European Union special envoy Enrique Mora, despite the Iranian regime's horrendous and brutal human rights abuses, traveled to Iran in October and discussed "mutual interests" with Iran's leaders. Meanwhile, Iran's regime has been executing people "at an alarming rate", and, according to a recent report by Amnesty International, was "the top executioner in the Middle East" last year. Pictured: Mora attends the swearing in ceremony of Iran's newly elected President in Tehran on August 5, 2021. (Photo by Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images)
EU special envoy Enrique Mora, despite the Iranian regime's horrendous and brutal human rights abuses, traveled to Iran in October and discussed "mutual interests" with Iran's leaders. Meanwhile, Iran's regime has been executing people "at an alarming rate", and, according to a recent report by Amnesty International, was "the top executioner in the Middle East" last year.
"There are extensive, vague and arbitrary grounds in Iran for imposing the death sentence, which quickly can turn this punishment into a political tool. In addition, the structural flaws of the justice system are so deep and at odds with the notion of rule of law that one can barely speak of a justice system. The entrenched flaws in law and in the administration of the death penalty in Iran mean that most, if not all, executions are an arbitrary deprivation of life."
The suppression and execution of political prisoners and those who protest against the ruling mullahs of Iran has been on the rise. According to Human Rights Watch's "World Report 2021," the Iranian regime is one of the leading "implementers of the death penalty".
To execute political prisoners, Iran's judiciary accuses defendants of vaguely defined charges labeled as "national security crimes." These "crimes" include moharebeh ("enmity against God"), ifsad fil arz ("sowing corruption on Earth"), and baghi ("armed rebellion").
It is not only the number of executions that is appalling, but also the nature of some of them. Executions have involved minor children, women and individuals from ethnic and religious minority groups. Although Iran has ratified the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government has made no effort to alter the country's Islamic Penal Code, which allows girls as young as nine to be executed.
In addition, children, women and men are routinely tortured during interrogations and behind bars. They are forced to confess. They are denied access to lawyers and due process. They are denied family visits and medical care. According to Amnesty International:
"Away from public view, Iranian security officials routinely subject men, women and children behind bars to torture or other ill-treatment, particularly when undergoing interrogations in detention centres run by the ministry of intelligence, the Revolutionary Guards, and the investigation unit of Iran's police (Agahi)."
Iran's regime, presumably to spread fear among those who criticize and oppose the ruling mullahs, has for decades resorted to punishments of torture and death. Torture is administered both physically and psychologically. According to Amnesty International:
"... victims were frequently hooded or blindfolded; punched, kicked and flogged; beaten with sticks, rubber hosepipes, knives, batons and cables; suspended or forced into holding painful stress positions for prolonged periods; deprived of sufficient food and potable water; placed in prolonged solitary confinement, sometimes for weeks or even months; and denied medical care for injuries sustained during the protests or as a result of torture."
The ruling mullahs of Iran refuse to halt their executions and human rights violations, or to reform their repressive system, because they feel no pressure from the usually moralizing European Union. So they act with full impunity. The informed silence of the EU therefore makes it a willing accessory to their crimes.
The European powers do not only fail to hold Iran's regime accountable for its pervasive human rights violations; they also do business with the ruling mullahs. From January-July 2021, the EU's trade with Iran brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the regime. The Financial Tribune reports:
"Germany remained the top trading partner of Iran during the seven months under review, as the two countries exchanged €1.01 billion worth of goods. Italy came next with €347.96 million worth of trade with Iran.... The Netherlands with €264.48 million (down 9.23%), Spain with €178.33 million (up 9.25%) and Belgium with €140.14 million (up 6.79%) were Iran's other major European trading partners. Estonia registered the highest growth of 709.52% in trade with Iran during the seven months under review. Malta with 471.77%, Romania with 284.86% and Croatia with 169.12% came next."
It is beyond repulsive that the EU -- the same EU that incessantly lectures the world about human rights -- not only ignores the Iranian regime's unspeakable human violations, but that it also happily continues to do "business as usual" with the leaders of Iran's cruel and inhuman regime.
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