Jewish Journal

Roger Cohen still lying about Iran’s current regime

by Karmel Melamed

March 3, 2009 | 2:53 am

Why the New York Times editors continue to publish the ridiculous lies and rants of their opinion columnist Roger Cohen is beyond my comprehension. Last weekend his shameful opinion article tried paint a rosey picture of the lives of some 20,000 Jews who still live in Iran. Cohen failed to recognize that the Jews he spoke to in Iran are living under duress and could not give him a fair assessment of their lives in Iran. Instead he fell for their lies which were directly dictated to them by the Iranian government’s well developed propaganda machine. Now this blog, other journalists in the U.S. and other publications criticized Cohen for being naive about the Iranian regime and his foolishness notions of the regime being “peaceful” but he’s again spreading untruths about the Iranian government in his latest piece this week in the New York Times.

Cohen who is still obviously living in “la-la land” claims that “Iran’s Islamic Republic is no Third Reich redux. Nor is it a totalitarian state. Significant margins of liberty, even democracy, exist (in Iran)”. This claim by Cohen is utterly absurd considering the fact that the Iranian government orders regular large-scale arrests, incommunicado detention and torture that have taken place in the context of unrest among the country’s Arab, Kurdish and Azeri ethnic minorities. Demonstrations held to protest the Iranian government’s human rights violations have been met with indiscriminate use of violence with several of the victims have been children. Religious minority communities—including Bahai and Muslims practicing Sufism, have also been faced increased persecution for years. Over the years and more recently the Iranian authorities have been carrying out widespread crackdowns on civil society, targeting academics, women’s rights activists, students, journalists and labor organizers. Hundreds of trade union activists have been arrested as part of measures to prevent planned strikes. Lawyers, web bloggers and others who have spoken out against human rights violations have themselves been targeted for abuse. Basically anyone and everyone who speaks out about the regime is either murdered, arrested and imprisoned or tortured for their actions. Currently Iran is one of the world’s largest importers of construction cranes—why you may ask? Well it’s not for any sort of infrastructure development but rather to hang hundreds of “enemies of the state” in public. Iran is also one of the only countries left in the world today that still executes children and child offenders. According to Amnesty International, last year at least 130 juvenile offenders faced execution, but the total number could be much higher as many death penalty cases in Iran are believed to go unreported. At least eight child offenders were executed in 2007 and Iran was the only country in the world known to have executed a juvenile offender in 2008. (At least seven juvenile offenders were executed in 2008). The last known execution of one child named “Golamreza H.” took place on October 29, 2008. If Cohen does not consider these activities by the Iranian government totalitarian, then he is either out of his mind or smoking some bad wacky weed! I don’t know what planet Cohen lives on, but these types of activities carried out by the Iranian government are NOT DEMOCRATIC in any way.

I am not even going to get into all the lies Cohen continues to spew in his latest piece about how the lives of Jews in Iran are supposedly tranquill and paradise-like. But how can Iran not be a brutal Nazi-like totalitarian state when religious minorities from the Bahai faith are always and immediately imprisoned, tortured and then executed? While other minorities may be punished if they “step out of line”, there is zero tolerance for Bahais who are promptly executed. This is because the regime in Iran sees the Bahai faith that requires proselytizing, as a direct threat to the future viability of Islam. Likewise floggings, forced amputations as punishment, public executions by hanging, and executions by stoning are advocated by Iran’s Islamic laws. Again is this the fabulous Iranian “democracy” that Cohen is trying to promote? How utterly outrageous!

Another lie Cohen tries to put out there is that “Iran has not waged an expansionary war in more than two centuries”. Again this statement by Cohen is completely false because since the inception of Iran’s current radical Shiite government in 1979, there have been many active efforts by the Iranian clerics to wage a “holy war” against Israel. The Iranian regime has advanced this obvious expansionist war against Israel since 1979 by funding terrorist groups in Southern Lebanon such as Hezbollah with weapons and encouraging this terrorist organization to launch attacks against Israel—such was the case as recently as the summer of 2006. The Iranian regime is clearly seeking to expand their influence in both Lebanon and in Israel through their proxy Hezbollah. Moreover the Iranian government has funded other radical terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad to wage the same sort of terrorist expansionist war against Israel’s southern borders. I don’t even need to get into the Iranian government’s financial and military support for Shiite militias in Iraq as further proof of another one of their expansionist wars. Again if these efforts by the Iranian government are not “wars of expansion” in Cohen’s eyes, then he probably needs to either get his eyes checked or he needs to get some medication for his mental condition.

Below are just a few very REAL photos I obtained from news websites operated by Iran’s state-run media outlets showing how Muslim citizens of Iran who were supposed “enemies” of the regime were punished and later executed. While these photos may be graphic for some individuals, they are evidence of the pure Nazi-like evil behind Iran’s government. More importantly, if this is how non-Jews are treated in Iran—anyone in their right mind would realize that Iran is no safe place for Jews or other religious minorities. After looking at just a few of these photos anyone in their normal mind would clearly realize that Roger Cohen is TOTALLY WRONG about Iran’s government. So the only thing left is for someone to figure out if Cohen is just another propaganda stooge for the Iranian government who wants to promote their evil regime or if he’s just completely insane!

Majid Kavousifar, a 28-year-old Iranian Muslim student opposed to the regime who was hung in public from a crane in Tehran on August 2, 2007 for alleged “crimes” against Iran’s regime. The executioner shouts “Allah Akbar” as the stool is yank from underneath his feet.

The Iranian government executed the above gay men in November 2005 in the province of Kermanshah in western Iran. The Muslim young man above on the left identified as Shahab Darvishi had been hanged in the city for corruption, assault and sodomy. The two teenagers shown here were executed after a religious court found them guilty of homosexuality on July 19, 2005 in the city of Mashhad. Under the Iranian penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can be hanged.

Unknown Iranian woman buried up to her chest and then stoned to death. Iran’s Penal Code prescribes execution by stoning and dictates that the stones are to be large enough to cause pain, but not so large as to kill the victim immediately. Article 102 of the Iranian Penal Code states that men should be buried up to their waist and women up to their chest for the purpose of execution by stoning. Women in Iran are often executed by stoning for the crime of adultery, drug use, or other crimes the regime deems worthy of such execution.

Unknown Iranian woman hung in public by a crane for alleged crimes against the regime.



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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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