November 13, 2007

The Oh-So-Cosmopolitan Mullahcracy

Many people point out the relative sophistication of the Iranian people as a contrast to their 7th-century leadership as a reason why the mullahcracy is doomed. The British got a taste of this disconnect in a ministerial meeting at a recent peace conference when treated to the Iranian perspective on homosexuality. The big question for the Iranians is whether a noose works better as a cure, or a brick wall:

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times has learnt.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality after a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.

President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York two months ago about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country.

Britain regularly challenges Iran about its gay hangings, stonings and executions of adulterers and perceived moral criminals, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) papers show.

The latest row involves a woman hanged this June in the town of Gorgan after becoming pregnant by her brother. He was absolved after expressing his remorse. Britain said that this demonstrated the unequal treatment of men and women in law and breached Iran’s pledge to restrict the death penalty to the most serious crimes.

See how modern the mullahcracy is? They even support abortion -- in fact, they support it by killing both the mother and the fetus at the same time.

The strange and brutal nature of shari'a law provides a wedge between the mullahs and the people they oppress. The Iranians had much more contact with the West before the 1979 revolution than the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia or the other Arabic tribes of Southwest Asia. They knew a more modern Islam, similar in nature to Turkey, where secular law prevailed over the harsh imposition of chauvinistic strictures by so-called holy men. They know a life outside of shari'a.

When will they rise up to put an end to this despicable regime? So far, although reports have them very unhappy with life under a Persian Taliban, the Iranians seem reluctant to act on their opposition. They don't want to risk the tumult a people-power revolution will cause, or the military reaction it might provoke, if they don't see much risk to anyone else but homosexuals, adulterers, and people who want to dress like they were born after 1450.

The application of economic sanctions is therefore critical, as it puts another pressure point on ordinary Iranians. If their economy collapses, they will have to act in one way or another to resolve the crisis. They will resent the need to act, but eventually they will have to act or starve. Most people in that situation choose to act -- and they act on their own accord, without having to have someone invade their country to make the changes they should make themselves.

Stories like this need to be reported widely. The application of sanctions requires support from the peoples of the world for the long haul. Only by seeing the true nature of the regime will that support remain constant.

CORRECTION: I wrote "Iraqis" where I meant "Iranians". Thanks to Anon in the comments.


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