Beneath the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Charm Offensive

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 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 Dr. Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


iran-execution_craneEven after the secret deals revealed by several outlets including The Washington Times between President Barack Obama and the Islamic Republic of Iran, President Obama continues to urge the international community and American people to place trust in the Iranian regime regarding its nuclear ambitions and economic sanctions. It is crucial to examine some of the recent underlying human rights records in Iran, which have surprisingly not elicited any criticism from the liberal politicians, and have gone untold in the liberal media. This raises an intriguing issue, as President Obama has not mentioned or even condemned the Islamists in Tehran for this appalling human rights record.

Although the new Iranian government has tried to project a moderate picture, and although President Obama seems to believe in the charm offensive of this Islamist state, recent human rights reports show that there has been no improvement in the Iranian regime’s human rights records. In fact, the situation has deteriorated under the new Iranian government. In addition to the continued persecution of minorities and non-Muslims, the recent appalling human rights records have shown an upswing in stoning and public executions, reminiscent of the Islamic Middle Ages and Sharia laws.

For the first several months of the new Iranian president’s term, activists both inside and outside of Iran have formed campaigns aiming to end executions in Iran, and to put an end to stoning and public executions.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is ranked second in the total number of executions, only after China. Though, if the proportion of the total population to the number of secret executions were considered, Iran would be ranked number one. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, at least 529 people have been put to death in cities across the nation in 2013. Intriguingly, more than half of these executions, around 300, were carried out since President Rouhani assumed office in late August. Meaning that more than half of the executions were carried out in only the past four months.

It is also worth mentioning that most of the people who are executed, did not receive due process in court, and were mainly executed because of violations based on Islamic and Sharia law. Many of Iran’s condemned were accused of being a “Moharebeh” or “Mofsed fi Alard”, translated as meaning something near “waging war” against God and Islam.

Ironically, on Human Rights Day, the Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani told high-ranking Judiciary officials, “The Judiciary will not take notice of irrational words and lies and will resolutely continue its work, because we believe that the highest human rights values are recognized in Islam.”

The stepped-up pace of public executions and stoning come as the new Iranian government is working to achieve its political objective of pushing for the West to take initiatives in lifting economic and political sanctions on Iran. President Obama has already taken steps to release billions of dollars, based on the recent executive order and nuclear deal.  Yet, there has not been any, or even slight, condemnation for this appalling and egregious human rights record.  The number of executions and stoning are on an upswing, as Iranian leaders are reaching another deal with the United States and the P5+1.

It is crucial to point out that the number of reported executions is official, and public— there are hundreds of others who are executed in secret locations, with some even executed collectively. For example, according to several credible reports, in Karaj’s Ghezel Hessar prison, eight prisoners were collectively executed on Thursday, December 18.

Recently, the European Parliament delegation returned from a six-day visit to Tehran, marking the first official visit to Iran in more than six years. The five-member delegation was led by the chairwoman of the European Parliament’s friendship delegation with Iran, an MEP for the Left party Cornelia Ernst, Austrian Social Democrats Isabelle Durant and Josef Weidenholzer, and Tarja Cronberg from Finnish Greens.  During their five-day visit, at least 38 death sentences were carried out, according to Iranian media sources. Many other executions in prisons were conducted in secret, with no news were released.

Nevertheless, the crucial issue is that there has been no condemnation or criticism issued by any liberal politicians in the delegation or from mainstream media. Instead, the liberal media and politicians continue to praise the new Iranian government for its charm offensive and “moderate” policies.

Many opposition activists have pointed out that the current Obama administration is the weakest in US history when it comes to dealing with the threat of Islamists in Iran and their hegemonic agenda. The Iranian Islamists are attempting to impose their geopolitical hegemonic ambitions and agenda, both in the region and globally. They have recently been extremely successful with this, because of the deals with President Obama and the process of lifting sanctions and pressures. The Iranian regime has also been able to increase its lucrative oil sales as well.

On the contrary, while in Islamic Republic of Iran Tarja Cronberg told EuroNews that she was impressed that women are now serving in the Iranian Parliament. Though the leftist and democratic members who are impressed by this face failed to mention the fact that only nine out of 290 parliament members are women.

While the leftists and social democrats remain silent in Europe regarding Iran’s appalling human rights records of executions and stoning, and while President Obama is proceeding with removing pressures and sanctions on Iran, it remains unclear whether President Obama will issue any sort of statement condemning or criticizing this appalling record of stoning and public executions.

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  • Muhammad79

    Public execution is a law in Islam. I do not see why it is wrong.

    • Oscar

      You’re right, they are just following the Rule of law! What a perfect democracy!

      • SCREW SOCIALISM

        SCREW Satans Law – Sharia Law.

    • http://www.chaverimisrael.org Norbert Haag

      not seeing seems to be your problem.

    • defcon 4

      Yes, executing people for committing blasphemy or heresy against islam is never problematic for islam0nazis.

