Hanging president

Another term for Ahmadinejad means continued strangulation of Iranian society


Hanging president
by Hossein Bastani & Fariba Amini

A few weeks ago, at the instigation of Amnesty International (AI), demonstrations were held in some 20 countries around the world protesting the execution of juveniles in Iran. According to figures published by AI, the number of executions in Iran rose from 94 in 2005 to 346 in 2008. That is, during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s tenure as Iran’s President, the number has tripled. In the first three months of this year, 120 individuals have received the death penalty. Iran now boasts the highest number of executions after China.

Under the Islamic Republic’s legal and judicial system, the country’s Judiciary is the branch which is responsible for executing capital punishment. Yet the steep rise in death sentences under Ahmadinejad makes one wonder: is this accidental or related to the current administration’s overall policies? It appears to be the latter.

Many of the executions are the direct result of policies pursued by the administration. As an example, one can cite the arrest and subsequent executions of “hooligans” and “rogue elements” under the so-called Social Safety Program, the implementation of which, endorsed by the Iranian President, dates back to 2007. When on June 27th, 2007, Ahmadinejad’s administration disregarded the recommendations of economists and announced gas rationing, people protested and riots erupted. Hundreds of protesters who took to the streets were arrested under this plan. On July 22, 2007, Tehran’s notorious prosecutor, Saeid Mortazavi, announced the execution of 16 detainees and ordered the death penalty for another 17.

The sharp rise in the number of death penalties in Iran must be viewed in the context of other radical efforts of the last four years, all of which have been articulated an d justified as calls for “decisiveness in treating criminals”, “no retreat to satisfy the West”, or, adopting “revolutionary measures inside the country.” Responsible for this hard-line approach have of course been no other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration.

This uncompromising stand has not been confined to the executive branch. Over the last four years, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has publicly supported this line. On August 24, 2008, Khamenei criticized some of the officials of the former government saying they were “reactive and ashamed in their encounter vis-à-vis the ambitious foreigners,” and lauded Ahmadinejad’s government emphasizing that this government has been able to “block the very dangerous trend of pro-Westernization and secular tendencies which were unfortunately infiltrating the structure of the administration of the country.”

Thus, it is only natural that Ahmadinejad’s stance, endorsed by the Supreme Leader, is pursued by all branches of the government, including the Judiciary.

A good example of judicial compliance with this model is the resistance a number of judges have shown against ending violent sentences, such as stoning. Thus, although in February 2003, head of Iran’s Judiciary, Shahrudi, se nt out a circular urging the courts to replace stoning with other forms of punishment, after 2005, a number of judges have continued this medieval practice with vigor. Some of them, in an obvious attempt to ensuring that stoning orders would be carried out, have even “hidden” the court verdicts from the public. Such was the case of Ja’far Kiani who was stoned to death on July 6, 2007, in the town of Takestan in northwestern Iran.

These judges know very well that so long as the atmosphere in the country is that of “non-compromise”, and non- tolerance, they will not be questioned on their way of carrying “justice” under the “ divine laws” or the Sharia.

In implementing the Sharia law, the Islamic Republic is sending several messages to both their own people and the outside world. To those living in Iran, the message is: we are in control and we insist on implementing the true teachings of Islam; do not deviate from it. The me ssage to the West is: do not try to introduce your laws, because here in Iran, the law of the divine is practiced, and if in the process we have the highest executions per capita in the world, so be it.

If Ahmadinejad is re-elected in June 2009, Tehran’s record-breaking level of unspeakable forms of punishment will likely continue for another four years. Another term for Ahmadinejad means the continued strangulation of the Iranian society under the pretext of “Islamic Justice”, a harsher life for the majority of the people in Iran and the denial of their most basic human rights.


Hossein Bastani, a member of the editorial board of Rooz online and the former Secretary General of the Association of Iranian Journalists, the only nationwide syndicate of journalists in Iran

Fariba Amini, journalist, human rights activist and author of “Faces of Successful Iranian Americans”, published by the US Department of State.



fantastic revolution

by but wait! (not verified) on

Didn't you know that all this is part of the FANTASTIC REVOLUTION? All the progressive movements of the last 30 years are due to the FANTASTIC REVOLUTION? Don't you want more of this FANTASTIC REVOLUTION? The west really doesn't give a shit about destabilizing Iran. Iran is doing a pretty good job of doing that to herself.
Kurush. YOu are more and more of a joke every day.


who is serving whom?

by ferdos36 (not verified) on

"The authors of this article are severing the political agenda of their Western masters quite well."

