Iran: Executions Stepped Up. Why?
Many countries have abolished the death penalty. Yet, Iran, under the ruling theocracy, where Cyrus the Great wrote the first-ever declaration of human rights, commonly known as the Cyrus Cylinder, ranks first in per capita executions.
According to the independent sources, since Ebrahim Raisi took office, at least 271 have been hanged, 54 in 2022 alone. In August, the Iranian regime’s self-proclaimed “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, ended his eight-year tenure with over 5,000 execution hanging over the responsibility of “implementing God’s order,” a term he used to justify hangings, to Ebrahim Raisi. The regime’s Supreme Leader installed Raisi, an illiterate judiciary official who rose through the regime’s ranks due to his ruthlessness, to serve as the boogeyman to intimidate Iran’s increasingly restive and defiant society.
Having served as a member of Tehran’s “Death Commission” during the 1988 genocide which saw the execution of tens of thousands of political prisoners, Raisi symbolizes the regime’s violent essence. He ascended to power after decades of crimes against humanity, such as his role in the torture of thousands of political prisoners when he was a prosecutor in Hamedan and Karaj prisons and the arbitrary arrest and torture of thousands of protesters during the November 2019 uprising.
In June, shortly after the regime declared Raisi the winner of the sham elections, boycotted nationwide, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Agnès Callamard said: “That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture, is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran.”
Ms. Callamard also underlined Raisi’s role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, primarily members of the Mujahedin-e Khalq organization (MEK). Moreover, Ms. Callamard and six other UN Special Rapporteurs issued a letter in December 2020, underlining that the 1988 massacre “may amount to crimes against humanity.”
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In an open letter on January 27, more than 460 current and former UN officials, the former President of the International Criminal Court, and other globally acclaimed jurists, , urged the UN To Immediately “establish an investigation into Iran’s 1988 massacre which i amounts to ‘crimes against humanity and ‘genocide.’”
On December 10, 2021, which marks International Human Rights Day, Josep Borrell, the European Union High Representative, said: “The EU will continue to uphold the universality of human rights and exercise vigilance against any attempt to undermine international commitments. On Human Rights Day, we commit to re-double our efforts to stand with and speak out for the oppressed and those under threat, wherever they may live.”
The U.S. President, Joe Biden, also underlined in October that “The United States stands ready to work with partners and allies to help lead the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future, grounded in respect for human dignity.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. administration, Mr. Borrell, and his colleagues in the European democracies are doing their utmost to revive Iran’s flawed 2015 nuclear deal. They are hell-bent on providing sanction relief to Iran’s murderous regime that has absolutely no regard for international human rights standards.
What message does such an approach send to Tehran about its human rights violations? Why does the regime pay heed to dozens of international condemnations, such as repeated expressions of concerns over the rising number of executions in Iran by the U.S. and the EU officials? Turning a blind eye on the regime’s egregious human rights violations have perpetuated the culture of impunity in Iran?
President John F. Kennedy said, “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” So, has the time not come for Western democracies to hold the Iranian regime accountable for human rights abuses that have trampled upon the rights of all mankind?