    • PouponMarks

      I’m sure that I would not agree with you on anything else. But public executions and flogging are acceptable forms of retribution in my sphere, for the appropriate crime. It is the “appropriate crime” where our differences diverge.

    • Hank Rearden

      I guess it wouldn’t be a problem if Islam wasn’t a sadistic death cult.

    • Softly Bob

      What’s wrong is that no law should be based on Islam. Islam is evil and should be banned everywhere.

    • slhancock

      In the Muslim world, you can convict your neighbor of blasphemy, knowing that they are Christians, even though they have NEVER EVER spoken out against Mohammed, or Islam publicly. The officials will not give their testimonies in self-defense any credibility. Non-Muslims have no defense, in other words, which I know you feel is right. In America, we don’t hang people for their religious beliefs. Of course, Christianity here, like all over the world, has become such a threat to the world’s mind that they have to be silenced/demonized, and/or killed. It won’t be long before killings spread to the west. It has, although it is given cover because the families involved call it honor-killing, when a family member converts to Christianity, they kill them to rid the family of the offense. Yes, it happens here. It will increase. And, as neighborhoods become more Muslim, they will not stop at killing family members.

  • Consider

    Executions in the US are OK.
    No stones no public, just lethal injections or gas, electricity somewhere (care for electrodes connectivity by shaving and wetting), and righteous mob worrying, of course, for the victims and social values, outside the penal institutions, makes big difference to those concerned.

    • Consider More

      Executions in the US are OK.

      So long they are proportional to the crime. US law needs to be improved. Quality Adjusted Life Years are not explicitly taken into account in sentencing of white collar crime.

      Quality Adjusted Life Years are not taken into account in sentencing other criminals as well. there are too many righteous mobs worrying for victimizers and not at all for victims, because the victimizers are from the community.

      • Consider

        That the Iraninan executions are not proportional to the crime, says who?
        They may not be aesthetically perfect, but essentially there is no difference between them and the US ‘righteous’ executions.
        They both belong to the same stone age, primitve, savage mentality.

        • PouponMarks

          You need to be de-programmed like a Moonie or Bhagwan robot. Better yet, get a job.

        • JoJoJams

          Yeah, as if there is a moral equivalency between executing actual murderers and evil people, vs. islams executions of homosexuals, apostates, and stoning of adulterers. Sure. Same thing. lmao. And you actually believe your islamic sickness is somehow more better and noble? Wow – you muslims are the most delusional humans on the face of this planet!

          • Consider

            In Iran they don’t execute “actual murderers and evil people”, only homosexuals and apostates?

          • defcon 4

            They’ve also executed Iranian Jews for being Israeli spies — after closed courtroom trials that have no public transcript available and no appeals process.

          • JoJoJams

            This is called “deflection”. No, “consider”, I’m sure they also execute “actual murders and evil people”, but the PROBLEM is that they include homosexuals, apostates and adulterers in there. We’ve grown up – islam is incapable of growing up and is inherently EVIL.

          • Consider

            The article expresses indignation with “stoning and public executions, reminiscent of the Islamic Middle Ages and Sharia laws.” This has ben singled as the main PROBLEM.
            Only incidentaly the author remarked that there was no due process of law etc.
            Therefore we remain with the executions, which admittedly are more appropriate to the middle ages in style, but in substance they are not different of the 21 century executions in the US.

          • JoJoJams

            “are more appropriate to the middle ages in style, but in substance they are not different of the 21 century executions in the US.” ~

            And you refuse to see the difference between the executions performed in the states, against convicted (by a jury of peers) felons for murder, vs. the state sponsored murder of people, most of whom were either homosexuals, or apostates, as well as adulterers (one of the few things per sharia to warrant stoning).

            I’m all for capital punishment – and I have no qualms with America doling out the death penalty for murderers – often of brutal, unimaginable crimes of murder. But to equate that with killing people for their religious, political or sexual persuasion and actions is unconscionable. It’s due to “defenders” like you, morally equating things that aren’t morally equal, and “excusing” the actions of “the other” that only enables “the other” to perpetuate the barbarism of a medieval ideology.

          • Consider

            The US is regarded in Europe as perpetuating barbarism (together with China, Iran, North Korea etc).
            Good Company.

          • JoJoJams

            I’m well aware that the loony left in Europe are so “enlightened” that they cannot see the necessity (evolutionarily speaking) of getting rid of murderers. They are in no ways a group to “look up to”, in my book, and I wear their “derision” for us removing murderers from the human gene pool with honor. They don’t have the balls to do what is evolutionarily necessary. Remove murderers from the human gene pool. That’s all. Anything beyond murderers forget it.

            And still you deflect, ignore and “apologize”, based on some misguided ideology of moral equivalency.

          • Consider

            Maybe the Iranians also want to cleanse the human gene pool. They only have a slightly larger repertoire.

