Russia is apparently quite happy about the Iran election 2017 results. President Hassan Rouhani enjoyed an emphatic win in the presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a congratulatory message to his Iranian counterpart.
According to a translated version of the Kremlin statement, Putin sent a telegram to Rouhani congratulating him on a convincing victory in the Iranian presidential election. The Russian president has also expressed his willingness to build stronger ties with the Middle Eastern country. He wants to build more effective partnerships with Rouhani on various bilateral and international issues.
Now, here is one common thing about the two presidents. Both the presidents have been accused of massive human rights violations. According to various reports, there are numerous incidents of such violations under these two leaders’ rule.
After President Rouhani assumed office in 2013, the regime has been accused of systemic human rights abuses. According to the February 2014 annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices by the U.S. State Department, the Iranian government conducted huge human rights violations during the electoral process. Because of that, the people of the Islamic republic were not allowed to have a free and fair election to change their government. The report states that there were “restrictions on civil liberties, including the freedoms of assembly, speech, and press; and disregard for the physical integrity of persons whom it arbitrarily and unlawfully detained, tortured, or killed,” the Foreign Policy Initiative reported.
According to a Reuters report, President Rouhani hardly did anything to improve the human rights situations in the country. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and his forces have been responsible for suppressing people’s rights, and the president literally did nothing to stop it, according to a United Nations investigator’s report in 2014. At that time, the country held around 900 political prisoners, including journalists, lawyers, and religious activists. Iran, however, dismisses the allegations and accuses the West of defaming the country with such “excuses.”
The Iranian regime, under Rouhani’s leadership, executed poet Hashem Shaabani for being an “enemy of God.” The poet apparently criticized God, and the regime has a clear punishment for such crimes: death. Shaabani, in fact, spoke out against the repression of ethnic Arabs in the Khuzestan province, and that made him the “enemy.” The incident shook the people who considered Rouhani as a “moderate,” The Daily Beast noted.
On the other hand, there is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is known for having his own typical ways of dealing with things. He is often accused of not caring much for international laws. Putin is also known for his established reputation of being “anti-American.” However, back home, there are various allegations against him for endorsing human rights violations.
According to a Human Rights Watch report in 2013, President Putin unleashed a crackdown on civil society “unprecedented in the country’s post-Soviet history.”
“The authorities have introduced a series of restrictive laws, harassed, intimidated and in several case[s] imprisoned political activists, interfered in the work of NGOs and sought to cast government critics as clandestine enemies,” The Telegraph quoted the HRW report.
Putin targeted Golos, a Russian group which played a major role in reporting fraud during the election that got him re-elected. The Putin government adopted a law to ban U.S. funding for political activities by non-governmental organizations. It also banned groups that worked “against Russia’s interests.”
In the coming days, ties between Russia and Iran might get even stronger. These two countries are known for “anti-Western” policies, and that may bring them even closer. Now that Iran has “democratically” re-elected Rouhani, Russia will have the chance to do the same for President Putin in March 2018. Meanwhile, human rights advocates continue to speak out against the two presidents.
[Featured Image by Alexey Filippov/Host Photo Agency/Ria Novosti via Getty Images]