Editorial in French daily *Ouest-France*: Listen to the Iranian people

Editorial in French daily *Ouest-France*: Listen to the Iranian people

Published by on February 2, 2016

quest-franceSource: Ouest-France*, 1 February 2016
The visit by the Iranian regime’s president to France ended with many industrial contracts but also by a deafening silence on the issue of human rights. But in Iran, the death penalty is widely practiced to keep the Iranians in terror of a theocratic dictatorship.

In Iran, even minors are executed. They are counted among the thousands of people who have suffered this atrocity in 2015; according to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), a record high since 1989. The judiciary continues to sentence people to inhuman treatment … including amputations, torture, and trials without access to lawyers which are common. Journalists, bloggers, and opponents are imprisoned.

In Iran, under Islamic sharia law, women are deprived of their liberty even in their manner of dress! There is no freedom of conscience or religion. Leaving Islam for another religion is punishable by death. Ethnic and religious minorities, including Christians, are persecuted.

The Federation of Human Rights has asked the French president “not to sacrifice human rights in favour of closer economic ties between the two countries.” Political power says it is more effective to talk one-on-one. But France, decorating Iranian President with military honours, blurred this message. And Italy boxed up Roman statues not to offend the “sensitivity” of their guest!

France and Italy which have sadly distinguished are both poor economic posture, unlike Germany and the UK. Are these dangerous economic and diplomatic games carried out in order to avoid necessary reforms?

Yet it was “an opportunity for French Democrats to remember that barbaric punishments belong to a bygone era. Their abolition is a prerequisite to any discussion with countries that practice them. Iranian civil society and the democratic opposition in these countries look to France.” (1)

It’s a little hasty to believe that the Iranian tyranny will be there forever. The people are thirsty for freedom. Those in power are afraid: “If we allowed every citizen to declare his personal beliefs, you would be quickly plunged into anarchy and our system would collapse,” an Iranian official told a jailed Christian (2).

Investing in a theocratic dictatorship is to ignore the will of the educated people with a great culture and from a great civilization that will be free one day of this oppression.

Putting human rights under wraps to obtain contracts is tantamount to betraying our democratic duty. Now, from Churchill, we know that dishonour buys neither peace nor prosperity.

(1) “Is Iran really progressing?” Jean-Pierre Michel in Libération, 26 January 2016.
(2) “Captives in Iran” – Maryam Rostampour and Marzyeh Amirizadeh

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Abolish death penalty

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Dear Secretary General of United Nations,

The number of executions is rising in Iran, journalists are being detained for doing their job and activists face cruel and degrading punishments, long prison terms and even execution. According to the most recent reports by Amnesty International and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, “Iran’s judiciary continues to sentence child offenders to death, and carry out their execution by hanging”. Also, on August 9th, 2016 the son of late Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, Khomeini’s designated successor in 1988, published a shocking audio tape of his father’s meeting with the “Death Commission” which summarily and extra-judicially executed tens of thousands of political prisoners held in jails across Iran. The massacre was carried out on the basis of a fatwa by the regime’s then-Supreme Leader Khomeini.

We, the undersigned, hereby urge you to take up this issue and raise it in the General Assembly in order to;

1. Put pressure on Iran to immediately halt the executions and abolish death penalty in Iran.
2. Call on all Western governments to make any improvement in economic relations with Iran contingent on its human rights record.
3. Demand in its resolution on human rights violations in Iran, to bring the perpetrators of 1988 massacre (one of the worst atrocities the post-war world has ever seen – Geoffrey Robertson-QC) to justice before an international tribunal.

Executions must stop.

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