Archive for the ‘Iran – executions’ category

Did Clinton’s Email Negligence Lead to the Execution of an Iranian Defector? Front Page Magazine

August 8, 2016

Did Clinton’s Email Negligence Lead to the Execution of an Iranian Defector? Front Page Magazine,  Ari Lieberman, August 8, 2016


But then came the Clinton email dump which may have spelt doom for Amiri.Two emails in particular, which were made public and which were undoubtedly read by the Iranians shed light on the voluntary nature of Amiri’s defection and attempts by the U.S. to address his concerns and facilitate his return to Iran.


In 2009, Shahram Amiri, an Iranian nuclear scientist, traveled to Saudi Arabia, ostensibly to visit Muslim holy sites located in the Kingdom. Once there, he disappeared only to reappear later in some peculiar online rants, claiming to be residing in Virginia and alternatively, in Arizona, and expressing a desire to return to Iran.

Amiri, who conducted nuclear research at the military affiliated Malek Ashtar University of Technology and worked for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, was said to possess a treasure trove of classified information on Iran’s illicit nuclear program. On his YouTube channel, he alleged that he was kidnapped by CIA and Saudi intelligence and was offered large sums of money in exchange for information on Iran’s nuclear program.

For reasons known only to Amiri, and which will undoubtedly be the subject of much speculation, Amiri arrived at the Iranian interest section of the Pakistani embassy in Washington and two weeks later, returned to Iran. Approximately one year had elapsed from the time of his defection until his return to Iran.

Some have speculated that he feared for his family’s well-being and returned to spare them harassment by the Iranian authorities or perhaps he was genuinely homesick and thought the Iranians would buy his story of a CIA orchestrated kidnapping. Whatever the case, On August 3, 2016 Amiri was executed by the Mullahs in their favorite method of execution – hanging.

Amiri undoubtedly provided the administration with vital intelligence on Iran’s rogue nuclear program and that clearly did not sit well with Iranian officials. Upon his return, Amiri repeated the allegation of being kidnapped in Saudi Arabia in a joint CIA/Saudi operation. While the Iranians initially welcomed him, likely for public consumption, he was soon transformed into a treasonous enemy of the state and imprisoned and almost certainly tortured while undergoing grueling interrogation.

The Iranians could not be 100 percent certain of Amiri’s story. Iran is a nation built upon conspiracy theories and fantasy and in their view, the possibility of a CIA/Saudi operation to kidnap a nuclear scientist didn’t seem far-fetched and in fact, could have been plausible.

But then came the Clinton email dump which may have spelt doom for Amiri. Two emails in particular, which were made public and which were undoubtedly read by the Iranians shed light on the voluntary nature of Amiri’s defection and attempts by the U.S. to address his concerns and facilitate his return to Iran.

The first email, sent to Clinton on July 5, 2010, and processed through her home-brewed bathroom server, was authored by Richard Morningstar, acting special envoy of the U.S. secretary for Eurasian energy. This email implied that Amiri needed a cover story to return to Iran and that the U.S. should make an effort to address his concerns. He writes, “Per the subject we discussed, we have a diplomatic, ‘psychological’ issue, not a legal issue,” and notes further that “Our friend has to be given a way out. We should recognize his concerns and frame it in terms of a misunderstanding with no malevolent intent and that we will make sure there is no recurrence. Our person won’t be able to do anything anyway. If he has to leave, so be it.”

The second email was sent to Clinton by her senior foreign policy adviser, Jake Sullivan. In the email, which was sent on July 12, 2010, Sullivan writes, “The gentleman you have talked to Bill Burns about has apparently gone to his country’s interests [sic] section because he is unhappy with how much time it has taken to facilitate his departure. This could lead to problematic news stories in the next 24 hours. Will keep you posted.”

Sullivan was referencing Amiri’s earlier contact with Iran’s interest section in the Pakistani embassy. It also implies that the U.S. was attempting to facilitate his return to Iran. If this was in fact a kidnapping as alleged by Amiri, why then would the U.S. facilitate his return to an enemy country? And why would it need to address his concerns? Kidnappers do not normally carry out their victim’s wishes when their victims ask to be returned. That would defeat the entire purpose of kidnapping.

