Japan extends its own sanctions on North Korea for another 2 years – tech2.org

Japan extends its own sanctions on North Korea for another 2 years

National review

Biden’s State Department clears Iran’s body count in time for talks

In his first address to the State Department in early February, President Biden ambitiously described the need for the American leadership to counter what he called “this new moment of advance of authoritarianism” around the world. Most political scientists agree that authoritarian states are primarily concerned with quelling internal opposition and attempts to short-circuit the political process within a state, especially using harsh means, to maintain the status quo. By that standard, Iran’s theocracy is certainly authoritarian. From the moment Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his Islamist supporters seized power in Iran in 1979, the regime has existed by maintaining a reign of terror over its citizens. And yet, even while denouncing the “advance of authoritarianism,” the Biden administration engages in a diplomatic tango with the mullahs who run the Islamic Republic. Tomorrow, the United States and Iran will resume talks in Vienna, in what diplomats described as “the most extensive effort to shore up the deal since President Biden took office in January.” Clearly, for this administration, the definition of “authoritarian” is flexible; it seems to disappear when it is ideologically convenient. Unfortunately for its citizens, Iran’s record of actual authoritarian behavior has existed for more than four decades without fading. Iran’s human rights violations include: routine, arbitrary or illegal killings and arrests; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; forced confessions often obtained through torture; transmission of forced confessions in national media; unfair trials without the appearance of due process; sexual abuse; disappearance of individuals; repression of civil liberties, including freedom of the press, freedom of the Internet, academic freedom, and freedom of peaceful assembly; and discrimination against women, girls, the LGBT community, and ethnic and religious minorities. In the wake of street protests that began with the 2009 “Green Movement”, the regime reorganized its intelligence apparatus to create a vast system of surveillance and repression to quell internal dissent. Still, millions of Iranians have since taken to the streets calling for an end to the religious fundamentalist government. The regime responded by shooting protesters with live ammunition. As the State Department recounts in its annual report on human rights under the Trump presidency, this brutal use of force left more than 1,500 dead, 7,000 injured and 12,000 detained in Iranian prisons. However, last month, Biden’s new State Department removed a key paragraph from that report on Iran, which covered the number of Iranian citizens killed by the regime, from 1,500 to 304. The new smaller figure comes from Amnesty International, which in turn has admitted that the evaluation of casualties is incomplete. The larger figure, which is obviously more likely, came from the Iranian regime figures themselves, who admitted that the police had massacred 1,500 protesters. For once, a Democratic administration does not trust Iranian officials. By removing the text, the State Department believes it can allay outrage against its upcoming diplomatic proposals to Tehran by downplaying the mullah’s brutal body count. Like the Obama administration, in which many of these same government officials once served, it is much more difficult to reach a nuclear deal with the mullahs of Tehran the more the American people know about the crimes of the Islamic Republic. If the Biden administration really gets into the business of laundering Iranian body counts, it has a lot of work ahead of it. Just last month in its Balochistan province, Iran again used deadly force against protesters, killing at least 12 people. Even as these atrocities are now downplayed and gone in Washington, Iran’s persistent protest movements have illustrated citizens’ rejection of the regime, a fact that should stop the Biden administration as they seek a new deal with Iran’s mullahs. Biden’s foreign policy team has inherited a weak Iran. The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign left the Iranian economy in tatters, with a currency almost worthless. And the Iranian people’s willingness to confront the regime for its political and social repression, coupled with the government’s failed COVID response, has left the regime vulnerable. President Biden has influence, if he wants to use it. Any contemplation of sanctions relief or negotiation of new accords with Iran must depend on the regime ending its egregious human rights violations and dismantling its invasive surveillance system. To fulfill his own mandate to confront “authoritarianism”, Biden must hold the regime accountable for its grave human rights violations committed against the citizens of Iran.

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