As the international community and global media outlets focus on talks in Vienna pushed by world powers to reach a deal with Iran over its controversial nuclear program, the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran is being neglected yet again. 2021 witnessed a drastic escalation of human rights violations by the ruling mullahs’ regime against the Iranian population that has been growing restive with each passing day.
Iran’s people have suffered horrific human rights abuses for the past four decades. Most recently, with the selection of Ebrahim Raisi as the regime’s president by supreme leader Ali Khamenei, there is no sign of this trend letting up.
For the first half of 2021, former Iranian regime president Hassan Rouhani—naively dubbed in the West as a “moderate”—had his foot on the pedal when it came to human rights violations and escalating crackdown against the Iranian people. With Raisi taking office as the regime new president in the summer, the Iranian people, and the world over, were assured of the mullahs’ intention to escalate their horrific abuses. Raisi is best known for his direct role in the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners across Iran.
Speaking of the 1988 massacre, an Iranian operative by the name of Hamid Noury is currently on trial in Stockholm, Sweden, for his role in this genocide as a judiciary prison official in Gohardasht prison of Karaj, a city just west of the Iranian capital of Tehran. Testimonies have portrayed the horrific killings that took place in this prison alone, shedding light on the inhumane atrocities that took place in prisons across Iran. A ruling is expected in April 2022.
This trial has led further pushed the initiative by a growing number of elected officials, human rights organizations, and activists across the globe calling on the international community, especially the UN, to conduct an independent investigation into Iran’s summer 1988 massacre, to thus hold senior regime officials accountable for crime against humanity and genocide.
At least 255 executions were registered across Iran in 2020, while as of December 10, 330 prisoners were executed this year alone, according to the Iran Human Rights Monitor. Of course, the actual figure is believed to be far higher considering the fact that many death penalties are carried out in secret by the mullahs’ regime. This includes the execution of at least 15 women this year, according to Agence France-Presse, as activists are increasingly alarmed by these rising stats. It is also worth noting that Iran has the highest per-capita execution rate in the world.
The mullahs’ regime has also been hellbent on its heavy crackdown against peaceful protests. Security and anti-riot units most recently opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in the city of Isfahan protesting severe water shortages. Around 100 protesters were reportedly wounded as security forces resorted to using dangerous pellet shotguns to disperse the crowds. Up to 40 demonstrators were blinded as security forces aimed directly at their upper bodies and faces. Another 300 demonstrators were arrested.
The execution of Arman Abdolali, a juvenile at the time of his arrest, is considered the most outrageous case of capital punishment in Iran throughout 2021. Despite international and domestic appeals to spare his life considering the long list of ambiguities in his case, the regime insisted on hanging Abolali on November 24 in Rajaie Shahr prison of Karaj, west of the capital Tehran. Prior to that day he had been transferred to solitary confinement on seven different occasions, each time enduring the psychological torture of preparing to have his life ended.
This year Iranians also witnessed the systematic abuse of prisoners’ rights. A video leaked in August showed dire conditions in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison and officers and prison guards routinely beating and mistreating prisoners while enjoying complete impunity.
The regime’s security forces are also known for their indiscriminate shootings and arbitrary killings. At least 77 people have been killed by the regime in such manner, with another 107 being injured. Again, activists believe the true number of these victims is far higher due to the fact that their fate remains unknown and state media in Iran next to never cover their heartbreaking stories.
One can continue at length with the long list of human rights violations by the mullahs’ regime in Iran through the course of 2021 alone. The United General Assembly recently condemned Iran’s horrific human rights violations for the 68th time.
The decisions made by Khamenei to specifically appoint members of Ebrahim Raisi’s administration shed more light on the regime’s nature in this regard. Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei and Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf are the regime’s judiciary chief and speaker of parliament, respectively. Alongside Raisi, both have long histories of human rights violations, including their direct engagement in crimes against humanity.
These appointments to positions leading the mullahs’ regime make it crystal clear that Khamenei has arranged his officials war and repression, with the Iranian people as his main enemy. This line-up further speaks of the regime’s unquestionable determination to escalate the atmosphere of terror and repression against every form of dissent throughout the Iranian society that experts describe as a “powder keg” and a “ticking time bomb.”
As the West continues its policy of appeasement vis-à-vis the ayatollahs in Tehran, unfortunately, the Iranian people are left forgotten and neglected despite being the first and foremost victims. The Biden administration and European governments have a moral obligation to stand on the right side of history, meaning shoulder to shoulder with the Iranian people. No deal with the Iranian regime can be justified while the human rights of the Iranian people are being trampled in an unbridled manner.
Image – Al Arabia