital punishment is surging in Iran.

More than 10 people per week have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2014.

When Rouhani was elected in September, a dozen prisoners were freed, among them the well-respected lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh. None of the released prisoners belonged to ethnic groups.

That act created glimpses of brief hopes that Iran may have to consider paying attention to human rights, while trying to improve relationships with the West.

Rouhani and his foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, secured an interim deal with World Powers over nuclear power in November. Matters of war and execution were never even briefly mentioned.

Soon after Rouhani’s talk at the World Economic Forum, French and Turkish business owners rushed to Tehran to benefit from the lucrative market of consumerist Iran. The US warned the executives of corporations that the deal with Iran is temporary. Companies responded that US is after the market too.

Recently, another negotiation with Iran was done and both sides showed satisfaction with the talks. Once again world powers turned a blind eye on the violation of human rights in Iran.

This important matter is ignored while the United Nations reports that at least 176 people have been executed since the beginning of 2014. This is a noticeable surge in the use of the death penalty.

Between 500 and 625 people, including at least 28 women and two juveniles were executed in Iran last year, most killed by hanging, UN reports.

Ahmed Shaheed, U.N. special investigator for human rights in Iran, has never been allowed into the country.

Hundreds of interviews, however, have reported grave violations including executions and torture.

Among the charges that the Iranian government use to kill people, is the vaguely worded charge of “Enmity against God.”

Hadi Rashedi and Hashem Sha’bani Amouri are two minority Arab Ahwazi men who were forced to confess to “acts against national security,” a confession that was broadcasted on TV. The men were executed soon after in January 2014.

Many Kurdish prisoners are also held captive and put on death row under unfair situations.

Muhammad Sediq Kaboudvand, the Kurdish journalist and founder of Kurdistan Human Rights, is still in prison under brutal conditions. He has been held captive since July 1, 2007 and was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. His crimes were being the editor of the banned weekly Payam-e mardom-e Kurdestan and chair of the Tehran-based Kurdish Human Rights Organization (RMMK).

Adnan Hassanpour is another Kurdish writer, journalist and human rights activist who is jailed in Mariwan, the Kurdish city in Iran. He was arrested on January 25, 2007 and was sentenced to death. This sentence was reversed on September 2008 and he is now serving a 15-year prison term.

For as long as the West’s only focus is on nuclear power and human rights is ignored, Iran will happily continue to execute activists, women, children, and minorities.

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