While 2022 has just begun, the extent of human rights crimes against political prisoners by the Islamic regime in Iran is highly painful and bloody.
In January 2022, Adel Kianpoor died after a week of hunger strike in prison. Boxing champion Mohammad Javad Vafaei was sentenced to death. Mehdi Salehi, who was arrested after the mass protests of December 2017, had a stroke and went into a coma after being injected with an unknown substance in prison. Mohsen Ghasemi, a former World and Asia wrestling champion, died on January 14 after being in a coma for two years. Baktash Abtin, a poet, writer, and documentary filmmaker, died in hospital after contracting Covid in jail. Political prisoners Sadegh Omidi, Mehdi Darini, Hamid Kashani, Ali Asghar Hassani Rad, Mahmoud Ali Nejad, Peyman Pourdad, and Moin Hajizadeh have gone on a hunger strike in protest to the "premeditated murder" of Baktash Abtin and are in critical condition. Also, Dozens of political prisoners have been sent to exile to remote and non-standard prisons.
Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of the opposition and human rights activists, Iran's prisons are still full of young men and women who dare to think differently than this brutal regime. There are prisoners who have been behind bars for 5, 10, 15, or even 22 years, in terrible conditions and without proper medical care. For the lucky ones who get a chance of conditional release, the Islamic Regime demands heavy bail. With these high figures, the opposition has gone bankrupt financially.
The Iranian people have been coming out to protest periodically and get shot dead on the streets, get arrested and put in jails, and receive unfair sentences for bogus accusations of "insulting the Prophet, insulting the Supreme Leader, or spreading propaganda against national security." One of the reasons that Iranians cannot get rid of this brutal regime is the support they receive from the West. Despite the far-right, xenophobic, racist, and sexist nature of the Islamic regime in Iran, the liberal progressive left in the West, especially in the United States, has welcomed them in the media, in the academia, in the sports arenas, and even as advisors in the White House. Many leading universities and mainstream media in the United States hire apologists and proxies of the Islamic Republic, people such as Farnaz Fassihi at New York Times, or former Tehran officials Hossein Mousavian at Princeton, and Mohammad Jafar Mahallati at Oberlin College, and allow them to whitewash the Islamic Republic's record.
The former officials enjoying stature in America are not only dangerous ideologically, but they also have the blood of Iranians on their hands. Mousavian is implicated in Mykonos restaurant assassinations in Berlin, Germany, in 1992, where three Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders and their translator were killed in cold blood. Mahallati is accused of crimes against humanity by Amnesty International for his role in the 1988 Massacre of political prisoners in Iran. Cozying up to former diplomats of the Islamic regime in the past 40 years not only has helped system to oppress its people and extend its reach in the region through its proxies, but it also has put the America's and Europe's national security in danger.
Iran, like many other oil exporters, suffers from the "OIL CURSE". Iran's oppressive, gender-Apartheid regime sells oil and buys arms, spyware for Telecommunication Technology, surveillance cameras, and more. The nonviolent protest techniques Iranians have been using in the past have been crushed using these new forms of technology that have made it easy for the brutal governments worldwide to spy on their citizens, find the activists, and arrest them. We live in the 1984 world that George Orwell has described in his novel.
At this point, Iranians have no alternative except to prepare for direct action. As Dr. Martin Luther king explained, Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such tension that a person with power which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. Direct action seeks to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. We can't do this alone. We need help and support. Scholarly research shows that the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa benefited from sanctions. On balance, the South African experience demonstrates that international sanctions can play a constructive role in domestic political change. Sanctions in South Africa strengthened the anti-apartheid movement and added political and economic incentives for the ruling National Party (NP) to repeal apartheid laws and negotiate with the extra-parliamentary opposition. Numerous strategic, economic, and social sanctions also weakened the regime's ability to maintain apartheid, even undermining its ideological foundations.
We must isolate Iran's Islamic regime financially, economically, and culturally. We must lobby to put more sanctions on the regime. The clerical regime Iran is the father of the Taliban and the grandfather of ISIS. This gender-Apartheid regime has no legitimacy and does not represent the Iranian people. Let us boycott them in the worlds of sports, arts, cinema, scholarship. Let us boycott their musicians, their artists, and their writers, the same way that the United Nations had appealed to writers, athletes, artists, and musicians to boycott South Africa and urged academic and arts institutions to sever links.
As Moses Mayekiso, General Secretary of the National Union of South Africa's Metalworkers, had said, "Sanctions Hurt but Apartheid Kills!"
Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily the views of Iran International