The Ayatollahs have nothing to celebrate The Report Card of the Islamic Republic on its 39th Anniversary Everywhere else in the world, anniversaries bring in celebration of accomplishments. The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) headed by an unelected Supreme Leader is a theocratic oligarchy whose days are numbered and its future in shambles.
Every day, Iranians who used to fear the complex and brutal security forces of the Ayatollahs find another way to tell the world they do not want the Islamic Republic. Every day, they find new ways to fight for their basic human rights in one of the most totalitarian states in the world. Let’s walk in the shoes of Iranian women, youth, seniors and the unemployed to see what the Islamic Republic brings them.
Let’s start with Iranian women. Freedom from the dress code. Iranian women, are told what to wear, when to wear it and how to wear it. This was a dramatic shift that followed the 1979 Islamic Revolution when the hejab – Islamic dress code – was imposed on all women regardless of their religious beliefs. The Ayatollahs require all women to wear a headscarf or a veil in public at all times and even inside their own homes when in the presence of any men other than their husband or young male children. The “morality police” is in charge of enforcing this law and violators are harassed on the streets, fined, jailed or viciously attacked with acid thrown at their face.
A growing movement of Iranian women have begun defying this order – initially beginning as “White Wednesdays” by movements like My Stealthy Freedom – women are removing their headscarves in public and placing it on top of a stick as a display of protest. Their message is “I am not afraid of you” and “our bodies, our choices”.. Many have been arrested. Now even religious Muslim women, while wearing a headscarf themselves are also waiving a stick with another scarf on it! They too are saying, I am wearing a scarf because it is my choice but I’am also against the government telling me what to wear and taking away my choice. The Quran even quotes “there is no compulsion in religion”. The Iranian women are fighting against the most visible symbol of the Ayatollahs’ oppression and theocratic tyranny.
The Ayatollahs’ reaction has been swift, calling the women protesters “childish and naive” and that they have been “deceived from outside the country”. The Ayatollahs see the veil and the scarf as one of the pillars of their theocracy. The defiance by Iranian women (and many men who now join them) is yet another chapter in challenging the Islamic Republic and its totalitarian imposition of their theocracy on people’s everyday lives. Let’s review another “gift” from the clerics in Iran. Freedom to go to University. Everywhere in the world, even in the darkest dictatorships, young people are allowed and in fact encouraged to go to college and continue their education. In Iran, you are not allowed to attend university, regardless of your high school GPA, regardless of your score in the college entrance exam, if you happen to belong to the Bahai faith. Bahais are required to denounce their religion and convert to the government’s interpretation of Islam, and only then they are allowed to pursue higher education. Speaking of religion, let’s review what “freedom of religion” means in the Islamic Republic’s theocracy.
The IRI’s constitution Articles 12 & 13 recognizes “Islam, Judaism, Christianity and Zoroastrianism as legitimate and lawful religions”. For those who might not know, Zoroastrianism was the predominate religion in Iran for thousands of years until Iran was invaded by the Arabs in the 7th century and Islam was subsequently imposed over hundreds of years. The elected head of the City Council of one of Iran’s’ largest cities, Yazd, was ordered to step down and not to participate as a council member because he was a Zoroastrian and even worse, because he defeated a Muslim challenger in the August 2017 election. The body that oversees and has the final say so in the Ayatollah’s style of so-called “elections”, is called the “Guardian Council”. Their role is to “vet all elections and to make sure the candidates conform to Islamic principles”. The president of the Guardian Council, who is an unelected appointee by the unelected Supreme Leader, ruled that a non-Muslim cannot “beat” a Muslim candidate and the winner (the non-Muslim) is out and the loser (the Muslim) is the winner. Get it?! Read this again! That’s the gift of the anniversary of the Ayatollahs in Iran. The Freedom to Breath Clean and Healthy Air! Iran’s capital, Tehran, is home to 8.5 million people. The state run and controlled media have announced numerous times that the “air is not suitable to breath and you should stay home”, most recently on February 5th when they closed primary schools initially, and then extended it to all high schools and colleges in the capital. The fact is, according to the World Health Organization, “healthy air to breath should not have more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter of pollutants”. In Tehran, measurements are routinely around 173 and on February 5th, it was measured as high as 231 micrograms per cubic meter! The Iranian version of the EPA says that 80% of the source of these pollutants come from automobiles. What they don’t say is the fact that the only gasoline available, is full of chemicals harmful to people but much cheaper to refine and since cheaper gasoline means more profits, the Ayatollahs prefer to sell this product despite the costs to public health.
A well-known Iranian-Canadian professor, Seyed Emami, who founded Iran’s most prominent environmental NGO was arrested and is now dead, his family was just informed that he had "committed suicide" while being held in the notorious Evin prison. Since the most recent protests began in December 2017, a number of people who have been arrested have also “committed suicide” in the Ayatollahs’ notorious prisons. The IRI’s prisons are known for brutal torture methods and abysmal conditions. These events are highly suspicious, they have been flagged by several human rights organizations and have resulted in waves of protests by the Iranian people. The Islamic Republic clearly does not care about Iran’s environment and the health of its people. Finally, the freedom to feed your family. Last month, an unemployed man who wanted to simply feed his family stole a sheep. The local Islamic court, ordered his hand cut off by guillotine to “teach him and others a lesson”.
Meanwhile the president of an investment company connected to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, who stole the lifelong savings of over 120,000 Iranians and has skimmed $35 Billion, has been given a warning and “an opportunity to continue his investment company so he can repay some of the funds lost back to his investors”.
Furthermore, we continue to witness demonstrations about labor and wage corruption – unemployed workers, employed workers who have not been paid for months despite record profits by their employer, and retired folks who after working for 30+ years can not get access to the pension, are all hopeless and now protesting in the streets. I think this is enough for the “report card” on the life that the Islamic Republic has brought to the Iranian people. The Islamic Republic is stuck and will dissolve. Nearly four decades after the Ayatollahs’ Theocracy began, Iranians see through the corruption, charade of “reformers” vs “hardliners”, and are fed up with the oppression of daily life in one of the world’s most totalitarian states.
Many of those who may have even supported the idea of an Islamic Republic in the past, have lost their trust and belief in this system. They say the clerics have brought them nothing but war, isolation, misery, unemployment, poverty, repeated violations of their human rights and civil liberties, and have provided them with no social justice. Stay tuned and support the Iranian people’s struggle for a democratic and secular government. A democratic Iran, free and prosperous, 80 million people with vast natural resources, will play a major role in stabilizing the Middle East and will greatly benefit our national security and interests both abroad and at home in the United States.