Islamic Republic cannot be reformed. Regime change is the only option for Iran! جمهوری اسلامی اصلاح پذیر نیست

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Iranian Refugees - A Human Rights Disaster پناهندگان ایرانی -- فاجعه حقوق بشر

The New Media Journal

Arash Irandoost
July 14, 2010

This article was written in collaboration with Walton K Martin & Gill Gillespie, PhD
Light snow was falling when the two young men set out on horseback for the border to flee Iran. By the time they were deep in the mountains, it had become a blinding blizzard, the temperature had dropped below freezing, and they were barely alive…

According to UNHCR, Iranian refugees comprise 19% of the total registered refugee population in Turkey. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the passage of Penal Law in 2008 authorizing death penalty for apostasy and especially after June 2009 fraudulent election, Iranians have been seeking refuge in foreign countries in large numbers. UNHCR Global Trends Report paints a dire picture for the year 2010. The number of refugees and asylum seekers worldwide has risen to over 43 million. In Turkey, UNHCR lists a total 10,350 refugees and 5,987 asylum seekers for 2009. It is expected that the number of registered Iranian refugees will more than double between 2010 to 2011, from 2,230 to 5,550 respectively. It is estimated that there are as many unregistered Iranian refugees as well.
Iranian refugees have often escaped a violence and persecution. They have lost everything, their homes and families. They have no chance to work or send their children to school or live a meaningful life. They yearn to live in peace, yet only a small number of refugees obtain refugee status; others are living in desperate conditions waiting for the UNCHR to process their cases.
Documents have surfaced that clearly show Mr. Khamenei gave direct orders to deal harshly with demonstrators. They were shot at, arrested, tortured, raped and executed. Many have fled Iran in fear of arrest, imprisonment and execution since the regime has labeled them as traitors, working with foreign governments, to overthrow the regime.
After June 12, 2009 election, the regime launched a series of operations to identify and track down those who participated in demonstrations. Worried that stories of torture, rape and harassment might reach a wider audience, the regime has positioned thousands of plain-clothed intelligence officers throughout Turkey and neighboring countries to actively track, attack and intimidate Iranian refugees. Those who manage to avoid detection live in destitution, fearful and in miserable conditions.
Turkey has emerged as the main country for asylum seekers, since it does not require visas from Iranian citizens. Arriving in Turkey, Iranians file their asylum petitions directly with the Turkish authorities, or sign up through the UNHCR. Since Iranian asylum-seekers cannot earn refugee status in Turkey due to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees, they are resettled in other countries.
For a variety of reasons, it takes UNHCR between one to three years to process refugee applications but for some refugees the waiting period is much longer. While in Turkey where job opportunities are rare and financial resources are limited, refugees usually encounter public hostility. Many refugees who suffer from torture and gun shots wounds find it extremely difficult to gain access to medical treatment. The situation is more acute for children of refugees (they are not allowed to enroll in school), homosexuals (they are perceived to be moral degenerates), and apostates (they have committed a grave sin by leaving Islam). Additionally, Turkish laws require that all refugees to pay a $227 “stay” fee (ikamat) every six months, plus a $93 document processing and guidebook fee.
Many asylum seekers whose petitions are declined or those who are caught before they file a petition and cannot meet the legal requirements for staying in Turkey are sent back to Iran. It is estimated that between 1993 and 1998, more than 2,000 Iranian asylum seekers were sent back, many of them were arrested, tortured, sentenced or executed in Iran. Reliable statistics are not readily available for those who are arrested and sent back since June elections, but indications are that the numbers are significant.
Ms. Maryam Sabri who claims she was raped by Iranian authorities while in detention, was attacked in Kayseri, Turkey two days after she repeated rape allegations in an interview with the BBC. She believes the attack was carried out by Iranian authorities to intimidate her into silence. Some refugees believe the Iranian authorities have put them under surveillance in an effort to silence them about rape and torture allegations. Some say their families in Iran have also been targeted. Still, UNHCR and law enforcement authorities continue to claim that Iranians refugees are protected and safe.
Iranian refugees in other neighboring countries face similar desperate conditions in the absence of adequate protection and unexplained delays by the UNHCR in processing their cases. Officials at the UNHCR require applicants to “prove endangerment of life” as a condition for obtaining refugee status. But many refugees are not able to provide such documentation since they had to flee Iran often in a hurry to avoid arrest by regime Basij force and secret service. Often the regime has confiscated these documents, or they have been lost or stolen during the perilous journey from Iran to Turkey or elsewhere.
Iranians are considered some of most pro west population in the Middle East. Much to the Islamic Republic’s dismay, ordinary Iranians were the first to hold candle light vigils to mourn the loss of life in the United Sates after hijackers crashed airlines into the World Trade Center, while in contrast Palestinians celebrated and danced in the streets.
