World Leaders Must Act Now to Avoid Bloodbath in Iran
Threat of Mass Deaths Grows as Government Seeks to Squash Protests
September 26, 2022—With the government of Iran signaling it intends to silence the protests across Iran that are now well into their second week, the threat of mass killings of protesters by state security forces is real and growing.
“Given the fast pace of events in Iran, we could be facing a Tiananmen moment at any time,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).
“Sources in Iran tell us the supreme leader has ordered the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) to put down the protests at any cost. With the authorities blocking access to the internet in Iran, mass bloodshed could happen under cover of a news blackout,” Ghaemi added.
Given the urgency of the moment, CHRI calls on the U.S. Government (USG) to immediately take the following actions:
- President Biden should make a strong public statement demanding that the Iranian government immediately stops using violence against the protesters and ceases shutting off access to the internet inside the country.
- The USG should work with European governments and other partners such as Canada, Australia and Japan to issue a similar joint statement and urge countries such as Switzerland and Japan who have good relations with Iran to make similar communications directly with the authorities in Iran.
- The USG should take immediate action at the UN Human Rights Council for an emergency session and resolution echoing the concerns over the state’s violence expressed by the OHCHR and UN experts in recent days.
- The USG should also work in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with the EU, the U.K., the Swiss, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Chile among others to rally the UNGA for a strong statement in face of these unfolding events in Iran.
It is critical for the international community to make a unified and strong stand at this moment, and U.S. leadership is essential. “Silence or routine statements by spokespersons will indicate a low prioritization of the crisis in Iran, and as result more killings will happen,” said Ghaemi.
“We’ve seen this playbook before—in November 2019 the Iranian authorities shut down the internet and killed hundreds of protesters, perhaps many more,” Ghaemi added. “With this hardline government under President Raisi, who is himself a major human rights violator, we could see much worse.”