Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Prospects for Human Rights in Post-Election Iran


by Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker
Remarks at NCPDA Panel Discussion, UN Plaza, New York City

Dr. Akbari, Mr. Rashidi, members of the press, and friends: Salaam wa ’Khoshamadid!
Iran today is a country living a nightmare. Instead of moving forward into the light and extending the goodness and justice to its citizens that they deserve, the theocratic regime of Supreme Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameni has retreated into darkness, evil and tyranny. By holding a sham election this last Friday (20.02.04) the Iranian mullah-ocracy has deprived the Iranian people once more of their basic human rights to choose their leadership and way of life in an open, free referendum. Friday’s rigged elections drew the poorest turnout in any election since the revolution of 1979. What a legacy to show for twenty-five years of corrupt rule by the ayatollahs! Now wonder that over 90% of the Iranian population chose to boycott an election that promised to smother whatever few reforms have been carried out by President Khatami’s government and the 6th Majlis.
Once again the arch-conservatives dominate the Majlis, and Iran enters the 21st century without a single woman in the 7th Majlis. Oh women of Iran: is it any wonder that the color of that chador that you uniformly are forced to wear in public is black? Mourn for Persia, for the ayatollahs have chosen the side of Ahiram! Weep for Iran, for the mullahs have perverted the democratic lessons of Ali! Mourn for Iran and Persia because the ayatollahs have forgotten the values of Koryush (Cyrus) and Daryush, the teachings of Ali, and the glory of Khosrow! Weep at the legacy of evil bequeathed to your children!
What can the people of Iran expect from their newly “elected” Majlis? With the return of the arch-conservatives to power, the Iranian people can anticipate that more dissidents and liberals will be silenced by the regime, many in public executions that rival the Roman Coliseum for spectacle. They can rely on the fact that any newspaper that reports the truth contrary to the views of the Council of the 12 Guardians will be shut down and its editors jailed. The women of Iran can count on the fact that they will become chattel within the Islamic Republic, and that their children may be recruited as shahadin-suicide martyrs- in the ayatollahs’ twisted political gambit to advance similar radical Islamic movements. How many hundreds of thousands of Iranian children were sacrificed in the attempts to retake the salt marshes of Abadan? The average Iranian can expect a further erosion of his basic human rights and that life will become ever more repressive. And if one be part of a religious minority, be he Sunni, Bahai, Christian, Zoroastrian, or Jew, or even Shia with views contrary to those of the mullahs, he can anticipate repression, jail or even death.
Iran is a wealthy country, but much of her citizenry lives in dire poverty. The recent tragic earthquake in Bam demonstrated the lack of concern that the ayatollahs have for the average citizen. There are no funds to build safe housing for the poor in the midst of earthquake territory, but the callus ayatollahs found the funds to buy nuclear fuel and ultra-expensive equipment for Iran’s twenty year old clandestine nuclear program whose only logical purpose is to produce an atomic bomb.
Iran’s nightmare will not end until a government takes power that recalls the lessons of the Achaemenid founders of Persia: “the Persians realized what had never occurred to the…other imperial powers of that age: that national interest does not have to express itself solely in vindictiveness, that it is not necessarily impaired by respect for lesser national interests, and that tolerance pays off.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics) Iran will once again walk into the light when she has rulers who pursue justice for all her citizens, who seek to establish the good for everyone, and who respect all. The Khalif Ali, peace be to him, taught, in his lesson to the governor of Egypt: “You must be just, and the serving of the common man must be one of your prime objectives; the gratification of the aristocracy is insignificant and can be ignored in the face of the happiness of the masses….Look after the deprived and the dispossessed who need food and shelter. They deserve your help. Give to them generously from the public fund. It is your duty to protect them and their families. Be kind to those you rule. The people will obey their ruler if they are immune from his abuse….” Unfortunately the words of Khalif Ali, peace be to him, have fallen upon the deaf ears of the mullahs and ayatollahs of Iran. Iran’s population still languishes in darkness, a darkness like the famed ninth plague that befell biblical Egypt.
The eternally anticipated day of light has not yet dawned; indeed last Friday’s sham referendum has pushed the long suffering Iranian nation further into the darkness of Ahiram. But often it is darkest just before the dawn! May Iran’s redemption come speedily; may the Ahiramian darkness of the mullah regime quickly fade away, and may the All-Merciful cause goodness and justice to prevail in Iran, and worldwide. May the shofar-the ancient horn of freedom- be heard, and may the blessings of peace and justice prevail.
Thank you.
Rabbi Daniel M. Zucker

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