House Foreign Affairs Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) warned the administration, which is heading toward at Nov. 24 nuclear deadline with Iran, is proving its nefarious intentions simply in the way it treats its own citizens.
On Saturday at dawn, Iran hanged Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, who stabbed a former intelligence officer as he attempted to sexually assault her.
The State Department issued a statement condemning the execution. “There were serious concerns with the fairness of the trial and the circumstances surrounding this case, including reports of confessions made under severe duress,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Iranian authorities proceeded with this execution despite pleas from Iranian human rights activists and an international outcry over this case.”
“We join our voice with those who call on Iran to respect the fair trial guarantees afforded to its people under Iran’s own laws and its international obligations.”
The United Nations issued a sobering report this week noting a “widening of the range of offenses” punishable by execution under the supposedly moderate regime, including political dissent and economic crimes.
“The main concerns in my report deal with issues of right to life,” Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, told reporters Monday. He said there has been a “surge” in executions in the country in the past 12 to 15 months.
Women’s rights are also deteriorating. University enrollment has dropped from 62 percent to 48 percent in the past two years, and girls as young as 9 are being forced into marriage.
Royce said the report is “troubling” yet “does not come as a surprise.”
“Under ‘reformist’ President Rouhani, the Iranian regime continues to commit grave human rights abuses against the Iranian people. All too often, women bear the brunt of this brutality,” he said.
“The regime’s response to the recent acid attacks on Iranian women is appalling but not surprising,” Royce continued. “When a number of young women such as 27-year old Neda were blinded by acid thrown from men on motorcycles, the regime responded to popular protests by detaining a prominent female human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and passing a law that could incite, rather than discourage, similar heinous attacks.”
Neda Agha-Soltan was murdered by Basij militia during the 2009 Green Revolution protests.
“I fear that Iran’s Basij militia will see this new law as an even more liberal license to attack Iranian women for how they are dressed. Hopefully Iranian society will step up to these acts of cowardice,” the chairman said.
“The Obama Administration should keep these abuses in mind when negotiating with the Iranian regime —it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that the regime would be a peaceful nuclear power when it behaves so violently towards its own citizens. Common sense says we must be intensely skeptical of Iran’s intentions.”