Translation of an article by Bertrand Delais, French Documentary filmmaker, journalist, the author of “Iran, a fire under the ashes.”
One year ago Hassan Rouhani became the President of Iran. Immediately, we wanted to welcome this man and talk extensively about a supposed shift in policy from his predecessor. In reality, he worked to perpetuate the power of the supreme leader and reinforce the regime at all costs after the Green Movement in the previous election, but also face the challenge of the Syrian and the Arab revolutions.
His mandate has been anything but a departure from the previous policies of the Iranian regime. Rouhani has neither brought the Iranian people to economic prosperity, nor improved the human rights situation. He did not even keep his promise on stability for the regime, despite significant work of trying to attract Westerners.
His presidency has been marked by a record number of executions (at least 800 people, including 16 women have been executed during his term, a significant increase compared to the same period under his predecessor). Among them was Gholamreza Khosravi from the People’s Mujahedin of Iran organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). Besides the political opposition, ethnic minorities, including Kurds, Arabs, and Baluchis, and religious minorities such as the Christians, Sunnis and Baha’is have all suffered from the violence of the regime. Outside of the country, Iranian dissidents in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, protected under the Geneva Conventions, were killed on September 1, 2013 by Iraqi military forces at the insistence of the Iranian regime who welcomed the execution of 52 unarmed opponents in the camp.
The pressure on journalists and bloggers has intensified under Rouhani. According to Reporters Without Borders, “With 65 journalists and bloggers imprisoned, Iran is still one of the largest prisons in the world for media professionals. “ The country is also the world’s biggest prison for female journalists and bloggers. Justine in the country, controlled by the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence ministry, violates the rights of these professionals.
Promises of President Hassan Rouhani to release all of those who have been imprisoned for expressing their opinion have been ignored. His silence reinforces the continued repression of freedom of information. “Guarantor of the implementation of the Constitution, he is responsible for the fate of all those present on Iranian soil, “said Reza Moini, head of the Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan office at Reporters Without Borders.
On the economy, there has been no real improvement despite the promises of Rouhani. The economy is bankrupt and inflation is at 35%. Agriculture is devastated and half of the cities suffer from water shortages. Poverty is so widespread that most people are forced to rely on subsidies equivalent to only 10 euros per month. Discontent is everywhere with workers whose wages are unpaid for several months.
Internationally Iran is involved as a destabilizing factor in every crisis in the region. In fact, it is clear that the reach of Tehran goes everywhere. This is also true with regard to the crisis in Iraq, where the clerical regime was the main funder and supporter of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.
About half the budget of the Iranian government is devoted to domestic repression, its war efforts, interference abroad to counter popular protests and uprisings, and to prevent the fall of its influence in the Middle East.
The arrival of Rouhani did not change the regime’s behavior regarding to his tireless support of terrorist and extremist groups throughout the Middle East.
As President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi pointed out recently at a major international conference in Paris that Tehran is the epicenter of all sectarian conflicts and wars in the Middle East.
More and more analysts are coming to the conclusion that a change in Iran is essential to achieve calm in the region. This is a prerequisite for lasting peace and tranquility in the Middle East, and the crisis-prone Islamic world.
The regime is at a great impasse over its nuclear program. Despite the negotiations starting eight months ago in Geneva, differences remain on key issues and the regime has extended the talks for four months. Everything suggests that the regime will take advantage of this time to continue to improve its ballistic missile program and preserve its infrastructure to one day acquire an atomic bomb.
Tehran cannot afford to abandon its efforts for nuclear weapons, stopping the nuclear program would upset the internal balance of the regime, paving the way for social unrest that is hidden at the moment. At the same time the regime fears the social and economic consequences in the event of a breakdown of negotiations and cannot afford to walk away from the talks. This is the dilemma of the Rouhani government.
At a large meeting in Paris on June 27, attended by some 100,000 activists, the Iranian resistance and its supporters stressed that the Iranian people are ready to make that change.
More than 600 international dignitaries and politicians from 69 countries took part in this huge gathering, expressing their support for the Iranian resistance and calling for freedom and regime change in Iran.
Moderation by Rouhani is a myth. During this first year in power, he has proved to be wrapped in the same cloth as other mullahs.