the Disillusioned kid: We will hang the last imperialist with the entrails of the last theocrat...
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Saturday, August 13, 2005

We will hang the last imperialist with the entrails of the last theocrat...

The execution in July of two teenagers in Iran for the "crime" of homosexuality has attracted widespread criticism and quite rightly. Doug Ireland now reports that a further two gay men - Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka - have been tried and sentenced to be executed for homosexuality on August 28, in the Iranian city of Arak. Ireland notes that surveillance and repression of homosexuals under the clerical regime appears to have got worse since the international attention focused on last month's hangings. All told this portends a bleak future for Iranians of the "wrong" sexuality.

These developments also pose some difficult strategic and tactical questions for activists in the west trying to build solidarity with those resisting the Iranian regime. Insofar as international attention has exacerbated the situation it could be argued that we are better off doing nothing, but it should be pointed out that the initial hangings took place *before* the new crackdown. Sitting back and doing nothing is hardly an admirable response however it is wrapped up. This leads us to an obvious question: what is to be done?

Pete Tatchell calls for the international community "to treat Iran as a pariah state, break off diplomatic relations, impose trade sanctions and give practical support to the democratic and left opposition inside Iran." I have no problem with the pariah state business, but the imposition of sanctions seems more problematic; the US already imposes such sanctions and they seem to have little effect. Tatchell's call for the support of "democratic and left opposition inside Iran" is fine and decent, but unlikely to be heeded by the powerful who have rarely supported opposition groups on the basis of their principles, their subservience to the interests of power being a much more significant factor in the selection process.

If the drums of war continue to be beaten by the White House, not an unrealistic possibility - although I think a war with Iran is far from certain at the present time - then such questions will be thrown into stark contrast. Those of us interested in building a better world must find a way to beat a path distinct from that of both the incumbent Iranian regime and US-led imperialism. Linking up with the "democratic and left opposition inside Iran" to which Tatchell refers is an important part of that.

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