The Iranians are no fools. They probably suspected that Amiri voluntarily defected all along and the kidnapping element was nothing but a cover story. But the emails confirmed their suspicions and Amiri then paid for his decision with his life. If that was indeed the case, Hillary Clinton, through gross negligence and dereliction of duty, may have sealed Amiri’s gruesome fate.

Enforcing ‘God’s Commandments’: Heightened Mass Executions in Iran

June 17, 2016

Enforcing ‘God’s Commandments’: Heightened Mass Executions in Iran, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, June 17, 2016


While the Obama administration is continuing its appeasement policies and romance with the ruling mullahs of Iran, the scale of executions has reached an unprecedented level. The Iranian regime is resorting to more and more mass executions. How is the Islamic Republic of Iran different from the Islamic State or those who commit terrorist acts by mass murdering people? 

Most recently, the ruling clerics of Iran hanged 16 people in one day in several cities, including in Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr) and Ghezel-Hessar prisons in Karaj (western part of Tehran) and Adelabad Prison in Shiraz (southern part of Iran).

One of those executed was 16 years old at time of allegedly committing a crime. President Obama, Hillary Clinton or the several European governments, which are following in the footsteps of the Obama administration, have issued no robust condemnation or criticism. These egregious human rights violations and acts of mass executions committed by a state — in the name of Islam — have been totally ignored.

Prior to the above-mentioned mass executions, the Iranian regime hanged 13 prisoners on May 17 in three cities of Yazd, Urmia and Mashhad. Twelve individuals were executed collectively. A few weeks ago, the Iranian regime executed five Kurdish rights activists in the northwestern city of Urmia. The five Kurds — Naji Kiwan, Ali Kurdian, Haidar Ramini, Nadir Muhamadi and Ruhman Rashidi — were hanged publicly on charges of “conspiring against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Dara Natiq, a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Iran, said to ARA News, “The victims were human rights activists who used to document violations by Iranian security forces against civilians in the Kurdish city of Urmia.”Reportedly, the Iranian government executes approximately seven Kurdish civilians and activists every week.

The Iranian president has publicly endorsed the executions and described them as “God’s commandments” carried out under the “laws of the parliament that belong to the people.” What is more appalling is that the mainstream liberal media and the Obama administration depict the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and his team as diplomatic, rational, and “moderate.” What definition of “moderate” politician means someone who endorses mass executions of human rights activists, political activists, children, innocent women, etc.?

So far, under the “moderate” presidency of Rouhani, more than 2,400 people, including men, women, and children, have been executed. As Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, pointed out, in spite of the arguments being made that Rouhani is a moderate figure “the overall situation has worsened” when it comes to human rights issues in the Islamic Republic.

In comparison to the executions being carried out in neighboring countries, Iran carried out 82 percent of the all executions in the region. As the Amnesty International pointed out in its latest report, “Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before…. Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded in the region.”

In addition, the Iranian regime continues to be the sole country that executes children. Amnesty International added, “Iran is also one of the world’s last executioners of juvenile offenders, in flagrant breach of international law. The country put to death at least four people who were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they were convicted in 2015.”

The executions committed by the Iranian regime, which are being imposed by Sharia and Islamist law, can also be politically driven to preserve control over people and ensure the survival of the mullahs’ rule. There exists no doubt that the justifications for these executions do not meet any due process standard. People are often executed by a simple subjective order from a cleric who can make vague charges against the victims such as “enmity with Allah (God),” “ corruption on earth,” “war against Allah and the state,” and so on.

The international community has neglected Iran’s use of brute force to carry out these mass executions.

More fundamentally, the nuclear agreement and the Western appeasement policies towards Iran have increased Iran’s legitimacy. Consequently, this has emboldened and empowered the Iranian leaders and mullahs to more forcefully and effectively execute more people and to crack down on domestic opposition with brute force, without fearing international outcry, pressure, sanctions and condemnations.

