In an interview with a New York Post reporter Eli Lake, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi, a Nobel Peace Prize wrinning human rights author, has called for the end of her nation’s regime. After years of attempting to reform the nation’s government from within, she now believes that the only way to effectuate change is through a regime change.
Ebadi had previously been reluctant to call for the end of the regime, but now believes it is the only way to restore freedom. She didn’t advocate for external military intervention, and called for the Iranian people to rise up. According to Lake, her position is a rebuke to Western progressives who still pine for Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to deliver on the reforms he promised in his 2013 and 2017 campaigns.
Human Rights Watch notes that “Authorities in the security apparatus and Iran’s judiciary continued to target journalists, online media activists, and human rights defenders in an ongoing crackdown, in blatant disregard of international and domestic legal standards…Iranian courts, and particularly the revolutionary courts, regularly fell short of providing fair trials and used confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court. Authorities routinely restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel, particularly during the investigation period… Authorities continued to restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly and prosecuted dozens of journalists, online media activists, and trade unionists on charges of ‘acting against national security,’ ‘propaganda against the state,’ and ‘assembly and collusion to disrupt national security,’merely for exercising their legitimate rights.”
On August 29, Ali Mojtahedzadeh, the lawyer of six administrators of channels on the social media application Telegram who were close to reformists arrested before the May presidential elections, told Ilna news agency that Branch 15 of Tehran’s revolutionary court had sentenced his clients to three to five years in prison.
In sharp contrast to Barack Obama’s acceptance of the extreme Islamic government in Tehran, President Trump has sharply criticized that nation’s leadership. In a tweet delivered while substantial protests were occurring around Iran, he stated “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’ The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!”
Despite a significant attempt by the Iranian people to reform their government in the 2009 “Green Revolution,” the Obama Administration chose not to support the movement. Gil Hoffman, writing for the Jerusalem Post reports that Israeli Deputy Minister for Public Policy Michael Oren believes “The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost…. Among the Iranian provocations ignored by the Obama administration, Oren listed the crackdown on the protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, having their missile boats provocatively approach American destroyers, trying to assassinate him and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington, the failure to follow through on a red line Obama imposed on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad using chemical weapons and Iranian-backed Hezbollah smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the US.
In January, the largest protests against the Tehran regime spread across Iran. In contrast to the Obama Administration, the U.S. State Department’s official position stated that “The Iranian people have been expressing their desire for dignified treatment, an end to corruption, improved transparency, and increased economic opportunities. Protestors have also demanded that the regime stop diverting the nation’s wealth to fund military adventurism abroad. Unfortunately, the government continues to imprison and kill those who are brave enough to venture into the street. It is limiting the flow of information into Iran, restricting free speech, and attempting to prevent the outside world from observing its own repression. We support these legitimate aspirations of the Iranian people, and call on the government to allow the free exchange of ideas and information. All of us should be able to enjoy the same basic economic and political freedoms, including the right to peaceful demonstration. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the deaths to date and the arrests of at least one thousand Iranians. We have ample authorities to hold accountable those who commit violence against protestors, contribute to censorship, or steal from the people of Iran. To the regime’s victims, we say: You will not be forgotten.”
U.S. State Dept. map