The level of domestic oppression has reached a new high in Iran, as the regime increasingly resorts to brute force to suppress dissidents and those who criticize its actions.

One of the tactics that the regime is employing with growing frequency is silencing or eliminating high-profile figures who dare to oppose the theocratic establishment.

For example, the regime this week hanged dissident Iranian journalist Rouhollah Zam. He lived in exile in France and was reportedly kidnapped by operatives working for the Iranian regime shortly after he left the country on Oct. 11, 2019. Zam ran the online news site AmadNews and his channel on messaging app Telegram reportedly had more than 1 million followers

By executing such high-profile figures, Tehran is attempting to instill fear and send a warning to the population that opposition to the political establishment will be harshly dealt with.

The treatment of Zam, from the time he was kidnapped to the day he was executed, has much in common with other similar cases in which the regime has imprisoned or executed political and human rights activists. For example, he was forced to confess and his videotaped confession was released to the public. He was also convicted of the vague charge of “corruption on earth” during a trial that lacked fairness and due process.

A few months ago, the Iranian regime executed another high-profile captive, champion wrestler Navid Afkari. He was hanged in the southern city of Shiraz, according to Iranian state media. His was another execution clearly carried out in a hurried manner — he was even denied a final visit from his family.

Like many others who participated in protests against the regime, Afkari was brutally tortured. “For around 50 days I had to endure the most horrendous physical and psychological tortures,” he revealed in a letter. “They would beat me with sticks and batons, hitting my arms, legs, abdomen and back. They would place a plastic bag on my head and torture me until I suffocated to the very brink of death. They also poured alcohol into my nose.”

The regime in Tehran is also targeting social media stars such as 19-year-old Sahar Tabar, real name Fatemeh Khishvand, who has nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram. She was also charged with corruption on earth, specifically corrupting young people, and her forced confession was broadcast on Iranian state TV. The regime deactivated her Instagram account and refused to release her even after she became infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while in prison.

The regime is escalating its oppression because it is under significant pressure domestically, regionally and globally, and its leaders realize their hold on power is in jeopardy.

Domestically speaking, the Iranian people’s dissatisfaction with their rulers has reached an unprecedented level. The discontent directed toward the regime is fueled by both political and economic factors. Many Iranians are extremely frustrated with the lies and widespread corruption at the top and the ways in which the nation’s wealth is being squandered to satisfy the ruling clerics’ revolutionary and geopolitical ambitions.

In terms of the region, the popularity of the regime is likely now at its lowest ebb in the Middle East. People in Lebanon and Iraq have been expressing opposition to Iran’s influence, interference and support for militia groups in their countries.

Tehran is economically bankrupt too. The ruling clerics are facing one of the worst budget deficits in their four-decade reign. The Islamic Republic is running a $200 million-a-week deficit and it is estimated that, if the pressure on Tehran continues, the total deficit will reach about $10 billion by March 2021. This will increase inflation and devalue the currency even further.

The plummeting currency is also making it extremely difficult for the Iranian people to make ends meet. Even the state-run Mardomsalari daily newspaper warned: “We have an extremely failed and fallen economy. The main reason is the currency shock and the plundering of the economy by semi-private companies and banks. Sanctions have become an excuse for some people to plunder the country. We suffer from both foreign and domestic sanctions and those who profit from this situation.”

Despite the Iranian regime’s heightened repression, unfortunately the UN and the EU are yet to hold the country’s leaders accountable. Instead, the EU seems eager to continue the 2015 nuclear deal and see US sanctions on Tehran lifted when Joe Biden enters the White House.

As Amnesty International pointed out this week: “The world must not stand by in silence as the Iranian authorities take their already horrific attacks on the right to life and freedom of expression to unprecedented levels. We call on the international community, including member states of the UN Human Rights Council and the EU, to take immediate action to pressure the Iranian authorities to halt their escalating use of the death penalty as a weapon of political repression.”

In a nutshell, as pressure continues to mount on the Iranian regime, so its leaders are increasing their acts of violence, suppression and oppression against their own citizens.

Source » arabnews