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Iran: Number of Executions Skyrocket Under Rouhani

The number of executions in Iran has significantly increased since President Hassan Rouhani took over the office from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August 2013.

According to statistics provided by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center — which lists those executed by name, date, location and crime — Iran has put to death 529 people this year, 300 alone since Rouhani assumed office in August.

Belying his image painted by the Western as a “moderate,” Rouhani has now catapulted his country into the position of being the world’s leader in executions per capita.

The most common charge garnering the punishment of death was drug trafficking, followed by rape, murder and apostasy.  

Reports of the statistics come in conjunction with the first visit in six years by the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran scheduled for December 12-17. During the delegation’s last visit in 2007, Iran publicly executed a number of prisoners while the Europeans were in Tehran.

Over the past six years, the European parliamentarians had demanded as a precondition to any visit that Iran provide them with access to political prisoners and opposition activists during any visit. Iran refused and hence the Europeans cancelled all visits by their delegation.

This time, however, with the parliamentarians term of office set to expire in 2014 and the world’s focus on the recent nuclear deal with Iran –and away from Iran’s human right record — a number of members of the delegation agreed to visit Iran with no such preconditions.

However a number of senior delegates have refused to visit including three Italians  Vice Chairman Potito Salatto, Oreste Rossi and Marco Scurria  as well as European Parliament Vice President Alexander Alvaro from Germany and Geoffrey Van Orden from the UK.

In addition, members of the Europeans People's Party (the parliament's largest political group) as well as the European Conservatives and Reformists Group have also refused to visit under the current conditions.

Whereas Iran initiated these "friendship" visits through its embassy in Brussels in 2005, it has refused all visits from the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights for the last seven years.

The rapporteur's latest report by Ahmed Shaheed to the U.N. General Assembly's Third Committee in October says that Iran's human rights record shows no sign of improvement. In addition to citing the plethora of executions, many other human rights issues in Iran were also mentioned, including gender discrimination and a constant denial of rights of the Iranian people through practice and legislation.

The topic of Iran’s human rights record was not broached in the recent nuclear negotiations. The United States, in particular, made no demands for the release of the three Americans being held in Iranian prisons on false charges as a precondition for the deal.

One American being held in Iran, Pastor Saeed Abedini, who was in Iran setting up an orphanage and accused of undermining state security, was transferred from the notorious Evin prison to the even more dangerous Rajai Shahr prison on the eve of the nuclear negotiations with the West.

Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj is a facility known to “disappear” inmates. The prison houses the most violent criminals amid horrific conditions and inmates often fall victims to attacks from other inmates.  Since arriving in Rajai Shahr, Abedini has been denied visitors.

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