Iran has been rocked by anti-government protests for years but the uprising that began in September 2022 is fundamentally different. With citizens taking to the streets, no longer demanding not only political and economic changes, but wholesale change in the ruling regime itself. The escalating number of Iran executions is a travesty that demands a global response.
Iran Executions and Violent Crackdowns
These protests have been met with violent crackdowns by authorities, which has resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of arrests. The executions have come in waves, with at least 10 beautiful lives taken in May 2023 alone.
As most nations have been watching the events unfold in Iran with ambivalence, over 110 former world leaders joined voices to call on the leaders of Canada, the EU, UK, and US to hold the “leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran to account for its crimes.”
People Take Action
The protests in Iran are driven by a variety of factors, including economic hardship, political repression, and widespread corruption.
People are fed up with the regime’s authoritarian policies, which limit basic freedoms and restrict access to information.
In waves of consecutive nationwide protests that first erupted in December 2017 and continued into 2018, 2019 and continue today, Iranians are also sacrificing in large numbers.
Clerics Respond With Violence and Repression
The clerics responded to these protests with violence and repression. More than 30,000 have been arrested and hundreds killed since September 2022 alone. Security forces have used tear gas, water cannons, and live ammunition to disperse crowds, and many protesters have been arrested, killed, and violently tortured.
Human rights organizations have documented numerous cases of torture and mistreatment of detainees, as well as reports of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. On January 13, 2022, a United Nations report urged, “the international community to call for accountability with respect to long-standing emblematic events that have been met with persistent impunity, including the enforced disappearances and summary and arbitrary executions of 1988 and the November 2019 protests.”
“The most serious human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past four decades have been committed since the death in police custody of Jina Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022,” said Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation in Iran.
According to Amnesty International, millions of schoolgirls in Iran are also at risk of poisoning. The deliberate and state sponsored poisoning campaign has already affected thousands of girls in over 500 schools across the country.
The Iranian people are continue their struggle despite seemingly insurmountable odds and do deserve support. The Iranian people do not need material support from the West but deserve to know that they are not alone in their struggle for human rights and democracy, and that the world is watching and supporting their efforts.
International Community Is Inconsistent
The international community can not condemn the regime’s use of violence on the one hand, while also continuing full scale economic and diplomatic relations with the perpetrators of ongoing crimes against humanity in Iran.
The U.S. Congress has thankfully been at the forefront of expressing support for the Iranian people. More than 230 members of congress, for example, cosponsored H.Res.100, expressing their unequivocal support for the Iranian people’s desire to establish a secular, democratic, and non-nuclear republic. Other resolutions and congressional caucus hearings have also elevated the voices of Iranian women.
Former Leaders Speak Out
Additionally, in a letter to the President of the United States, the EU Presidency, as well as the UK and Canada Prime Ministers; more than 110 former world leaders decried decades of apparent silence and inaction by the international community as enablers of “a culture of impunity in Iran.”
They note that since the 1980s, “the authorities in Iran have executed tens of thousands of protesters and political prisoners. Tragically, in the summer of 1988 alone, over 30,000 political prisoners – the vast majority of whom were members of the opposition MEK – were brutally massacred.”
The former world leaders also urged these nations to stand with the Iranian people in their quest for change and to take decisive steps against the current regime.
Signatories to the letter include 51 former Presidents, 51 former Prime Ministers, one former Chancellor, and nine other former Heads of State. Two former Presidents of the European Commission and three Nobel Peace Prize laureates are also among the signatories.
Women Are Leading
The continuation of protests, despite the aforementioned brutality tells us that this stealthy women-led infrastructure is real and responsible for sustaining the waves of protests in Iran.
Liberal democracies have a vested interest in supporting their democratic aspirations.
Global expressions of moral and political support for the Iranian people and their organized resistance are very powerful and certainly helpful to the thousands of resistance units operating to undermine the clerical rule in Tehran. Meanwhile, the number of executions in Iran continues to grow.