At the end of last year, the people took to the streets to participate in massive protests to express their discontent and to call for regime change. Once again, the Iranian regime has responded with a brutal crackdown, with reports of gunfire in the street and deaths as a result of torture.
The Iranian regime’s main opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), has said that at least 50 citizens have been killed and over 8,000 arrested. It is believed that at least five of the deaths are a result of torture.
Faced with these figures, it is incredulous that the West has remained largely silent. The United States, however, has spoken out against the regime and President Trump has warned the Iranian regime that it is being watched.
Furthermore, last week, the US Treasury Department issued more sanctions on Iran. Sadeq Amoli Larijani, the head of the regime’s judiciary, was sanctioned for the use of torture, amputation and a number of other cruel punishments. As the top official of the judiciary, it is shocking that he has had a direct role in such acts of oppression. It can be described only as an abuse of power.
The people have taken to the streets to make their voices heard. They have reached their limits and know that nothing is going to change in the country until the regime is removed from power. The economic conditions in Iran are horrendous and the people are finding it hard to even afford the most basic of necessities. At the same time, the people are watching the Iran regime spend huge amounts of the country’s wealth on the spread of terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism and the funding, arming and training of numerous militias and proxy groups including the notorious Hezbollah.
The NCRI expressed its concern about the death of university graduate Kianoush Zandi who went missing on 4th January. His body was returned to his family a few days ago. They were told that he was killed during the protests, but there were signs of torture on his body.
The body of another young man, Mohammed Nassiri, was returned to his family after authorities claimed he committed suicide. The details the family were given are sketchy and they believe the authorities have lied.
The NCRI calls for an investigation into the actions of the regime. Amnesty International has also commented on the suspicious deaths. The deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said: “The shroud of secrecy and lack of transparency over what happened to these detainees is alarming. Instead of rushing to the judgment that they committed suicide, the authorities must immediately launch an independent, impartial and transparent investigation, including independent autopsies.”
It is essential that the whole international community criticises the regime’s brutality. Our silence legitimises its actions.