Iran’s ‘Moderates’ Turn their Backs on Human Rights

There is a correlation between the increasing rate of human rights violations and the rule of moderates in Iran’s presidential office. Whenever Iran’s “moderate” party has a president in office, the country’s human rights record deteriorates significantly, Majid Rafizadeh, a Harvard-educated Iranian-American political scientist, says in his column for Arab News.

Human rights violations in Iran normally take the form of suppressions of ethnic and religious minorities including ethnic Arabs and Sunnis, restrictions on freedom of the press, expression and assembly, and a crackdown on journalists, human rights defenders and political activists.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zaid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who was speaking at the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on September 11, has said that Iran’s human rights situation is, in fact, alarming.

“My Office has received numerous reports of human rights defenders, journalists and social media activists being arrested and detained.”

Meanwhile, he bitterly criticized physical punishment, including amputation of limbs in Iran, “Ill-treatment of prisoners is widespread, and in addition, the judiciary continues to sentence people to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including amputation of limbs and blinding.”

In addition, the Islamic Republic continues to rank top in the world when it comes to the execution of people. Tehran is also the leading state when it comes to the execution of children.

“Iran also remains the country with the highest reported rate of executions per capita. Many of those executed are drug offenders not guilty of “most serious crimes” under the terms of international law. Since the beginning of the year at least four children have been put to death, and at least 89 other children remain on death row,” Ra’ad al-Hussein maintained.

There are four major institutions in Iran that are engaged in human rights abuses; the judiciary system, the ministry of intelligence, the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its paramilitary group, the Basij.

The level of human rights abuses increases under the rule of a “moderate” president because the hard-liners, who enjoy the final say in Iran’s domestic and foreign policy, are sending a message to young people that they should not raise their expectations of any fundamental changes in their government’s policies, Rafizadeh warns.

Tony Duheaume wrote an op-ed for Track Persia, titled “Hardliner Hassan Rouhani: Profile of an astute deceiver” in which he assesses that Rouhani is a manipulator, who has plenty of practice in deceiving the world in order to ensure the survival of the Iranian Regime, no matter the cost.

“In a well-choreographed program of deception, carefully designed to create a moderate in the eyes of the West, Rouhani has deceived Western leaders.” Duheaume wrote.

Rouhani is not the new face of the Regime, who will shake up the leadership; he is an integral cog in the killing machine that has been in place since before the Regime took power. He was involved, at least somewhat, with the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, and he appoints those involved in the massacre to key cabinet positions like Justice Minister (twice).

In short, there is nothing moderate about Rouhani and we must stop pretending that there is. While the West may see a smiling face from Rouhani, the Iranian people are more likely to see the grimace of Pennywise the clown before he murders you.

While the international community, particularly the Western powers, are viewing Iran through the prism of the nuclear deal, human rights violations against ethnic and religious minorities, human rights defenders and political activists have been largely neglected.

Those Iranian institutions that violate human rights in Iran and abroad, including the IRGC, are the same organizations that pursue nuclear ambitions and violate UN resolution 2231 regarding ballistic missile activities.