Michael Ledeen writes for PJMedia that if you only read the MSM headlines, you’d likely believe that the new Hassan Rouhani administration in Iran had greatly eased up on political repression. But despite talk of a kinder gentler Iran, “it’s ugly business as usual” for the country that Obama “loves to flatter by calling it the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Calling the totalitarian theocracy in Tehran a “republic” cannot be further from the truth, for “if there is any change in the regime’s treatment of its own citizens, it’s worse than before.” To wit:
- Four women were recently stoned to death, their bodies showed up in the Tehran morgue mid-month. No one has claimed the cadavers.
- There was a big roundup of homosexuals and devil-worshippers in Kermanshah Province. Regime media reported with horror that eight of the gays were married.
- A hundred Kurds in Tehran were arrested. The Tehran regime is fighting Kurds in the area near Turkey, and the arrests are probably part of that campaign. Kurds in Turkey are fighting for autonomy against the Erdogan regime. Kurds in Iraq have carved out a great degree of independence from Baghdad, and are profitably engaged in cross-border commerce with the Iranian Kurds, who are helping the Turkish Kurds…who are helping the Syrian Kurds, who have established control over significant areas of the north, and who just grabbed one of the two principal border crossings into Iraq.
- A vicious campaign (some would call it a genocidal war) against Iran’s Arabs, the Ahwazis, seems to have increased after Rouhani’s election in June. Indeed, repression is worse all over the country; 150 have been (officially) executed since Rouhani the Great Moderate was elected president.
- Iran’s judiciary has declared an end to any “further” releases of political prisoners, including that of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who won the presidential elections four years ago and, along with his firebrand wife and political sidekick Mehdi Karroubi, has been illegally held under house arrest since early 2010, never charged with a crime, and in steadily worsening health.
- In some areas of Iran, any pretense of judicial propriety has been summarily dismissed. A couple of days ago, there was an attack against Iranian soldiers in Balochistan in which 14 soldiers were killed. Sixteen suspects were simply rounded up and hanged.
Does Iran’s intensification of repression of its people have any implications for U.S. policy?
What, if anything, does this have to do with the regime’s oft-stated winks and leers, promising a “new” relationship with the West, especially with the United States? You might wonder if the increased repression is being imposed in the anticipation of a deal, and the regime leaders want to make sure that their many domestic opponents aren’t tempted to rise up against a regime that has shown weakness in its dealings with the West.
That’s possible, but not likely. It flies in the face of what we know about the regime leaders’ reading of Obama. They don’t think they have anything to fear from him, and they expect he will accept a deal favorable to them. They expect an immediate easing of sanctions, “in exchange” for promises of good Iranian behavior in the future. They will have been reassured at the recent spectacle of the White House asking Congress not to vote any new sanctions. This demonstrates a lack of understanding, since a vigorous Congress enables our negotiators to tell the Iranians “you’d better get serious and shut down the nuclear program, or these crazy people will just pile on.”
Instead, the Iranians are playing that card, telling us “you’d better get serious and give something tangible to Rouhani, or the crazy hard-liners will make everything more dangerous.”
There’s a difference between us, after all. Obama wants a deal. The Iranians want us dead or dominated. They want to treat us the same way they treat their own.
H/t CODA’s Sol Sanders