Iran Human RightsThe Iranian regime’s Political and Cultural Bankruptcy

The Iranian regime’s Political and Cultural Bankruptcy


Nahid Hematabadi, a renowned Iranian opera singer, has written a tragic account of the death of art and music in Iran after fundamentalist clerics hijacked a people’s revolution in 1979.

She looks back at her childhood where she in the early 1950s I began learning the violin. After studying music and singing for Tehran Music Academy, she performed as a soloist for Iran’s State Opera in numerous events. Yet, now she is leaving in exile in Europe and laments what has happened to her homeland under the mullahs of Tehran. She writes that all the artists who refused to succumb to fundamentalists’ restrictions faced all types of crackdowns, deprivations, and purges. Many were thrown into such poverty that they were only able to make a living as street vendors. Others were thrown behind bars. Various writers and poets who refused to back down from their beliefs were murdered.

She recounts that a large number of Iran’s best artists were forced to flee and go into exile. “By 1983 many of my husband’s students who were activists and supporters of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the main opposition and driving force of the opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran, NCRI), were executed. My husband and I were also supporters of this movement, and these executions finally forced us to flee Iran with our two children and settle in Europe.”

She is a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and writes that the world heard cries for freedom rising among the people of Iran in 2009, particularly among women and the youth. “Unfortunately, Western governments did little to support that movement to bring about meaningful change in Iran. Instead, they have chosen to pursue a political deal with one of the worst human rights violators in the world.”

She quotes a report published in 2015 by Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, that the human rights situation in Iran had “altogether deteriorated.” This has all happened under the watch of President Hassan Rouhani.

She says that since his “election” as the president of the clerical regime in 2013, some in the West have tried to depict Hassan Rouhani as an advocate for reform and a genuine opening of Iranian society. This is a false narrative, only there to serve to sustain the mistake that is the nuclear deal. Rouhani has presided over an increase in repression against dissidents and political prisoners (including PMOI activists), poets, filmmakers, musicians, and proponents of women rights. During Rouhani’s presidency, some 2200 people have been executed in Iran, a nearly three-fold increase over the same period under his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

She has no hopes that the February 26 Iranian “elections” will create more representation of moderates in Iran. “What will take place in Iran on February 26 is not a free democratic election; it is a sham process of selection from among individuals who have proven their total loyalty to this misogynist regime that is an enemy to all aspects of Iranian culture.”

She is of the opinion that a “Persian Spring” is inevitable. “As an opera singer, writer, and activist myself, I encourage governments and opinion makers to stand alongside Iranian dissidents and activists in calling for democratic change. The mullahs’ farcical elections are nothing but a political game designed to preserve the existence of a bloodthirsty theocracy. Nothing more.”




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