Saturday, December 15, 2018
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Iran's Afghan Soldiers and Other Stories

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3 روز،21 ساعت

Last week, fresh threats were issued against my friends at the BBC Persian service. This time the Iranian judiciary’s website Mizan (“the scale of justice”) launched a new targeted campaign against BBC journalists based outside the country. At the same time, even those who have resigned from the BBC and have returned to Iran have been arrested and interrogated. The judiciary has accused the BBC of propagating against the holy Islamic Republic and causing riots. We have been trying to help our colleagues through our Journalism is not a Crime campaign. Our Iranian, British and American legal counsels have insisted that intimidating journalists is not only immoral but also illegal, and that the accused journalists are entitled to lodge their own legal cases against the judiciary’s news agency, which published the news. Of course, we all know that the head of judiciary is assigned by the Supreme Leader, and that any compensation or justice is a long way off. 

Speaking of his supremeness, this week Ayatollah Khamenei said that The Great Satan can’t be trusted, and there’s no use negotiating with it because there’s nothing in it for Iran. While insulting the US, he also expressed anger at the offensive nature of Trump and Pompeo’s critical remarks. But a few things in his speech were new. The Supreme Leader confessed that he made a mistake when letting the nuclear deal come into effect. He also admitted that Iran is too weak to deal with the US, and it can only negotiate with it when it is in the position of power. Admitting any weakness in the Islamic Republic is certainly not something he’s willing to do every day. He also said that he was giving the speech while had a cold, and that the speech made him feel better. So really, this was another opportunity to show his power. And a chance to have a bash at President Rouhani and keep him in his place. 

We’ve begun a series looking at Afghan soldiers fighting in Syria for Iran. It’s a powerful set of personal, often heart-wrenching stories of these fighters who ally themselves with Iran for a better life for themselves and their familes, and for Shia Islam. But their treatment by the Islamic Republic has been negligent and appalling. 

Alongside the stories of discrimination against Afghan soldiers are the long, 40-year-old stories of Iran’s minority religious communities. IranWire readers will be familiar with the persecution of Baha’is, but Zoroastrians, Jewish people, Christians, and Sunni Muslims all face a range of injustice too, from bans on taking on government jobs or high ranks in the military to being spied on and facing prison terms for proselytizing. Despite outcry from the international community and many inside Iran, the discrimination continues with vigor, hostility and menace. 

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Iranians Global Network.