By Lord Clarke of Hampstead CBE
IT appears that the recent nuclear agreement with Iran will survive, and we can only hope that the monitoring and verification will be strong enough to keep the Mullahs under intensive scrutiny to safeguard against any secret efforts to evade or undermine it.
The attitude of the world must remain “mistrust and verify” but while the world watches, it also must keep a close eye on the human rights situation.
For more than 50 years Iranians have been striving unrelentingly in an organised way to establish human rights in the face of the dictatorship of the Pahlavi dynasty and subsequently the ayatollahs tyranny. To sum it up in one word, the human rights situation has been dreadful.
■ More than 2000 executions have been carried out in the almost two years that Rouhani has been president, more than in any similar period in the past 25 years, even when Ahmadinejad was in office. The victims included political dissidents like Gholamreza Khosravi, who was hanged solely for providing financial assistance to a TV station supporting the opposition, women, juveniles, and ethnic and religious minorities.
■ On July 23, Amnesty International reported that nearly 700 were put to death in just over six months, a shocking pace surpassing that of the whole of last year. Amnesty said: “Iran’s staggering toll paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially- sanctioned killings on a mass scale”.
■ Iran holds the record for the most executions per capita in the world, and is the biggest executioner of juveniles.
■ Executions of ethnic and religious minorities have increased dramatically. Iran executed a Kurdish activist on August 26. On August 9, Kurdish political prisoner Sirvan Najavi (Nezhavi) was hanged before his family could even have a last visit with their son. The charge for both men: “Moharebeh” (waging war on God).
■ On August 4, prison authorities in Mashhad amputated the right hand and left foot of Mehdi R as other prisoners were forced to watch. The day before, another man identified only as Rahman K, suffered the same fate, again on a charge of “moharebeh.” Both will continue to serve an extended prison sentence.
■ On August 1, a 27-year-old man identified only as Hamed was blinded. Why? Because in 2011, when he was 23, he unintentionally caused an eye injury to another young man.
■ On June 28, the fingers of two prisoners in Mashhad were amputated.
■ Several Christian priests are incarcerated for advocating their beliefs. Saeed Abedini, an Iranian American Christian pastor, has been detained since 2012 for practicing his faith.
■ Iran is the largest prison for journalists in the Middle East; dozens are being detained today.
■ Ms Atena Farghadani, a 28-year- old artist, was sentenced to almost 13 years in prison for drawing a cartoon that allegedly “spread propaganda against the system” and insulted members of parliament.
Not only are the mullahs murdering and brutalising opponents at home, they help terrorists around the world.
Kuwait authorities recently seized a huge arms cache smuggled from Iraq, arresting three suspected members of a militant cell plotting to destabilise the country.
And on August 15, Bahrain’s chief of police told the Associated Press that five suspects with links to Iran have been arrested in connection with a bombing that killed two police and wounded six others. Investigators have connected the suspects to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp as well as Hezbollah.
One more telling human rights issue: in 1988, 30,000 political prisoners, primarily members and activists of the PMOI (People’s Mojahedin of Iran) were massacred in a matter of a few months. Ironically, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, one of the three people who sat on the “death commission” that sent these political prisoners to the gallows, is Hassan Rouhani’s Minister of Justice.
Need we say more?
This article first appeared in Ham&High Series Opinion, page 16