An Iranian woman attends a religious conference in Tehran.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, – was hanged from the gallows at Tehran’s Evin Prison last Saturday.
Her crime was self-defense. She struck down an attacker as he tried to rape her when she was still a teenager in 2007.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who won election last year on a liberal reformist platform, failed to intervene and commute the death sentence imposed back in 2009.
This tragedy underscores the gaping chasm between the regime’s make-nice affectations toward the international community and the unchanging face of the ayatollahs’ harsh rule.
Jabbari’s sad story exposes Iranian hypocrisy and double-dealing vis-à-vis the West, which could barely contain its alacrity to ease sanctions on Tehran as soon as Rouhani was sworn in.
According to American and EU pronouncements, the supposedly less hard-line Rouhani (despite the ayatollahs’ suspicion-arousing backing) is a harbinger of change for both the repressive theocracy domestically and for his country’s nuclear ambitions.
Israel’s warnings that the West wily-nilly allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons are scornfully ignored abroad. The hanging of a woman for the crime of fighting off a sexual predator further gives the lie to claims of Iranian liberalization. Nevertheless, there is no meaningful outrage in the international community, save for scarcely audible official lip-service and obligatory denunciation from Amnesty International.
But the West can no longer sweep Iranian duplicity under the rug of expediency and realpolitik.
Had Rouhani’s election truly heralded an overhaul of Iranian tyranny, a way could have been found to save the unfortunate young woman. The handy excuse that was proffered for her heartless execution was that the relatives of the dead man had to agree to a reprieve but they refused to do so.
The Rouhani regime cited Koranic law as leaving it no other legal recourse but to put Jabbari to death.
Reliance on precisely this sort of uncompromising religious despotism is what makes the powers-that-be in Tehran untrustworthy in regard to their nuclear project, sponsorship of terrorism, and cruel authoritarianism domestically.
There will always be a Koranic pretext for why Iran cannot keep its promises.
How can the ayatollahs be expected to show moderation toward “Little Satan” Israel when they are so brutal regarding their own population? What moderation is shown Iranian women? Their lives are over in case of any sexual abuse.
If they defend themselves, they are condemned to death. Iran, it ought to be noted, has the world’s second- highest rate of capital punishment, after China.
In the first nine months of 2014, 531 people were executed in Iran.
If the assailed women do not resist, they are branded as “tainted” and ostracized in the best case scenario.
But they can expect far worse than lifelong shame and shunning.
Sweeping Iran these days is an unprecedented spate of terrifying acid attacks on young women whose only crime appears to be that someone in their proximity had determined that they are not properly covering their hair as mandated by strict Shi’ite dogma. For that they are disfigured and in some cases blinded.
Little official action is taken to counter this terrorism in the streets. The regime’s energies are focused on scamming Washington and Europe and achieving a dream deal that would effectively lift all trade and financial restrictions but leave Iran on the nuclear threshold with the ability to produce atomic bombs.
Tehran has managed to hoodwink the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. In fact, the nations of the world desperately wish to be fooled.
They prefer to believe (or to pretend to believe) that by some miraculous happenstance, Iran has transformed itself overnight from a ruthless theocracy – whose agenda inter alia includes the subjugation of women and wiping Israel off the map – to a honorable member of the international community.