Who’s forgetting Iran?

Terry Glavin complains that the recent judicial lynchings of Iranian Kurds, together with a general strike in Iran’s eastern towns, have gone all but unnoticed in the west. And he’s quite right. After the heady days of post-election demonstrations in Tehran and other cities, media and public attention outside Iran has drifted to more domestic concerns. Mine has too, truth be told.


Kurdish schoolteacher Farzad Kamangar and his pupils. Sentenced to death following a trial that lasted all of five minutes, Kamangar was on 9 May 2010 hanged by the Iranian regime for being an ‘enemy of God’.

So what’s been happening in Iran? Its leaders’ bellicosity has ratcheted up a notch, as if that were possible, and during the weekend before last they gave the international community a single digit salute by hanging 11 citizens, five of whom were Kurdish community and political activists. In addition to sending an ‘up yours’ message to the world, the intention of the Tehran regime is to discourage people from demonstrating against the government on the 12 June anniversary of Mahmoud the Mad’s ‘re-election’ to the puppet-presidency of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In the west, barely a peep has emanated from those supposedly concerned about human rights and international social solidarity, and the media have largely buried their news reports, if they’ve bothered to cover the stories in the first place. A few NGOs, Human Rights Watch among them, have noted recent events in Iran, but their efforts have either been mute, or the media have for whatever reason decided not to bite.

Who’s forgetting Iran?. My question might imply that not everyone is turning a blind eye to the plight of our Persian, Kurdish and Arab brothers and sisters, and to a degree that’s true. The US State Department and its secretary Hillary Clinton have recently been highlighting Iran, although I haven’t noticed anything about the recent executions or general strike. America’s focus is largely on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and wider geopolitical influence.

As for the European Union, I imagine that the Commission’s de facto foreign minister Catherine Ashton and her department remain bogged down with such matters of overriding import as human resources and departmental budgets. The European Commission’s shiny new External Relations department has so far this month issued scores of press releases, but when it comes to the Middle East all eyes are on Israel. Maybe in the deluge of press material I missed a robust denunciation of the Iranian regime for lynching its citizens.

If it carries on like this, I can see Iranians ritually burning the EU yellow stars flag in Tehran’s Azadi Square, and waving the American stars and stripes in celebration. Maybe I should combine my international solidarity efforts with exploiting this as a business opportunity. Times are hard.