An Execution Wave Against LGBT Iranians

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


1407836736218.cachedPresident Barack Obama has long depicted himself as a defender of women’s and LGBT rights not only in the United States but across the world as well. Yet, where is his voice when it comes to the growing number of executions and the persecution of the gay and lesbian community as well as the repression of women in the Islamic Republic of Iran? In addition, why has the LGBT movement not criticized the Obama administration or made a movement over these injustices, egregious actions, and human rights violations committed in the Islamic Republic against the gays and lesbians?

As the Obama administration continues to communicate and diplomatically negotiate with Iranian officials in Vienna, New York, and elsewhere, President Obama has not even slightly expressed his concern about the unfair actions, executions, discriminations and prosecutions of LGBT individuals, as well as the increasing repressions of women under the Rouhani administration. Where do the Islamic Republic’s human rights abuses belong on President Obama’s agenda?

Two weeks ago, two Iranian men, Abdulla Ghavami Chahzanjiru and Salman Ghanbari Chahzanjiri, were executed in the southern part of the Islamic Republic for reasons that included “consensual sodomy.”  According to the Daily Beast, “Their deaths are part of a wave of executions in Iran, with more than 400 in the first half of 2014 alone, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights.” One of the Iranian sources pointed out that Chahzanjiru and Chahzanjiri were executed in order to “promote community safety” as well as to “reduce the suffering of the victims.”

Under the Islamist and Sharia law of Iran and Iran’s Penal Code, the punishments for homosexuals range from lashings to executions. For example, article 109 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code states, “In case of sodomy both the active and the passive persons will be condemned to its punishment.”

Article 110 of Iran’s Islamic Penal Code emphasizes on killing homosexuals, “Punishment for sodomy is killing; the Sharia judge decides on how to carry out the killing.” Article 111 adds, “Sodomy involves killing if both the active and passive persons are mature, of sound mind and have free will.”

According to other articles of Iran’s Islamist Penal Code, even kissing or standing naked under one roof are considered crimes and subject to punishment. For example, article 124 asserts: “If someone kisses another with lust, he will be subject to Ta’azir of 60 lashes.” Article 123 mandates: “If two men not related by blood stand naked under one cover without any necessity, both of them will be subject to Ta’azir of up to 99 lashes.”

Mosaheqeh (lesbianism) Under the Islamist Sharia law of the Islamic Republic

When it comes to laws regarding women and lesbianism, the same Islamist laws apply. For example, article 134 states, “If two women not related by consanguinity stand naked under one cover without necessity, they will be punished to less than [one] hundred (100) lashes (Ta’azir). In case of its repetition as well as the repetition of punishment, [one] hundred (100) lashes will be hit the third time.”

It is crucial to point out that these Islamist and Sharia laws apply not only to Muslims but also to non-Muslims, “In the punishment for lesbianism there will be no distinction between the doer and the subject as well as a Muslim or non-Muslim.”

More fundamentally, these executions, discriminations, prejudices and punishments with regards to the LGBT community in the Islamic Republic have created a tremendous sense of fear, horror, and panic among the gay and lesbian community through the imposition of Islamist laws that criminalize sexuality.

Although Iranian LGBT individuals have been living underground for many years, there always exists the fright and likelihood that they will be arrested by the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard Cops, the Islamist religious police, the moral police, or some state’s affiliated militia groups such as the Basij, and then be persecuted, lashed and executed by Iran’s Islamic Judiciary system.

The discrimination against the LGBT community in the Islamic Republic is solely anchored on the basis of their gender orientation.

When it comes to LGBT rights in the Islamic Republic, two crucial issues should be discussed. First of all, on the one hand, the Islamist and Shari’a law of the Islamic Republic clearly does not grant gays and lesbians equal rights and does not treat them as human beings.  But more fundamentally and egregiously, the Islamic Penal Code of the Islamic Republic sentences people to death based on sexuality.

Finally, while the Obama administration is highly concentrated on striking a final and comprehensive nuclear deal with the Iranian regime, President Obama should not turn a blind eye to these executions, human rights abuses, prejudices and punishments imposed by Iran’s Islamist laws against the LGBT individuals in the Islamic Republic.

Indeed, it is the obligation of every state and the international community– which is negotiating with the Iranian officials on nuclear issues— to bring the human rights of the Iranian LGBT community, its persecution, and the increasing repression of women, to the attention of Iranian ruling authorities.

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  • Muhammad68

    Well, the LGBT face the same atrocities in the US, the fake “democracy”.

