Since the massive consecutive uprisings that began in 2017, a grim reality has taken root in Iran. It is a story of widespread human rights violations that stain the conscience of the world. Yet there is a conspicuous silence in the media.
Recent UN condemnations have put a spotlight on the gruesome executions of a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old, exposing the regime’s macabre distinction as the world’s leading child executioner.
As popular dissent mounts, the regime’s brutality intensifies and the noose claims more victims: Milad Zohrevand, 21, who participated in last year’s uprising; Ali Saber Motlaq, 62, a longtime supporter of the main opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK); Kamran Rezaei, 32, who participated in the 2019 uprising.
The regime’s unbridled killing spree, which included 37 executions in just 9 days and a staggering 123 in November alone, reveals a sinister tableau of a theocracy completely out of control.
In November, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the hangings. Yet as we near the end of the year, a staggering 793 executions have been carried out, including 22 dissidents, 21 women, and two juveniles, marking a 30 percent rise over the corresponding period in 2022.
The transgressions of the clerical regime go far beyond the crimson stains of executions. The enactment of new draconian measures in September is a grotesque reminder of the relentless subjugation of Iranian women. Consider the heartbreaking fate of Armita Garavand, a 16-year-old who paid the ultimate price for the basic freedom to choose what to wear.
Amnesty International has reported a horrifying pattern of severe violence, mass arrests, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and unspeakable torture against the brave souls who protest these appalling conditions.
As the regime seeks to pivot toward external warmongering in the region, the persistent undercurrent of domestic discontent serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent obligation to seriously address the basic needs and rights of the Iranian people.
The regime commits atrocities with impunity, having evaded accountability for past crimes and genocide. The 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners, mostly MEK activists, remains a stain on humanity itself. Perpetrators like Ebrahim Raisi, who were involved in this crime, now hold the highest positions in the regime.
In the heart of Iran, a determined uprising led by defiant youth and resistance units is showing resilience against the despotic regime. Recent attacks on the bases of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) vividly illustrate the courageous defiance of the Iranian youth.
Sadly, however, the response of Western governments has been marked by a conspicuous lack of courage. A unified global front is essential to quell the resulting turmoil and establish a lasting peace. The epicenter of terrorism, like the head of the snake, is entrenched in Tehran. Endowed with unbridled impunity, the regime has methodically spread a trail of bloodshed across the region.
Notwithstanding the compelling body of evidence underscoring the regime’s extensive involvement in the Middle East’s protracted turmoil, Western governments profess a conspicuous lack of awareness regarding Tehran’s direct involvement in the humanitarian catastrophe. Regrettably, such denials only serve to strengthen Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s resolve to escalate the conflict, using heightened regional interference as a means of diverting attention from domestic unrest and quelling growing popular uprisings.
To address this critical situation, the following strategic measures must be integrated into a coherent and strategic policy that calls for decisive action against the central banker of terrorism.
Rigorously examine the background of the regime’s agents and spies, disguised as experts, and expel them from government and international institutions.
Reinstate UN Security Council resolutions and reimposing sanctions against the clerical regime.
Recognize the Iranian people’s struggle for regime change and acknowledging the youth’s courageous struggle against the IRGC is a critical step toward lasting change. Such affirmations provide moral support and solidarity to those who seek a democratic, secular republic in Iran.
Finally, it is essential to hold regime leaders accountable for genocide and crimes against humanity, particularly the reprehensible massacre of political prisoners in 1988. Accountability serves as a deterrent to future transgressions.
For more than four decades, the Iranian people have embraced a legacy of freedom and courageously resisted the suffocating clutches of religious tyranny. They rise, they resist, and they stand undeterred. The world community must actively stand in solidarity with them as they chart a path to a future free from the shadows of tyranny and terrorism.
Safavi (@amsafavi) is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)