• Tuesday 19th March 2019

Iran: 40 Years Of Shame’ – OpEd / By Reza Shafiee

Amnesty International in its last two reports “Year of Shame” and “Iran: blood soaked secrets” slammed Iran for its human rights record. By calling 2018 a “year of shame” for Iran the human rights watchdog summed 40 years of the most brutal human rights treatment of a people by its unelected government. Throughout its life, the Iranian regime has been the subject of scrutiny by human rights defenders but there has not been a single sign of improvement. In fact each year has been darker than the last for Iranian citizens. The clerical regime has been condemned for its human rights abuses 65 times in the UN General Assembly.

What make last year stand out is that more than 7000 people were arrested according to the right group. In December 2017 protests for bread breakout and soon mushroomed to 140 cities across the nation. It was unprecedented in history of the Iran’s religious dictatorship. Hassan Rouhani, Iranian regime’s president still complains about the last year widespread protests and blames it for the US leaving the 2015 failed nuclear deal with Iran.

“2018  will go down in history as a ‘year of shame’ for Iran. Throughout the year Iran’s authorities sought to stifle any sign of dissent by stepping up their crackdown on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and carrying out mass arrests of protesters,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

Last year Iran faced thousands of protests: workers, teachers, truckers, students, ethnic and religious minorities and investors in bankrupted financial entities belonging to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Many of the protests were brutally crushed by the security forces. Human rights activists including union leaders ended up in jails. The latest case was that of Iran’s Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill in Shush, southwestern Iran. After months of protests over unpaid wages, finally the regime arrested labor leader Esmail Bakhshi. He was tortured for a month before his brief release on bail only to be arrested again days later based on his televised forced confession obtained while in custody. Bakhshi’s whereabouts according to his fellow unionists and family is unknown.

Bakhshi was released the last time after 80 international labor organizations signed a letter addressed to Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for all protesting workers and teachers who had been arrested in Iran to be released.