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Genocide Emergency: Iran


A photo posted on social media shows people making their way towards Aychi cemetery in Saqqez [Photo by UGC/AFP]


Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iranians have lived under a repressive regime run by misogynistic Islamists. Minority religious groups are persecuted. Women and LGBTQIA+ people have almost no civil rights. Iran exports genocidal terrorism against Israel and Jews, Syrian Sunnis and Kurds, Americans, and Christians. Iran is supplying lethal drones to Russia in support of Russia’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine. Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons and missiles which it could use to carry out its genocidal intention to destroy Israel.


Shia Islam is the dominant faith in Iran. The regime subjects religious minorities including Baha’is, Sunni Muslims, Mandeans, Yaresanis (Kaka'i), Christians, Gonabadi Dervishes, and Jews to discrimination and persecution. People who do not practice Shia Islam are subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, or execution. Baha’is are Iran’s most significant non-Muslim religious minority. In 2022, the Iranian regime intensified its persecution of Baha’is, who are arrested for practicing their faith. Their homes are demolished or confiscated.


Iran’s current president, Ebrahim Raisi, ordered the 1988 extrajudicial murders of thousands of political prisoners. Many human rights organizations have called for him to face charges of crimes against humanity.


Following her September 2022 detention for "wearing her headscarf improperly " Mahsa Amini was murdered in police custody by the “Morality Police.” Protests against the regime have since erupted throughout Iran. Iran's Revolutionary Guard responded with lethal repression and it has executed over 94 people since January 2023.


Ethnic minorities, including Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and Baluchs, comprise more than half of Iran’s population. The Iranian regime forbids Azeris, Baluchs, Kurds, and Arabs from receiving education and government services in their own languages. Official media and textbooks present racist histories of minorities.


Iranian government officials employ hate speech against LGBTQIA+ people. Iran's laws encourage state and societal violence against them. The Iranian regime subjects LGBTQIA+ people, including youth, to flogging, imprisonment, and execution. LGBTQIA+ people are forced to undergo conversion therapy, which the UN has stated amounts to torture. They are ordered to undergo abusive sex reassignment surgery.


In September 2022, Iran’s so-called Morality Police arrested and killed Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, for "improperly wearing her hijab." Since Amini’s death, protests against the government have erupted throughout Iran, especially in Kurdish areas. The Iranian regime has responded with deadly violence.


Since the protests began, more than 22,000 people have been arrested for vague violations of “national security laws.” At least 530 people, including children, have been killed in the government's crackdown on protests. The Iranian regime has imposed severe internet restrictions to block news of the protests. Security forces have fired live ammunition at unarmed peaceful protestors and bystanders. A wave of poisonings of hundreds of schoolgirls has reignited protests regarding the oppression of women and girls.


Due to Iranian incitements to genocide against Israel, its nuclear weapons program, its violations of human rights, including torture, arbitrary detention, and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ people, women, girls, and protestors, Genocide Watch considers Iran to be at Stage 3: Discrimination, Stage 4: Dehumanization, Stage 5: Organization, Stage 8: Persecution, and Stage 9: Extermination.


Genocide Watch recommends:

· President Ebrahim Raisi should be tried for ordering the 1988 murders of thousands of political prisoners.

· Iran should cooperate with the UN fact-finding mission investigating Iran's brutal response to protests.

· The UN Human Rights Council should authorize an independent fact-finding mission to investigate violations of human rights against religious and ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+ people, women, and girls.

· The US, Canada, and the EU should continue to enforce sanctions against the Iranian government and military in response to the regime’s widespread human rights violations and its nuclear program.

· Iran’s Morality Police should be disbanded, and their officers must be held accountable for their crimes.

Iran Genocide Emergency 2023
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