The BBC has been hoodwinked by Iran’s President Rouhani

The BBC has been hoodwinked by Iran’s President Rouhani

Published by on February 23, 2016

The BBC has been hoodwinked by Iran's President RouhaniUnder the supposed moderates, the regime has launched what Amnesty recently called ‘a staggering execution spree’, writes Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph today.

By Christopher Booker


Suddenly last week, all over the BBC, we had Iran, the explanation being that it has been allowed to send a reporter into the country, a young Lebanese woman, Kim Ghattas, for the first time since there were mass-demonstrations against the regime in 2009. In between attending a pop concert and a film festival, she was allowed to interview Iran’s first female vice-president, Masoumeh Ebtekar, who came to prominence shouting “Death to America” when she was a spokesperson for the captors of those US hostages in 1979.

The all-too familiar line we got was that Iran’s prime minister since 2013, Hassan Rouhani, is a “moderate”, fighting to “reform” his country against the “reactionaries” surrounding its Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei. Rouhani’s only wish is to spread “peace and security” across the Middle East. Naturally Ms Ghattas did not press too far the large question marks over the recent much-vaunted “nuclear deal” with the West, by which Iran got what it wanted: a promise of the lifting of the sanctions that have been crippling its economy in return for very dubious concessions over its continued nuclear programme, riddled with holes.

Nor did Ms Ebtekar have any difficulty brushing aside a couple of half-hearted questions about Iran’s desire to spread “peace and security” across the Middle East, as through use of its ruthless Revolutionary Guards to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, and to foment violence and terrorism in all directions, from Lebanon and Iraq to the Yemen and Bahrain.

Wholly off the agenda, of course, was any mention of the fact that, since the arrival of the “moderate” Rouhani, the regime has launched what Amnesty recently called “a staggering execution spree”, hanging and shooting some 2,000 victims, more than at any time in 25 years, giving it the highest per capita execution rate in the world (not to mention chopping the hands and feet off scores more inmates of some of the world’s most inhuman prisons).

The BBC never seems to learn that totalitarian regimes only allow its reporters into their countries on condition that they mislead their audience with exactly the false picture their propaganda purposes require.

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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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