London, 5 Aug – A report just published by Amnesty International named “Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack” gives details about how the so-called “moderate” president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, is starting the second term of his presidency amid a significant crackdown.
It states that Iranian authorities are loosening their already loose regulations relating to the arrest of activists in the country. Punishments are becoming harsher and the death penalty is extremely overused.
Last month alone, over one hundred people were executed in the country. Political prisoners are frequently handed the death sentence and they are denied lawful trials. Their charges are often vague like “insulting the sacred” or “enmity against God”.
During Rouhani’s first term, the people of Iran faced increasing repression. The government’s infighting put great pressure on the regime and it is the people of Iran who bear the brunt of it. The people are calling out for change and want a free and democratic country.
Last month, in Paris, the main Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), held its annual gathering. Its leader stressed that the regime is resorting to an escalation of repression because it is tormented it internal crises and is very fearful of the people who are on the brink of a popular uprising. It understands that the people are wholly opposed to the repressive policies of the regime and uses oppression as a way to attempt to keep them under control.
The opposition advised the international community to ignore the political and economic incentives that are being used to change relations with Iran because the regime needs to be held accountable for its human rights abuses and crimes against humanity such as the 1988 massacre that resulted in the execution of more than 30,000 political prisoners.
Iranian officials have hit back at claims that the country carries out human rights abuses. One official even went as far as to claim that there are no political prisoners in the country. The country’s foreign minister tried to claim innocence on behalf of Iran’s government. These claims are seen as ridiculous by those with any sense. Amnesty International have not fabricated the facts in their most recent report and there is no conspiracy against the regime.
The Iranian regime is skilled at putting on a front and it seems that Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and other EU officials, are naïve enough to fall for it. They are travelling to Iran for Rouhani’s inauguration despite the fact that there were thousands of executions carried out during his first term.
President Obama turned a blind eye to the Iranian regime’s abuse of human rights, and now Mogherini is following suit. Obama was desperate to keep the nuclear deal, his legacy, in place. Mogherini’s motives are unclear.
The West and the international community need to stand up to the Iranian regime and send a message that human rights are not something that can be negotiated. The Iranian regime needs to understand that free countries will not accept any abuses on the innocent people of Iran.