As we begin to wind down to the end of Hassan Rouhani’s term as president of the regime in Iran, it is time to take a look back at the past four years. We all remember how the West joyfully welcomed his election — read selection — as a change of gear in Iran aimed at moderation. However, what the world witnessed ever since has been anything but. An atrocious rise in executions, continued public punishments and an escalating trend of oppression has been Rouhani’s report card during his tenure. With a new administration coming into town, Washington must make it crystal clear to Tehran that human rights violations will no longer be tolerated.
Despite pledging to hold the “key” to Iran’s problems, Rouhani has failed to provide even an iota of the freedoms the Iranian people crave and deserve. His record has revealed an unrelenting loyalty to the regime establishment in regards to social oppression and continued crackdowns. Iran sent 18 to the gallows last week alone, according to official reports.
As the international community continued its policy of appeasement, Rouhani and the entire regime used this opportunity to launch an execution rampage. Over 2,500 people have been sent to the gallows ever since Rouhani came to power, shattering all records held by this regime itself in over two decades.
In 2015 alone, Iran was executing an individual every eight hours, as reported by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Iran.
Vast social crackdown
Rouhani’s commitment to regime supreme leader Ali Khamenei and the ruling elite has rendered a wide-ranging, escalating crackdown. In addition to the executions mentioned above, state-sponsored social oppression has resulted in horrific scenes of public hangings, floggings, and even limb amputations.
The prisons are overwhelmed with inmates, leading to intolerable and inhumane conditions. Political prisoners, specifically, are subject to horrendous treatment by the authorities. Renowned human rights organization Amnesty International has recently issued an Urgent Action call expressing major concerns over the case of Maryam Akbari Monfared, a Green Movement organizer still in prison two years after her family put up her bail.
And this is merely a single example of the dreadful results of Rouhani’s domestic policies. The regime, with the West unfortunately falling in line, had claimed that the Iranian nation welcomed Rouhani’s presidency with open arms. While such assertions were politically motivated from the very beginning, the ordinary Iranian has been the first to pay the price of such a failed engagement policy.
A call for justice
The Iranian population is extremely fond of the Internet and millions are actively using social media. Despite its vast censorship efforts, the regime has failed to completely firewall the entire globe from the clever and highly motivated Iranian netizen. Various clips, images, and stories from inside Iran are leaking to the outside world as we speak, revealing ever more the regime’s atrocities.
One significant case involves the exposure of a controversial sound file shedding light on a private meeting between the late Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri and the main officials involved in the horrendous 1988 summer massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners across Iran. Montazeri was the successor to Iranian regime founder, mullah Ruhollah Khomeini, set aside by Khomeini himself considering his opposing perspectives.
This disclosure sent shockwaves amongst the Iranian people from all walks of life, and throughout the globe. As a result a global movement is demanding accountability from those responsible for the horrific massacre of thousands of innocent political prisoners. The victims of this carnage included members and supporters of the main Iranian opposition entity, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, and other dissident groups and minorities. The PMOI, more commonly known as the MEK in the West, has also been the focus of a lobbying campaign launched by Iran. Tehran’s mullahs are terrified of MEK supporters such as former New York City mayor and ambassador John Bolton being considered for senior cabinet posts in a Donald Trump White House.
The entire regime in Iran, including the so-called “hardliners” and “moderates,” are shifting gear for the upcoming presidential elections in June 2017. Members of the Rouhani faction have described U.S. President Barack Obama’s tenure as a “golden era.” This signals how Tehran took full advantage of Obama’s rapprochement as a green light to escalate executions and further implement social crackdown.
With a new administration set to take the reins in Washington, the opportunity has arrived for America to raise the issue of Iran’s human rights violations. Such outrageous crimes have no place in the 21st century, and all eyes are on U.S. president-elect Donald Trump. Supporting the call to hold all senior Iranian regime officials involved in the 1988 massacre accountable for their crimes is a good start.