Almost 40 years ago I was taken hostage with 51 of my colleagues in Iran and held for 444 days in captivity.
Today, international captives are being held again, including the British-Iranian citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. She was captured in April when she was visiting family with her two-year old daughter. Information about her condition is scarce. We know she’s frail, we know she’s weak, and we know she’s spent many days in solitary confinement.
She is a young mother of British-Iranian citizenship who has dedicated her life to aid and charity work. And, simply because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, she has been taken from her family, and is subject to the brutality of the Iranian prison regime.
This week Theresa May took up the case on her first call as Prime Minister with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Sadly, for the plight of all those currently held captive, I have little faith that the Prime Minister’s plea will bring them any closer to release. For no matter how much Rouhani wishes to present himself as a moderate to the West, it is not in his power to deliver.
Iran is perpetually embroiled in an internal struggle for power, which few people will properly acknowledge. The terrifying fact of the matter is that Rouhani is embroiled in a struggle for influence in his own country, between the Right and the far Right. The President is powerless to act; he is at the mercy of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and the country’s revolutionary courts.
Truth, international law and human decency never enter the equation. The IRGC and the courts simply have two objectives, and when the time is right, they will stop at nothing to get them.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
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