Leaving Islam



Britain seeks another tango with the Islamic Republic. Iranians say: "NEVER, NEVER"!


By: Potkin Azarmehr

The pro-Khatami English weekly, the Econmist desperately tries to justify why Iranians should vote in the coming February Islamic Elections. 

See: http://www.iranvajahan.net/cgi-bin/news.pl?l=en&y=2003&m=11&d=27&a=10 

In an article printed in its latest edition, it claims that "Tehran's political prisoners, 35 or so of them, are all being punished for propagating or supporting reformist ideas." 

First of all if there are only 35 political prisoners why are the Evin prison cells alone so overcrowded? Why does the Islamic regime need to incarcerate so many political prisoners in other prisons like Qasr, with common criminals? If this regime is so liberal and tolerant why does it continue to jail a young student to 15 years imprisonment for just holding aloft a bloody T-shirt of a colleague? The very same student whose photograph was on the cover of the Economist magazine, i.e. Ahmad Batebi. Why is a foreign journalist, Zahra Kazemi, murdered in prison and her body is quickly buried so that no post-mortem can be carried out. Presumably so that the Economist can say there is no “physical but psychological torture only” in the Islamic Republic. But of course the Economist cannot escape the death of Zahra Kazemi, it refers to it as "Ms Kazemi's death is an aberration"! And god knows if we would have ever heard of the likes of Zahra Kazemi had she not been a Canadian citizen. 

The article then goes on to grasp the straws in telling us that president Khatami has not been so ineffectual but that some change for the better has happened in his time. But the author reveals his lack of knowledge of Islamic Republic politics by first stating a reason for Khatami’s slow progress: “a conservative-dominated upper house has vetoed most enlightened legislation”. The conservative-dominated upper house referred to is in fact none other than the 12 member all unelected Guardian Council which selects candidates, vets them after they have won and then vetoes the parliamentary bills. For example the Guardian Council has vetoed a bill to raise the legal age for girls marrying from 9 to 12, or the bill to allow unmarried girls to travel abroad for their studies was vetoed by this “conservative dominated upper house”. 

So what has been the reform in the time of Khatami? The Economist can only manage to come up with one thing: “Gone are the days when state-employed fanatics murdered dissidents; under Mr Khatami, the intelligence ministry has been purged of bad types..”

This in fact is not entirely true. Take the case of student dissident Babak (Mojahed) Abdi from Kerman who was assassinated after his release in June. But even if this kind of thing is not happening on such a grand scale or at least the well known dissidents are not being bumped off, the reason for this is not president Khatami but the public outrage that poured the people on to the streets in the aftermath of the murder of Iranian dissident couple Parvaneh and Daryoosh Forouhar. 

In fact had the Economist had the guts to report on the fifth commemoration of the Forouhars last Sunday, they would have quoted from the speech made by the daughter of the Forouhars, Parastoo; in which she said how the so-called reformists promised her justice but left her and other families of the victims in the doldrums. How they (the reformists)- stood in the way of justice whenever they had the opportunity to do so.  

But of course the Economist does not write about Parastoo Forouhar, this Aung San Suu Kyi of Iran, the Economist is more interested to falsely justify why the Iranian people should participate in the Islamic elections, so that the likes of Robin Cook can say the Islamic Republic has legitimacy because the people of Iran vote in the elections. 

The people of Iran however have learned that the Islamic elections are a farce and just a shop window for the outside world to pretend they have legitimacy. They will ignore the upcoming elections in February as they did in the last council elections. 

In the very commemoration of Forouhars mentioned earlier, one of the speakers, Moinfar, listed all the futilities of elections in Islamic Republic and when he turned to the crowds and asked, “So with such a track record should we participate in the February elections?” the unanimous cry from the crowd, much to the Economist’s probable dismay, was “NEVER, NEVER!”     






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