But for some unexplained reason, the world does not seem to condemn blatant human rights violations committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. When the UN elected Iran to the Commission on Women’s Rights, not a single word was heard from our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice. When pictures and videos of brutal crackdown, torture and killings of young demonstrators were all over the Internet, the news media remained largely silent. To this day, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has refused to strongly condemn the Iranian Regime’s blatant violation of just about every article in the UN Convention of Human Rights, despite being a member nation and signatory to it. Ironically, when nine knife-carrying supposedly Palestinian human rights activists were killed by Israeli police, it sparked an international outcry and condemnation. Such duplicity is inexcusable and unconscionable and sends the message that Palestinian lives are valued more than those of Iranians or Israelis.
Perhaps Iranians are resented for a group of extremists having taken over the US embassy in Iran and taking Americans hostage for 444 days in 1979. They might mistakenly believe that because the media fills TV screens with pictures of anti American demonstrators shouting death to America and burning the American flag, these are representative of Iranians. Yet, the fact remains that Iran is a country of 75 million people, and all hate rallies are orchestrated by the Iranian Regime who force government employees and paid Basijis to attend.
Meanwhile, in Turkey and other receiving countries, callous disregard of their basic human rights causes refugees to lose their dignity. People around the world should demand that refugees be treated with dignity and respect. World communities and their Governments can no longer afford to remain indifferent while this tragedy is unfolding. They must:
Expel the Iranian Regime from the UN
Regardless of UNHRC and Turkish authorities disputing the veracity and accuracy of refugees’ claims, worldwide organizations like the UN and international Governments have a moral imperative to demand accountability from the regime for their human rights abuses. The first step has to be to expel this rogue Iranian Regime and known state sponsor of terrorism from the UN.
Bring the Iranian Regime Criminals to Justice
IRI lobbyists are given free access to the world media to sugarcoat the Islamic Republic’s medieval practices of stoning and hanging men, women and children. This regime has been getting away with murder, rape and torture since they came into power in 1979. Afraid of criticizing the regime for its violations because of their lucrative contracts with it, world leaders have acted irresponsibly and have been unwilling to utilize international criminal laws to bring them to justice. They must now do this.
Involvement of Faith-based Organization is Crucial
Religious organizations and leaders must bear some of the responsibility for what has been happening in Iran. Taking advantage of the regime’s atrocities, they have been actively engaged in converting young and disillusioned Iranians to Christianity, fully aware of dangers that lie ahead for such apostates since the passage of the Penal Law in 2008, which began to authorize the death penalty for apostasy (conversion from Islam to Christianity). These converts have been harassed, kidnapped, raped and
stabbed to death by the Iranian Regime, yet Christian communities continue to remain silent and have failed to provide adequate guidance and protection for their converts. It is now time for them to speak out and provide support.
Israel Should Do More
Israel has the most to gain from an Iranian regime change. Iranians and Israelis have common historical and cultural ties reaching back 2,500 years. Unfortunately, Israel has lost a golden opportunity to offer aid to Iranian opposition and refugees wishing to seek asylum in Israel.  For the past 31 years, the Iranian Regime has brainwashed young Iranians against Israel.  Instead, positive relationships between Iranians and Israelis need to be cultivated during times of crisis. For cultural and humanitarian reasons, it would greatly benefit all parties involved if Iranian asylum seekers were allowed to settle in Israel.
World Communities and Their Government Need to Assist
As the UNHCR is incapable of properly handling the influx of Iranian refugees, more active participation and support from world communities and their governments is needed to alleviate this refugee crisis.
The Iranian Diaspora, Organizations & NGO’s Must Provide Support
There are close to five million successful Iranians living in various parts of the world and numerous Iranian human rights organizations are already in existence. They can each start to sponsor a refugee of their choice by offering employment, legal, technical, financial and medical support and advice. Iranian refugees are in desperate need of food, shelter and medical attention.
To conclude, refugees are people. People who did not want to become refugees but were forced from their home land, fleeing from arrest, rape, torture and death. These people deserve to go on with their lives, not be held in limbo in excess of one to three years while life passes them and their families by. The lengthy delay in assisting these refugees’ applications is causing severe depression in people already persecuted before they fled. The longer they stay in transition states like Turkey the more danger they continue to be in. Agents from the Iranian Regime continue to threaten them from what is an open border between Iran and Turkey. In effect, they have moved from one prison to another. The delays that refugees are subjected to also put a financial burden on the taxpayers in every nation through which the refugees move. With faster and more effective assistance, they could again become productive members of society, as well as saving millions to all countries involved.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A World Without the Islamic Republic...Imagine!

