The “escalating domestic crackdown” has seen the “morality” police and the notorious Revolutionary Guards enforcing “oppressive laws” about dress and association which would be considered matters of private choice elsewhere, while strikes and other forms of peaceful protest are met with punitive measures.

 The author, Shahriar Kia, a press spokesman for residents of Camp Liberty, Iraq, and members of the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran opposition group (PMOI, also known as MEK), asserts that this level of repression is indicative of the theocracy’s sense of its own domestic insecurity: the precariousness of the regime’s survival was very recently demonstrated in 2009 when a narrow protest became a widespread rejection of the entire system.

 In terms of Rouhani’s foreign policy, The Hill is equally scathing of President Rouhani’s record. Iran is “designated by the U.S. State Department as the leading state sponsor of international terrorism.” That support for terrorism  is most vividly illustrated in Iraq. Iran’s “fingerprints” are to be seen in the Shiite militia groups, “accused by international human rights organizations of pursuing systematic and sectarian killings and human rights violations targeting the minority Sunni community in the recent campaign to retake the city of Fallujah.” Syria is also an arena for Iran’s meddling in other countries: “half a million dead” as the regime props up Assad.

 The alternative to investment in a dangerous and morally bankrupt regime is for Western powers to fully embrace the coalition of democratic forces represented by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), argues the author. This group “will be hosting a rally on July 9 where over 100,000 Iranians” will join with “hundreds of politicians” from the West and the Middle East.

 Support for the NCRI is gathering strength: 270 members of the European Parliament issued a strongly worded statement  demanding that the European Union “condition any further relations with Iran to a clear progress on human rights and a halt to executions.”

  The Hill is encouraged by the U.S.’ denial of access to the U.S. financial system, not least because of the use to which Iran would put additional funds, as U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, among others, have said. However, it would like to see further action on the part of both the U.S. and the European Union – because of the disastrous state of human rights in Iran under Rouhani, because Iran’s aggression in the Middle East is costing so many lives, and because it is a regime that simply cannot be trusted to fulfil its commitments.