Iran Decries Saudis' Crimes - Then Commits Worse Against Its Own

by Ammar Anwer

Iran has recently come out in criticism of Saudi Arabia for unjust executions, which is an action of staggering hypocrisy and pretense. The truth is that Iran itself poses just as serious a threat to Western Liberal values as the Saudis. It criticizes Saudi Arabia for executing people, but itself carries out similar executions of people. In 2014, Iran admitted to executing 289 people. However, unofficial reports, mostly from bereaved family members, indicate that at least a further 454 were hanged in secret without public acknowledgement. This makes a total of 743 executions, according to Amnesty International. 

Iran is the world’s leading executioner of juvenile offenders, with 14 being hanged in 2014. At least 160 young people are currently on death row for crimes they committed when they were children. 

Iran is the world’s leading executioner of  juvenile offenders, with 14 being hanged in 2014. At least 160 young people are currently on death row for crimes they committed when they were children. 

Under Iranian law, a girl can be hanged or stoned to death from the age of 9 lunar years (8 years and 9 months), and a boy from the age of 15 lunar years (14 years and 7 months) – or younger if he is capable of producing sperm. 

Iran criticizes the Saudi style of execution – beheading - but itself chooses arguably more gruesome methods which cause a slower and more painful death. These methods include, among others, stoning to death, with instructions that the stones must not be too bi, in order for the person to not die too quickly or without prolonged suffering. 

When conducting hangings, Iran does not use the drop method, which causes near instant death. It practices slow strangulation, where the condemned person is hoisted on a crane by the neck and sadistically left to slowly asphyxiate, often writhing in agony for several minutes.  

Iran criticizes Saudi Arabia for promoting Wahhabism in different countries but itself supports and aids terrorist organization like Hezbollah. Many people underestimate the threat posed by Hezbollah, which can often lead to dangerous security lapses, considering that this terrorist organization has been involved in many a number of attacks over the years. 

Iran also condemns Saudi intervention in different states but itself supports tyrants like Bashar Al Assad who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent people of his own country. Iran is also covertly recruiting many Afghan Shias to fight for the Syrian President Bashar al Assad. It is important to remember that Iran continuously criticizes Saudi Arabia for promoting sectarianism in different countries by funding terrorist organizations but it is doing exactly the same thing. 

Iran criticizes Saudi Arabia for persecuting Shia Muslims, but persecutes its own Sunni Muslim citizens. Iran is a Shia Muslim state and those who do not adhere to the Shia version of Islam are often discriminated and treated with disrespect. According to the  Amnesty International  there is not a single Sunni Mosque in Tehran, the Iranian capital. 

In Iran, Sunnis are not allowed to organize Separate Eid prayers , they are forced to pray behind a Shia Imam. This is against Sunni beliefs and the Iranian stance on this issue is a clear violation of freedom of religion. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran is modeled on the concept of Vilayat e Faqih which was proposed by Ayatollah Khomeini. According to this concept, in the absence of the 12 th Shia Imam/Messiah, a cleric can attain guardianship and prepare the ground for his arrival. It also says that Ulemas (Scholars) can become the 12 th imam’s representatives assuming his powers to a certain extent. 

Iran has been exporting this concept to a number of other countries. 

A former  Iranian diplomat  who defected to Norway in 2010 warned: 

“If Iran is given more time, it will acquire the knowledge necessary to build a nuclear bomb within a year.” Asked whether it would use the bomb against Israel, he said: “If Iran gets to the point where it has an atomic bomb, it will certainly use it, against Israel or any other [enemy] country.”  

‘...“They are busying themselves with ideological preparations for the arrival of the hidden Imam and are preparing the ground for that in a practical way; for this purpose, they are willing to spill much blood and destroy many countries.”’ 

He also said that when he was stationed at the Tehran International Airport, he noticed that many people from the Hezbollah group used to come to acquire information and send it back to Lebanon. He said that Hezbollah had close ties with both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. 

Mohammad Reza Heydari was appointed as Iran’s ambassador to Norway in 2008 but in 2010 he resigned and since then, has been residing in Norway. His family still lives in Iran and continuously reminds Heydari not to publicly speak against the Iranian government because it may put their lives in danger. 

<i>In Iran, criticizing the Supreme leader or Ayatollah Khomeini can result in imprisonment.</i>
In Iran, criticizing the Supreme leader or Ayatollah Khomeini can result in imprisonment.

In Iran, criticizing the Supreme leader or Ayatollah Khomeini can result in imprisonment. In 2007, seven journalists who worked for the Bandar Abbas Weekly, Tammadan-e-Hormozgan were arrested for publishing a satirical article on Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Due to numerous violations of human rights, Iran has been sanctioned a number of times by the international community. Iran itself has always denied that such violations ever took place, but it is difficult to dispute the facts. 

I am very surprised that many liberals in Pakistan justifiably criticize Saudi Arabia, but when it comes to Iran they go completely silent and into denial about all the atrocities of this theocratic regime. Iran and Saudi Arabia are both brutal regimes that deserve our equal criticism for violating fundamental human rights and being involved in a constant proxy war in the Middle East. 

You cannot be a human rights activist or a liberal if you criticize Saudi Arabia for violating human rights but remain silent when it comes to the crimes of Iran. You cannot be against extremism if you criticize Saudi Arabia for promoting sectarianism in different countries but remain silent on similar endeavors by Iran. 

It is time that we realize that both these states are a threat to humanity and we should make a firm stand against them. Anything short of this would be nothing but cherry picking and apologia. 


Ammar Anwer is a student and blogger with an interest in Theology, Social Sciences and History. He blogs for The Nation.

The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Movements. Crowdsourcing the struggle for human rights. Be part of the solution at .  
















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