Iran’s nuclear jigsaw puzzle and its implications on human rights
Thursday, April 30, 2015 6:25:53 PM
Article by: Kaveh Taheri
Cartoon by: Soheil Akbarpour
Iran nuclear deal outlined, but discord appears over details within 24 hours. Statements issued by foreign ministries of Iran and the United states provided us much to make us believe the Lausanne deal has hit the snag.
Iran has evaded to clarify its nuclear program during twelve years of hide-and-seek, as International community has expressed concerns. The officials have claimed the nuclear program is for medical purpose which has been frequently denied by Western countries.
Hence, sanctions have been imposed on Iran to force the regime to halt its nuclear program, however, the innocent Iran’s citizens are the main victims of the embargos which pushed them into a quagmire of poverty due to economic collapse during the three presidential periods.
The negotiators have mentioned neither the suffering of citizens’ life nor human rights violations; they were just looking for strategies how to arrest to the nuclear program. The high rate of executions or stoning have never been among the details on the table.
Twelve years of dispute over the nuclear program–and no result except economic collapse, skyrocketing inflation and endemic unemployment which led the society to poverty and crime.
Despite various eco-political sanctions imposed by the international community, human rights remain to be at risk in Iran.
The article has touched upon some prominent issues of Iran which are not considered by International Community as it should.
Freedom of Speech
Iran has a limited democratic measure, and most of presidential election have been allegedly marred by frauds, for instance, the previous presidential election in 2009 caused mass arrests and suppression during the uprising of the Green Movement according to human rights organizations.
Iran is one of the countries which exercises “Smart Filtering” of the internet, a policy of censoring on websites without banning them completely.
“Only a handful of countries rival Iran for having the slowest internet speeds in the World” as Jason Rezaian reported Washington Post, 15 Feb 2014. Iran was ranked 173 out of 180 countries in the press freedom index. “In Iran, one of the Middle East’s key countries, there has so far been no implementation of the promises to improve freedom of information that the new president, Hassan Rouhani, made” Reporters without Borders declared.
The regime of Iran has turned its death machine on since 1979 to exterminate its opponents through mass executions of innocent individuals who had just fought for their faith. “The executions were surged up in the wake of “reactionism“ led by the extremist groups—both part of Iran’s officials and oppositions” as some of the Iranian theorizers shared their opinion.
In 80s, many civil-political prisoners and religious minorities as Baha’is had been convicted to death after brutal torture.
Iran ranked first for executions according to the reports of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The reports expressed concerns over the continuing high rate of executions in Iran in recent years.
The number of executions rose to 753 in the past two years carried out in 2014, an increase compared to 678 in 2013. There were at least hundred executions which have been carried out in the first quarter of 2015.
It is the highest rate of execution per capita to its proportion of the population in the World, although, the officials have expressed that the death penalty was imposed largely for drug traffickers. Iran also unjustifiably executes individuals who are under the age of 12 at the time of the crime.
There are still grim concerns upon the lack of due process while many prisoners are on death row including the prisoners of conscience.In this regard, 39 Sunni prisoners have been convicted to death by Revolutionary Court of the regime, and meanwhile six of them were executed on March 04, 2015. The confessions are beaten out of them by officials.
The numbers of the prisoners would not tend to publish their news because the relatives of some of them are panicked to spread the news after Iran’s officials severely threatened them.Saman Naseem, a Kurdish political prisoner, was transferred to solitary confinement of execution on 18 Feb 2015. He had been convicted to death with charge of Moharebeh by the first branch of the Revolutionary Court in Mahabad and it was confirmed by the Supreme Court as well. He was arrested due to his alleged membership of PJAK in a grossly unfair trial while he was just 17. Neither there is no news about his fate—whether he has been executed of still languishing somewhere behind the bars.
Human Rights Defenders
Iran has never been an open place for civil rights activists especially human rights defenders who are persecuted because of their activities. Officials have cited that Iran is one of the countries that freedom is highly suppressed, and no opposition is tolerated.
Unfrienldy situation and long-term imprisonments are the formula that the regime imposes on human rights activists.
