Monday , 27 May 2024

Iranian Nobel Laureate Fears Israel Confrontation Prelude To Tighter Domestic Crackdown

RFL/RE – Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said she fears Iran could use the confrontation with Israel as a pretext to intensify its domestic crackdown on dissent.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, Ebadi, 76, said Iran’s clerical establishment has previously used military confrontations and conflicts to justify “its war against the Iranian people.”

Ebadi referred to the devastating 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War during which the authorities allegedly executed thousands of political prisoners and regime opponents.

Her comments came amid fears of a full-scale war between Iran and Israel. The archenemies have traded attacks and threats in recent weeks.

Israel reportedly launched an attack on Iran on April 19, almost a week after an unprecedented drone and missile assault by Tehran. Iran’s attack was in retaliation for a suspected Israeli air strike on the Iranian Embassy’s compound in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Iranian commanders.

“Whether a war [with Israel] breaks out or not, we have always been at war: an economic war, a war against the Iranian people, a war against women, a war against Israel, a war against the United States,” Ebadi said.

Ebadi, who was a human rights lawyer in Iran for many years before she was forced into exile, cited the renewed crackdown on women who refuse to observe Iran’s controversial mandatory hijab law.

Mahdieh Golrou (left), pictured with political prisoner Vahid La'lipour, said one of the biggest casualties of any war between Iran and Israel would be people's rights.
Mahdieh Golrou (left), pictured with political prisoner Vahid La’lipour, said one of the biggest casualties of any war between Iran and Israel would be people’s rights.

Iranians have accused the police of using aggressive and sometimes violent tactics in their treatment of alleged violators in recent days.

Ebadi said the “real war” was on the streets of Iranian cities, the scene of antiestablishment protests and brutal state crackdowns in recent years.

Iranians have demanded greater social and political freedoms and taken to the streets to demand an end to clerical rule.

Sweden-based Iranian political activist Mahdieh Golrou said she also feared Iran’s showdown with Israel will be used by the authorities to justify a harsher clampdown on civil society.

Scores of human rights activists, journalists, and lawyers have been arrested and sentenced to jail in recent years.

Golrou, speaking to Radio Farda, said one of the biggest casualties of any war between Iran and Israel would be people’s rights and “desire for freedom and democracy.”

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