Editor’s note: The following article was written by Wahied Wahdat-Hagh and is reposted here due to its importance for our readers’ information. A german translation can be found at http://europeandemocracy.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13322&catid=4&Itemid=22
On 14 January Iranian secret service agents arbitrarily detained at least six members of the Baha’i religion in Tehran, including a former female colleague of Shirin Ebadi. At the same time terror propaganda against pro-Western Arab regimes continues.
On the morning of 14 January, Iranian secret service agents conducted raids in at least 11 homes of members of the Baha’i religion in Tehran. Computers, mobile phones, private notes, books and photos were confiscated. At least six Baha’is were arbitrarily detained, five of whom were taken to the notorious Evin prison. They are Mrs Jinous Sobhani, Mr Shahrokh Taefi, Mr Didar Raoufi, Mr Payam Aghsani and Mrs Aziz Samandari. Only Mr Golshan Sobhani was released after a few hours.
As recently as 21 December 2008, Jinous Sobhani had been the victim of aggression by Iranian officials when they raided and shut down the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights in Tehran run by Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. The Centre was also home to a mine clearance project, for which Jinous Sobhani worked. The projects were partly financed from the money that Shirin Ebadi received for winning the Nobel Prize. On 21 December 2008, Jinous Sobhani was forced to leave her place of work and go home. She was arbitrarily detained on 14 January.
Continued pressure against human rights campaigners
Shirin Ebadi has expressed her regret and said that she regarded the detention of her former colleague as a continuation of the pressure against the Centre for the Defence of Human Rights.
As the Campaign for Equality reported, Jinous Sobhani had previously published a number of legal texts in domestic newspapers. Diane Ala’i, representative of the International Baha’i Community at the United Nations, told Radio Farda concerning the detentions: “These people were detained because of their belief in the Baha’i religion.” Diane Ala’i also pointed to the “general human rights situation” in Iran, reported Baha’i World News Service.
On 14 January, nine Baha’i students studying at the university in the Iranian city of Kerman were forced to leave the university purely because they were Baha’i.
Iranian media’s conspiracy theories against the Baha’is
The Iranian media is keeping up its conspiracy theories against the Baha’is: for example, just as the BBC Persian-language television channel was launched, an article on the aims of this new British service appeared, from the news agency Tabnak, which belongs to the former Revolutionary Guards general Mohssen Rezai. This report obviously referred to Baha’i connections with the BBC Persian-language radio service, which has been broadcasting daily since 1941.
It is not enough for the totalitarian dictatorship of the Islamic “Republic” of Iran to repress the weakest members of society, including the women’s and human rights movements and the students’ and workers’ movements – anyone with a different philosophy of life is regarded as a threat to the dictatorship. Hojatuleslam Shirazi recently warned of a “velvet revolution”. Any non-Islamist way of thought can be regarded as a threat in Iran.
Internal Islamisation goes hand in hand with export of the revolution abroad. No lesser person than General Mohssen Rezai said in September 2008 that supporting the Palestinians would “strengthen Iran’s national security”.
Terror abroad: “Islamist ecumenism” or jihad against the West
Since 1982, Iran has been demonstrably active in training militant Islamist jihadists to set up theocracies around the Islamic world, based on the model of Iran. But what would happen if the Egyptian president was assassinated in a terrorist attack? Would not the Iranian state, as a result of its inflammatory state propaganda of the past few weeks, be responsible for mobilising radical and fanatical students as accomplices to a terrorist act?
At the beginning of the year the student Bassiji units, who apparently do not need study grants, announced that they would pay a bounty of one million dollars to anyone who kills Egypt’s President Mubarak. Iranian Islamists, who in the opinion of some authors in Germany are in the process of forming an “Islamist ecumenism” with Hamas and Hezbollah, call this a “revolutionary execution”.
On 12 January Fardanews, which is close to Ahmadinejad, reported that the “prize for Mubarak’s execution was being raised to 1.5 million dollars”. Egypt’s President Mubarak was described as the “Egyptian pharaoh”. In Iran, oil is no longer officially sold in dollars, but it is still perfectly acceptable to issue a bounty in dollar, particularly for “hostile” presidents.
300 people have come forward as voluntary assassins
Sadeq Shabazi, chairman of the “Student Movement for Justice”, said: “Three decades ago the martyr Khalid Eslamboli shot dead Egypt’s traitorous president. This was the revolutionary execution of Anwar Sadat. Today the entire Egyptian people confirms that what Eslamboli did was a necessary step.” He went on to say that Mubarak cooperated with the “Zionist regime”. Shabazi gloated about the fact that more than 300 people had come forward as voluntary assassins in the Iranian city of Mashad alone. Years ago the state has named a street in Tehran after Anwar Sadat’s killer.
So is it really moderate, as is often claimed, if the Islamist leader Ali Khamenei prevents a mass of fanatics from flying to Gaza to die terrorists’ deaths there? Not really, since such a step could signify a direct entry into war, something that Ali Khamenei does not intend to risk. However, the militant Bassiji units have been trained for the fateful day for years. They are regarded as a reserve unit of the Iranian army. Iranian politicians have repeatedly warned that they would react with an asymmetric war if the situation became serious. There are authors in Germany who talk of a “consolidated” Iranian state that is acting almost rationally – unlike the Pakistani state.
No lesser person than the Iranian leader Ali Khamenei himself had called for the jihad against Israel – and this does not involve humanitarian aid for a region in crisis, by any means. It should not be forgotten that it is Iranian weapons that Hamas and Hezbollah are using, and the money for buying the weapons and rockets did not come from the gross national product generated in Gaza or southern Lebanon. For 28 years, Iran has been training terrorists who are supposedly defending Islam and, as such, are merely conducting a proxy war for the Khomeini dictatorship.
Iran’s rulers have still not issued free plane tickets for terrorists marching voluntarily into death, and they are still preventing them from going on their mass organised journey abroad. They continue to content themselves with training and supporting jihadists who provide them with “resistance”. The question remains how long the international community will continue to look on seriously as both Iran and Syria supply weapons to Islamist terrorist organisations. After all, the rockets and military equipment used by Hamas and Hezbollah were not paid for by wealth generated in Gaza and southern Lebanon. Instead they are murderous gifts, bloodstained dollars that serve present-day Iran’s national security, as General Rezai stressed last September.
If US President Obama does speak with Iran’s rulers, he should make it clear to them and the world that Iran needs a secular democracy, freedom of opinion and belief, political freedoms rather than Islamist fractions and the Khomeinistic totalitarian dictatorship of Velayat Faqih. This is because a totalitarian dictatorship with a religious stamp, as prevails in Iran, can not genuinely act responsible within its own system nor show reason internally and abroad.