Friday, June 19, 2015

Iranian Intellectual and Dissident: The Iranian Regime Is as Bad as ISIS, Yet Western Leaders Ignore its Crimes

On October 30, 2014, Iranian intellectual Mohammad Maleki, a former president of Tehran University and a critic of the Iranian regime, published an open letter to the people of Iran in the online daily In the letter, he wondered why U.S. and European leaders are shocked by ISIS' beheadings yet ignore the brutal crimes that the Iranian regime has been committing ever since its establishment against its own people and the people of the region. Maleki argued that the Iranian regime, under its founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor Ali Khamenei  – who are the Iranian equivalents of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – is the same as ISIS because it too executes people systematically and brutally violates the human rights of many prisoners. Maleki pointed to the mass killing of Iranian prisoners, especially of militants from the oppositionist Mojahedeen-e Khalq organization who were sentenced during the 1980s in disregard for their rights and subjected to physical and psychological torture. He claimed that the West even helped the Iranian regime by giving it a free hand in Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s ouster and letting it act against Iranian oppositionists there, in collaboration with then-Iraqi president Nouri Al-Maliki, who is an Iranian lackey.

The 81-year-old Maleki, who lives in Iran, is a member of the anti-regime National-Religious Coalition of Iran and a columnist for the reformist daily Rooz. He served as Tehran University’s first president following the Islamic Revolution and spent five years in prison for opposing the purge of the universities conducted by Khomeini as part of his cultural revolution. In 2001, he was detained for half a year on a charge of anti-regime subversion, and in 2009 he was arrested after protesting electoral fraud in the presidential elections and was charged with insulting Khomeini and Khamenei. In January 2012 he was again arrested briefly for conducting anti-regime propaganda.
In November 2012, Maleki published a letter accusing Khamenei of suppressing society and systematically murdering his critics and opponents, and held him responsible for the regime’s massacre of thousands of its citizens. He called on him to step down before a popular uprising broke out against him, and thus to spare Iran the kind of bloodshed that Syria and Libya have experienced.[1]

Below are the main points of his letter from October 2014:[2]

"The whole world is currently talking about ISIS (the Islamic Caliphate) and its crimes. The talk and the articles about the acts of slaughter and other attacks perpetrated by these murderers against Muslims take me back 30-something years and remind me of events that happened in Evin [prison], Ghazal Hasar [prison] and other prisons in Iran under Khomeini’s and Khamenei’s rule.

"I am writing you to improve your familiarity with the character of the founders of the current [regime] – [a regime] that resembles ISIS. No man of honor [who supports] humanitarianism and freedom can condone the actions of those who call themselves ISIS or fail to despise what they do. [But] let me present you with examples of some [actions] that were carried out in Iran over the last 30 years by the regime of the Rule [of the Jurisprudent] and on the orders of the Iranian "Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi," in order to reveal [only] a drop in the ocean of crimes that were committed against the people of our homeland and to expose the essence of those currently portraying themselves as ISIS's opponents. …

"For years, Ghazal Hasar [prison] was the place where prisoners were sent to serve their sentence after they were arrested, interrogated and tortured in unimaginable ways and then placed on trial (before illegal tribunals and without the presence of an attorney and the right of defense, in proceedings that generally last only a few minutes). The charges against these people did not justify their execution, [so] they were condemned to life imprisonment or many years of jail time. [But] most of the prisoners in Evin prison and the other prisons were [nevertheless] tortured to death or executed. Tens of thousands of people were executed in Evin prison during the 1980s and especially in 1988.[3] The prisoners at Ghazal Hasar were those who escaped Evin alive…

"[The atrocities committed in Evin and Ghazal Hasar prisons] created huge and terrible problems. One of the facilities, for example, now houses 400 insane women and young girls whom they don’t know what to do with. It is impossible to release them and it is impossible to keep them there. Most of these women are products of the actions committed by [people like] Hajj Davoud [a regime official in charge of prisons] using [torture chambers known as] "Judgment Day," "the grave," "the cage"and "the housing unit," which Hajj Davoud created to make prisoners renounce their past…

"Given all these crimes that take place in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other places worldwide, why do America and Europe remain silent or make do with perfunctory condemnations? Why is it that, when a gang of Boko Haram founders savagely kidnapped 270 women and girls in Nigeria, not a single American or European plane,  manned or unmanned, performed a single serious action to rescue them, and [America and Europe] sufficed with a verbal condemnation of the abduction? But when two Americans and one or two Europeans are beheaded by ISIS (a most cruel act), the entire world must unite against ISIS’ crimes. Why didn’t [the U.S. and Europe] consider doing the same when the Americans offered Iraq to Iran on a silver platter… and Iran, in collaboration with [Nouri] Al-Maliki and his associates, persecuted the Iraqi people and those Iranians who had found shelter in Iraq [i.e. members of Mojahedeen-e Khalq]?

"Unfortunately, Iran’s current rulers are intervening [in the affairs] of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, plunging them into disorder, insecurity and war. At a time that the Iranian nation and the region’s nations suffer from poverty and corruption, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and Ali Khamenei both purport to rule the Islamic world and thereby drag the region into fire and blood. Sincerely, what is the difference between ISIS and the Islamic Republic regime?"


[2], October 30, 2014.
[3] According to Mojahedeen-e Khalq, in 1988-1989 tens of thousands of its members were executed in Iranian prisons on Khomeini's orders.