As the ayatollahs hijacked the 1979 revolution in Iran, it ushered in what Khomeini and his supporters promised would be an Islamic democracy, but what in reality quickly revealed itself to be a repressive dictatorship.
The outline for Khomeini’s philosophy of government was no secret. In 1970, he published a book, Hokumat-i Eslami (“Islamic Government) which fleshed out the parameters and workings of a government based on the idea of absolute rule of clerics. He infused his reading of Islamic history and philosophy with religious hatred. Hence, he declares in just the second paragraph of the book, “From the very beginning, the historic movement of Islam has had to contend with the Jews, for it was they who first established anti-Islamic propaganda and engaged in various stratagems, and as you can see, this activity continues down to the present.” Later in the text, he declared, “If the rulers of the Muslim countries truly represented the believers and enacted God’s ordinances… then a handful of wretched Jews (the agents of America, Britain, and other foreign powers) would never have been able to accomplish what they have.”
His castigation of Jews was little compared to his hatred of Baha’is. “In our own city of Tehran now there are centers of evil propaganda run by the churches, the Zionists, and the Baha’is in order to lead our people astray and make them abandon the ordinances and teachings of Islam. Do we not have a duty to destroy these centers that are damaging to Islam?” American pastor Saeed Abedini continues to be held hostage in Iran; he was imprisoned because of his unapologetic embrace of Christianity.
While apologists for Iran like to praise the regime’s protection of minorities—here’s The New York Times’ Thomas Erdbrink and here’s Roger Cohen, also in The New York Times. To cite 20,000 Jews living in Iran is one thing; to fail to acknowledge that population has declined more than 80 percent since the 1979 revolution suggests quite another. Many Jews fled to Israel or the United States, but the Baha’is had nowhere to go. Upon seizing the reins of power, Khomeini and his band of clerics were merciless to the Baha’is. Many were imprisoned, and some were executed. All were fired from government jobs, and their private employers were pressured to fire them. Baha’i students were forced from universities. Today, Baha’is are subject to arbitrary arrest, and even Baha’i children find themselves imprisoned.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry justify their outreach to Iran in the belief that they can moderate the ayatollahs and nudge the regime into the community of nations. But will the vision of the regime leadership really change? If the latest from Saham News, the newspaper of the so-called reformist National Trust Party s any indication, then the answer is no. This article entitled “A Secret Order from the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution: Progress and Advancement of the Baha’is Must Be Blocked” details the priority the regime continues to place on suppressing if not murdering Baha’is to the current day. Thirty-six years of the ayatollahs’ rule has not moderated the extremist fervor of those who craft the regime’s policies. Religious persecution in Iran is on the rise.
As the United States abandons moral clarity and its traditional support for the Iranian people in favor of an unpopular regime that represses them, then the White House must recognize that it will be standing witness to the suppression of human rights and religious freedom in Iran to a degree not seen since the chaotic months following Khomeini’s 1979 return.