This time, we stand here after a year of the so-called moderate Rouhani’s presidency to share with you the news that Rouhani is not a moderate at all. While he has presented a friendly face to the world, and while the governments of the world have been content to accept Rouhani’s “moderate” Islamist façade, it is a fact that at least 802 people have been executed in Iran since Rouhani came to power. The regime in Iran leads the world in executions along with China; Iraq, where at least 169 people were executed in 2013; Saudi Arabia, where at least 79 people were executed; and the United States of America, where 39 people were executed in 2013. Iran has for many years executed more people per capita than any other government in the world, and that criminal distinction has only solidified under Rouhani.
Those executed during Rouhani’s first year in office include the beloved Shirko Moarefi, who spent the last 5 years of his life as a political prisoner under torture; Habib Golparipour, who was executed after spending 6 years as a political prisoner in the regime’s dungeons, accused of having read a book that the regime did not like; and Gholamreza Khosravi, yet another political prisoner, executed just a few short weeks ago because he made a contribution to an opposition party’s television station.
Although this regime not only continues but intensifies its political repression of Iranian people, people in Iran have refused to stay silent:
– Where the regime seeks to spread terror in the society by executing people in public squares, Iranian families have repeatedly “forgiven” the accused, and stopped the atrocity of execution. Images of a mother’s forgiveness of the man who killed her son have made global headlines for their humanity.
– Where the regime seeks to execute a young woman, Reyhaneh Jabbari, because she defended herself from a rapist’s attack, hundreds of Iranian artists came out and protested against the implementation of her execution sentence, and more than 1.5 million people signed a petition to stop her execution. Although Reyhaneh remains in prison, the regime was not able to execute her as planned as a direct result of peoples’ protests.
– And where the regime continues to crack down on women who chafe under the requirement to conform to Islamic dress code, effectively making Iran a prison for women, Iranian women by the thousands have participated in an online photo campaign: shedding their hijab, liberating themselves from this symbol of women’s repression, and documenting their acts of freedom for the whole world to see.
People inside Iran have not been silent in the face of intensified repression in Iran, and neither should we.
Therefore, we stand here along with activists in cities around the world. We stand here like last year and the year before, and repeat our demand of 35 years: we demand freedom for political prisoners. Both the freedom loving people of Iran and the Islamic regime know that FREEDOM, any degree of freedom, and of course freedom of political prisoners, is directly and negatively correlated with the survival of this regime, which has no means other than arrests and imprisonment, torture and executions, to stay in power. Our role as activists outside of Iran is to support the struggle inside the prisons, and in the society as a whole. Every day for us is a 20th of June, and we will stand here every 20th of June until the walls of Evin are torn down and there are no political prisoners anymore.
We demand the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners.
We demand the overthrow of the Islamic regime of Iran by a working people’s revolution.
Zendani-ye siasi azad bayad gardad!
Jomhuri-ye eslami nabood bayad gardad!
Mission Free Iran
22 June 2014