The Moral Cost of Appeasing Iran

February 24, 2016

The Moral Cost of Appeasing Iran, Gatestone InstituteMohshin Habib, February 24, 2016

♦ The leaders of both France and Italy set aside their values to appease the president of Iran.

♦ In France, protesters demanded that President François Hollande challenge the Iranian president about his country’s human rights abuses. France’s leadership, however, raised no questions of that sort. Instead, Mr. Rouhani was welcomed as a superstar.

♦ According to a 659-page report by Human Rights Watch, Iran’s human rights violations under Mr. Rouhani’s governance have been increasing. Social media users, artists and journalists face harsh sentences on dubious security charges.

♦ In November, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to death for Facebook posts “insulting the Prophet” and “corruption on earth.”

Right after signing the Iran nuclear deal with itself — Iran still has not signed it, and even if it did, the deal would not be legally binding — members of the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) have been showing their eagerness to establish improved relations with their imaginary partner.

Last month, after the lifting of international sanctions, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, went on a five-day trip to Italy and France.

Officials from the host countries were so enthusiastic to welcome the Iranian president, it was as if they were unaware of Iran’s multiple violations of The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — which Iran did sign in 1968. They also seemed unaware of Iran’s expansion into Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as Iran’s continuing role in sponsoring global terrorism.

Although both the leaders of France and Italy seemed eager to appease the president of Iran, in Paris, thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets to protest Mr. Rouhani’s visit, and staged mock executions to highlight Iran’s dire human rights violations. In 2014, for instance, at least nine people were executed on the charge of moharebeh (“enmity against God”).

Even today, dozens of child offenders remain on death row in Iran. According to Iranian law, girls who reach the age of 9 and boys who reach the age of 15 can be sentenced to capital punishment. A recent report by Amnesty International called Iran one of the world’s leading offenders in executing juveniles. Despite the country’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child — which abolishes the use of the death penalty against offenders under the age of 18 — the UN estimates that 160 minors remain on death row.

The Iranian delegation, according to The New York Times, had asked Italian officials to hide all statues leading to the grand hall of the Capitoline Museums — where a news conference between Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the Iranian president took place — to avoid any “embarrassment” for Rouhani, who casts himself as a moderate and reform-seeker. So on the first stop of Mr. Rouhani’s European visit, statues were encased in tall white boxes. In addition, “The lectern, was placed to the side — not the front — of an equestrian statue of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, apparently to avoid having images of the horse’s genitals appear in news photographs.”

As any kind of image is haram (forbidden) in Islam, any form of statue is considered idolatry.

Many Italians expressed their outrage over the decision to censor the statues. They accused the government of betraying Italian history and culture for the sake of economic interests.

An Iranian women’s rights organization, My Stealthy Freedom, condemned the Italian government’s decision. In a post on their Facebook page, the group wrote:

“Italian female politicians, you are not statues, speak out. Rome covers nude statues out of respect for Iran’s president in Italy and Islamic Republic of Iran covers Italian female politicians in Iran. Dear Italy. Apparently, you respect the values of the Islamic Republic, but the problem is the Islamic Republic of Iran does not respect our values or our freedom of choice. They even force non-Muslim women to cover up in Iran…”

In France, protesters demanded that President François Hollande challenge the Iranian president about his country’s human rights abuses. France’s leadership, however, raised no questions of that sort. Instead, Mr. Rouhani was welcomed as a superstar.

Big business deals were signed. France’s car-maker Peugeot and Iran’s leading vehicle manufacturer, Khodro, are engaged in a €400 million partnership. France’s energy giant, Total, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to buy crude oil from Iran. Total will reportedly begin importing 160,000 barrels of oil per day starting on February 16. Twelve days after the West lifted economic sanctions, Airbus announced that Iran Air had agreed to purchase 118 new planes. The deal is estimated at $25 billion.

