Grand Gathering of Iranians in Paris Displays ‘Free Iran’ as Alternative to Repressive Regime

Free Iran’ as Alternative

Free Iran’ as Alternative

by Staff writer, SF

Despite repeated calls from human rights groups and governments to call it off, 51-year-old Sufi, Mohammad Reza Salas was executed, bringing international condemnation onto the Iranian regime.

Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo tweeted, “We condemn the #Iran regime’s execution of Mohammad Salas, a member of the long-persecuted Iranian Gonabadi Sufi Dervish community. We call on our partners & allies to join us in condemning his brutal & unjust execution. Iranian people deserve respect for human rights & freedoms.”

Spokesperson for the US State Department, Heather Nauert said. “The application of the death penalty, without affording Mr. Salas the fair trial and appeal guarantees to which he was entitled, is a clear violation of Iran’s international human rights obligations.” She added, “The Iranian people deserve rule of law, transparent and accountable governance, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, not the callous impunity that continues to define the regime.”

Salas was accused of running over three members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Croup (IRGC) with a bus during the February protests by Dervishes in Tehran. According to the witnesses that Salas’ lawyer cited, he was already in custody for three hours when the bus ran over the three IRGC members.

Amnesty International (AI) issued a statement condemning the execution of Salas in “strongest term” and called it “vengeance and not justice”. he rights group stated, “The Iranian authorities have a deplorable track record when it comes to the use of the death penalty. This execution is a travesty of justice that is abhorrent and unconscionable. It flies in the face of the huge public outcry in the country and is vengeance, not justice.”

Ramin Hossein Panahi is a Kurdish activist who is also in imminent danger of execution in Iran. A riot broke out on June 15th at the Central Prison in the northwestern city of Sanandaj following an attempt by security forces to transfer Ramin Hossein Panahi to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution. Some 20 prisoners, including Ramin Hossein Panahi, were wounded and the facility is under lockdown.

As with Salas, AI and other rights groups have campaigned to save him.“Mr Hossein-Panahi’s case had been a “breathtaking miscarriage of justice from start to finish,” said AI’s Middle East advocacy director, Philip Luther.

The Iranian regime has executed 96 prisoners since January.

“Iran is running 80 percent inflation” claimed Hossein Naghavi-Hosseini, spokesman for Majlis (Parliament) Commission on Security and Foreign policy on June 17th. He added, “While the government is busy toying with idea of permitting women into the sports stadiums, the people’s back broke under economic hardship in this country.”

Vahid Shaghaghi, an economist and lecturer at Kharazmi University speaks of an “economic stroke”, saying that the ratio of liquidity to GDP is between 60-70 percent on a global scale whereas in Iran, it is a shocking 110 percent, which places it at a “warning border”. He believes that a “weak banking system” is the cause of a “destructive wandering of liquidity”, meaning “the lack of production”.

Isa Kalantar, the head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization (IEPO) says, “Today, 70 percent of Iran’s population is facing severe water shortage; to the extent that the current water resources have less than 500 m3 in them. According to the global standard, anything less than 1000 m3 is indicative of crisis.” Kalantar adds, “So far, 10 major cities of Iran are facing serious air pollution. Aggregates of wastes have also buried three provinces and subsequently, it is impossible to live in the northern regions too. With the 10-meter land subsidence in Hamedan, we have extracted as much water as possible from the underground.”

The ongoing protest that have continued since the turn of the year uprising that rage through the country make it clear that the Iranian people want change.

In support for the protesters in Iran, the main Iranian opposition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), dedicated this year’s annual Grand Gathering in Paris to the cause: “#Free Iran; the Alternative”

Maryam Rajavi, President of the NCRI addressed the attendees of the event, saying that the regime is “besieged by the poor and unemployed youths who additionally want regime change.”

On June 30, Iranians from all over came to Paris to show their support for protesters and strikers in Iran. According to media reports, the event attracts over 100,000 members of the Iranian diaspora each year.

The rallies are an issue for Tehran. This year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani blamed the French government for “having double standards” when it comes to the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).