In the previous ten days prior to my writing this piece, literally dozens of my fellow Iranians have been executed by the clerical regime that currently rules Iran. Few people know these readily-available facts because Western media and Western governments are singularly focused on negotiating a nuclear deal with the clerical regime.
According to the Abdorrahman Bouromand Foundation and the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, the pace of executions in Iran has quickened as 2013 has progressed, totaling at least 500 to-date in 2013. Since Hassan Rouhani was elected President of the Islamic Republic - and despite the West's preference to see him somehow as more of a moderate - the rate of executions in Iran has actually increased. Just during the week of September 23rd, when President Rouhani was wooing the Western media in New York, more than 30 people were reportedly executed in Iran.
And underneath the statistics are individual stories of unimaginable loss and grief that stem from this regime's evil acts:
In Urmia, our fabled "City of Waters" - and where its lake dried up as the result of the clerical regime's environmental mismanagement - the government executed Habibullah Golparipour, a young and brave Iranian Kurd.
In Saghez, our "City of our Champions", the regime executed yet another Kurdish son of Iran, Shirko Moarefi, without a fair, just and proper trial. Habibibullah and Shirko are but two of the dozens executed in recent days by the clerical regime.
To those of you in the international community who might not have been continuously following the tragic tale of Iran these past three decades, it is important that you know that sham trials and summary executions - all classified as crimes against humanity - began as soon as the clerical regime seized control of Iran in the turbulence of the 1979 revolution. In the name of God and Islam, agents of the regime commenced their executions of my fellow Iranians on the roof of the Refah School in Tehran - a secondary school. And so began the Islamic Republic's killing machine - which continues unabated for 34 years and has only accelerated since Rouhani was chosen to be president by the Supreme Leader Khamenei.
For the Iran watchers and policy makers who think President Rouhani has any real authority in Iran, know that the absolute power in Iran and man responsible for this evil is Ayatollah Khamenei, along with the other unelected members of the Supreme Council.
For three decades, the arms of state currently controlled by Ayatollah Khamenei (and previously Ayatollah Khomeini until 1989) have created baseless and false accusations against Iranians based on Shariah laws, usually accusing my fellow Iranians of being involved with drugs, apostasy, spying, corruption, and antagonism - all charges that carry the death penalty. Most despicably, the government even hangs our children under 18 in savage public displays. All of these barbaric public executions have two purposes: to eliminate any opposition within the nation and to intimidate others who may dare challenge the regime in the future.
Cyrus the Great of Persia created and made law what is universally agreed to be the first declaration of human rights in the world. On the "Cyrus Cylinder" (recently on loan to the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC and on permanent display at the British Museum), citizens were given religious freedom, and the Jewish people enslaved at the time were freed to return to their homelands. You can only imagine how painful it is to me to see our nation's rich Persian culture and history of inclusion being trammeled and bloodied by this evil regime holding our nation hostage.
Before the revolution of 1979, Iran had an enviable GDP growth rate that made its economy one of the fastest growing in the world. Since the clerical regime took control of the nation, they have lorded over an abysmal and broken economy, while at the same time putting Iran at the top of the list of nations that currently execute citizens. It is truly shocking to see the disastrous turn our nation has taken.
No government has the right to use the death penalty as a means for its own survival. While my late Father's own governments are forever diminished by the lack of political openness and political arrests, his economic record, his stand for religious freedom and women's rights and Iran's international prestige during the time are unimpeachable. When the popular protests in late 1978 and early 1979 became too violent and agitated by the late Ayatollah Khomeini, my Father - forever to his credit - chose to leave our beloved country and all that he had worked for rather than call the army against fellow Iranians. And so, Iran became the first nation to succumb to rampant Islamism. The clerical regime controlling Iran represents the polar opposite of my Father's governments in every way. It has ruined Iran's international reputation, it has destroyed an economy it cannot manage - and most importantly - it has neither shame nor qualms about shedding Iranian blood to protect its power. The clerical regime running Iran for these 34 nightmarish years has long lost legitimacy and its end must come soon at the hands of the Iranian people.
Next week, 16 November through 23 November 2013, is "National Mourning Week". We shall light candles and hold vigils around the world for our children, brothers and sisters who have been murdered by the clerical regime.
The Western powers currently negotiating on the nuclear issue with the clerical regime - without even mentioning the countless human rights abuses and endless executions in Iran - already bear some culpability for the executions that continue in Iran.
We the people of Iran, and all those around the world who care about these unjust executions, shall not let Western powers turn a blind eye to the continuing human rights atrocities in Iran whilst trying to craft a deal only on the nuclear issue. The Iranian people deserve better than having their blood discounted while the West doggedly and myopically pursues resolution only on the nuclear issue.
For more on Reza Pahlavi, visit www.RezaPahlavi.org