27 January 2005 Edition

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Human rights stoned to death in Iran

BY UNA GILLESPIE

"The Iranian nation is a prisoner of a regime which... extracts the blood of victims before execution for wounded Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian nation is a prisoner to a regime whose Revolutionary Guards rape virgin girls before execution".

THESE were just two of a long list of barbaric human rights abuses carried out by the Iranian theocracy against its own people, described by Maryam Rajavi of, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect, at the opening of a three-day conference on human rights in Paris in December. Rajavi is the leader of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political group associated with the armed Iranian opposition, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI)

In her opening address, Rajavi described human rights abuses and atrocities the like of which and the scale of which we in Ireland have no comprehension and no touchstone for comparison. Iran has a record of violating the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights at a level and in a manner that has been unmatched by any other country in the last 57 years:

• 174 forms of torture documented in Iranian prisons;

• In 1998 Khomeini issued a fatwa to massacre 30,000 Mojahedin political prisoners. That is the equivalent of the mass murder of all the people who voted for Bobby Sands;

• The clerical regime over the last 40 years has executed 120,000 of its political opponents; that is the equivalent of the total population of the Foyle constituency.

• During the mullahs' 25-year reign, more than half-a-million people have been imprisoned for political reasons; that is the equivalent of the entire city of Dublin.

• With respect to other arrests the Judiciary Chief stated 'every year we imprison 600,000 people. We are talking about prisons that are full of crimes, disease, moral corruption and mischief.'

• Stoning, hanging in public, eye gouging, amputation of fingers, hands and legs, beheading and flogging in public are carried out as punishments.

Summing up the situation, Rajavi stated: "Under clerical rule, violation of human rights is the law and respect for human rights is the violation of the law."

Less than two weeks later, on 21 December, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 51st resolution censuring the widespread and persistent violations of human rights in Iran. The resolution expressed grave concern at:

• "The failure to comply fully with international standards in the administration of justice, the absence of due process of law, the refusal to provide fair and public hearings and right to counsel, the use of national security laws to deny rights of the individual and the lack of respect for internationally recognised legal safeguards inter alia, with respect to persons belonging to religious minorities".

• "The continuing executions and in particular the executions of persons below 18 years of age";

• "Arbitrary arrest and detention without charge or trial";

• "The use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment, in particular the practice of amputation and flogging';

• "The systemic discrimination against women and girls";

• "The continuing persecution, including through the systematic and arbitrary use of prolonged solitary confinement, with respect to political opponents."

Despite 51 UN resolutions condemning their human rights abuses, the clerical regime in Iran has used international, particularly EU efforts at appeasement and negotiation, to increase its human rights abuses. In one week in December alone there were 12 public executions. Despite the record of abuse and atrocity, the EU, in a deal with the mullahs, agreed to keep classifying the opposition People's Mojahedin as a terrorist organisation.

"By labelling the Iranian People's Mojahedin terrorist it provided the most effective means to the regime in Tehran to suppress its own citizens," said Rajavi.

"Official European reports indicate the futility of negotiations and the deterioration in the situation of human rights. But the ruling religious dictatorship is pleased over its diplomatic accomplishments. Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs stated two years ago: 'Our other achievement was the EU's agreement to include the People's Mojahedin in the EU terrorist lists, which was followed up by 'openings' with respect of economy and facilitating Iran's exports to Europe.'

"I do not know whether European policy makers are congratulating or consoling each other over these economic openings and blood soaked contracts," said Rajavi. "I do know this, however, that under [President] Khatami, the number of stonings and public executions increased. Today, European policy makers are engaged in shameful negotiations and deal making with the most extremist faction of the regime. This shocks any conscientious human being."

If this were any other country in the world or any other regime, there would be a huge international outcry and social and economic boycott. Instead, there appears to be a wall of silence at best and at worst, political and economic complicity and collusion with this mass slaughter and torture of innocents. There is an urgent need for international pressure to immediately call for the end of human rights abuses of citizens of Iran and the removal of the People's Mojahedin from the terrorist list. The EU should lead the way.


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