Meanwhile in Iran

This lonely press briefing issued today by the United Nations about ongoing political imprisonment in Iran reminds us that the more the international community focuses on Iran’s nuclear program, the less attention is given to Iranian human rights. These rights are consistently endangered and violated not only by the Iranian government, but by sanctions and threats of war too.

Iran’s rial is once again in serious decline while Iran and the United States remain in political gridlock. Bibi Netanyahu may have backed off his Iran campaign for now but is unlikely to stop agitating for conflict. Today during an event at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Mark Fitzpatrick said that Iran is unlikely to change it’s stance prior to the Iranian presidential election in June 2013 because no one wants to grant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a diplomatic success while he is in office. Fitzpatrick added that the West is likely to implement even more sanctions during to this time.

So while Iranians are being strangled by the Islamic Republic’s ever-present hand in their public and personal lives, so too ar they being forced to endure a strangulated economy that will only worsen. This feeling of impending suffocation — imposed from above and below — was at the core of Asghar Farhadi’s oscar-winning film “A Separation” which resonated so strongly with Iranians. In Iran the personal is political and vice versa while absurdity has become the norm.

In a recent interview with Nazila Fathi, the Iranian human rights defender Shirin Ebadi explained that war on Iran would “stir nationalistic feelings and rally the people behind the government to defend the country” as well as “save Iran’s rulers.” But she didn’t or couldn’t provide any indication as to what can be done to ease the burden being imposed on Iranians by their government and foreign governments.

“I don’t favor more sanctions against Iran, but I do not want to see the world ignore what the regime is doing to its people,” said Ebadi.

What then is in store for Iran’s people?

Jasmin Ramsey

Jasmin Ramsey is a journalist based in Washington, DC.