Originally published in Ground Report
Iran was one of the topics discussed in the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. In the past 38 years, Iran has always been one of the hot topics of the U.S. presidential elections.
The nuclear deal and troubles caused by small Iranian boats in the Persian Gulf were the specific issues that were brought up in last Monday’s debate, but the main issue about Iran, meaning violation of Human rights was not discussed by either of the candidates. Overlooking the egregious violation of Human rights of Tehran’s regime is a repetition of the same foreign policy mistake different U.S. administrations have made in respect of Iran for the last 38 years.
Iran’s foreign policy is based on aggression and support for terrorism, and the outcome of this policy is war and turmoil in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and instability all over the Middle East. The policy of aggression outside the country has a direct link to Tehran’s domestic policies and the way it treats the people of Iran. This policy was adopted by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of Islamic Republic, under the guise of export of Revolution.
The theocratic regime in Iran that Khomeini founded in 1979 was a medieval state with a reactionary and backward school of thought, whereas the fabric of Iranian society was fairly educated and modern. Due to this nature, the regime was unable to understand and resolve the issues of a twentieth century society and therefore day by day discontent increased in the Iranian society—especially the youth—and they were asking for serious changes.
To suppress the demands of society and impose its school of thought, the new regime resorted to internal repression, and in order to justify and cover up this authoritarianism, they adopted the policy of “exporting revolution,” or more precisely, sponsoring terrorism and waging war in other countries. In such policy the external war is the cover up for internal suppression. This is the main reason behind the Iranian regime’s meddling in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and other countries.
Many senior officials of the regime and high ranking commanders of the notorious Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have explicitly expressed that this is the only policy that can continue the existence of regime. In response to increasing discontent to their military presence in Syria they have openly expressed that their front line to fight with enemy is in Syria, Yemen and, Iraq. Otherwise they have to fight in their own cities. For instance, in his speech at the funeral of one of the IRGC commanders killed in Syria, Ali Saeidi, the mullah who represents Khamenei in the IRGC, repeated Khamenei’s words and said: “Today imam Khamenei announced that Syria is our front line, this word is related to security, emotion, … because if we were not in Syria, today we would have lost Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.” Fars News Agency Nov 19, 2015
In the 80s, the Iranian regime brutally suppressed any opposition, and imprisoned, tortured and executed hundreds of thousands. One of the main victims of these suppression were the members and supports of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or Mek) as the main opposition group. In summer of 1988 alone, based on the decree of Khomeini, who implicitly wrote that any prisoner who is loyal to Mujahedin must be executed, over 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were members or supporters of the PMOI, were executed. The recent revelation of an audio tape from the late Ayatollah Montazeri, the former successor to Khomeini, has revealed new dimensions to this great crime. The audio tape is from Mr. Montazeri’s meeting with 4 main perpetrators of the massacre in Tehran in August 15, 1988. Mr. Montazeri urges them to stop the killings and even says that you will be remembered as the biggest criminals in history.
Unfortunately West’s blind eye on these crimes has emboldened the Iranian regime to continue the same policy and suppress Iranian people in the most savage way possible. And on the other hand by meddling in other countries affairs it has waged bloody wars in those countries.
To contain Iran and its terrorism abroad, it is imperative to hold them accountable for what they have done and what they are doing inside Iran. Therefore the right policy towards Iran is not to turn blind eye to those crimes but to make the regime pay for all the crimes they have committed. The UN should form an international tribunal to bring to justice all the decision makers, and perpetrators of the 1988 massacre, who are still in key positions in the Iranian regime. It is also imperative to impose sanctions on Iran because of its violation of Human Rights, and any economic and political relation with Iran must be conditioned to complete halt of executions and torture in that country.