Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's high time for the international community to deal with Tehran's regime once and for all

Kash Kheirkhah

Islamic Republic officials announced this morning that Akbar Mohammdi, the jailed former student leader of Iran, died in prison after a nine-day hunger strike. Akbar Mohammadi was arrested after taking part in anti-government protests at Tehran University in July 1999 and then was released on medical leave last year to seek treatment for a spinal-cord injury suffered after his arrest. Two months ago, toward the end of the yearlong leave, Mohammadi "was arrested without any explanation and placed in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

The consensus now among Iranian political and human rights activists, specially those who have once been imprisoned in Iran under the current regime and are quite familiar with Tehran’s shenanigans, is that Just like Zahra Kazemi, Akbar Mohammadi was murdered in Evin Prison at the hands of his torturers, including the notorious Prosecutor of Tehran, Saeed Mortazavi.

Mohammadi’s close friend also tells “Radio Farda” that according to his inside sources in Evin Prison, Mortazavi chained Mohammadi to his bed, then force-fed him some medicine and finally told him” now that you don't break your hunger strike, stay here and die like a dog.” Mohammadi’s lawyer has also been arrested since he was planning to notify the UN on his client’s death.

Also a few days ago, Ahmad Batebi, the Iranian student whose picture appeared on the cover of Economist during student protests in 1999, was arrested again while on medical leave. Batebi was first imprisoned for his involvement in student demonstrations against government attacks on Tehran University students and convicted to death (his sentence was commuted to 15 years in jail) on charges of “counter-revolutionary activity” that were leveled against him only because his picture appeared on the cover of The Economist. Batebi’s family are now afraid for their loved one’s safety after what happened to Akbar Mohammadi today.

The above-mentioned reports are just a smidgen of what the Iranian people go through under the current inhumane theocratic despotism in Iran.

And it’s not just the Iranian people whose lives and dreams are being ruined and shattered by this regime. The regime that can carry out such blood-curdling brutalities against its own people is sure capable of doing far worse to other nations. Take a look at Iraq where Iran’s Badr army in Shiites areas has kept Iraq on the brink of a civil war. Take a look at Lebanon in which Iranian-backed Hezbollah brings death and destruction upon its own land to help Iran divert the international attention from its nuclear program. Take a look at the Palestinian Territories in which Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad militants, on the order of their masters, go so far as to blow themselves up, only to rob peace and stability of both their own people and the Israelis.

It's high time for President Bush and other world leaders to form a united front against this outlaw regime and hold it accountable for all the crimes it has committed against humanity not just in Iran, but in all corners of the Middle East.

I have said this time and again here but I'll say it a thousand more times if necessary. There can not be a new Middle East until the current regime is in power in Iran. There can't be any enduring peace between Israel and its neighbors, as long as long as Mullahs continue to fly in the face of the world community with impunity.

Do not leave mullahs to their own devices yet at the same time, do not overestimate their power. Look how they reacted to just the “talk” of possible sanctions against them. They are vulnerable. They indeed are, only if the US and its allies respond to the cries of suffering of a nation held hostage by a rogue regime, as evil as the Hitlerite Germany and stand up to mullahs as one, making it clear to them they are no longer welcome in the international community by putting them under strict political and diplomatic sanctions.

That’s the only practical option that’s still left for the international community to help Iranian people win their own freedom and save the Middle East from a disaster waiting to happen, otherwise there’ll be a new Middle East, but one defined by a “nuclear” rogue state, rather than the free, democratic world.