Prime Minister of France Manual Valls hailed his country’s trade agreements with Iran. “France is available for Iran,” he said.

During a recent visit to Tehran, Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank Walter Steinmeier, asked the Iranian president to keep Germany in mind as a future stop on his next trip to Europe.

Meanwhile, according to a US State Department report, Iran has pledged to continue its assistance to Shiite militias in Iraq. Many of these militias have poured into Syria and are now fighting alongside the Assad regime. Rouhani’s government also continues to support its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah, and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

For many years, the Iranian president has kept up close ties with leaders of Hezbollah, including Abbas Moussavi (the former leader of Hezbollah who was killed in 1992) and Hassan Nasrallah. In March 2014, Mr. Rouhani publicly pledged support for Hezbollah.

Rouhani’s Defense Minister is a former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officer, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan. He commanded IRGC forces in Lebanon is Syria during Hezbollah’s founding years from 1982-1984.

Last September, Dehghan said that Tehran will continue arming Hezbollah, Hamas and any group that is part of the “resistance” against the U.S. and Israel. Iran, he explained, considers America to be the Great Satan.

“Hizbullah,” Dehghan stated, “does not need us to supply them with rockets and arms. Israel and the U.S. need to know this. Today, Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah have the capability of producing their own resources and weapons themselves. Nevertheless, we shall not refrain from supporting them.”

As well as Dehghan, almost all of Rouhani’s appointments are either former members of the IRGC or other revolutionary institutions, such as Iran’s Judiciary and Intelligence Ministries.

Iran’s human rights violations under Rouhani’s governance have been increasing. A 659-page report published by Human Rights Watch concludes that Iranian authorities have repeatedly clamped down on free speech and dissent. “In a sharp increase from previous years, Iran also executed more than 830 prisoners.”

806Since Hassan Rouhani (right) became the president of Iran, the surge in executions has given Iran the world’s highest death penalty rate per capita.

Social media users, artists and journalists face harsh sentences on dubious “security” charges. In May 2014, four young men and three unveiled women were arrested after a video showing them dancing to the popular song “Happy” went viral on YouTube. They were sentenced to up to a year in prison and 91 lashes on several charges, including “illicit relations.”

In November, the Iranian Supreme Court upheld a criminal court ruling sentencing Soheil Arabi to death for Facebook posts “insulting the Prophet” and “corruption on earth.”

The Real War on Women in a Nightmarish Islamic State

January 16, 2016

The Real War on Women in a Nightmarish Islamic State, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, January 15, 2016

(The “Islamic state” in the article is the Islamic Republic of Iran, our wonderful partner for peace — DM)


When it comes to executions, girls are systematically more vulnerable due to the Islamist penal code of Sharia law.

Let’s take a look at the Islamist state of Iran, which creates its laws from the legal codes of Sharia and Quran. The first type of discrimination is related to age: girls are held criminally accountable at the maturity age of 9 Lunar years. (This will automatically put girls at a higher risk of execution by the court.)

Iranian ruling politicians hold the highest record when it comes to the most executions per capita in the world. Intriguingly, in the last two years that the so-called moderate, Hassan Rouhani, has been in office, there have been more than 2000 executions conducted in Iran. That is nearly 3-4 executions a day.

More importantly, Iranian leaders are also the largest executioner of women and female juveniles. Some of these executions were carried out on the mullahs’ charge of ‘Moharebeh’ (enmity with Allah), or waging war against Allah, ifsad-i Fil Arz (Sowing Corruption on Earth), or Sab-i Nabi (Insulting the Prophet).

There are three methods of execution for women and female juveniles: 1. Stoning  2. Public hanging 3. Shooting. Some women are also beaten so severely in the prison that they die before reaching the execution. Shooting, which is the fastest method of the three for execution, has not been used since 2008. Instead, the most common method to execute women is public hanging or stoning. Some of these women are flogged right before they are hanged. Public hanging not only imposes fears in the society but also aims at dehumanizing and controlling women as second-class citizens. According to the Islamist penal code of Iran, women offenses are classified as: Hadd, Diyyih, Ta`zir, and Qisas.

