By INU staff

INU – The human rights situation in Iran under Hassan Rouhani has deteriorated, while the number of executions has sharply increased, an official of the Iranian Resistance who deals with international NGOs has said.

Elaheh Azimfar, a representative of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) for international organizations made the remarks on Tuesday in an online Q&A session about the state of human rights in Iran.

Speaking during a question-and-answer session with journalists broadcast on Iran Freedom TV, she, said the mullahs had “intensified” the number of executions as the talks neared their conclusion in order to quell unrest.

“The decision by Khamenei to acquiesce to the talks is not from a position of strength, it’s simply because he is in fear of an uprising in Iran. That’s why he has intensified the number of executions as the nuclear negotiations are going on. The mullahs are trying to stop any chance for people to gather with each other, which could lead to an uprising.”

Azimfar said the only way to halt further executions in Iran was to bring accountability into the talks. The P5+1 states – Britain, China, France, Russia, the US and Germany – hope to forge a deal with the Iranian regime by June 30 that will stymie Tehran’s nuclear efforts in exchange for sanctions relief.

“In relation to the human rights situation, the number of executions will not decrease as long as this so-called nuclear deal is overshadowing human rights violations. The only way we can improve the issue is by adding accountability to the agenda.

“The regime has been condemned more than 60 times by different UN resolutions and that should be the end of an era. We have to enter a new period that should be coupled with accountability. The authorities should be held accountable for their crimes. That is the way to put an end to the executions.”

Azimfar painted a dark picture of a desperate regime using capital punishment to control dissent within a society that was now on a knife-edge. “The situation of human rights in Iran has deteriorated. Iran is the world’s number one executioner per capita.

“Under Rouhani more than 1,800 executions have occurred in a matter of less than two years, and this is the president of the regime who was supposed to be a moderate.

“Six hundred of these executions have been since the beginning of this year. Just a week last Tuesday, there was a group of 22 prisoners who were killed in a mass execution during a time when European MPs from the European Parliament were visiting Tehran.”

She quoted a recent statement made by Ahmed Shaheed, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, to illustrate her case.

He said: “When the Iranian government refuses to even acknowledge the full extent of executions which have occurred, it shows a callous disregard for both human dignity and international human rights law.”

Azimfar added it was now time for Shaheed to “include a referral about Iran’s human rights record to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court”.

She also singled out women, journalists and supporters of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran as three sub-sections of Iranian society that have been hit particularly hard by the mullahs. “Members and supported of the People’s Mujadeen Organisation of Iran are the main subjects of the human rights violations in Iran. Many of those at Camp Liberty have been former prisoners of this regime. They are witnesses to these crimes. That is why the mullahs want to destroy them.

“We are also dealing with religious fascism – a kind of dictatorship that has women as its foremost victims. The foundation of this regime is based on misogyny and hatred of women.”

However, she ended on a more positive note, hailing the huge impact of the recent Iran Freedom rally in Paris, which saw 100,000 members of the Iranian diaspora come together to call for human rights and democracy in Iran.

“This sends a fearful message to the Iranian regime because it can see the strength and power of this movement in one place. It also sends a strong message to the international community to take this movement seriously, and it certainly helps the human rights situation in Iran.”