Iran: Execution Rate Continues to Escalate After Nuclear Deal Signing

AP Photo
AP Photo
Washington, D.C.

More state-sanctioned per capita executions are taking place in Iran than anywhere else in the world.

The execution rate has continued to rise unabated after Iran and six world powers, including the United States, reached a nuclear deal in mid-July.

In fact, Amnesty International predicts that Iran is on pace to hit a 12-year record in executions this year, with more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths expected by the end of 2015.

“Just weeks after signing the ‘historic’ deal and more than eight months after signing an interim agreement, Iran is in the midst of what Amnesty International has referred to as an ‘unprecedented spike’ in executions,” explains Reuters. “Currently, Iran’s new ‘moderate’ administration is on pace to hit a new 12-year high in executions.”

“Iran’s staggering execution toll for the first half of this year paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale,” pointed out Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program.“If Iran’s authorities maintain this horrifying execution rate we are likely to see more than 1,000 state-sanctioned deaths by the year’s end.”

More than 1,800 executions have taken place since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in 2013, making Iran “first in the world in executions per capita and it executes the greatest number of juveniles,” recently said seven members of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s advisory committee, in a joint statement expressing concern about human rights violations in Iran.

The overall rate has worsened,” reported UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ahmad Shaeed earlier this year, referring to human rights in Iran.

“Since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, all talk of the opposition movement and human rights has been swept under the rug while human rights reports from inside the country confirm the true nature of this regime,” notes Reuters.

Amnesty International recently contradicted Iranian regime claims that only 246 executions had taken place in the first six months of 2015, noting that the number was actually closer to 700.

The majority of those who are executed are charged with crimes against the regime or drug-related offenses.

“Currently, based on monitoring work done by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, several thousand people are believed to be on death row in Iran,” reported Amnesty International. “The Iranian authorities have said that 80% of those awaiting execution are convicted of drug-related offenses. They have not, however, provided an exact number.”

“It is especially harrowing that there is no end in sight for this theatre of cruelty with Iran’s gallows awaiting thousands more death row prisoners,” added Boumedouha.

The nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S., and five other world players has received significant praise.

It has “been hailed as a victory for peace and a turning point for Iran,” notes Reuters. “Some have even claimed that the agreement will usher in a new era of moderation and the development of Iranian civil society.”

“The facts on the ground paint a very different picture, especially as they relate to human rights,” it adds.

The majority of those executed in Iran are individuals who are marginalized in the country’s Shiite-majority society.

“This includes undocumented migrants and refugees from neighboring Afghanistan, as well as ethnic and religious minorities who face disenfranchisement in Iran,” reports Reuters.

“Execution of ethnic and religious minorities has regrettably increased,” adds the UN. “A number of Christian pastors have been imprisoned for defending their beliefs. Violation of the rights of minorities, women’s rights, civil rights and anti-democratic foundations have been inscribed into the constitution and laws of the country.”

Among those executed are also Kurdish political prisoners and Sunni Muslims convicted of “enmity against God” and “corruption on earth.”