Some of these women are stoned for adultery. But even in stoning, the Islamists and Sharia law differentiate between men and women. Women are buried to the neck while men are buried to the waist. This allows some men to be capable of running away from the stoning, while women do not have a chance for survival, at all. If women are still alive after hours of stoning, a large block normally is smashed over their head.

Women from ethnic and religious minorities, as well as political dissidents, have also been targets of these executions. Based on the latest report, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N.’s special “rapporteur” on human rights in Iran, pointed out that executing individuals from religious and ethnic minority groups are carried out because those victims were “exercising their protected rights, including freedom of expression and association…..When the Iranian government refuses to even acknowledge the full extent of executions which have occurred, it shows a callous disregard for both human dignity and international human rights law.”

In the latest report, Amnesty International announced: “Execution of two juvenile offenders in just a few days makes a mockery of Iran’s juvenile justice system.” And the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Iran and warned about the rise of executions in Iran which “reflect a worrying trend in Iran….Over 700 executions are reported to have taken place so far this year, including at least 40 public, marking the highest total recorded in the past 12 years.”

In many of these cases related to women and female juveniles, it is clear that they were executed for either self-defense against forced marriage or a rapist, or for charges such as freedom of expression. They often are forced to marry at a very young age to an older person, or someone they do not like, such as in the case of the child bride, Farzaneh (Razieh) Moradi – who was forced to marry at the age of 15 and was executed in the city of Esfahan. These women were beaten and raped, repeatedly, by their spouses or relatives until they could not take it anymore and defended themselves. Some of these girls are being imprisoned and executed based on the fabricated charges of possessing opium. For example, in the case of the 16-year-old Sogand, the police found opium in her father’s house, but because there was no one at home except her, they arrested her. She is still in prison as none of her family members have come forward to save her life.

Some of these executions are based on the issue of “honor.” For example, some of these girls follow their hearts and fall in love with someone they choose themselves. But since their brothers and fathers disagree with this, the females get punished. For example, in the case of Mahsa, a seventeen-year-old, her brothers are the ones seeking her execution. In addition, if an Iranian Muslim woman has sex with a Christian or Jewish person, she will be executed (but a Muslim man is allowed to have sex with non-Muslim women).

Some of these girls are raped, repeatedly, in the process of investigation and forced into “Sighah”- the Shiite Islamist law of temporary marriage – with a cleric, or a member of Etela’at (intelligence), or Revolutionary Guard Corps before they are executed. Amnesty International previously pointed out that there are a “considerable” number of reports regarding this issue.

While the West is looking to lift sanctions against Iranian leaders in a few days and normalize ties with Iran, it is critical to look at the egregious human rights violations that this country is allowing. Is being silent and turning a blind eye to these human rights abuses appropriate? Doesn’t normalizing ties with the Iranian leaders and releasing billions of dollars to them, facilitate their efforts of executing more people, including women and child girls?


Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a former senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf Project at Columbia University. He can be reached at Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.

Executed Saudi Shiite Cleric al-Nimr Backed Terror Attacks on America

January 3, 2016

Executed Saudi Shiite Cleric al-Nimr Backed Terror Attacks on America, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, January 3, 2016


The Saudi justice system is cruel and barbaric. But occasionally they get one right.

The media is scuttling to turn Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a Shiite leader so great they named him twice, into a martyr after the Saudis put him down on terror charges. But Nimr al-Nimr was a terror leader. There are no shortage of quotes from him endorsing terrorism, backing Iran and calling for Iranian intervention in Saudi Arabia.

And yes, he hated America too.

 Sheikh al-Nimr also made various anti-American references, claiming that America “wants to humiliate the world.”  In the case of America striking Iran, al-Nimr stated that “Iran has the right to close the Straits of Hormuz, to destroy the Zionist enemy, and to strike at American bases and American interests anywhere.”

Nimr was an agent of Iran. We, these days, have no ability to execute traitors. The Saudis do.

