Iran is a country finding itself at the center of controversy on many fronts. The former seat of power of the Ayatollah Khomeini, at one time the face of Islam for the West, has seen some hard line leaders through the years. At the heart of Iran’s recent controversy is the Geneva nuclear agreement signed last month. It is still up in the air whether or not the deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear goals by easing sanctions will lead to a solid agreement in six months. The goal is to trade the country’s enrichment program for increased economic security and a total lifting of sanctions.
But what is really going on with Iran? Senator John McCain has maintained that Iran has lied for 20 years about its nuclear programs. The US, along with most of the UN nations, seem deathly afraid of Iran having the ability to enrich plutonium. China supports Iran’s quest for this, which of course has just about every other nation on edge. The controversy over the Arak facility spinning up its centrifuge, and the rumor that other facilities exist and are doing the same thing, has the US bothered.
Even President Obama gives the possibility of a lasting deal over Iran’s nuclear capability no better than a 50-50 chance, highlighting is little faith in Iran only producing nuclear power for peaceful while not creating a weapon. At the core of this nuclear tug-of-war that no one is actually vocalizing, is the frightening vision of a nuclear weapon in the hands of a theocratic government that has been known to openly call for the utter destruction of its enemies.
And there seems to be a coming clash of wills between the US and Iran concerning any lasting deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has flat out stated in an interview with Time Magazine, “The entire deal is dead.” This was in reference to US senators seeking further sanctions and the possibility of them going into effect after the six month interim. There has been some controversy over halting additional sanctions against Iran, and it looks as if further negotiations with the country will be conducted with a political gun held to the head of US negotiators.
Again, what is really going on with Iran? It’s current president, Hassan Rouhani, is considered to be a political moderate, yet at present, at least 300 people have been executed since he gained office. At the apex of the executions, the body count has reached some 529 people just this year. An estimate by other human rights groups puts the count at more than 600.
So, exactly who are all of these people that are being publicly executed, mostly by hanging? Many are considered “Moharebeh” a term used to denote those “at war with God”. Basically a political charge under the guise of a religious offense. Heresy, being at war with the State and seeking to undermine Islam are but a few other definitions attached to the term. Other offenders executed include drug traffickers and users. This is a sinister undercurrent to what’s being played out concerning Iran’s nuclear aspirations. It should be noted that at present, only China executes more people than Iran.
In addition, Afghanistan is snuggling up to Iran to forge a “pact of security and friendship” as the deadline approaches for the US to decide whether they will continue to support the Afghans with troops or not. Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, met with Rouhani to discuss details for stability and economic stability between the two nations. With the friction between the US and Afghanistan mounting, this action irked the US just a bit.
The controversy already surrounding Iran has been heightened recently with news of the country’s executions. In a country now known for extensive human rights violations like these, the question must be asked, does anyone truly want nuclear arms in the hands of a government that kills its own people over their religious faith?
By Lee Birdine