Jafar Panahi has had his 6 year sentence upheld. Marziah Vafamehr has been sentenced to year in jail & 90 lashes. Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Justice is an entirely spurious word & an imaginary concept anyway. One person’s justice is another person’s crime. The distinction between crime & punishment, justice & retribution is almost non-existent. Really dangerous people have to be separated from the rest of us. Maybe less dangerous people do too. But punishment for dissent is not justice & neither can it be given that name.
Iran in many respects is the same as any other dictatorship. There are 2 kinds of dictatorship. One, for example the Soviet system, did have a system as well as a dictator. To have a system, there has to be an ideology of some sort whether it be progressive (in theory at least) or reactionary like Iran, like Chile during the Pinochet period. In practice it amounts to the same thing. It amounts to; any dissenting voice will be dealt with in a cruel & inhuman way.
In dictatorships where there is no system, it is simply cult of the personality. I think Gaddafi & Assad fall into that category. Amin in Uganda, Mobutu in Zaire, countless others unfortunately. Latin America, also, has, in the past, been particularly prone to corrupt & brutal dictatorships.
Iran has somewhat gone under the radar. For whatever reason, most people are unaware of the horrors being carried out by this police state. Iran has a system of competing organs of oppression, the Revolutionary Guard etc & similar fanatical organisations. In fact they are nothing more than gangs of thugs & muslim orthodoxy colludes in this. But the system doesn’t look as though it is about to collapse.
Iran has a peculiar & archaic system in which women have no rights. In which women have to dress from head to toe even in the hottest weather, in which they have to ask permission of their husbands to go out & work. 90 lashes for something or other. Who is going to carry it out anyway? What ghoul, what inadequate male who cannot attract the love & attention of a woman presumably but who can exercise power in this way.
Jafar Panahi is a specially talented film maker. His film The Circle is a masterpiece. It is really tragic that the Iranian authorities can’t see what a jewel in the crown he is. Nasrin Sotoudeh is a specially courageous lawyer & woman. She should be honoured. Marzieh Vafamehr seems to be a specially good actress. I haven’t seen the film, Tehran for Sale yet, but it seems to be possible to look at it online.
In the meantime, Iran’s human rights record goes from bad to worse & all anyone seems to care about is whether at some distant mythical point in the future they might acquire nuclear weapons.