Please read THIS.
This article from the Wall Street Journal depicts juveniles on death row and the recent turn to the right in Iran (post US invasion of Iraq) that has fueled the policy.
As the election in Iran approaches on June 12th, I have been writing about it repeatedly and for the most part these diaries have been well received. There are some comments however, that cite executions of juveniles, the oppression of the current government, speculation that a change in the Presidency will change nothing, etc.
Reading the above cited article, one can see that there are forces in Iran that are fighting hard against these injustices. In addition, Khatami's regime was developing a much better human rights record and so a change in the President can make a difference.
To go over recent history. In 2001, Iran helped the US in Afghanistan and they were rewarded by our worst President ever by being placed in the "Axis of Evil" in January of 2002. It went all down hill from there. The invasion of Iraq saw a hard turn to the right in Iran as the Guardian Council took Reform Party candidates off the ballot and cut Khatami's Majlis support out from under him. Ahmadinejad won in 2005 and any reform came to a dead stop and in fact the harshest repression since the Revolution has taken place since then.
Well this year, Khatami is back supporting and campaigning for Mir-Hossein Mousavi and their campaign is gaining enthusiastic support. Moreover, Mousavi's wife is campaigning as well as putting Women's Rights front and center in the campaign. See here:
More importantly, with the election two weeks from today--their campaign is being allowed to express itself freely. I realize that Conservative Forces will re-trench and re-group, but that does not mean that winning will not make a difference or that it still is not vitally important. Change will take time, but these are the first steps, and if Mousavi wins the US needs to do all it can to make sure that moderate government is rewarded. If moderate government brings about better economic opportunity for Iranians then reforms will continue. If rhetoric is dialed down, and tensions relax in the Middle East, then reforms will continue.
Please also keep this in mind--many people on this site are unhappy with Obama's rate of progress on the issues we care about. If Mousavi is elected in June he will have a harder job than Obama--so please, for the love of God, have a little patience. Read the WSJ article linked in the Intro again--these are very real and important issues and this election will make a difference. It will not solve it all by the end of 2009, but progress will be made. It took years to create these problems it will take years to fix the problems and the attitudes that help intolerance thrive. Remember--we have those problems too.