Media fanfare over the Geneva nuclear deal continues into its second week. The latest: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking optimistically to The Financial Times about his country’s economy, while also releasing what The Telegraph called “an MTV-style video” to mark his first 100 days in office. But there’s more to Iran than meets the media eye.
For example, a recent UN resolution- which as far as we could tell received zero media coverage – emphasized Iran’s high execution rate, and urged Tehran to eliminate “amputations, flogging, blinding and other forms of torture.” At the same time, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported that the number of executions in Iran had exceeded 200 since Rouhani entered office.
Also under the media radar, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center recently published a report detailing Iran’s human rights violations against members of the country’s beleaguered LGBT community, who were said to be subjected to “custodial rape, arrests at social functions, expulsion from educational institutions” and other forms of discrimination, mistreatment and ostracism.
Meanwhile, in Tehran itself, about two weeks ago a crowd managed to free a woman whom modesty police were attempting to arrest for wearing what it considered an inadequate head-covering.
Finally, prosecutor-general Gulamhuseyn Mohsen Azhei warned that Iranian expats who had left the country “in a legal or illegal manner” and now wished to return, would be “brought to justice.” Ominous.
According to Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi:
The interim nuclear deal and diplomatic engagement with Iran are a welcome opportunity for change. But the world should ensure that human rights are not sacrificed at the altar of political expedience.
In other words, normalizing Tehran’s international status and welcoming it back into the family of nations is tricky business. Food for media thought.