Human Rights

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Nuke Deal to Increase LGBT Persecution in Iran, Tie Western Companies to Human Rights Abuses

The nuclear deal with Iran will empower a regime that has killed an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 gays and lesbians since 1979 and enable the increased persecution of sexual minorities in the Islamic Republic, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in an analysis published Saturday at PinkNews.

European companies are flocking to Iran to sell “dual-use” equipment that can be used for military or civilian purposes.
The CEO of the Austrian crane manufacturer Palfinger AG said last week that Iran is a “promising market,” where there is a strong demand for cranes as there is no domestic production. After a human rights group in Vienna circulated a photograph of an Iranian man hanged using a Palfinger crane, a company spokesman walk-backed the CEO’s interest in re-entering that market.

Sadly, some prominent gays have profoundly misjudged the terror of Iran’s regime. The acclaimed American poet Allen Ginsberg regretted his initial support for the Islamic Revolution. In the 1980’s he said, “I shouldn’t have been marching against the shah of Iran because the mullahs have turned out to be a lot worse.” Ginsberg rejected the shah’s monarchy but later recognized the birth of religious fascism in Iran. He told the Progressive magazine in 1994, “They all want to eliminate or get rid of the alien, or the stranger, or the Jews, or the gays, or the Gypsies, or the artists, or whoever are their infidels. And they’re all willing to commit murder for it, whether Hitler or Stalin or Mao or the ayatollah…”

The US Congress is slated to vote on the Iran deal next month. Leading Democrats such as New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer oppose the deal. Sadly, President Barack Obama has posited a false dichotomy between rejecting the deal and war. Even members of his administration disagree with his either-or formula. The next step is to renegotiate the agreement and secure better terms to halt the Iranian nuclear weapons program and stop the regime from killing members of its LGBT community.

Weinthal noted that a prominent Iranian gay poet, Payam Feili, correctly predicted that the election of Hassan Rouhani as president of Iran two years ago would not bring about greater freedoms when he wrote, “Nothing essential has changed.”

In a parallel article for The Spectator, Weinthal argued that the deal will not only allow Western companies to sell the Iranian regime equipment that can be used for the execution of sexual minorities, but also other aspects of its tyranny.

The telecoms giant Nokia exemplifies the financial risks and reputational damage Iran poses to European firms. In 2008, the then-joint Finnish-Germany venture Nokia-Siemens sold Tehran advanced surveillance technology. After Iranians flooded the streets in 2009 to protest the country’ fraudulent presidential election, the government used the systems to disrupt demonstrators’ Internet, Twitter and mobile communications, leading to a grassroots campaign for a consumer boycott of Nokia-Siemens.

Last month, Iranian human rights activist Amir Basiri wrote that aligning with Iran to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would be fighting “evil with evil.” The consensus among human rights activists is that Iran’s human rights situation has deteriorated under Rouhani.

[Photo: moderngaymale / YouTube ]