Saudi Arabia is full of Sunnis who say most of the same thing. Nimr got it because he was a Shiite and backed Iran. We don’t actually have a dog in this fight, but we can say good riddance to another enemy. The media has tried to turn Nimr and his relative Ali Mohammed al-Nimr into martyrs. But let’s remember how their Iranian bosses treated protesters during the Green Revolution.

The Nimrs at least weren’t raped beforehand. That’s more than those murdered by their Shiite terror regime in Iran can say.

Taraneh Mussavi may or may not be that green-clad girl who was arrested at a demonstration near the Ghaba Mosque on June 27. The girl who was raped, suffered from a torn uterus and a torn anus, landed at a Karaj hospital, and was finally found dead in an unknown cemetery in northern Iran. Regardless, her name is the secret name for all the women who have been raped in prisons since the 1979 Revolution. What I want to say is that Taraneh Mussavi is not just one individual.

Mehdi Karroubi writes: “Some individuals have raped detained girls with such force as to cause tears and injuries to their sexual organs.” His claim may be entirely false, but that does not make any difference. The following are not exceptions: When Azar Al Kanaan (Nina Aghdam) speaks in front of the camera about how she was raped at Sanandaj prison. When Roya Toloui speaks of how she was raped by her interrogator. When Monireh Baradaran writes in her book Simple Truth, about Tahereh, a woman remembered by most prisoners from the 1980s, a beautiful woman who lost her sanity after being raped by a Pasdar [“Revolutionary Guard”]. When [Canadian Iranian Journalist] Zahra Kazemi’s dead body is covered with cement and her attorney, Shirin Ebadi asks the court, “Why the victim’s clothing was torn and bloodied in a particular location.” When the report from the coroner’s office states that Zahra Bani Yaghub was raped in the Basij headquarters’ detention center in Hamadan.

Published reports are available about these types of torture committed against women political prisoners after the 1979 Revolution. The most systematic type of reported rape has been the rape of virgin girls who were sentenced to death by execution because of political reasons. They were raped on the night before execution. These reports have been substantiated by frequent statements from the relatives of women political prisoners. On the day after the execution, authorities returned their daughter’s dead body to them along with a sum considered to be the alimony. Reports state that in order to lose their virginity, girls were forced to enter into a temporary marriage with men who were in charge of their prison. Otherwise it was feared that the executed prisoner would go to heaven because she was a virgin!

This was the sort of thing that the Nimrs and other Iranian agents want to spread. No one will weep for either the House of Saud or the Shiite Islamic Revolution or ISIS when they are gone.

The inhuman killing of stray dogs in Shiraz (Iran)

December 11, 2015

The inhuman killing of stray dogs in Shiraz (Iran)Reza Zadahmad via You Tube, April 14, 2015

(H/t Cry and Howl. As noted there, ” if you’re a Muslim, animals are no different than women. All are despised equally. If you can stomach it here is how those benevolent Muslims deal with stray dogs in Iran …”

According to the blurb beneath the video,

“The massacre of ‎Stray ‎Dogs in Shiraz (Iran) with injection of ‎Acid… So inhumane agonizing and painful death.”

I watched the video and one of our dogs, Ruff, heard the audio. He came in to watch and was very distressed. Our other dog, Sunshine, who is nearly blind, eventually came in and, although she could not see the video, was equally distressed. Do not call the Muslims who do this sort of thing “animals.” That is gratuitously insulting to animals. — DM)




Iran breaks the world executions record

November 17, 2015

Iran breaks the world executions record, Front Page MagazineDr. Majid Rafizadeh, November 17, 2015

Iranian executions

Is the Obama administration aware that it is trusting and dealing with a country that has just broken the world record in executions? Of course the President is aware of that, and it seems that he has decided to turn a blind eye to Iran’s increasing aggression and oppression inside and outside of its own country.