The New Media Journal 

Dr. Arash Irandoost
July 2, 2009

It is not a secret that Iran’s Mullahs are engaged in developing a nuclear program  to prolong their unwanted existence long enough to get their hands on the bomb so that they would feel invincible and continue their control over the armless Iranian people and ultimately export their version of Shi’a Islam and terrorism around the globe.
It is not a secret that the Islamic Republic has supplied their mercenaries in Iraq with armor-piercing projectiles for killing and maiming the coalition forces in Iraq. They have killed by proxy, using roadside-planted bombs, that has taken the lives of nearly 200 American soldiers.
Mullahs’ support for terrorism constitutes a high priority. It extends not only to the neighboring countries, but also as far away as Latin America. Hezbollah in Lebanon was nurtured with funds, weapons and training. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were assisted in numerous ways, and a professional army of Shiite Iraqis was trained and armed to be used in the present Iraqi theatre. Separately, Muqtada al-Sadr and his militia thugs—the Mahdi Army—is directly funded, armed and controlled by the present Islamic regime, a gift of former President Khatami to his successor—the rabid Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The Mullahs presently ruling Iran are faced with monumental threats:
Internally, the great majority of the populace is against their misrule. Labor unions, teachers associations, student groups, religious and ethnic minorities, journalists and many others have suffered and continue to suffer inordinate hardship under the heavy-handed Mullahs and their front men. The Iranian authorities have intensified their crackdown on communications by blocking access to many internet sites. Just last week, mullah Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic regime, officially declared war with the Iranian nation and his intention of forming a pure form of Muhammadan Islamic country.
Externally, they are engaged in brinksmanship with the United States and Israel and now a tug of war with the great Britton, while trying to wrestle the mantle of Islamic leadership from the Sunni Saudis and their Wahhabi cabal and President Obama persists on negotiating with these criminals rather than the legitimate owners of the country, the Iranian people. He will also fail miserably as did his four predecessors.
Awash and intoxicated with petro-dollars, mullahs have become a major power in the Middle East. Equipped with a holocaust denier, pathological liar, arrogant and an apocalyptic zealot such as Ahmadinejad, the Islamic Republic is determined to extend its version of “pure Muhammadan” Islam throughout the world. This is conclusive in many speeches Ahmadinejad has given during the last four years of his presidency and his recent June 13th secret meeting with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi in Qom for afflicting the world with the light of Islam soon after a favorable aftermath of the coup.
Rational citizens of the world are baffled as to why the cries of the Iranian opposition have not been heeded by the leaders of the world of the imminent danger Islamic Republic is posing. Taliban, armed with Saudi financiers, Pakistani ISI backing, and fertile poppy fields has posed a similar threat. Women were being barred from going to school, public killings, rape and torture of innocent Afghani’s should serve as a reminder that such a danger has been lurking for the past 30 years in Iran. Lucrative oil and trade contracts are perhaps one reason. But the world needs to jump off the fence and act before it is too late. There is indeed no better time for it than NOW.
Angered by so-called sham elections (selections if you ask me), the so patient, hospitable, gentle, and tolerant Iranian men and women, young and old have found a common cause and pretext to stage rallies and bravely have been defying heavily armed Hamas and Hezbollah and Sudanese trained militias and mercenaries who are paid $200 by some accounts a day to beat and kill pro-democracy demonstrators.
It is time to get off the fence and not waste such a golden opportunity. Timing is everything. People of Iran are fed up with this brutal and medieval regime that daily hangs its youth, shuts down newspapers, jails and kills bloggers, silences its dissent at any cost and by any means. Addiction and prostitution is at all time high in Iran. Unemployment is at 25% by governments own figures. Despite being one of the richest countries in the world with abundant natural and human wealth, and being the 4th largest oil-producing country, more than half of the Iranians live below poverty level. Iran is still a Third World country. Time to act is now. This is much bigger than Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. At stake is the future of this great nation with over 8,000-year-old history and civilization.
