OpinionEditorialAct of Cowardice

Act of Cowardice

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Iran FocusIran’s ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner. Why is the West ignoring abhorrent human rights violations in Iran? The ongoing nuclear negotiations with Tehran are simply not an excuse.

Iran Focus

Editorial

Iran’s ruling tyrants have executed yet another political prisoner. 49-year-old Gholamreza Khosravi Savadjani was hanged by authorities at a prison in the city of Karaj, west of Tehran at dawn, Sunday, June 1. The news came despite widespread international calls to halt the hanging. A day earlier, Canada’s Foreign Minister had condemned the regime, and Amnesty International had issued an urgent call, saying that Mr. Khosravi had been deprived of fair trial “in total disregard of both international law and the Iranian law.” And the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed said he was, “Shocked and saddened by Iran’s execution of a political prisoner in flagrant violation of international law!”

Since his second arrest in 2008, Mr. Khosravi was reportedly held for over 40 months in solitary confinement. Neither his family nor his lawyers were informed of his imminent execution. He is survived by his 17-year-old son.

Since the mass uprisings that swept the country in 2009, Tehran has hanged a number of dissidents on bogus charges. Mr. Khosravi, an average Iranian family man and a welder on oil rigs in the Persian Gulf, was accused of “enmity against God.” The prosecutors alleged that he provided financial support to the main Iranian opposition, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), which Tehran sees as an existential threat. Some observers point to this and dozens of similar cases to underline both the regime’s brutal nature as well as the popular support the MEK enjoys among average Iranians, who are willing to provide financial and other forms of support to the organization while fully aware of the deadly consequences.

Mr. Khosravi was reportedly placed under torture to speak against the MEK on television, but had firmly refused. He was initially sentenced to three years in prison but was later inexplicably and quite suddenly sentenced to execution. Some analysts see this as an indication that the regime is worried about the MEK’s growing reach and apeal inside Iran and intends to dissuade others from supporting the movement. Tehran apparently decided that fighting the MEK at home is more sensible than avoiding a diplomatic backlash internationally.

Indeed, there is sufficient evidence to show that Iranian rulers are worried about domestic crises. Amnesty says reliable reports indicate that the regime has executed “at least 180” people in addition to “151 executions acknolwedeged by the authorites or state-sanctioned media” this year alone. Almost 800 have been executed since the so-called “moderate” President Hassan Rouhani took office last year. That is a terrifying statistic by any standards, and belies the regime’s claims of moderation. Indeed, Tehran’s actions speak louder than its rhetoric.

Why is the West ignoring abhorrent human rights violations in Iran? The ongoing nuclear negotiations with Tehran are simply not an excuse.

A regime that says something and openly does the opposite is plainly saying to the world that it is profoundly untrustworthy. Rouhani has found it opportune to use the atmosphere of negotiations abroad to settle the score with the opposition at home. With every passing day, the decision by the West to ignore that, and engage such a government in talks, without even raising the human rights situation, appears more politically unjustifiable, and even worse, immoral.

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