As Iran approaches another fraudulent presidential election on June 14, it is important to remember the 2009 protests in Iran over the results of the rigged election. The heart-wrenching picture of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot dead by regime thugs, was not an isolated event. Neda’s tragic death should serve as a call for us to take action, both for the sake of the people of Iran and the cause of peace.
According to the U.N. Special Rapporteur’s March 2013 report on human rights in Iran , “There continues to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
The U.N. report expressed concern about “the widespread use of torture by Iranian authorities”, and provides evidence that rape and sexual abuse is used in Iranian prisons as a means of intimidation.
The sickening practice of public hangings from building cranes — 60 of them in 2012 — is another indicator of the brutal nature of the Iranian regime.
The British newspaper, The Guardian, recently reported that there are, “… 2,600 prisoners of conscience in the country, among them hundreds of activists, scores of students, dozens of women’s rights campaigners, lawyers, artists, former politicians and many members of the country’s religious and ethnic minorities”. The newspaper provides, “an online database that catalogues the extent of repression by the Iranian authorities”.
It is time to recognize that there is an inextricable connection between the human rights situation in Iran and the threat Iran already poses to world peace. A regime that murders its own children will not hesitate to murder those of other countries.
We see this in Iran’s support for terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. We see proof of this in Syria where Iran and Hezbollah are providing massive support to the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the brutal repression of the popular uprising that has cost the lives of more than 80,000 civilians.
As Iran continues its march toward nuclear weapons in defiance of four U.N. Security Council Resolutions, there is no doubt that a nuclear-armed Iran would feel emboldened to do even worse.
How is it possible that in the 21st century, Iran continues to defy all accepted norms of civilized behavior? The answer may surprise you.