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As efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal dragged on, stalled, and faltered, the Islamic Republic fell somewhat out of the public eye. All the intricacies of manufacturing and spinning centrifuges, levels of uranium enrichment, and intricacies of inspection rights are details that were never destined to hold the attention of the masses for long.
But now Iran throws people in jail.
This is nothing new and it may not show up on the radar either. But there is a tension in this latest round of arrests that former Iranian diplomat Mehrdad Khonsari says deserves a powerful outcry from the West.
“I especially surprised by the Biden administration because he was and did the right thing in trying to solve this nuclear problem, but they did not take into account at any level the ordinary people of Iran,” Khonsari told Fox News, attributing this to the lack of attention to human rights in part to Washington, not wanting to further alienate Tehran to keep it at the negotiating table. “Unfortunately, talking about human rights has become a ritual when people say it without really meaning. But they didn’t say it. People in Iran want to know that their debt is being recognized.”
Among those recently arrested are some of Iran’s leading creatives, such as award-winning filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof and his colleague Mostafa Al-Ahmad. In social networks, they called on the security services to lay down their arms in connection with the attack. violent crackdown on protests in a fatal building collapse earlier in the year. Then, within the last few hours, the news that another filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, has been arrested. Nahid Shirpishe, the leader of a group of mothers seeking justice for their children who were killed during protests a few years ago, was also reportedly arrested.
The additional detention of Mostafa Taizadeh stands out for a different reason. Tajzadeh is a former presidential adviser who has long been outspoken, but far from being a dissident calling for revolution, according to Khonsari. In fact, he comes from a family of staunch supporters of the system, including a son-in-law who was instrumental in the founding of Hezbollah. According to Khonsari, it has been some time since the system apparently became so paranoid that it easily works on its own.
“These are not people calling for either the restoration of the monarchy or the creation of a leftist government. These are people who are an integral part of the original electorate,” Khonsari says. “The only part left is what we call the ‘deep state’ and now they are starting to arrest their former colleagues and their former revolutionary partners.”
Khonsari says the situation in Iran is unstable. Protests are held regularly. Point-to-point inflation was recently recorded at 50%. bread prices jumped by 300% in just one day. The pension is not enough to live on. People protested against corruption around the previously mentioned building that collapsed in Abadan, killing 41 people. Various trade unions took up arms against wages. But still, there is no political common ground, and it appears that Iran is not at a tipping point.
“The point is that there is no organized mechanism within the country…something that the ‘deep state’ deliberately prevents from being able to seriously challenge its authority,” says Khonsari.
Khonsari adds that this is another reason why the West should speak out against the repression of the Iranian people.
“Nobody wants US or others to intervene in Iran’s domestic politics, but supporting and moralizing the rights of people trying to rid the country of the yoke of fundamentalist radicalism “and turn Iran into” something more malleable for the region and the world is something that is welcome,” he says, arguing that such a confession would be an inspiration to many, adding that the message should not be that the Iranian regime “can do whatever it wants with its people as long as it doesn’t have a nuclear bomb.”