    • Tabitha Bliss

      Um nice try, but no, we do not kill people in the US for their sexual preferences. In fact, they can even get legally married in many states.
      And no, we are not a democracy. We never have been.. We are a constitutional republic.
      Sorry, you lose. Thanks for playing.

      • Muhammad68

        Up untill few years ago, gays were denied equal rights in the US. hahaha. And now, US is ranked one of the highest countries in terms of having homophobic crazy religious (Christian Orthodox, Protostent, Catholic, Jewish) population…hahahaha

        • UCSPanther

          So says the same nut who comes from an ideology that whacks their heads off.

          You don’t have a foot to stand on.

          • Muhammad68

            There is no intellectual point in all your postings…only BS and high school stuff…:) ha

        • Drakken

          That is funny coming from boy buggers like you haji.

        • iluvisrael

          tell that to the gay dead guy swinging with a noose around his neck in the islamic cesspool of iran

      • Mahdi

        By the way, in the West, there is no human rights. Corporations rule and you, the rest are considered trash for the government and the ruling wealthy. hahahaha

        • UCSPanther

          The Ayatollah, of Rock and Rollah!

        • Drakken

          Oh look, a muslim who is obviously inbred by his uncle dad and aunty mom, how quaint.

          • Mahdi

            you need to grow. how old are you?…it is a bed time

          • iluvisrael

            go take a loose, steaming dump in your koran haji

        • nobullhere

          If you live in the West, then off you go to Iran or Pakistan, savage, and may the door hit you on the way out.

    • Here today Gone to Maui

      Hahahaha

      • Muhammad68

        Up until few years ago, gays were denied equal rights in the US.
        hahaha. And now, US is ranked one of the highest countries in terms of
        having homophobic crazy religious (Christian Orthodox, Protestant,
        Catholic, Jewish) population…hahahaha

        • UCSPanther

          The joke is on you: The Middle East is filled with people like yourself who are still mired in the Medieval Times…

          • Muhammad68

            And the West is filled with ignorant like u…

          • UCSPanther

            Better to be ignorant than to be brainwashed by some insane ayatollah into believing that the way to God is to gib yourself with high explosives…

          • iluvisrael

            then stay in your islamocesspool

          • nobullhere

            Yep, filled with hateful barbaric parasites who leech off the West and at the same time seek to destroy it.

      • Mahdi

        By the way, in the West, Corporations rule and
        the rest are considered trash for the government and the ruling
        wealthy. hahahaha

        • UCSPanther

          You can kiss my Ayyy-attollah!

    • wileyvet

      Hey, Muhammadan, your prophet was a disgusting pig of a man. You oh so macho Muslims condemn gays in this world yet, for those with such proclivities that follow your wretched belief when you get to your pervert paradise Q52:24. Serving them will be youths like hidden pearls.

      • Muhammad68

        I am amazed that they don’t flag/delete your hate speech comment but they do for me

        • UCSPanther

          Let me help you out…

        • nobullhere

          Off you go, savage. Of course you worship the headchoppers who are part and parcel of your bigoted death cult.

  • Here today Gone to Maui

    Islamic states are destroyers of basic human rights, especially for minorities and lgbt.

    • Mahdi

      The same in the West. No human rights. Corporations rules and the rest are trash.

      • santiago

        Both are a global threat no doubt about it, but the biggest threat by far, no doubt about it, are islamic states. There is just no point in comparison.

      • IslamDownpressesHumanity

        “no human rights”. Really? I’ve seen LGBT parades with my own eyes. Do they have any LGBT parades in ANY islamic state anywhere?

        • Richard Wagner Junior

          so, a parade for you is an example of human rights?… XD

  • Pete

    I got to think that a significant genesis of gays is the Lost Boy effect, which is created by poverty and polygamy of the silverbacks.

  • atunionbob

    The past president of Iran said there are NO gay people in Iran…he is some what right….they are murdering them off by hanging even those suspected of being gay. All in the name of religion. See how religion corrupts totally.

    • IslamDownpressesHumanity

      No, not in the “name of religion”, in the name of islam. If you really think the president of Iran or the Ayatollah Khameni are really killing gays in the name of religion why don’t you go over there and publicly debate the issue in Tehran?

  • Robert_Fl

    This is what is coming to America’s useful idiot gays after obama and the gang have destroyed all Western values and traditions and dragged the country down to third world status.. They will have no more use for these people.

    • Alexander Winston

      “Useful idiot”? Are you projecting? It isn’t possible for us to be a third world country. You clearly don’t understand what that term means. You need therapy and an education.

