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Hossein Abedini

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Time for Accountability for the Iranian Regime's Leaders

Posted: 11/11/2012 21:02

The death under torture of Iranian blogger and political prisoner, Sattar Beheshti, 35, has sparked international condemnation but not nearly enough has been done to pressure the regime from carrying out further such barbaric acts.

Mr Beheshti was arrested only eight days before his death. The agents of the Iranian regime's Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) raided his home on October 30 under the name of Internet Control Police. They arrested him without specifying any charges and took him to an undisclosed location.

The charge against Mr Beheshti, who was also detained during the student uprising of 1999 in Tehran, is not a secret. He was one of the millions who dream about a free and democratic Iran. And they see the religious fascism as the true obstacle to realising this dream.

Unfortunately, Mr Beheshti will not be the last victim of the regime's brutality.

On November 8, five prisoners were hanged in the city of Shiraz. One day earlier fifteen prisoners were hanged in the cities of Tehran, Shiraz, and Zarand.

Since October 22, six mass executions have been carried out. Thirteen prisoners were executed in Gohardasht Prison on October 22 and 23, three in Ghazvin on October 24, and eight in Evin Prison on October 31.

The number of executions during the past three weeks is at least 45. At least 383 individuals have been executed, many in public, since the beginning of 2012. In another alarming development the regime is trying to speed up the execution of 1,000 prisoners on death row by setting up a death panel in Gohardasht Prison.

These statistics are based on the regime's own public announcements. The real number is far greater.

Many political prisoners are executed under the bogus guise of drug dealers.

In fact the growing domestic repression is a déjà-vu. During the three first years following the 1979 revolution, Khomeini implemented his backward vision of the Absolute Rule of the Clergy using a savage crackdown against peaceful popular dissent by organised political parties with grassroots support.

He wanted to silence the voices of freedom and eliminate the advocates of popular rule and the rule of law. Three decades after the mullahs consolidated power in Iran the mass executions, mistreatment and torture of political prisoners until death have not stopped for even one day. The result is the killing of 120,000 political prisoners and the murder of dissidents inside and outside the country.

Today, the regime is faced with harsh sanctions and economic collapse amid an intensifying internal power struggle.

But the religious fascism is convinced that the only threat to its reign of terror comes from the Iranian people and organised resistance. And so it resorts to increased repression and spread of mass executions at a time when it is most weak.

It hopes to prevent a re-emergence of the nationwide popular uprisings with chants of 'down with the dictator after the sham 2009 election.

Today, the regime's systematic violation of human rights has fallen in the shadows as the international community tries to pressure the regime to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

That should change; it is time for accountability for the leaders of the Iranian regime and all those individuals responsible for torture and executions in Iran.

The UK, the European Union and the United States must raise the case of the Iranian regime's systematic human rights violations at the UN Security Council and demand comprehensive sanctions and prosecution of the regime's leaders for crimes against humanity.

The Iranian people will not stay silent and will continue their protests even in the face of growing executions. The question is whether the international community will find the political resolve to follow their lead.

 
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