Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani is a name unknown to most Americans. Yet her imminent execution in Iran has elicited protests across the globe. Ashtiani has been found guilty of adultery; tortured by women-hating barbarians and has become a symbol of Shariah-inspired laws that mistreat women.
Ironically and poignantly Iran is on the United Nations Committee for Women’s Rights and will soon join the Executive Committee for the Asian region. Yet remarkably Ambassador Susan Rice has not uttered a word on behalf of Ashtiani, nor has she said anything about Iran’s representation on the U.N. committee, a silence that is deafening.
It is simply outrageous that Iran is in a position to negotiate women’s rights when the government routinely violates those rights. This is a condition comparable to having Nazis investigate the human rights violations of Jews. But to make matters worse, the Obama administration through its conspicuous silence is seemingly complicit in the crime against fundamental rights.
Even the New York Times and the Washington Post have covered the story. Mina Ahadi, a spokesman for the International Committee Against Stoning and Execution, has been engaged in non-stop demonstrations against the Iranian government and its perverse judicial decision.
Yet remarkably Ashtiani probably hasn’t any idea there is vocal support for her cause. Iranian mullahs do not react to appeals of reason and fairness. Only when their positions are watched and challenged, only when nations to whom they wish to appeal respond with condemnation, do the mullahs pay attention.
That explains why the United States’ official inattention to this matter is tragic. Since we have not offered a diplomatic protest and have not uttered a word, to my knowledge, about Iran’s role on the Committee for Women’s Rights, the United States has abandoned its moral leadership in matters affecting all women.
Where is our leadership on this matter? Alas where are the feminists who should be at the barricades over this issue?
This isn’t the first time, and probably will not be the last time, hypocrisy is on display. But it is morally repugnant for a nation that is willing to consider stoning for an alleged legal infraction is in the position of defining rights for women.
If anything, this bizarre set of conditions demonstrates an Iran and its byzantine policies on the ascendency and the United States in decline. If this description is accurate, this can only mean turning the clock back several centuries when women did not have legal rights and were considered “half a man” in a court of justice.
My suspicion is if former Ambassador John Bolton were representing American interests at the United Nations a protest voice would be heard. Unfortunately Ms. Rice, his successor, and President Obama have chosen appeasement as their strategy believing that if we offend the Iranian mullahs, negotiation with them on nuclear weapons and other matters would be impossible.
As I see it, this is a fool’s errand. Our silence on human rights matters is interpreted as acceptance. Every gesture of compliance is a victory for barbarism.
Iranian feminists know what the Obama administration doesn’t: a global campaign against the imminent execution of Sakineh Ashtiani can make a difference. It can cause the mullahs to pause and it can raise questions about the strategy adopted by the U.S. government. It is time to let the world know Iran’s policies belong in the ash heap of history.
Herbert London is president of the Hudson Institute and author of the book Decline and Revival in Higher Education (Transaction Publishers).
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