The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran

By Irwin Cotler
Canadian Jewish News

On June 22, 2010, in commemoration of the anniversary of the fraudulent June 12, 2009 elections, United Against Nuclear Iran joined the “Responsibility to Prevent” Coalition, and signed the international petition entitled The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran: The Responsibility to Prevent Petition.

The petition is endorsed by international law scholars, human rights defenders, experts in genocide, and a distinguished group of Iranian scholars, and the objective of the coalition and the petition is to hold Ahmadinejad’s Iran to account for its brutal and illegal actions.

Timeline of Human Rights Abuses in Iran – One Year After the June 12, 2009 Elections

Iran’s June 12, 2009 elections, which gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory amid allegations of fraud, were met with the most widespread displays of public discontent seen in Iran since the 1979 Revolution. The protest movement has been violently repressed by the Iranian regime, which has become an enthusiastic violator of its citizen’s human rights. Press censorship and legal injustice have never been worse in the 31-year history of the Islamic Republic, and the one-year anniversary of the disputed elections offers a welcome opportunity to reflect on the regime’s recent pattern of abuses.

Election Aftermath – By The Numbers

o 72+ Protestors Killed (AFP, “Iran opposition says 72 killed in vote protests”)
o 4,000+ Protestors Detained (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31”)
o 100+ Journalists Detained (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31”)
o 23 Newspapers Closed (Reporters Without Borders “Using skillfully devised strategy, regime’s repressive policies succeed”)
o 346 Executions in the Past Year (Amnesty International, “Human Rights in Iran”)
o 133 Juveniles on Death Row (Amnesty International, “Human Rights in Iran)
o 9 Protestors Facing Execution (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “Political Executions Indication of Government’s Insecurity”)
o 500+ Political Prisoners (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31)
o 11+ Months in Which The American Hikers Have Been Held Captive (Source: Bloomberg/Business Week, “U.S. Detainees Reunited With Their Mothers in Tehran”)

Notable Rankings

o 2nd in the world in number of annual executions (Amnesty International, “The Death Penalty in 2009”)
o 1 jailer of journalists worldwide (Committee to Protect Journalists, “Iran remains world’s worst jailer of journalists”)
o Designated “Not Free” by Freedom House (“Map of Freedom in the World”)
o Ranked 172 out of 175 countries for press freedom (Reporters Without Borders, “Iran”)
o Tier 3 of 3 (worst rating) on State Department’s human trafficking report (“Trafficking in Persons Report, 2009”)
o Ranked 168 of 179 countries for economic freedom (Heritage Foundation, “2010 Index of Economic Freedom”)
o One of 13 countries cited as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom (“Countries of Particular Concern”)

June 14, 2009

• In an effort to crack down on protestors following the June 12 elections, government forces raid dormitories of universities across Iran.
• 100 students are arrested and at least one is killed.
• At least 34 demonstrators are killed by government forces over the following month.

Source: The Guardian

“Unrest in Iran spreads to provinces as students clash with security forces.” 06/16/2009

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

“Death Toll Apparently Far Exceeds Government Claims,” 07/15/2009

July 31, 2009

• Three American hikers are detained and charged with espionage after accidentally crossing into Iran from Iraq. The Iranian government attempts to leverage the hikers in an exchange for Iranian arms dealers held in the United States, recalling memories of the Iranian Hostage Crisis during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.
• In May 2010, the hikers’ parents are allowed to travel to Iran to meet their children for the first time.

Source: Bloomberg/Business Week

“U.S. Detainees Reunited With Their Mothers in Tehran,” 05/20/2010

August 2009

• The Iranian government brings protestors, journalists, and other supporters of the opposition to court in what are widely ridiculed as show-trials using forced confessions.
• Nearly 100 protestors are tried.

Source: CNN

“Iran resumes mass trial of reformists,” 08/25/2009

August 10-26, 2009

• Reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi writes a public letter to former President Ayatollah Rafsanjani, alleging that detained protestors were subjected to widespread torture and sexual abuse. A parliamentary committee is set up to investigate these charges, and officially rules that the charges were baseless.
• An anonymous member of the committee later leaks that proof was found of rape with batons and bottles.

Source: Amnesty International

“Iran – Election Contested,
Repression Compounded,” 12/2009

October 2009

• Iranian security forces confiscate the passports of three prominent journalists: Badrolsadat Mofidi, Farzaneh Roostai, and Zahra Ebrahimi.
• Iran has detained more than 100 journalists and bloggers in the aftermath of the election protests.

Source: Human Rights Watch

“Iran – Events of 2009,” 2010

December 2009

• Iran sentences 20-year-old student protestor Mohammad Amin Valian to death for “enmity against God.” He is denied legal counsel, family visitation, and the right to appeal his case.
• There are currently eight other election protestors awaiting execution. Iran executes more people than any country in the world except China.

Source: Human Rights Watch

“Remembering Iran’s Rights Abuses,”

December 21, 2009**

• The funeral of the reformist Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri becomes a catalyst for massive new protests.
• Government forces attack opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s motorcade as he attempts to leave the funeral.

Source: The New York Times

Cleric’s Funeral Becomes Protest of Iran Leaders,” 12/21/2009

December 27, 2009**

• Government security forces crackdown on protests occurring on the Ashura religious holiday.
• Eight are killed and 300 arrested. Among the dead is Seyed Ali Mousavi, the nephew of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. The Iranian government confiscates his corpse.

Source: The Times

“Hardliners seize Mousavi corpse as Iran regime hits back,” 12/29/2009

11 February, 2010

• Government forces issue a crackdown on protests marking the 31st anniversary of the foundation of the Islamic Republic.
• Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi is attacked en route to the protests.
• Ahmadinejad uses the opportunity to announce that Iran is now a nuclear state.

Source: MSNBC

“Iran marks revolution with protest crackdown,” 02/11/2010

9 May, 2010

• Five political prisoners are executed in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison. One of those executed, teacher and social worker Farzad Kamangar, is found guilty of “enmity against God” (moharabeh) during a seven minute-long trial. Moharabeh has become a catch-all charge to justify the execution of political prisoners.
• On the same day, Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari is sentenced in absentia to 13 years in prison, after being jailed for four months on espionage charges.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

“Political Executions Indication of Government’s Insecurity,” 05/09/2010.
Source: Newsweek

“Justice, Iranian Style,” 05/10/2010

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