TEL AVIV – The U.S. Ambassador to Germany has drawn a parallel between the brutal violence perpetrated by the Islamic State terror group and that of Iran.
Richard Grenell, arguably the most high-profile American envoy in Europe, wrote in Germany’s largest paper, BILD, that Iran’s ongoing policy of executing its citizens for the “crime” of being gay is similar to the atrocities committed by IS.
The recent hanging of a 31-year-old man for being gay in Iran, Grenell said, should serve as “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights. Politicians, the UN, democratic governments, diplomats, and good people everywhere should speak up – and loudly,” according to remarks translated by The Jerusalem Post.
“Iran’s horrific actions are on par with the brutality and savagery regularly demonstrated by IS,” he added.
The Islamic State has been known to publicly execute gay men, including throwing them from buildings. LGBT rights organization OutRight Action International documented 90 executions of gay people by the Islamic State between 2014 and 2016.
The Jerusalem Post pointed to a 2008 British Wikileaks dispatch which found that Iran had executed “between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians” since the 1979 revolution.
In his article in BILD, Grenell noted:
This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won’t be the last time they do it either. Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death. In Iran, where children as young as nine can be sentenced to death, gay teenagers are publicly hanged in order to terrify and intimidate others from coming out.
Being gay is a death sentence in eight countries and criminalized in 70 more. LGBT status or conduct means arrest, imprisonment, and violence for people who are simply dating or falling in love. Governments that are members of the United Nations have an obligation to protect, respect, and uphold the dignity and fundamental freedoms of their people.
While a student at Evangel University, a Christian liberal arts college in Missouri, I was taught by biblical scholars that “all truth is God’s truth, no matter where it is found.” The truth for LGBT people is that we were born gay. Enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the idea that all of us are born free and equal in dignity and rights. People can disagree philosophically about homosexuality, but no person should ever be subject to criminal penalties because they are gay.
He concluded his article by noting that India, Trinidad and Tobago, Angola, and Belize have all recently decriminalized consensual same-sex relations.
He noted that advocates for a change in the laws of those countries should speak out “when young gay men are publicly hanged in Iran or shot in Chechnya.”
“Government officials must work harder to demand that UN members decriminalize homosexuality,” Grenell wrote.