US Department of State issued its 2021 report on the human rights situation in Iran. The report is extensive and mentions all atrocities of the regime against Iranians. From forced disappearances to unfair trials, from political executions to women’s rights abuses. It is more than 80 pages in 7 sections. It names many cases, protests, detainees, and executions.
It begins with explaining how the Islamic Republic is an authoritarian regime headed by the “Supreme Leader” who has total control over everything that happens in the country, directly or indirectly. It also admits the elections in Iran are “neither free nor fair!”
The report mentions impunity of human rights abusers throughout the Islamic Republic rein. In the section titled “Respect for the Integrity of the Person”, atrocities such as executions due to political reasons are mentioned. It points out that more than 60% of executions in Iran were carried out in secret and at least 150 were executed by mid-August 2021. “Almost all executions in the country constituted an arbitrary deprivation of life,” report reads. Mentioning forced confessions and tortures during interrogations, several execution cases based on unfair trials and lack of evidence are exampled.
The US Department of State included regime atrocities towards minorities such as Sunnis, Baloch, Kurds, Arabs and others who have been deprived of life arbitrarily. It reminds us of at least 10 fuel carries (sookhtbars) who were shot by oppressive forces in February 2021 and more deaths during Saravan and Sistan-Baluchestan protests.
It goes into details about “vague and broadly formulated offenses” such as “Moharebeh, Fesad-fil-arz and attempts against the security of the state!” Referring to UNSR, Javid Rehman, it reports at least 15 such executions in 2020! The UNSR expressed deep concern in his July report that “vague and broadly formulated criminal offenses,” – including “waging war against God,” “corruption on earth,” and “armed rebellion” – had been used to sentence individuals to death for participation in protests or other forms of dissent, even absent evidence for the accusations. According to the report, authorities executed at least 15 individuals in 2020 for these offenses.
“Truly horrific” situation of Ahmadreza Djalai is another part of the first section. Secret execution of Haydar Ghorbani is also mentioned. Khuzestan protests due to shortage of water in July and widespread detention of protesters and their crackdown which led to 17 deaths, including 17-year-old Hadi Bahmani, have caused “extreme concern” of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Horrifying prison conditions, deaths of multiple prisoners including Behnam Mahjoubi, tortures, lack of medical care for political prisoners are other parts of the report. Examples of Islamic Republic’s harassment of political prisoners’ families, including Navid Afkari’s family, Vahid and Habib’s inhumane confinement were given.
Islamic Republic killing of civilians outside Iran borders in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are pointed out too. According to the report, IRGC has recruited Afghan kids, as young as 14 years old as child-soldiers to fight in Syria and other countries, several of whom have been killed in the conflicts.
“Respect for Civil Liberties” is the second section of the report. It includes examples and explanations about persecution of citizen reporters and lack of freedom of speech and free media. It mentions expansive censorship of the internet and media, providing several examples. It confirms the Islamic Republic ICT Ministry prohibits households to have high-speed internet. Blocking internet during protests in Khuzestan and Isfahan are also parts of the regime’s atrocities in 2021.
The report mentions Islamic Republic restricting cultural events, music education, heavy metal and other genres in Iran because “they are religiously offensive!” Islamic Republic has severely restricted “freedom of assembly and association.” In Isfahan protests, at least 214 were detained, including 13 minors. In Khuzestan, the regime oppressive forces arrested at least 361 individuals.
“Freedom of Religion” and how minorities are under constant attack by the Islamic Republic, how the regime restricts domestic and foreign travels in its sentencing of political prisoners are other parts of the 2nd section.
Third section comprises of “Freedom to Participate in the Political Process.” It goes into details about how the Islamic Republic is a totalitarian regime and everything is under the control of the “Supreme Leader” and his mafia.
“Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government” is the 4th section. “Bonyads” are described as “Endowed religious charitable foundations” which comprise 1/3 to ¼ of country’s economy and are run by clergy or military officials, especially IRGC commanders. Bribery, access to preferential exchange rate and illegal activities by the IRGC or its subsidiaries are parts of this section.
The next section describes “Governmental Posture Towards International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights.” Islamic Republic has restricted the investigators, whether international groups or NGOs or domestic activists, from researching human rights abuses in Iran. Threats of blackmail, intimidating phone calls, online hacking attempts, and property damages have been some of the tactics used by the Islamic Republic to silence activists. UN investigators were also denied entry to the country, repeatedly.
“Discrimination and Societal Abuses” against women and ethnic groups are explained in the 6th section. Lack of laws in domestic violence or marital rape are considered serious concerns. For non-marital rape, Muslim men witnesses are required to convict a rapist! Domestic violence has been on the rise in Iran. “Acid attack” assailants have gone unpunished while activists who have asked for stronger punishment for the attackers have been imprisoned. Aliyeh Motalebzadeh is one of such activists who is sentenced to 2 years in prison for “conspiracy against state security.”
Honor killings, female genitalia mutilation and sexual harassment are other abuses happening in Iran with impunity. Child marriage has been on the rise due to poverty and the regime providing “marriage loan” to poor families. Discrimination against women in all aspects of societal life is established in the report, including flogging and fines for women with “inappropriate attire or hijab!” Saba Kord-Afshari’s case is one of the examples referred.
Although Judaism is considered one of the acceptable religions in Iran and there are about 9,000 Jews living in the country, Islamic Republic officials, including its “Supreme Leader” continue to push their anti-Semitic rhetoric and insults through their public speeches.
The last part of the report is about “Worker Rights” or lack thereof! Islamic Republic has not even enforced its own laws and continues to deprive workers of forming associations. Regime’s oppressive forces have harassed and intimidated labor leaders or labor rights activists and even journalists during crackdown of widespread protests. The regime detained at least 30 activists during “International Labor Day” protests. Jafar Azimzadeh, a prominent labor activist, was sentenced to 13 months for “propaganda against the regime.” The report mentions many examples of labor activists being detained or oppressed violently when trying to demand their rights.
The Islamic Republic atrocities are countless, brutal and unspeakable. It is time for the global community to stand up to the regime and stop dealing with the cruel and corrupt mafia, ruling Iran.