Referring to the incarceration of prisoners of conscience, the lack of respect for the freedom of expression, censorship and the closure of "newspapers, magazines," "disciplinary actions against .... their editors and publishers," and the application of "tighter controls over the media," the Special Representative reiterated that "extraterritorial violence against Iranians continues" and that "in some of the resulting legal proceedings in foreign courts, a strong connection to" the regime is being asserted.
Professor Copithorne also stated his concern over the suppression of religious minorities, inequality in the status of women with that of men in very many ways, retrogression in the area of "improper veiling" by "Al-Zahra teams," the crackdown on dissidents "under the charges of common criminal conduct or of disloyalty to Islam," "the toughening of criminal sanctions" and the free rein given to gangs of thugs and hooligans commissioned by the regime such as "the Ansar-e Hizbullah resorting to violence and threats of violence upon private individuals as a means of coercion."
Mr. Massoud Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said: The report lays bare a glimpse of the atrocities perpetrated by Khomeini's anti-human regime. It is a testament to the inability and the desire to reform by the mullahs' religious, terrorist dictatorship and reaffirms the need to expel it from the international community. He added, however, that the report was out of proportion to the severity of the regime's crimes, namely the fundamental cases of the violations of the rudimentary rights of the Iranian people, especially the blatant abuse of women's rights and the several-fold increase in arrests, executions and extraterritorial killings of dissidents. This is particularly the case, Mr. Rajavi noted, because 1996 was one of the worst years of the mullahs' rule as far as human rights abuses and terrorism were concerned.
Last year, at least 32 political opponents were assassinated abroad (four times the number in 1995). The regime's media reported 150 executions in 1996 published in the same year (three times the figure in the past year). The Iranian Resistance's representatives provided a list of names and particulars of all the victims and many other documents on the mullahs' flagrant rights abuses to the Special Representative. In 1996, the German Prosecutor General's office announced that the order to murder four Iranian dissidents in Berlin had been issued by Khamenei and Rafsanjani.
The regime's Interior Minister acknowledged that 120,000 people had been arrested on narcotics charges in the first 11 months of the Iranian year (March 20, 1996 - March 21, 1997), some 65,000 of whom were arrested in December, January and February alone, or on the average 730 arrests every day. Many arrests and political executions in previous years have been carried out under the pretext of drug trafficking.
The regime harshly cracked down in public uprisings throughout Iran. The Pasdaran (the Guards Corps) and other suppressive forces staged hundreds of military exercises in different cities across the country in order to intimidate and terrorize the public. The large-scale uprising in Kermanshah and other cities in that province last December resulted in at least 50 deaths, hundreds of arrests and widespread executions.
While the report takes note of the regime's false claims about the improvement in the situation of women in Iran, foreign journalists have frequently reported about the wave of arrests of Iranian women in Tehran. (AFP, Jan. 15, 1997). In the meantime, the mullahs announced a series of mandatory regulations concerning women's covering.
Barely three months ago, the Special Representative's October 1996 interim report to the fifty-first session of the U.N. General Assembly concluded: "The condition of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran may well have deteriorated since the Special Representative's report earlier this year to the fifty-second session Commission on Human Rights." The regime's negative replies to repeated requests by the Special Representative to visit Iran clearly point to the worsening human rights situation in the country in between the compiling of the two reports.
By referring to formal dialogue between the Special Representative and the mullahs' emissary, the present report exposes the regime's brazen blackmail; the clerical regime made the Special Representative's trip to Iran conditional upon watering down resolutions condemning human rights abuses in Iran. In this way, the mullahs acknowledge that by allowing visits to Iran by U.N. representatives, they only seek to beguile the public and conceal their atrocities.
Regrettably, under such circumstances, the report's shortcomings could be exploited by those parties who disregard internationally recognized human rights principles and promote the continuation of economic and trade ties with the medieval dictatorship ruling Iran by turning a blind eye to the crimes of this religious fascism.
While condemning the regime's policy of blackmail, the NCR President called on the Commission on Human Rights to strongly condemn in its current session the crimes perpetrated by this anti-human theocracy against the people of Iran. Mr. Rajavi also urged the Commission to call on the United Nations Security Council to adopt binding decisions concerning persistent human rights abuses by the mullahs.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran - Paris
April 1, 1997