February 5th saw the Iranian government finally opening the curtain just a little more for the people of the world to see just how horrific the Islamic regime truly is. The country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the immediate amnesty or reduction in prison sentences for “tens of thousands,” of people caught up in the anti-government protests, much to the shock of groups around the world.
Part of a yearly tradition in memory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, this figure is the first real light cast upon just how strongly the government has cracked down on its citizens. While no official numbers have ever been released, the state media did issue a list of caveats for the order, with anyone accused of spying or having ties abroad being disqualified from the program; a move that did not sit well with many global leaders.
The release of Khamenei’s orders came in conflicting waves. The state ran IRNA news agency ran a report written in Farsi that explained he “agreed to offer amnesty and reduce the sentences of tens of thousands accused and convicted in the recent incidents.” However, a later report in English from IRNA in English simply stated that the pardons and commuted sentences were happening for “tens of thousands of convicts, including the arrestees of the recent riots in Iran.” No clarification between the statements has been given.
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam of the Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights has been one of the most vocal global leaders in the fight for Iranians to regain their freedom. “Khamenei’s hypocritical pardon doesn’t change anything. Not only all protesters must be released unconditionally, but also it is a public right that those who ordered the bloody repression, and their agents are held accountable.”
The Iranian state department classified demonstrations as a “foreign-backed riot” instead of an uprising of its people in response to the death of Masha Amini- a woman detained and killed by the country’s morality police. With the plummet of the Iranian rial against the US dollar, their economy is sinking fast, and people are struggling to afford the basics. Add in the decision out of Tehran to arm the Russians with bomb-carrying drones in Ukraine, and their people have had enough.
So far Human Rights Activists in Iran have been able to identify at least 19,600 people arrested and 527 people killed because of the uprising. With the government being mum about the number of detainees, and their refusal to provide an updated number of deaths in months, this figure is the most accurate available today. Four of those 527 were publicly executed due to the uprising, with many people protesting those deaths as well.
Right now, Iran is backed into a corner. They have a conflict going on with Israel and still lingering tensions with Iraq and Syria. Any chance they had at striking a nuclear deal has all but vanished, and according to the UN’s top nuclear envoy, they have enriched enough uranium to make “several” atomic bombs should they choose to go that route. Factor in their support of Russia in the latest conflict, and things become rocky for the government in every facet.
Mir Hossein Mousavi has been detained for years now, but still is one of the most vocal and well-supported heads of opposition to their government. In his eyes, the idea of a supreme leader having the final say over everything is an idea that has come and passed. Instead, he proposes a constitutional assembly of “real representatives” to write a new constitution for the country. With the 80-year-old politician and his wife have been on house arrest following his loss in the 2009 presidential election, the Green Movement protests have continued the fight in his name.
Iran is just the latest in a long list of countries that continue to cause problems for their citizens, and fund terrorism at its source. While the US should not stand by idly, they won’t act on any instinct to protect them, and with Biden in office that’s a good thing. Staying out of the middle east, especially with his horrific “leadership” is the best thing for America right now.