A Firsthand Look
Iran has been at the center of the political spotlight for sometime now, with the U.N. Security Council at a complete standstill as to how to act against its threat of a nuclear holocaust against the West and its allies (they’ll probably pass some economic sanctions and that will be about the extent of it). But before you get sucked into the hippie movement against any action our government may take against Iran let’s take a minute to consider the facts.
A personal friend of mine and resident of Iran for over 21 years agreed to an interview to discuss the incredibly cruel atrocities committed by the Iranian government since its inception following the Iranian Revolution. So sit back and prepared to be shocked, amazed and enlightened.
Before being forced to leave Iran after participating in a student protest against the Islamic government of Iran, she took in quite a bit of how much her country had changed.
When asked about the governmental structure she noted, “It is completely different form of government. It isn’t chosen by the people. 5% controls 95% of the population and it’s a 100% dictatorial Islamic government. Even though you’re not a Muslim you still have to follow the Islamic laws.”
Iran is known fully as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the republic part of the title being completely debatable. “If you’re a non-Muslim, you have fewer opportunities and fewer rights,” she said. “If you’re a Christian or a Jew, you can go to college but there are fewer spaces available and it’s hard to find work.” She also noted the hatred exemplified by the government against followers of the Baha’i faith. “Before the war, there was a huge massacre of Baha’i.” In Iran Baha’i seem to be seen as untouchables, as heretics and are killed at will with little consequence. “Islam predates Baha’i; they (Muslims) consider Mohammed the last prophet so they don’t see Baha’i as a religion.”
During the interview she showed this me a fact sheet (all of which have been verified) that laundry listed various atrocities that the government carries out on a regular basis. The are as follows: To date the government has carried out 120,000 political executions, torture and arrest are permitted for political reasons, 174 forms of torture are permitted to be used under Iranian law, Independent trade unions and newspapers are forbidden, collective punishment is permitted under crimes considered as “War against God and corruption on Earth”, public hangings are commonplace and includes the hanging of minors, stoning, public flogging, gouging out of eyes and amputation are also considered valid forms of punishment. Many of these are carried out for even the smallest infraction, especially violation of the Islamic conduct codes.
Women have an incredibly rough time. Not only do they have to wear the burka but they also are considered second-class citizens. My friend noted, “Think of it in the same way that colored people were treated in America, it’s totally segregated by gender in the same way. It is really hard for them to find work.” Public transportation and hospitals are examples of public services that are separated by gender; Women must sit in the back of busses, men in the front. Only female doctors may treat female patients, and the same goes for men. Strict dress codes are enforced (a penalty of 74 lashes awaits a woman who dares to wear her burka improperly).
In terms of the nuclear situation my friend had this to say, “They’re not as powerful as they say they are, if they even have nukes they’re not as powerful as they are making them out to be.”
In terms of the future of the country, it seems very uncertain but it has nothing good waiting on the horizon. “I don’t see things as going to improve. The revolutionaries encouraged people to have kids, there was a big population growth but no new jobs were created. Schools didn’t increase either, I remember going to school in shifts because there just wasn’t enough room for all the kids. There is a shortage of everything and Iran is a very rich country. As long as Iran has oil and the world depends on the supply, nothing will change.”
What was interesting was that she mentioned that Iran wasn’t always as it is now. It was once a monarchy that made great strides in improving women’s rights and providing for its citizens but all of that seem to change with the coming of the new “Republic”.
Hopefully you have been enlightened by this article and will be able to look at the issue of Iran as much more than another Middle-Eastern nation with ambitious goals, Do not overlook the great abuses Iran has inflicted upon its people, and the totalitarian and oppressive control it maintains on the population that has cost the lives of so many.