The Iranians are an exceptionally mature, productive, creative, and politically proactive people in a region that has for long been identified with tyranny and suppression. Iranians do not need arms, military intervention. They just need moral and some logistical support. Few examples are listed below:
All media is blacked out, no thanks to profiteers such as Nokia and Siemens and some other telecommunication Giants, who have supplied the mullahs with extensive sophisticated telecommunication jamming technology. Opposition televisions are jammed by the Islamic Republic and can no longer talk to the people of Iran to show Mullahs crimes and innocent killings of peaceful demonstrators such as Neda who was brutally shot to death by a sniper. We badly need to get them back on air to resume broadcasting. Please help us restore this valuable asset.
Shortwave Radio broadcasting to Iran is a must. The regime is confiscating satellite dishes and destroying them daily to prevent access to news from the outside. But people who own satellites are not in majority. However, radios are. Almost every Iranian listens to the Radio, in their cars, at work and at home. We need help to establish shortwave broadcasts to Iran and bypass Nokia and Siemens.
Cell phones and phone systems are shut down. We want cell phones to be working again, so that brave Iranians can call and share their eyewitness accounts and what is going on in Iran. We need help with Internet connectivity, so that horror stories, pictures of crime and massacre can be seen and heard by the world.
Please pressure Telecommunication companies to back off.
This is our fight and our struggle. This time we want to do with our own power.
A word of caution to our Arab neighbors: never think that you are safe from the Shi’a mullahs and they are only after the West. On the contrary, for the past 1400 years, the Shi’a world has been bitter about Imam Ali who was denied of his “rightful succession” after the Prophet Muhammad. In their eyes, Sunnis have committed the most punishable crime, depriving them of their rightful place. I do not want to be an alarmist, but you connect the dots.
With you standing up with the Iranian people against this injustice, with the mullahs out of the way, there just might be a prospect for peace in the area and the world for that matter. Without Iran’s backing, Hamas will be forced to talk with Fatah and recognize Israel. They have given hint of this when things have been made tough for them. And Fatah can begin to negotiate with Israel without any distraction. Hezbollah cannot bully the Lebanese government and will be forced to lay down their arms and behave like civilized people.
Nouri Al-Maliki will be motivated to pay attention to his country various minorities’ demands and reconcile their differences and form an independent democratic Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr can seek refuge in a mosque and continue his religious studies.
Iran and Israel can finally find peace and live as examples of flourishing democracies for other countries to emulate.
And with Iran as a free and democratic nation, the 70 million people of Iran who have suffered so much in the hands of these killers will finally regain their pride, find their rightful place in the world, join the community of civilized nations, and live in peace with the rest of the world.
During these serious challenges; battered by two wars, ballooning debt, and a faltering economy, the United States/Obama appears to have lost its capacity to think clearly. But, we are reminded by Winston Churchill who once said, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing … after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”  We encourage and implore Europe, the United States of America and the United Nations to ultimately do the right thing. After all, for the past 30 years, if there has been any strong indication for anything, it sure has been a misguided policy and wrong approach towards Iran. So, this time around, let us hope we do the right thing!
About Dr. Arash Irandoost
Dr. Arash Irandoost is a pro-democracy activist who advocates Regime Change in Iran. He denounces those who have corrupted the religion of Islam and make war with all free nations and intend to dominate the world with their theocracy. He has been published in numerous magazines around the world as well as hundreds of Internet magazines, websites and blogs. He is also a researcher and literary translator and has become a strong voice for the struggling people of Iran. Click here for Dr. Irandoost's blog.