      • UCSPanther

        In Saudi Arabia, the standard penalty for engaging in homosexuality is forfeiture of one’s head, and the other Islamic countries follow suit with their own choices of capitol punishment.

        That is why it is ironic when LGBT defend those same nations…

        • IslamDownpressesHumanity

          I sometimes wonder if the legal system isn’t different for native Saudis than it is for the non-native peon workforce.

      • Robert_Fl

        Thanks for the diagnosis and the laugh, Doctor…you are funny. Talk to me when you get out of high school.

    • santiago

      A Western Value is FREEDOM, the same value and right you have to disagree with gays, or anyone else for that matter, the same right that gays have to take it up the @ss even if it is a mental dysfunction. You want to take that value away? What happened to defending Western Values? Most traditions in the world are useless and senseless and have to perish and new traditions that are useless will emerge. Imagine if the whole world thought like you? We would all be nomads. The world changes, that is the only constant you can count on.

      • Robert_Fl

        You don’t seem to understand my post, and you don’t seem to understand that these people are being used to take our freedoms away…then they will be discarded. My comment is not anti-gay. My point is that the segment of gay people (not all) who are the in-your-face members of that group are digging their own graves. I have no problem with their freedom to live their own lives, but they are aiding in the destruction of my freedoms.

        • Ginger Li

          Absolutely, RF. The left’s idea of ‘freedom’ is to unleash perversion and corruption and call it ‘normal’. But to own the fruits of your own industry is called ‘greedy’ and forbidden. If and when the left dominates, the self satisfying ‘useful idiot’ now unnecessary tools will be disregarded and accorded the same or worse treatment they helped inflict on the rest of us.

  • wileyvet

    Barack Hussein Obama cannot support gays and women’s rights and also support Muslims and Islam. You cannot do both. Typical too of the various movements, the LGBT are only aggressive when it comes to Chick-fil-A, and slandering Phil Robertson. Like the NOW, who only could muster a protest against Augusta National Golf Club, not against real female oppression in the world. They make themselves out to be tough fighters for human rights, yet are conspicuously silent when it comes to condemning anyone’s culture other than American Christian culture. Like most special interest groups it is always about me, me, me. Everyone else be damned because we are the center of the universe. Their phony contrived outrages only work when browbeating companies, haranguing individuals that don’t subscribe to their beliefs or don’t bow to their fascist tactics, aided by a gutless media, and political demagogues. The LGBT are good at shocking crowds with gay pride parades, but completely gutless when confronting a real threat to their lifestyle, namely Islam.

    • Alexander Winston

      Yes you can. It is the extremists that are the problem. LGBT people work for human rights WORLDWIDE. If you did any research or had an education you would know that. our ignorance is a lifestyle choice. As is your hate. As is your bigotry. YOU….CAN…..CHANGE!

      • IslamDownpressesHumanity

        What a load of BS. I haven’t heard of, nor seen, any LGBT protests condemning the islamic slaughter and/or persecution of anyone — incl. the LGBT community.

      • Drakken

        Please, by all means, put your money where your mouth is and go tell those meany muslims that they are violating your rights, I bloody well dare you. Let’s see you live your lifestyle choice in the muslim world.

      • Ginger Li

        AW – I wonder if you think YOU have an ‘education’. You sound like a trained magpie.

    • Ginger Li

      Good points! The LGBTs are more than ready to bully business owners who won’t serve them on religious grounds or demand that the institutions of Christian faiths bend to their wills but there’s not a peep out of them when some Muslim apologist named Mohammed, AW here, or B. Hussein pooh-poohs the notion that Islam is anything other than the ‘religion of peace’.It’s always easy prey to attack the meek, industrious and law abiding but the LGBT types steer well clear of annoying the barbaric Islamic savages.

  • Ginger Li

    Would you really think B. Hussein would say anything denigrating against Iran’s capital punishment binge (400 known executed, another 300 probables privately so far this year) when the ventriloquist who puts the words in his mouth is the Mullah supporter, the Iranian Valerie Jarrett?

  • georgejochnowitz

    On the one hand, President Obama is bombing ISIS in Iraq, and has supported the overthrowing of Mubarak and Qaddafi. On the other hand, Obama was totally silent during Iranian pro-democracy protests, did nothing to oppose Assad, and now has nothing to say about the execution of homosexuals in Iran. Obama always seems to side with Shiites, but not with Sunnis.
    I don’t think Obama is a Muslim. If he were, he would have to be a Sunni, since his biological father was from Kenya and his adopted father was from Indonesia–both countries with almost no Shiites.
    I can’t imagine what is going on here.

  • roccolore

    Liberals will never criticize Islam.