Christians and other religious minorities (including Baha’is, Jews, Sunni Muslims, Dervishes, Wahhabis and Ahl-e-haghs) are widely persecuted in Iran, often limited in their access to public services such as education and in many cases they are arbitrarily jailed or executed, especially if they have converted from Islam to their new faith.
Numerous arrests have been made in the past months, and many Christians like Farshid Fathi in Tehran and Noorollah Qabitizade in Dezful have been incarcerated for long periods of time. According to a report by the Elam Ministries, in the second half of 2010, at least 202 Christians have been arbitrarily arrested and imprisoned under different clauses for various periods of time. Some of them continue to remain in custody, accused of crimes like insulting the Islam and “threatening country security”. The Christians arrested for their faith, are kept in sub-human conditions and according the UN Human Rights Director, Steve Crawshaw: “We are repeatedly receiving credible reports of harsh beatings, sleep deprivation and alleged torture to extract false confessions in Iranian jails.”
The condition of women in Iran has been a topic for many discussions, alongside the issue of multiple undocumented and unjustified executions carried out by the Iranian regime.
According to Amnesty International, women in Iran face widespread discrimination under current rule and no law is known to have been passed in the last year to address areas of discrimination. Among others, women are discriminated against in universities, with laws that require, for example, that unmarried women only attend the school closest to their home.
In addition to the built-in discrimination, fueled by the often sexist teachings of religious leaders like the Supreme Leader’s representative, Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Alamolhoda, all and any attempt of resistance is met with harsh repressive measures.
These measures include random arrests for unknown periods of time, rape, torture and public lashings.
These repressive measures are also used against other women, particularly those from ethnic or religious minorities, targeted either because their ethnic origin or faith, or if they stand up for the rights of their communities to be treated equally and in line with Iran’s international human rights obligations.
Iran’s race for nuclear weapons is a threat to the world, to Democracy and to the Iranian people, as stated time and again by many world leaders.
As Iran expands uranium enrichment, it is moving closer to being able to make a nuclear weapon by the day, even as it asserts that it is not interested in such arms and its programs are geared only to making reactor fuel. Though the threat is grave, very little is done in actuality, even though reports of nuclear weapon tests have already appeared in global media. The sanctions currently applied on Iran by the UN and the United States may slow down Iran’s nuclear program, but additional international pressure is needed to discontinue it before it is too late.
There is a strong link between Iran’s persecution of its citizens such as Youcef Nadarkhani or any other Iranian citizens or groups who do not toe the line of the oppressive Iranian regime: as Iran grows stronger, sanctions against the abuse of human rights in Iran have less influence.