Iran’s Deadly Intimidation


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As political unrest continues to spread throughout the Middle East, two of Iran’s top opposition leaders have accused the Islamist regime of rapidly increasing the number of executions in a deliberate effort to intimidate the country’s reform movement.

Specifically, the increase in executions is seen as a direct attempt by the Iranian government to stifle opposition by those who feel empowered by the ongoing upheaval in Egypt and Tunisia.

The accusations were levied by Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi, both former Iranian presidential candidates. In a statement released on Iran’s reformist website Tagheer, the men wrote that the Iranian government was increasing executions in order to “intimidate the nation and further isolate Iran on the international stage.”

Both men lost the June 2009 presidential election to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a vote fraught with allegations of fraud and vote rigging. The subsequent public outcry spawned a wave of open protests against the Islamist regime, dubbed the Green Movement.

Mousavi and Karrubi’s charges come at the same time the United Nations released a report also condemning the Iranian regime’s record number of executions. The report cited the Iranian government’s execution of 67 people in January 2011, putting it on pace to quickly eclipse the 179 executions that took place in 2010.

However, since the Iranian government does not release information on the number of death sentences carried out, the UN figures were gleaned from Iranian press reports. As such, some have surmised that the number is far too low. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has placed the number of executions in January 2011 at 97. Mousavi and Karrubi have placed the overall number of executions in 2010 at more than 300.

In addition to the high number of executions, the UN and opposition leaders fear that those being killed are not just criminals, but dissidents who have participated in the anti-government protests. According to UN spokesperson, Navi Pillay, “Dissent is not a crime. It is absolutely unacceptable for individuals to be imprisoned for association with opposition groups, let alone be executed for their political views or affiliations.”

Compounding the issue is the belief that those being executed have also not been given fair or complete trials. According to Aaron Rhodes, a spokesperson for International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “The issue is not whether crimes occur in Iran, but whether death sentences are based on real trials, with real evidence, and real cases presented by lawyers.”

For its part, the Iranian government has been adamant that those arrested and executed were so dealt with due to their criminal activities, mostly connected to charges of drug smuggling. Furthermore, the government claims that every legal option available for those defendants had been exhausted.

Despite those claims, Iran’s actions led Pillay to say, “I am very dismayed that instead of heeding our calls, the Iranian authorities appear to have stepped up the use of the death penalty.” However, for those who have been on the receiving end of Iranian beatings during the Green Movement, the allegations come as little shock.

Those anti-government protests, which had died down by February 2010 after brutal violent crackdowns by Iranian security forces, were followed by purges of opposition supporters in universities, government offices and media outlets. Since early 2010 the regime has prosecuted over 100 dissidents and political figures, placing most of them on televised mass trials.

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  • ObamaYoMoma

    For its part, Iran’s government opposition and its leadership have also been vocal cheerleaders for the uprisings, which they claim are a natural extension of their own democratic efforts and call a sign of “Arab maturity.”

    Uhm…Iranians aren’t Arabs. They are Persians; at least they were the last time I checked.

    • crazyhorse

      A lot are-racially mixed ,but a genuine Persian are blue eyed,Arayan..One lives in the North of Teheran,and the others in the south. On top of this there are tribal groups that are there also.

  • Steve Chavez

    Why is "democracy" such an important and sought after goal of the world when countries like Russian, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, etc… dismantle all democratic institutions and ban but one political party, jail opponents, exile others, and then use that word only to fool the world as if they were a true democracy as they claim legitimacy in the eyes of the Western World? Why are we so gullible to that word? "We had free and fair elections" they say. Jimmy Carter's presense than adds Western legitimacy but he is always suspicioulsy present when those countries allow all parties but the extreme Left wins and then uses that power to takeover the country to only turn it into a dictatorship that never allows any form of opposition! IT IS TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF IRAN, SYRIA, NK, VENEZUELA, CUBA, LIBYA AND RUSSIA TO ALSO RISE UP SO THEY CAN HAVE A TRUE "DEMOCRACY!

    • GUEST

      you mentioned Iran twice here " countries like Russian, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, etc " are you paid by the Zionist propaganda machine ? IRAN has it's own version of democracy , they do not need misinformed people to tell them about democracy

      • Rifleman

        Steve's an anti-communist and anti-islamist. No wonder you hate him. Are you paid in little boys by the ayatollas?

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Iran has put American youngsters on trial for crossing their border without being aware they crossed it. If they do any harm to these youngster and don't release them quickly we should retaliate in draconian ways – bombs, confiscation of assets, kidnappings and executions. We can't expect any help or words from the White House which gives shelter to a leftist Muslim, but if there are any MEN left in Congress, we should hear them speaking up.

  • USMCSniper

    What is absent is any serious objections from the oval office and the state department over a show trial for inocent Americans. I would make the Iranians "an offer they couldn't refuse."

  • Wesley69

    Had Obama supported the pro-democracy forces in Iran, this might not be happening now. It will be another generation before opposition raises its head against the oppressive rule of the Mullahs.

    If Obama had supposed pro-democracy forces in Iran, he would then have a moral authority when it came to trying to ease Mubarak out of power. Right now, he has none. In fact, allies of the US are wondering what good is an alliance with the US, if it is willing to push you out the door when the time is right.

    Iran is definitely profitting from the unrest in the Mideast. It's goal to destroy Israel appears to be nearer than ever before. But the Iranians better not miscalculate.

    If Israel realizes that defeat is inevitable and its people slaughtered, the cities of Teheran, Alexandria, Cairo, Damascus, Mecca, Medinia and other large population centers were become nuclear wastelands. Israel remembers well the experiences of the Holocaust and that of Masada.

  • ajnn

    iran = bad. is this new ?

  • Guest

    Mosavi and Karubi are two traitors who get paid by USA to destabalize IRAN

    • SAM000

      I agree on half of your sentece which says << Mosavi and Karubi are two traitors >> who get paid to betray the anti Mullahs demonstrators

  • Jaladhi

    Islam has only survived the centuries through intimidation and threats to its own followers as well as to non-Muslims. This is what Quran and Mo/allah have taught them. If it were not for the threats and death to apostates, Islam would not have survived once the followers become aware of its vile ideology. Unfortunately, becoming a Muslim is a one way street to Islamic prison – once you become Muslim, you can never get out of this prison alive – and its a life long incarceration if you stay.

    Iran keeps on executing innocent people to threaten and intimidate others who might be thinking of leaving Islam or might be thinking of rising up to the gutless mullahs who are making life miserable in Iran. This is Islamic democracy in action!!!

  • http://www.paula-tripordie.blogspot.com/ PaulaTripOrDie

    Fingers crossed for all the Iranians fighting for freedom.