Friday , 3 February 2023

Iran: A Free Democratic Country or a Dictatorship Without borders?

Shabtabnews – On July 2nd ,the International Organisation to Preserve Human rights with the sponsorship of conservative MP, Bob Blackman, held an important event on human rights violations of the Iranian regime within UK Parliament, under the title of:  “Iran: A free democratic Country or Dictatorship without borders?”.

The panel of speakers at this event included: Bob Blackman MP, Dr Javid Rehman – The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran,  Mr Richard Radcliff – the husband of Nazanin Radcliff the dual Iran-UK national who was been imprisoned in Iran for past three years, Ms Mattie Heaven- the policy and advocacy adviser of IOPHR on counter radicalisation & extremism, women’s rights and human rights, Dr Hamid Gharagozoloo – the US representative of IOPHR and human rights activist, and Ms Simin Fahandej – the representative of the Baha’i international community’s office in Geneva to the UN.

The event began with Bob Blackman, the chairman of the event, speaking about the pain and suffering that the Iranian regime has inflicted on its citizens and its neighbouring countries over its 40 years rule.

The second speaker at the event was Richard Radcliff who spoke about the unjust imprisonment of his wife in Iran on baseless trumped up charges, and the support he has received from all Iranians both in Iran and outside in his efforts to free his wife. He also talked about the plights of other political prisoners who share the same unjust fate of his wife in Iranian prisons.

The next speaker at the event was Dr Javid Rehman, who spoke about the unjust constitution of Iran that openly discriminates against non-Muslims and oppress non-Muslims, in particular Bahia’s and Christian converts. He also discussed the biased way the Iranian Judiciary implements the Iranian penal code and that many executions are carried out on the basis of minor crimes and also the numerous child executions which occur in Iran, even though Iran is signatory to UN Human rights conventions prohibiting the executions of minors. 

Following Dr Rehman, Ms Mattie Heaven discussed how in reality every Iranian citizen who disagrees with the extremist ideology of the Iranian government, is persecuted minority as the regime readily discriminates, and oppresses anyone who it deem as a threat to its survival. This include women who stand up to the regime’s misogynistic policies and also even Muslims like Sunnis and Sufis who don’t follow the regime’s extremist interpretation of Islam. She also highlighted the case of Mr Salas, a Sufi who was executed on trumped up charges as result of regime’s attack on Sufis on February 2018, and who was then executed on false charges in June 2018, after a speedy trial without due process. She ended her speech by stressing “Extremism should not be tolerated in any form, and the Iranian regime is the very definition of Extremism and its policies must be countered at every turn. As its policy is one of spreading falsehoods, in particular when members of Iranian Judiciary like Gholamhossein Esmaili openly state that there are no political prisoners in Iran, when clearly there are thousands who are imprisoned simply because of their views and ideas.”

The next speaker was Dr Gharagozoloo who spoke about the Iranian regime’s 40 years of suppression of its citizens and undermining its neighbouring countries governments, and being behind many terrorist activities within Middle East and the rest of the world. He stressed that the only thing the regime responds to is financial pressure and that US sanctions are working as there are cutting the vital life line to the regime and European countries should also resume their sanctions as the regime can’t be trusted. Thus, the Europeans by trading with Iran are allowing a regime that openly oppresses its citizens and supports global terrorism, to survive; and the Iranian regime will do anything to survive and that includes building nuclear bombs. He also stated that 40 years of tyrannical and devious policies of the Iranian regime should teach the world that the Iranian regime will not reform, as reform of any kind is an existential threat to its very being.

The final speaker was Simin Fahandej, who spoke about how the rights of Baha’is are constantly violated in Iran. As they have no standings within Iranian constitution and they are constantly being oppressed and discriminated, both in higher education institutions and in employment sphere. Moreover, their houses and workplaces are constantly raided and their leaders are imprisoned and this suppression is simply there, in order to force them to convert from Bahaism to Islam.  This policy of oppression which has lasted for 40 years had taken immense toll on the Baha’i community.

The event closed after Q&A session with the statement of hope that the international community will listen to the voices of the oppressed in Iran, and work to change the regime and allow the Iranian people to free themselves from thier oppressive rulers.