Tehran (AsiaNews) – As the world mobilises against the stoning of Sakineh, a 43-year-old woman convicted for adultery and killing her husband, Iranian police continue to threaten and arrest journalists and human rights lawyers. Dozens of university professors are fired and pro-reform students are beaten. The reason is simple. “Democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place” in Islam, said Mesbah Yazdi, who heads Shia Taliban, in a speech reprinted in Rooz, an online Iranian news website.
Speaking before members of paramilitary groups, soldiers and his followers, the cleric said that Iran “is not a place to back down for cultural reasons against people who promote corruption.”
In a veiled reference to Sakineh and others, he added, “sexual or moral deviants or promoters of any other kind of corruption must be suppressed.”
Mesbah Yadzi is a member of the Association of Teachers of Qom Theological Centre (Jame Modaresin Hoze Elmie Qom) and a great supporter of Ahmadinejad. In fact, “When the president received the supreme leader’s confirmation, obeying him is like obeying God,” he said.
A similar extremist vision explains recent events in Iran, where dozens of students, followers of pro-reform Ayatollah Dastgheib, who was against to Ahmadinejad’s re-election, were beaten in Shiraz’s Qoba Mosque.
Pro-democracy activists are also concerned about the firing of 40 professors from Tehran University since March. The activists have slammed the professors’ removal, calling it a case of “political cleansing” of the faculties that led the Green Wave movement that came out against the results in last year’s presidential election. Indeed, Science Minister Kamran Daneshjoo said repeatedly that the universities would not tolerate professors who are not “in tune with the Islamic Republic regime.”
For Mesbah Yazdi, anyone who opposes the Islamic Republic of Iran and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in fact an “enemy of God” (Mohareb).
Human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari (pictured), who is the editor of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters website, has recently found out what that means. Arrested on 14 July 2009, a month after Ahmadinejad’s re-election, she was released on bail on 23 September of the same year. Re-arrested on 20 December and charged with a “mohareb”, a very serious crime in Iran, she is still waiting to go to a trial, expected very soon.
Badrolssadat Mofidi, secretary general of the Iranian Journalists Association, is another prominent figure accused of being a “mohareb”. He was recently sentenced to six years in prison and five years without the right to work as a journalist.