This Is Who They Are

Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Friday, The United States Treasury Department released 14 new names of Iranian individuals and entities to be sanctioned.

The most controversial among those 14 is the head of the barbaric Iranian judiciary, Sadeq Amoli Larijani. He’s been singled out over leading a justice system that oversees “the execution of individuals who were juveniles at the time of their crime; and the torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners of Iran, including amputations”, according to US officials.


Not an exaggeration in the slightest: 4 years ago the Iranian government purchased machines to cut the fingers off of thieves and they used it in October in Mashhad where the Iranian protests started on December 28th, 2017. This is the complete opposite direction that Larijani promised to go in when he took his position in 2009, a position the West hoped to be reasoned with. But no dice — this is who they are. This is what the regime is about and Larijani has been at the center of the regime since the early 1980’s.

He married a prominent cleric’s daughter and shot up the ranks of the Iranian Revolution Guard Council (IRGC). At the age of 21, Sadeq Larijani was giving lectures to the IRGC on religion and at Mashhad Razavi University. Yes, Mashhad, the pious city where the Iranian protests began.

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif issued a statement saying Iran would retaliate against the sanctions placed on Larijani. That’s not surprising, of course the people dependent on the Iranian regime’s power structure to maintain their own personal power and become wealthy defend the guy who legally justifies the means by which they become wealthy. What will be shocking is how many Western pundits and analysts defend the same corrupt power structure for the sake of a nuclear deal that seems to be doing little to constrain or restrain the Iranian regime from destabilizing its neighbor to gain regional hegemony.


Zarif also said, “The Trump regime’s hostile action (against Larijani)… crossed all red lines of conduct in the international community and is a violation of international law”. This is a laughable statement considering the Iranians supplied a missile to Houthi rebels in Yemen that was recently fired at an international civilian airport in Saudi Arabia and propped up Bashar al-Assad after he used chemical weapons on his own people. The deal isn’t curbing Iran’s behavior, in fact, the one place they have backed off is Yemen where they were exposed as the instigator.

Iran has succeeded in using the deal as a wedge between European countries who want to profit from an open, legitimized Iran and the United States who has protected Europe since 1945. At the same time, using whatever wedge issue du jour within America to demonize their detractors, namely Republicans. For example, the Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted out that the US had no right to “slam” Iran’s judicial system using the hashtag “black lives matter”.


How Americans and Westerners fail to see through the transparent pandering and hypocrisy is a truly stupefying sight to behold day in and day out. For someone to see the Iranian regime as some sort of ally in criminal justice reform is an insult to intellectual debate itself. It’s downright stupid.

Sadeq Larijani has been the lead judicial official for a regime that imprisons and tortures thousands of people for political crimes while publicly hanging gay teenagers. He is sanctioned for a reason. If journalists and pundits want to stake their credibility on defending people like Larijani that’s their business but the juice doesn’t seem like it’s worth the squeeze.

Yet, like clockwork, the New York Times showed up on Saturday with its predictably soft coverage of Iran. The New York Times mentioned the head of the Iranian judiciary as if the only transgressions were being too rough on protestors — this is after 21 have been confirmed dead and hundreds more are being held in little better than dungeons. Thomas Eidbrink briefly noted “Two of those arrested died in prison in the aftermath of the protests, in what officials said were suicides. Protesters say the two men were killed.”

It is understandable that, being in Tehran, Eidbrink would not be antagonistic towards Iran with his coverage as it would land him in jail, but come on! The New York Times covered the protest of the judicial system in America in a completely different light. “Protesters have to be heard and their stories matter” we were told as the narrative was completely shoved down America’s throat after protests ignited in Ferguson, Missouri. Publication after publication covered the protests day in and day out. But now, Iranian protesters get two sentences in the New York Times.


The New York Times myopically excludes all the other things Larijani stands accused of over his 30-plus year career. It is not possible to have an honest and intellectual debate over the Iran Deal policy if the other side has zero intellectual honesty.


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