By Nasser Rashidi
On Dec. 20, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning human rights abuses in Iran, citing the crackdown on media, use of torture and discrimination against women. The resolution further demonstrates the international community's awareness of the Iranian regime's atrocities. This fundamentalist government's violations of human rights have been well-documented over 50 times by the United Nations and other groups.
Amnesty International, for example, reported that at least 108 executions took place in 2003 and 113 in 2002.
For the past 25 years, the international community has condemned this brutal regime, as documented by the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights, European Union and other international organizations, yet the mullahs continue their criminal acts.
In addition to the obvious human rights concerns, reasonable minds would wonder why a theocratic government of a sovereign nation would embark on worldwide exportation and sponsorship of international fundamentalism/terrorism? The answer, I argue, lies in the inherent illegitimacy of its own existence and its bankrupt ideology. Condemning violations of human rights, defending the rights of women and minorities, respecting the rights of prisoners, particularly political prisoners, adherence to due process, and recognition of the rights of Iranian people to fight for their freedom and democracy in Iran are major parts of global democratization and the war against terrorism.
The autocratic-religious rule in Iran has traversed new boundaries in violations of human rights and continues to export its brand of fundamentalist beliefs, as witnessed by its interference in Iraq and attempts to produce nuclear weapons. As such, its intentions and actions present the greatest challenge to the international community and not confined to a U.S.-Iran confrontation.
Tehran's clerics and those who profit from the status quo would like us to believe that any regime change in Iran would necessitate a foreign intervention. The people of Iran, on the other hand, have shown us alternatives: regime change to a democratic and populist rule by the Iranian people through legitimate and unhindered resistance.
We must recognize that the major obstacle to change in Iran is the West's policies. It is not surprising that since the West has adopted an appeasement policy, no major democratic gain has been noticed in Iran. In fact, the oppressive tactics within Iran, its sponsorship of terrorism abroad, and its deceptive methods in gaining nuclear capabilities have continued. It is the Iranian people who are paying the heavy price of such policies.
Although the international community has begun to acknowledge the link between fundamentalist ideology, its aspirations and its impact on human civilization, this recognition must be firmly acted upon so as to put an end to violence in the birthplace of Moses, Jesus and Muhammad.