It is always easy, always the Iranian way to blame and blame others for our wrongdoings. No Sir, we are not serving the Western masters, we are simply telling the truth and the whole truth.

The Evin massacre, the serial murders, the torture and killing of Zahra Kazemi, and so many many more crimes was not committed by the US, Britain, or....
Unfortunately, it was done by Iranians from the same country that you and I come from.


Dear "LalehGillani",

by MiNeum71 on

This simply is true, and I want to state firmly that there is NO, really NO excuse for Ahmadinejad's crimes. My point is that we have been discussing about the elections since March, and there are still some silly abroad Iranians who write ridiculous stuff like Khatami extended the life of this theocracy by eight years with neither
advancing democratic rights for non-governmental political parties, nor
furthering the quest for individual rights and freedoms in Iran. The
same is going to happen under Mousavi.

I want to show that there IS a difference between the conservative and the liberal forces in Iran, and that it' very important to try to go this one step, although I know it takes more than a vote for Mousavi to save Iran.



Hypocricy cuts both ways

by Mazdak (not verified) on

To the guy who keeps posting the same old broken record about the crimes of the West everytime someone says something about Iran. Fine, truth should be told in all its facets but do you deny what is being said in this article? When was the last time you posted anything against brutalizing the Iranian society by kangaroo courts and public hangings? Just because the US has a large incarceration industry doesn't mean poeople can't talk about the pimps that brutalize Iran.


Are We Comparing Crimes Again?

by LalehGillani on

NiNeum71 wrote: “Where are the ingenious brains claiming that Khatami and Ahmadinejad had the same impact on Iranian society? Come on, I'm waiting for you talking another hot air ...”

Ahmadinejad must answer to our people for the executions conducted under his watch, and Khatami must answer for the crimes committed during his reign.

Comparing crimes of one murderer with another in order to legitimatize a political agenda is the reformists’ platform at this time. This criminal mentality of “I am better than you because I have killed less than you” must be exposed.



by Kurush (not verified) on

Certain important 'contemporary' events are either intentionally or by that peculiar perfunctoriness of Western propagandists & their affiliates, have been omitted in this article:
First, Iran has been under attack by the Western thugs since its liberating great Revolution, in effect for the past 30 years. The intention of the Western thugs is of course to destabilize the Iranian civic society which, if successful, would bring enormous sufferings to the Iranian nation. The essential goal of the Western imperialist thugs is to de-legitimize the government of Iran & its leadership along with a concomitant economic & social chaos through economic sanctions & sabotage. Of course, in response to that the Iranian Government quite prudently has shown steadfast resolve to uproot the agents of the West. The harsh authoritarianism in Iran is not directed towards the nation per se, as this shallow article implies, but only to those who have disobeyed the central government, defied it & its law. Given the extraordinary circumstances of Iran's resistance against the Western thugs & the Western invasions that have caused enormous sufferings in the neighboring countries, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Iranian leadership has acted within it sovereign rights.
Second, where is the comparative measure? Does the article remind us that there is 2.5 million people incarcerated in the USA, and, that the prison-industrial complex is the fastest growing segment of the US economy for the past 20 years. The US rate of imprisonment of its own citizens has reached a crisis stage. The harsh conditions of the US prisons are the open secrets of a police state which goes to extreme lengths to intimidate its restive population, disgruntled with economic crisis & imperialist, offensive wars abroad. Iran's prison population in comparison is puny! But the authors intentional gloss is telling of their political agenda: serving the Western thugs' interests, certainly not the country that they come from.
Third, where was Amnesty International in the past decade while the West abandoned all pretensions to civilizations and acted in the most barbaric thuggish way. Have we already forgotten the crimes of the US in Iraq & Afghanistan? The CIA secret torture dungeons around the globe? Kidnapping and torturing victims in Guantanamo & Bagram & AbuGhraib? Where was Amnesty International which is so strident in pointing fingers at non-Western countries while overt Western crimes are ignored blithely? Does not this alone indicate that the Amnesty International is a creature of Western Imperialism set up during the Cold War to serve the Western propaganda & to legitimate Western aggressions around the world in pursuit of loot and empire as we have witnessed in Iraq & Afghanistan?
The authors of this article are severing the political agenda of their Western masters quite well.


Come On

by MiNeum71 on

Where are the ingenious brains claiming that Khatami and Ahmadinejad had the same impact on Iranian society? Come on, I'm waiting for you talking another hot air ...