Tuesday, February 11, 2014

They Hang Poets, Too

Now that the Obama administration is normalizing its relationship with Iran, Morteza Nikoubazl begs us not to lose sight of the nature of the Iranian regime.

Two weeks ago Iran executed a poet—you heard that right, a poet—for saying the wrong thing:

As Iranian poet Hashem Shaabani was dangling from a noose two weeks ago, desperately grasping for his last breath of air, one wonders what he would have thought about Western leaders who call President Hassan Rouhani a moderate.  What exactly is moderate, Shaabani could have thought, about a regime which brands a poet an “enemy of God” and strangles him to death?

The crazy thing is that by the logic of the Iranian government, Shaabani had to be killed.  He criticized God and the punishment for blasphemy is clear: death.  Technically, Shaabani criticized the regime by speaking out against repression of ethnic Arabs in the Khuzestan province, but since the regime sees itself as the representative of God on Earth, his fate was sealed.  It’s not called a theocracy for nothing.   

The Obama administration likes to portray itself as a champion of human rights and social justice. Nikoubazl replies:

Can the West rely on a regime which so fears dissidents that it puts them to death?  Can nukes be entrusted to the murderers of Neda, the young Iranian woman whose bloody death was captured on YouTube at a 2009 protest?  

Shaabani, and the more than 300 Iranians executed since Rouhani took power, are powerful reminders that the Iranian government remains as fanatic as it is dangerous.  The scores of students, bloggers and peaceful activists languishing in Evin prison are living testaments to Iran’s ongoing brutality.

When the Iranian government no longer fears its own people, then we will no longer have any reason to fear it.

Sanctions on Iran are being reduced. The regime is being welcomed back into the international fold. Everyone but John Kerry and Barack Obama seem to know that Iran is fast becoming a nuclear power.

Caroline Glick surveys the Middle East and remarks on the initial fallout:

As the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens (a former Jerusalem Post editor in chief) noted this week, Turkey signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan that includes “a provision allowing Turkey to enrich uranium and extract polonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons.”

Saudi Arabia has long had a nuclear cooperation deal with Pakistan, whose nuclear weapons program the Saudis financed.

Jordan and Egypt have both raised the prospect of developing nuclear programs.

And in 2007, Israel bombed a Syrian nuclear installation built for it by North Korea and paid for by Iran.

In his article, Stephens cited a recent report by the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board stating that the world is entering into “a new nuclear age” that, as we see is characterized by everyone, including non-state actors, seeking to develop and proliferating nuclear capabilities.

Iran’s nuclear status has opened the floodgates to this era of nuclear chaos.

Besides seeking their own nuclear weapons other nations in the region have been showing Iran greater respect. And, of course, Israel’s military advantage is being eroded.

Glick explains:

And as Jonathan Schanzer pointed out in Foreign Policy this week, the Middle East is being flooded with advanced weapons that erode Israel’s qualitative military edge over its adversaries.

Hezbollah and Hamas have 60,000 missiles in their arsenals – three times the number they possessed at the end of the 2006 Second Lebanon War. And as Schanzer noted, these missiles are far more powerful and precise than the ones they fielded eight years ago. Hezbollah’s Yakhont missiles can strike naval vessels within 120 kilometers of Lebanon’s coast. Hamas has advanced anti-aircraft missiles that threaten the air force.
As for the air force, its fleet of F-15s and F-16s is already a decade old.

Syria, of course has retained more than 95 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal. And its forces are more battled hardened than ever before.

At least, Barack Obama is making Jeremiah Wright proud.


Anonymous said...

Obama reserves all moral absolutism and feigned outrage for his enemies at home.

Iran's Islamic republic is a monstrous regime. Murdering poets is nothing in comparison to the other daily episodes of barbarism.


Sam L. said...

"The Obama administration likes to portray itself as a champion of human rights and social justice."

One more lie from the administration.

Anonymous said...

Saudi Arabia is worse. Israel oppresses Palestinians. US starved 100,000s of Iraqi women and children in the 90s.