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article imageIranian-American scholars blast Rouhani in letter to Obama

By Brian Booker     Sep 26, 2015 in World
While Iran has been enjoying improved publicity following the conclusion of nuclear talks, 101 Iranian-American scholars are warning that the regime remains as brutal as ever.
Iran is moving ever closer to normalized relations with the United States and the rest of the world, following the conclusion of negotiations over the country's nuclear ambitions. While current Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is being viewed by many within and outside as a moderate, many regional experts are warning that Rouhani is not nearly as progressive as he seems.
In a letter to President Obama, 101 Iranian-American scholars outlined various abuses committed by Rouhani and his closest advisors in the government. According to the scholars, Rouhani represents less of a change in Iranian policy, and more of a continuation of the same policies pushed by the country's hard-lined clerics since they gained power.
Perhaps the most damning criticism, one made by Amnesty International and echoed by the scholars, is the “unprecedented” killing spree that the Iranian government is currently on. Over 2,000 people have been executed since Rouhani has taken office, and given the state of Iran's justice system, which is regularly ranked among the worst in the world, it's doubtful that those executed were given a fair trial. According to Amnesty International, Iran trails only China in the number of executions per year.
The killing spree should come as no surprise. According to the scholars, Rouhani's Justice Minister, Mostafa Pourmohammadi, once sat on a three-person panel that issued orders to massacre 30,000 political prisoners. While the number of executions is disputed, Pourmohammadi was dubbed by Human Rights Watch as the “Minister of Murder” back in 2005.
Thus while Iran's short-term nuclear ambitions may be tempered, it appears that Iran's government will remain as oppressive as ever.
On Monday, September 28th, thousands of Iranian dissidents are expected to gather at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in New York City to protest Rouhani's upcoming visit to the United Nations headquarters. The rally will also be attended by influential U.S. policy makers, including former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson and former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge.
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