Some Iranian human rights lawyers including Mr. Abdolfattah Soltani, Mr. Mohammad-Sediq Kabudvand, Mr. Mohammad-Ali Dadkhah and Miss. Negar Haeri were arrested and sentenced to long-term imprisonment or stringent situation because of their advocacy for their clients.
The other civil rights and human rights activists including Arash Sadeghi, Saeid Shirzad, Majid Moghadam, Atena Faraghdani and Atena Daemi were also arrested and convicted with unjust charge as acting against national security and propaganda against the regime.
The medieval tortures are a bitter memorial that the regime has used against dissidents.The brutal methods of torture are applied to force both criminal and political prisoners to confess therefore inhuman inquisitions are rife.The prisoners are experiencing extremely painful practices of tortures—both physical and psychological that often lead to their disablities.It is reported that the methods of Intelligence Division of Iran’s National Police Force are extreme brutal that those used on the prisoners by Intelligence Service of the regime of Iran.The widespread forms of torture are as following: Hands crushing (thumbscrew) by clamp, pressure shower on the head where the individual gets nervous and tense after a few minutes, also waterboarding, pulling fingernails, cutting the fingers, hanging from ceiling, lash, high voltage shocking, shoving sharp objects into the sensitive organs, burning the sensitive organs, sexual torture as rape or sexual words, roast chicken torture, keeping in grave cell, mock execution, hanging up heavy objects to the testis, and lethal injection, etc.Authorities have reportedly refused health treatment to put the prisoners under pressure which causes further deterioration of their health.
“A woman who is born in a poor country suffers from the poverty twice than a man in the same country” an international campaign has acknowledged.
Women face discrimination under Islamic Penal Code which legitimizes disparities between sexes. Women encounter different species as individual status linked to marriage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody.
Women are banned to attend men’s sports matches. Iranian women are still forbidden from doing so, despite all the campaigns to force authorities to admit the rights.
Women‘s have no rights entry into sports facilities because of Shraia rules.
They are not allowed to choose their clothes, furthermore, the veil has been imposed on them.
“Despite facing deeply-embedded cultural and legal discrimination, women in Iran have managed to make significant advancements in academic and professional life in the years following the Revolution of 1978-79. In recent years, many women have been subjected to prison sentences or corporal punishment for their participation in the Campaign for One Million Signatures for the Repeal of Discriminatory Laws”, Iran HRDC reported.
According to Duetche Welle, based on the new rule, in the recent career test in Iran from 2800 jobs opportunities, 2284 are specifically for men, 500 are for both men and women and only 16 jobs opportunities are specifically for women.
In 2005 around three million and 961 thousands of workforce were women. But in the last year the number decreased to three million and 145 thousands and this shows a significant decline in women employment.
These figures depict that annually more than 100,000 women are getting away from the business market.
Iran is an ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse country that is dominated by Persians who per estimations make 50% of its population. The central government frequently forgets the minorities’ rights, but their excruciating saga doesnt end here for minorities.
The critical condition grew worse since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 which was led by Ayatollah Khomeini.
Iran’s regime has committed widespread serious abuses including illegitimate executions, torture, politically motivated abductions, arbitrary mass arrest and detention. Moreover, Iran’s marginal regions are deprived of the basic facilities of life such as clean water, education services, health care services and transport facilities.
Likewise, religious and ethnic minoritis have been deprived of official and government positions since Islamic Republic state tenured the country.
Sistan and Balochistan, the southeast province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan is known for the tent-schools, unspeakable poverty, insecurity, arbitrary arrests and mass execution.
More than 32% of the population of the region is illiterate according to the statistics reports. Statistical Center of Iran has confirmed the high trend of as early marriages as under 15-years-old in this province. Officials of Health Ministry have acknowledged people of this southeast region have been facing the lowest life expectancy.
The capital of the province Zahedan has topped illiteracy with 1.64% of the population below poverty line in Iran. The province‘s representative in the parliament confirmed that unemployment rate in the region is more than 50%.
Over 22 Baloch citizens have been killed and wounded by Revolutionary Guards and police of Iran due to the security situation in the province from 2014 till now according to the Baloch Activist Campaign’s reports.
