A week prior to the Persian New Year (March 21st) a number of high profile political activists, scholars and journalists associated with the Green movement have been release from Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, people to the likes of Kian Tajbakhsh, Leili Farhadpour, Vahid Pourostad, Somayeh Momeni and Mostafa Tajzadeh.
While news of their release has been publicized in Iran and around the world, the secret police, a shadow militia group under the order of the sepah and accountable to no one, continues to arrest figures such as Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi and tens of lesser known activists, students and women’s rights advocates under the pretense of working for the United States, having affiliations to opposition groups outside of Iran, and for being part of the “Iran proxy group” assisting Iranians bypass state internet filtering. All bogus charges of course, but nevertheless, it is a method the regime uses to clamp down on discontent and freedom loving people that are desperately trying to win back their civil liberties, establish democracy and have greater say in government.
What is of great importance however is that such token gestures ought not to divert the Green movement and the world’s attention from the true nature of this military dictatorship and its threat, both domestically and internationally. This is a cunning and calculated regime with a mission to preserve power by suppressing its people and fooling the international community into passivity at all cost.
And so in my opinion what the free world can do best to support the Iranian people is to continue taking a firm stance on human rights and shaming the regime for its brutality, while in parallel, freezing all economic and business activities with the country. This will tilt the balance of power in favor of the Iranian people as they push forward in their pursuit of institutional political change in their country.