According to the recent and fifth report by the special United Nations investigator of human rights, human rights violations in Iran are rising even since the nuclear agreement was reached. Accordingly, execution rates have been increasing at “an exponential rate” in Iran. In 2014, 753 were executed and at least 694 people (including women and juveniles) were executed from January 2015 till mid-September. This is reported to be the highest rate of execution the Islamic Republic has had in 25 years.

If we take the ratio of the population into consideration, the Islamic Republic breaks the world record in number of executions per capita. As Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, pointed out, “The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to execute more individuals per capita than any other country in the world. Executions have been rising at an exponential rate since 2005 and peaked in 2014, at a shocking 753 executions[.]” According to the UN analyst, Iran is on track to execute more than 1000 people by the end of this year. Of course, these are only the official numbers being reported by the Iranian regime, the unreported number of executions by the government is likely much higher.

An execution may be ordered over many things, such as insulting the Supreme Leader, enmity toward Allah, and other non-violent offenses. According to the U.S. State Department’s  Human Rights report on Iran, “the law criminalizes dissent and applies the death penalty to offenses such as ….‘attempts against the security of the state,’ ‘outrage against high-ranking officials,’ ….(moharebeh), and ‘insults against the memory of Imam Khomeini and against the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic.’”

In addition, when it comes to journalists, social media activists, and women, political rights, discriminatory laws, as well as arbitrary detentions have been on the rise as well. According to the global gender gap index of the World Economic Forum, the Islamic Republic is ranked 137 out of 142, followed by Mali, Syria, Chad, Pakistan and Yemen.

In contrast to the report, a more liberal, softer and open image of the Islamic Republic has been repeatedly projected to the international community by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Western-educated foreign minister, and his technocratic team.

There was an assumption by liberals that several developments, including the improving ties between the West and Iran, the nuclear agreement, and the presidency of a moderate political figure would translate into improving civil liberties, social justice and removing restrictions on political critics in Iran. However, the real picture inside the country suggests a much different landscape. As Azita, an Iranian human rights activist and teacher from the ethnically Azeri-populated city of Tabriz said, “This is similar to, or even worse than, the period of Khatami where Basij, moral police, and IRGC increased suppression in order to tell the young people particularly that the laws will not changed.”

The State Department report clearly highlights the notion that the superficial illusion of a softer image projected by Iran belies the social, political, and economic reality inside the country.

This explains three phenomena. First, although President Rouhani promised that he will improve several critical issues such as civil liberties, social justice, freedom of expression, assembly, and press, and women’s rights, he decided to instead solely focus on the nuclear deal in order to get Iran out of the financial sanctions that restrained its growth.

Secondly, one can make the argument that President Rouhani has also decided not to cross the boundaries of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by cooperating with them and allowing them to have full control over domestic social and political policies, as well as foreign policy (Syria, Hezbollah, etc.).

Third, the hardliners are increasing their repressive tools and cracking-down on civil liberties in order to send a message to the Iranian young people and the West that the nuclear agreement does not mean Tehran is going to open up its political system and loosen Sharia law.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamanei, and his social base (the hardliners) are very concerned that Iranian youth might become a source of revolution. As a result they attempt to keep the country closed and they fear Western political and cultural influence on young people.

As Mr. Khamanei warned the senior cadre of the IRGC, “The main purpose of the enemies is for Iranians to give up on their revolutionary mentality…Enemy means global arrogance, the ultimate symbol of which is the United States….Economic and security breaches are definitely dangerous, and have dire consequences…But political and cultural intrusion by the enemy is a more serious danger that everyone should be vigilant about.”

Finally, the nuclear agreement seems to have overshadowed the human rights conditions inside Iran and the repressive Shiite Islamist laws. European countries and the Obama administration appear to have been turning a blind eye and have been becoming less critical of the Islamic Republic’s human rights record since the nuclear negotiation began and after the nuclear deal was signed.

It is time for the Obama administration to draw attention to the real face of the so-called moderate president of Iran who contradicts the truth by depicting himself and his country in a softer image to the world while simultaneously allowing executions and egregious, appalling and atrocious human rights abuses on his watch.