The world has been focusing on the flawed Iran nuclear deal and Tehran’s long slate of belligerence, including advancing its so-called defensive ballistic missile program and support for a conglomerate of terrorist/extremist groups.
The subject that deserves parallel importance and attention is Iran’s domestic human rights violations and more recently, an increasing number of rape accounts mushrooming in different parts of the country targeting a variety of victims.
This alarming matter becomes all the more serious when we realize individuals associated directly to “influential parties” of the Iranian regime are involved, and their crimes are only the tip of the iceberg of a societal catastrophe in the making.
News of gangrape of girls in Iranshahr, southeast Iran, and attempts made by local judiciary officials to sweep the entire dossier under the rug, are raising extreme anger among Iran’s minority Baluchi community, and across the country.
A group of locals rallied outside their governor’s office on June 17, demanding the arrest and punishment of those who gang raped 41 women and girls in this city. Reports indicate the perpetrators of this repulsive crime enjoyed support from state-associated security forces.
Revelations of this case and judiciary officials attempting to minimize, and even deny the case altogether, raised enormous anger in different social media platforms. Many users were seen using the Farsi hashtag (#دختران_ايرانشهر) (Iranshahr girls) seeking support for the victims.
The issue reached the desk of the regime’s so-called attorney general, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, who turned the table on June 18 and in remarks to the semi-official Tasnim news agency said: “The individual who has forged this report and published it must prove this claim. Based on the report issued by local and provincial judiciary officials of Sistan & Baluchistan that I have reviewed, the subject as raised is completely rejected.”
داستان جدید دادستان زاهدان برای تجاوزهای گروهی ایرانشهر: باید معلوم شود تجاوز با رضایت بود یا اکراه— VOA Farsi (@VOAIran) June 24, 2018
.اظهارات این مقام قضایی با واکنش های منفی در فضای مجازی روبرو شده است. برخی می گویند تجاوز با اکراه و رضایت ندارد و در هر صورت عملی مجرمانه است.
In a recent interview, Mohammad Naeem Amini, a member of Iran’s parliament representing Iranshahr, warned of this horrific case and popular protests evolving into an uncontrollable turn of events.
“People are concerned of social insecurity and the publication of such news reports results in psychological shocks throughout the social fabric,” he told the semi-official ILNA news agency.
Expressing their abhorrence, people are saying in a country where Saeed Toosi, described as the favorite Quran reciter of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is acquitted for raping his students, such incidents seen in Iranshahr should not raise eyebrows.
Images and information regarding the rapists have even been provided by locals to Iranshahr police, according to the city residents. Another unsurprising (unfortunately) reality in this case is how no action is being taken by authorities to have the rapists arrested.
The victims have even been quoted saying they were abducted by individuals wearing military and security uniforms. The Iranian regime’s official news agency has also reported citing “unofficial sources” saying one individual arrested in this regard enjoys support from wealthy people and those in power.
Other disturbing realities of the local conservative/traditional culture is how victims of rape usually never seek medical treatment to prevent humiliation for themselves and their families.
Relatives of high officials
On May 29, another case of rape caused major stir in Tehran, the country’s capital, where a school official admitted to raping 36 school boys.
Some reports say the culprit was the grandson of Haeri Shirazi, the Friday prayer imam of Shiraz, known to be among Khamenei’s inner circle. These officials are considered Khamenei’s personal representatives in each city and province.
The victims’ families are raising charges as the individual stands accused of using alcoholic beverages and porn videos to molest and rape the school boys. Despite confessing to his crime when arrested, he then completely denied all the charges. This goes to show how authorities intervene to end a conspiracy to save face for senior regime officials.
In November, another case involved the raping of a 12-year old schoolgirl in Urmia, northwest Iran. Angry locals responded by attacking a Revolutionary Guards paramilitary Basij base and setting a number of schools on fire, leaving the city in turmoil for a few days.
Understanding these issues bear the potential of rendering major social unrests and even uproars, Khamenei himself intervened in the latest Tehran case, demanding speedy punishment for the individual involved.
This proves how Iran’s social circumstances have altered dramatically, having senior Iranian regime officials comprehend how the society has become a powder keg and will no longer tolerate such atrocities.
Following the Dec/Jan uprising that swept through over 140 cities across the country, the major uproar witnessed in Kazerun and the nationwide strike of tens of thousands of truckers, the Iranian regime knows quite well the people’s hatred is growing dangerously, reaching the point of no return.
As far as the international community is concerned, there must be severe punishments weighed upon the Iranian regime for its gross domestic human rights record, parallel to the measures against its nuclear program and foreign adventurism. Such a policy will bring Iran’s rulers to their knees.
Disclaimer - This author is writing under a pseudonym to protect his identity.