Iranian political prisoner Sadegh Sistani from the Iranian opposition organization MEK recently escaped. His report? “Hundreds waiting in the gallows while the UN-US welcomes their butcher.”
As the motorcade of the Iranian President, Ahmadinejad moved towards the UN General Assembly for a predicted venomous speech and a mockery of World conscience, Iranian state-controlled media announced a new toll of death sentences for a group of 54 activists.
The ruling Iranian regime is an oppressive one that mixes theocracy with autocracy and extreme expansionist ideology that continues to defy the international community. It has proven that it absolutely denies the people and even members of its elite any form of Freedom.
I took the opportunity to ask a prominent veteran Iranian political prisoner who escaped torture only last April about the situation of his fellow prisoners back in Iran.
Sadegh Sistani, escaped Iran after enduring years of imprisonment under the present regime.
“There are thousands of political prisoners packed in hundreds of prisons in Iran. Tens of families which include whole families at times affiliated to the MEK, are in deploring inhuman conditions. Women are volatile, and suffer the most. Sexual harassment and misuse have been routine for woman political prisoners. During the 1980 executions of hundreds of MEK affiliates, a Fatwa by Khomeini allowed rape of young girls in order to make sure their spirits would not go to heaven. (They believed that sinned girls would not be allowed to heaven).
Others had their blood drained before death according to a separate Fatwa. The present regime president, Ahmadinejad, was one of the tens of torturers in the notorious Evin prison at the time. He is now shaking hands with his official counterparts. It is the same hand who pulled the trigger that killed tens in executions according to living witnesses.”
Sadegh Sistani, continued explaining the present situation; “The brutality of this regime towards families of MEK in Iran has not limits. A young mother of three toddlers is still paying the price of the “terror tag.” Her name I will disclose for her protection. She was abducted from her house as her little ones were screaming out of fear. The mother was dragged away for no apparent reason and has been in prison since. Her interrogator, a notorious torturer of the 1980s ‘Salavati’ told her: “You are paying the price of your sister and brother (supporters of the MEK and executed earlier) *1. The interrogator had asked for her children’s presence so that they would “cry their hearts out” to give him relief!
Sistani said: “In a letter smuggled out, she has bravely disclosed her ordeal and appealed to ‘World Conscience’:
“This is a FREE country, and its President Ahmadinejad claims there is total FREEDOM, where Human Rights is respected and where people have no fear of persecution. Indeed, a country in which “Breathing and being ALIVE” is a CRIME.
A place in which, a mourning mother in black has no right to cry for the loss of her darlings. Indeed, it is a role model for Freedom and Democracy!
I know very well that by writing this letter, I am accepting the worst to come, but all I want to be to voice of the many innocent in these prisons, who are suffering the cost of appeasement with the mullahs.”
“There is always hope in the dark dungeons, where your voice is not heard, and all you have desired for seems remote. That hope builds on your perseverance and resolve to stand firm on all you ever lived for: Freedom.”
Mr. Sistani said: “As this mother of three, MEK supporter has written “HOPE’” is still there, but is this still a value for the US Administration and President Obama?”
The voice for change has been resonating in comments and speeches by US senior officials supporting the movement and its struggle to establish democracy in Iran.
Dr. Sarah Sewall from Harvard Kennedy School of Government elaborated the conflict of foreign policy interests and true American values during a symposium in Washington DC and said:
“What is interesting for me concerning the issue of Democracy and Human Rights in Iran is that often, for the United States we see a significant conflict in our foreign policy between the values that America has held dear and, indeed, was founded upon and the interests of the United States of America as it plots its foreign policy and manages the affairs of state. The extraordinary issue is values, and interests are joined in a common framework for approaching the questions of Iran and democracy and human rights. Such clash in the conduct of foreign policy; so often leading to inconsistency; reversals of fortune, charges of hypocrisy; has now actually an opportunity to be reconciled.”She referred to a “third way’” in the approach towards Iran.
Published in the New York Post, a recent appeal, by dozens of senior US officials to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon to “Save Ashraf Now,” Human Rights has been the prior concern amidst all other pragmatic and long-term interests.
We in America may have very different views about the relative success and the cost-benefit trade-off of that kind of an approach, bearing in mind Iraq-Afghanistan experience and its unintended consequences. The “third Option” argued for the past years by the MEK is the inevitable remedy.
The “Third Option” was offered by the Opposition movement years ago as an anti-thesis to “War” or “appeasement” mostly propagated by counter and pro Iranian Lobbyists in Capitol Hill. It simply leaves the complex and expensive challenge of resolving the clerical extremism, to the Iranian resistance movement and the Iranian people.
Gen.Shelton in a symposium in Washington said: “The MEK is the most formidable opposition to the regime in Tehran. It has challenged the worlds leading state sponsor of terrorism for the past 32 years and provides hope for the current Iranian people. It provides a degree of hope that far exceeds anything else that we or our allies can offer short of direct intervention.”
So what more is left and why is there no change in the country while others in the region will follow the Gale of democratic change?
The Reuters reported, “’The opposition (green movement) is leaderless and lacks any strategy.. is following the Arab uprisings with a mixture of envies and regret for its own failure.” The spirited youths who marched the streets during the 2009 uprisings were betrayed by Moussavi as he cowed to the Supreme Leader. They are pinning hope on yet a more reliable handle to grab.
However, there is a barrier that has blocked their path.
The US Foreign List of Terrorist Organization has for long favored the Ayatollahs in Tehran by enchaining the only remaining organized and capable movement.
“The List is a direct handshake with our butchers in Iran. The Mullahs managed to massacre 120,000 of MEK supporters through a fatwa. The organization was the exact anti-thesis to the clerical fascists in Iran. They believed in a tolerant Islam that based “Democracy and Peace” as its corner stone for progress and social change. It promoted complete Gender Equality, which is the landmark for any progressive society. Women from the leadership Council in the movement and recently in a democratic election, a new Secretary General was polled by members.” Said Sistani.
Ironically, as much as the clerical regime is misogynous in nature, it is an organization with “Women Leadership” which is the fear of its life and is an existential threat.
As Sistani takes a deep breath, he insisted on fatal repercussions of the enlisting:
“Keeping the 45-year-old movement in the US list, has provided a good excuse for both the Mullahs and Maliki to kill, hang and massacre us anywhere and when possible. It has enchained our ability to be used to reveal and prevent ongoing vile Human Right violations by the mullahs. It has simply put the US on the side of our butchers.”