We are almost reaching over 120 days since the beginning of the Iran protests, in 2022.
A country that used to be the most modern and vibrant nation has been governed under a vicious regime for about 44 years. The brutal murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by Iran’s morality police sparked another wave of ongoing civil protests.
Ayatollah Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) probably thought eventually this wave would subside like the previous ones. Surely Iranians would grow tired once the people experienced the brutal force of the regime.
Well, the Iranians are still fighting, and they are paying a heavy price.
Heartbreaking stories continue to emerge from Iran
Every other day, another story emerges of the Iranian regime executing more protesters who participated in the current wave of demonstrations. The stories of Mohammad Mehdi Karami and Seyed Mohammad Hosseini are heartbreaking.
Karami was an athlete who won a dozen medals in national karate competitions and Hosseini was a 39-year-old children’s coach. The republic convicted both of them for participating in the protests for “corruption on Earth.” The two were allegedly involved in the murder of a member of one of the IRCG forcers.
The deceased IRGC member was Iranian Basij officer Ruhollah Ajamian, who died in clashes with protesters who retaliated against him for the death of a woman killed by Basij forces. Karami and Hosseini are two out of four accused of playing a role in Ajamian’s death.
Karami and Hosseini asserted their innocence but were tortured and received sham trials. Several human rights organizations have accused Iranian authorities of denying both men due process and using inadequate evidence to convict them.
Two innocent, idealistic young men put their lives on the line to fight for democracy in Iran. Iran executed them in cold blood while the rest of the world did nothing.
Their stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Iran had sentenced 13 people to death in a desperate attempt to scare the public and end the protests against the Republic. Those convicted include a doctor (who served underprivileged neighborhoods), a rapper, a barber and an actor, all of who have been charged with moharebe (a term that means waging war on God). Some arrests include something as minute as setting a trash can on fire.
The sham trials are behind closed doors by Iran’s Revolutionary Court system. According to The New York Times, the defendants are provided with government-assigned lawyers, “the evidence presented has often been opaque and rights groups say that in some of the cases, there are accounts and evidence of torture.” Each story is more tragic than the next. The regime is mercilessly murdering people without having to fear consequences.
Just over the weekend, Iran executed Alireza Akbari, a dual British-Iranian national who once served as Iran’s deputy defense minister. Iran detained Akbari three years ago and convicted him of spying for the UK, which he denied. The regime ignored calls from London and Washington, demanding his release after Akbari was handed the death sentence.
AS A way of saving face, Iranian-state media released a video of Akbari earlier this week showing him confessing. However, BBC Persian later broadcast an audio message with Akbari where it was revealed that confessions from the video were obtained through torture and after he was drugged with psychedelic medication.
After forcing him to confess to crimes he did not commit on camera, the Iranian judiciary’s official news outlet Mizan reported that Alireza Akbari had been hanged. There was no specified date when the execution took place.
It seems Iran’s cruelty knows no limits. While the people of Iran still fight on the streets with no weapons, the regime continues to imprison dissidents and torture women who refuse to wear a hijab. Yet the action taken by the international community has been minimal. The biggest disappointment was watching how Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was welcomed at the United Nations and the General Assembly.
The Biden administration has done very little besides placing sanctions on the morality police (a move that means nothing) and advocates for sanctions relief through the Iran nuclear deal (a move that would put millions of dollars back into the pockets of the mullahs).
Iran Revolution 2022 is not just a local problem
The Iranian Revolution 2022 is not just a problem for the people living there; it should concern us globally. Iran is the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism, building up proxies all over the Middle East whose aim is to destroy the West. Not only is ignoring their actions morally wrong, but it enables them to destabilize the Middle East further and creates a dangerous future for us all.
In response to Akbari’s execution, Britain announced the temporary recall of its ambassador to Tehran. Every country should follow suit and make it permanent. The international community can do so much more but at the very least, we can take a page from Britain’s book.
Another correct move from the United States was to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Doing so criminalizes support for the Islamic Republic’s military wing and makes it harder for them to operate internationally. The European Union is now debating a similar move following the US’s footsteps. This should not be up for debate; it must be done.
In the 120 days since the protests of 2022, Iran has ruthlessly murdered at least 525 protesters and detained and tortured countless more. While the world is watching, the lack of international intervention is appalling and only shows us how little human life means to the international community.
The Iranian people don’t need you to issue empty statements of support or simple condemnations of the Islamic Republic. They need you to stop their oppressors and murderers from committing these atrocities.
The writer is a social media activist with over 10 years of experience working for Israeli, and Jewish and cause-based NGOs. She is the co-founder and COO of Social Lite Creative, a digital marketing firm specializing in geopolitics.