The Kurdish region has remained in the same situation but a bit slightly different. The crossborder carry-trade is the main source of income of some for the Kurds due to unemployment which force them to face serious risks of climbing the impassable mountain and covering more than 300 kilometers while carrying out the backpacks. There is more perilous exactly like landmines explosion, falling into the valley or rivers where it is located in the crossborder and gunfire by border security forces or snipers.
They have told reporters that smuggling is the only means of livelihood they can depend on. More than 34 individuals have been victims of landmines and more than 42 dead and wounded by border guards shooting in 2014.
A large number of executions in the region is another violation that imposes more pressure on the Kurdish citizens.
According to the critical conditions of Ahwazi Arabs citizens who are located in the south and southwest of Iran are currently witnessing a wave of mass demonstrations asking freedom and stop the Iranian regime’s comprehensive injustice of the Ahwazi citizens.
The majority of Ahwazis which is estimated around ten million are Shia and Sunni Muslim, although there are other sects, including Christian and Mandaean.
The three major rivers of Iran are located in the region including Karoon, Jarrahi and Karkheh, which play a biotic role in the lives of its citizens. Unfortunatley, Karoon River had been dried up because of water transfering to the central region of Iran.
The environmental degradation is the another problem in the area which appeared as “Dust Storms”.
As regards, the non-ending persecution of Ahwazi Arab civilians is being continued by the Iranian regime’s multifaceted oppression. Their mass arrest started following a match between Foulad FC and Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) FC, where there were more than 1000 fans in Ahwaz city as per estimation.
The people who wore their local Arabic clothes known “Deshdasheh” had been arrested by Iran’s security forces on 17 March 2015.
In another report, dozens of Ahwazi were arrested during the funeral of Younes Asakereh, a street vendor and father of two children, who had committed self-immolation in front of municipal building in protest against the unjust confiscation of his small grocery stall by the the regime officials.
The situation in the region
In an interview with Rahim Hamid, an Ahwazi actvist, siad that the region is the sheet anchor of the Iranian state economy; it is the center of its oil wealth and a factory for its industrial and agricultural products. However 99% of the Ahwazi Arabs are hit by a vicious circle of poverty. “AL-Ahwaz’s Arab identity in the eyes of Iranian is a grievous sin and a grave threat”.
He also declared that the main reason of self-immolation of Younes Asakereh, is the ongoing repressive policies of Iran occupation carried out against Ahwazi Arab people. The oppressive practices include political repression, systematic economic marginalization, environmental degradation, cultural assimilation and denial of Arabic.
A similar situation has been imposed on Baha’is, Dervishes, Sunni, Christian converts who are just pursued and persecuted due to their faith which the authorities have not recognized as their basic rights.
Being backed by the repressive regimes, Shia clerics, incite people on attacking religious minorities during theri rituals.
Dervishes are frequently beaten during their ceremonies, and the leaders are taken to an unknown location for long time.
The officials easily insult the minorities with obscene words. Mahmoud Sadati, the chief judge of the Revolutionary Court in Shiraz, Iran had insulted a young Baha’i citizen Adnan Rahmat Panah. He is quoted: “You are untouchable because you are not Muslim“. These are the exact offensive words of the head of the court that are quoted by a human rights activist as an eyewitness who was also in the court room for his trial under the same judge.
Iran has provided refuge to over one million Afghan citizens and are identified as refugees by Iran’s officials.
Afghan citizens are deprived of education in Iranian schools and universities due to lack of the identification even the ones whose mother is Iranian. They are forbidden to enter pools and reccreational parks in cities.
Afghans have not the ownership rights to buy property, they cannot even buy mobile sims. This issue has been referred in Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Intelligence Division of Iran’s National Police Force catches innocent Afghan citizens to force them to undertake charges as murder, armed robbery, and drug trafficking when there are no clues. The Afghan inmates are severely tortured with brutal methods to make them confess.
They could not be hospitalized in some metropolitan cities, and they are not allowed to own cards or get driving licenses.
Authorities have reportedly urged Afghans to join the Syria’s civil war with the promise of the right of residence.
Afghans are insulted with offensive words by Iranian citizens who are being instigated by officials. This word has become a mark of contempt as some Iranian citizens use the Afghan word as a curse to each other.
Top UN officials have acknowledged human rights violations in Iran are going on unabated, notwithstanding, international community has been pressing Iran’s regime to end its repressive practices.