          • defcon 4

            Bzzzzzzzzt, wrong. Islam0nazi jurisprudence only peripherally involves any sense of justice. Just ask the sorcerer and witch who had their heads lopped off in Soddy Barbaria just last year.

      • Sheik Yerbouti

        Or, as we have seen, the victims are not part of the community but are recent rivals. With no ties to the community they are the perfect prey for local predators. Especially if they are locally connected or “important” predators (like star athletes or the child of a minister). In realty, it’s an old human equation.

        I will say though that I am al for public executions. I think they should be available on pay-per-view with the proceeds going to victims. I would have GLADLY shelled out $19.95 to watch Coughey fry in Florida.

  • KissThe Pussy

    Have a look at the European delegation that went, a bunch of feminist extreme left-wingers. It is no wonder the west will slide into oblivion we have elevated far too many incompetent women into positions of power.

  • Muhammad79

    US is also in the top of the ranks in executions. This is democracy? It also spends hundreds of millions of dollars to execute only one person.

    • JoJoJams

      Gaa, I loathe ignorant muslim apologists of evil! Yeah, we execute actual murderers and such, but it’s by humane methods, as opposed to the barbarism of stoning! In short, some societies grow up – and others languish in ignorance, poverty, oppression and theocratic despotism. I’ll take the “decadent” west over the absolute evil of islam ANY day! You guys execute people who are homosexual, or who have had the audacity to LEAVE the ignorance of islam, and you stone adulterers. Sick sick culture. You don’t like ours – fine. But I absolutely LOATHE yours, because it’s a sick and vile “religion” – the sickest one ever invented!

      • Muhammad79

        keep defending US and see the end.

        • Drakken

          How it ends is very simple raghead, you effing muslims are going to push us infidels too far and then your know what fear really is for we won’t be giving you and yours any quarter or mercy. Good bloody riddance.

          • Muhammad79

            You won’t have any power. It is done crazy.

          • SCREW SOCIALISM

            You won’t have any Mecca – for starters.

        • SCREW SOCIALISM

          Defending the US will end in the end of the Hajj for all time – because the kabbah will be replaced by a radioactive crater – for starters..

        • JoJoJams

          I already know “the end”. It’s written in Revelation. Which talks about a one-world religion that cuts off the heads of those that refuse to bow down to it, led by the “anti christ”, or, as the Shiite muslims call him, “the 12th imam”. Even if the U.S. goes down, God will triumph in the end, over the evil that is islam. Now, go bang your head against the carpet as you bow down to Satan(allah) – between that and the 1st cousin inbreeding, you and your ilk are some sorry excuses for humanity.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Mudhammed69,

      If the US were the top in executions, there would be no prisoners in Guantanamo.

    • defcon 4

      LOL. Islam0nazi jurisprudence is so much better isn’t it? Hand choppings, head choppings, stonings, hangings, floggings — all without the needless temporizing of things like due process or an appeals process.

  • jozef

    This is not our problem how many egzucution perform in Texas??? But I as not Nevada problem

  • karridine

    ‘…persecution of minorities…’ especially the one minority that, by simple existence, puts the LIE to the Muslim-clergy self-righteous belief that ‘As a Muslim I/WE are obedient to God’s most recent Messenger, therefore WE are God’s best-beloved people…” The Coming of al-Qaim May 23, 1844 and His public execution July 8, 1850 were BOTH foretold in the Holy Quran, but Iranian government doesn’t want THAT to stop their persecution!

    • Drakken

      Islam is islam no matter what stripe it is and where ever islam goes, the blood always flows without exception. Sooner or later one of you inbred savages is going to use a weapon of mass death and destruction in the West and then all bets are off and were are not going to be too concerned about massive casualties on your side, as a matter of fact it will be the norm, not the exception.

      • defcon 4

        He might very well be a Baha’i. The Baha’i faith was born in Iranistan (NOT Persia). It’s said Baha’i are the most ruthlessly persecuted religious minority in Iranistan today.

  • Norm Ernst

    that’s what i call a muslim wind chime

  • Harold Kay

    oh geee you mean the ayatollah didnt make up there?

  • madeuce42

    no

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    DEATH to iran!

    LONG LIVE PERSIA!

  • Buffalo39

    Actually our god is not satan. We actually hate satan and try not to be provoked by him and no, we don’t worship him. Then we would be disobeying the laws put for us. And slavery was also in other places not just in the Muslim world. And our god doesn’t command us to do insane a cuts of violence. That is supposed to be an action of defense. And that’s if others attack you. And to be honest god will bring terror to the unbelievers. Did you not hear of the story of Noah’s Ark? How a flood came and drowned the
    unbelievers. So, yeah… By the way this wasn’t supposed to be offensive to anyone. Just want to make a little point, and that’s all. So sorry if I did say something rude, I wasn’t intending to.