Another Bloody Year for the Islamic Republic of Iran

February 11 marked the thirty-seventh so-called Islamic revolution's anniversary in Iran.  Since then, more than 8 million Iranians have fled their homeland to escape the rule of terror and bloodshed.  I am among those who voted against this stone-age regime with their feet.

Although some observers had expected a degree of moderation after the so-called moderate president of the Islamic Republic (I.R.), Hassan Rouhani, reached an agreement with the world powers regarding the nuclear deal and the end of the sanctions, nothing has changed.  Political executions by the I.R. have continued to mount.  Indeed, during the past 12 months, hundreds of Iranians have been tortured and killed without any semblance of due process.  The number of announced executions in Iran in the last six months of 2015 reached nearly 1,000, not accounting for secret executions that have been acknowledged by family members.  In case after case, evidence reveal tortures, fundamentally flawed trials, and hangings, all in breach of international laws and standards.  Amazingly, the I.R. has not faced any penalties for all its outrageous violations of human rights in Iran.

The Campaign for Human Rights in Iran in early January reported that in recent months, many journalists have been arrested prior to the "Islamic Parliament" election in Iran.  The Islamic regime's horrible human rights record and its systematic violations, support of and connections with international terrorism, and defiant ballistic missile tests (which are considered a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929) since signing the nuclear agreement with the 5+1 world powers indicate that the Islamic regime cannot be a trusted partner in any international agreement.  The invasions of the American embassy and hostage-taking, British embassy and looting, and Saudi Arabian embassy and burning are characteristic of dictators in Tehran, who do not recognize international norms.

The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee last November passed a resolution that expressed its deep concern about human rights violations by the I.R. regime.  Amnesty International has also called on I.R. authorities to stop the hanging particularly of juvenile offenders, guilty of "waging a war against God and spreading corruption on Earth."  It is inhuman for an execution to take place after an unfair trial, based entirely on coerced confessions, absent any attorneys on behalf of defendants.  To mislead the free world, most of the executions in 2015 were orchestrated to be for drug offences.

Amnesty International time and again has published reports on physical and psychological tortures in Iran, saying that the number of torture and ill treatment cases is increasing in the I.R., making it clear that these violations of human rights not only continue in Hassan Rouhani's presidency, but are noticeably becoming widespread and in most places systematic.  Political murders and repression of beliefs became more widespread in the country in 2015, reported by Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur whom the I.R. has defiantly refused to let enter Iran for years.  In response to recent accusations by the U.S. Congress, the I.R. claims that its human rights record is perfect and accuses the U.S. and the West of using the human rights issue as a pretext to add pressure to a country already under sanctions for its nuclear activities.

A recent report by Ahmad Shaheed to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) reveals that the I.R. is holding more than 900 political prisoners including journalists, bloggers, lawyers, civic activists, and human rights campaigners.  The I.R. has also incarcerated religious minorities along with gays and lesbians.  Ahmed Shaheed has continuously reported about human rights violations affecting women and ethnic minorities and religious activists as well as retaliatory action against individuals the I.R. suspects of cooperating with U.N. monitors.

Any criticism of the I.R.'s terrorist government is unlawful.  People who dare to speak out are immediately arrested.  They are at best summarily tried and executed under vague charges.  Not even pregnant women or young boys and girls have been spared the wrath of the regime's revolutionary courts and firing squads.  Denial of a fair trial, denial of free speech, denial of freedom of assembly and association, denial of religious preference, denial of free political participation, denial of the principles of international law and conduct, and denial of one's privacy are some of the basic tenets of the I.R.  Practically all basic human rights that are recognized in the civilized world are denied by the I.R.  Under the rule of the Islamic regime, nearly every provision of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been violated.

While some other governments have been charged with gross violations of human rights, those governments at least try to contest the charges, meaning they acknowledge the validity of those laws.  Islamic officials openly ridicule the concept of universal human rights, branding it a tool of Western imperialism.  Likewise, those who question the views of Islamic clergymen are labeled enemies of Islam, with links to America and Israel.  People are repeatedly warned that anybody doing so will be considered an infidel to Islam and must be killed.

In the last 37 years, the Iranian nation has lived under the reign of the most backward regime.  The truth is that the clergymen who rule Iran do not belong in this age and cannot deal with the realities of the modern world.  At best, the Islamic revolution of 1979 was the revolution of century against century.  They believe that after 37 years of mismanagement and brutality, the only way they can extend their rule is by increasingly terrorizing their critics.  The Islamic regime has taken this noble Iranian nation into the Middle Ages, creating some of the most medieval laws and implementing them against its citizens in the most vicious manner.

The regime's atrocities include stoning men and women, cutting off their fingers, torturing innocent people for their opinion, incarcerating religious minorities on fabricated charges, imprisoning Iranian youths for upholding their very basic human rights, and organizing vigilantes to murder political opponents.  They have created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, where Iranians cannot trust one another.  In brief, in the name of religion, the clergymen have created a society where sadness and despair have replaced hope and optimism.

The year 2015 was a year of sorrow, sadness, and hope for Iranians.  There were sorrow and sadness for the loss of many of the best human beings who had dedicated their entire lives for the freedom of Iran.  There was hope for a nation who has lived through years of oppression – oppression under the rule of a state religion that has caused unspeakable crimes against those voicing their desires for a free, democratic, and secular society.

Mansour Kashfi, Ph.D. is president of Kashex International Petroleum Consulting and is a college professor in Dallas, Texas.  He is also the author of more than 100 articles and books about the petroleum industry and its market behavior worldwide.