Why does the European Union continue to pursue appeasement policies with Iran's regime, which has an excruciating human rights record? According to Amnesty International, in Iran, "Girls as young as nine can be sentenced to execution; for boys it's 15. At least 73 young offenders were executed between 2005 and 2015." (Image source: iStock)
According to a report published by Amnesty International on February 26, the human rights situation in Iran has "severely deteriorated". Why then does the European Union continue to pursue appeasement policies with a regime that has an excruciating human rights record? Sadly, Europe -- in spite its endless moral preening and self-righteousness -- seems to have become the world most immoral player -- if it was not already. The European Union, for instance, unjustly singles out for bullying the only liberal, democratic, human-rights-abiding country in the Middle East: Israel. Not Turkey for occupying Northern Cyprus, China for obliterating Tibet, or Pakistan for occupying Kashmir. Europe and the corrupt United Nations do not lay a glove on the real perpetrators of crimes against humanity such as China, Cuba, Russia, Turkey, North Korea, Nigeria or Sudan, to name just a few.
The stench of Europe's duplicity cannot be overstated. Europe ravenously throws sanctions on a country that has been home to Jews for more than three thousand years, yet tries to find ways to keep on doing business with a country such as Iran that is not only trying to establish its hegemony throughout the Middle East -- through proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon -- but is also the serial violator of just about every human right imaginable (here, here, here, and here). The only conclusion one can come to is that Europe would evidently still like to kill the Jews and is happy to support those wishing to kill them. How much more immoral can one get?
The list of unspeakable human rights violations committed by Iran's regime is lengthy; however, by far the most disturbing seems the cruelty enacted against children.
According to the Norway-based organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), which closely monitors executions in Iran:
"Despite ratifying the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child which bans the death penalty for offenses committed at under 18 years of age, Iran stays the world's top executioner of juvenile offenders. According to reports by IHR, Iranian authorities have executed at least 40 juvenile offenders since 2013. "
These children are held in custody and executed before they have the chance to reach adulthood. At least 6 minors, including two child brides were executed in 2018. Amnesty International comments on Iran's use of capital punishment on children:
"Girls as young as nine can be sentenced to execution; for boys it's 15. At least 73 young offenders were executed between 2005 and 2015. And the authorities show no sign of stopping this horrific practice.
"We have the details of 49 people on Iran's death row who were under 18 at the time of the crime they are alleged to have committed. The UN says there are at least 160 such people facing execution in the country. In fact, there are likely to be many more young offenders on Iranian death rows, as use of capital punishment in Iran is often shrouded in secrecy."
Consider Zeinab Sekaanvand Lokran. In October 2018 the former child bride, who came from a poor minority family, was executed the day after giving birth to a stillborn baby. Under Iran's Islamic Penal Code, executions can be conducted in four different ways: hanging, stoning, firing squad, or crucifixion.
Vague charges can be brought up by the Islamic Republic's judiciary system or the Revolutionary Court, such as "waging war against God", spreading moharebeh ("corruption on earth") such as protesting, or endangering the country's national security. These charges can be stretched to allow for simple acts such as criticizing the Supreme Leader to become crimes, simply to allow an order of execution to be carried out.
Iran's Islamic Penal Code allows girls as young as nine to be executed. This is all allowed to occur while the deeply cynical EU continues to label the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a "moderate".
The theocratic establishment is also known for forcing confessions and televising torture, in order to strike fear in the public. As Iran Human Rights recently stated:
"In 2018, the Iranian authorities once again displayed their systematic violations of due process and the rule of law. Televised confessions, unfair trials, and reports of torture are reminders of the fact that sustainable improvements in the status of human rights and serious steps towards abolition of the death penalty are not possible without fundamental changes in Iran's judicial system."
In 2018, at least 273 people were executed in Iran, according to Iran Human Rights. The Iranian government ranks second (China ranks first) when it comes to the absolute number of people that it executes, and ranks first for the execution of people per capita. Because of lack of transparency in the Iranian regime, the unofficial number of those executed is believed to be even higher.
The use of cruel and inhumane punishments is also on the rise in Iran. According to Amnesty International's report, the use of various forms of torture such as amputation and flogging has been increasing at an alarming rate.
One example included tying a man to a tree in plain sight of the public, in the Razavi Khorasan province, and flogging him 80 times. His crime? Drinking alcohol a decade before, when he was 14 or 15 years old.
In the case of an accused thief, he allegedly stole some livestock. His punishment? His hand was cut off. Not only are these punishments barbaric, but one can assume that neither of these men, nor any of the multitudes of others treated in a similar way, was given a fair trial or anything close to a legal defense.
Iranian leaders have also been increasing their crackdown on the whole population. Detainees have been dying suspiciously in prison, such as a 63-year-old Iranian-Canadian professor. According to Amnesty International:
"In February , Canadian Iranian academic and environmental activist Kavous Seyyed Emami died in Evin prison following his arbitrary arrest two weeks earlier. Authorities claimed he committed suicide and refused to release his body unless his family agreed to an immediate burial without an independent autopsy."
Due to the recent protests in the country, the theocratic establishment has also ratcheted up its censorship of media, jamming of foreign satellite television channels, and detention of human rights defenders. Human rights defenders and prominent lawyers, including Nasrin Sotoudeh and her husband Reza Khandan, who defended or supported social movements such as the opposition of compulsory hijab, have been unfairly prosecuted and sentenced to long prison sentences.
These increasingly wanton human rights violations should raise alarms among the European governments, who are always lecturing the rest of the world about how caring they are -- for instance not sending criminals back to countries where they might be tortured. It should horrify them to know that they are in some way enabling and emboldening this regime and empowering it to continue to commit these vicious acts.
Now is the time for the EU to halt its appeasement policy with a regime that does not hesitate to flog people -- publicly, as a message to others -- torture any citizen they choose to target, enact cruel punishments such as amputation without a fair trial, and execute children just starting their lives. These are acts that should be condemned -- not condoned through the pursuit of appeasement policies, moral depravity and raw greed.
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu