Although it has been claimed that Hassan Rouhani has been running a moderate administration as the president of Iran, the reality is very different. What follows is a brief overview of his record during his first three years from June 2013 to the end of May 2016.
• Over 2,400 executions have been carried out in three years, more than in any similar period in the past 25 years. Victims include political dissidents like Gholamreza Khosravi, an activist of Iran’s principal opposition, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) who was hanged solely for providing financial assistance to a satellite television station supporting the opposition.
• On April 20, 2014 Rouhani described executions as the enforcement of “God’s commandments” and “laws of the parliament that belongs to the people.”
• In March of 2015, Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, stated that despite the claims of Rouhani being a moderate “the overall situation has worsened” with regard to human rights in Iran.
• On March 10, 2016, Shaheed said in a report to the UN Human Rights Council that executions in Iran surged to nearly 1,000 in 2015, the highest level in more than a quarter-century. The number of executions in 2015 was roughly double the number in 2010 and 10 times as many as in 2005.
•Amnesty International underscored in its annual report that Iran has the highest number of executions per capita, the world over.
• Iran remains one of the only countries that continue to execute minors. On October 14, 2015, Amnesty International announced: “Execution of two juvenile offenders in just a few days makes a mockery of Iran’s juvenile justice system.” On October 19, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the execution of the two minors and voiced his concern about the rise in executions in Iran.
• The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on May 31 condemned the "outrageous" flogging of 35 young men and women in Iran a week earlier after they were caught holding a graduation party together in Qazvin, north-west of Tehran. According to official state media, the students were arrested on May 26, interrogated and sentenced to 99 lashes each. In its statement, the UN human rights body said for Iranian authorities "to have meted out this cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment -- which could amount to torture -- is completely disproportionate and abhorrent." It further noted 17 mine workers were reportedly flogged in Western Azerbaijan Province in Iran in May for protesting the dismissal of 350 workers at a gold mine.
• In May of 2016 Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe a British-Iranian mother and charity worker was detained by the Iranian regime's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), separated from her one-year-old baby daughter and held without charge in solitary confinement.
• Ethnic and religious minorities continue to be denied due process and are executed at a higher rate than other Iranians. According to an Amnesty International report dated August 26, 2015, Behrouz Alkhani, a 30-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority, was executed despite the fact that he was awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal.
• Rouhani has continued the crackdown against Iranian Christians, arresting many for simply gathering to pray. The Iranian regime arrested a group of practicing Iranian Christians on Christmas Day at an in-house church in the city of Shiraz, southern Iran. The group had gathered together on December 25 to celebrate the religious holiday when plain-clothes agents of the regime's notorious Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) raided the building.
• Iran is one of the largest customers of Internet censoring and filtering equipment. It also blocks around five million websites dedicated to arts, social issues and news, and works hard to filter the content of blogs and social media.
• Misogyny is at the heart of Iranian regime’s theocratic rule. In October 2014, organized gangs affiliated with the regime committed acid attacks on Iranian women and girls with total impunity. Criminal gangs affiliated with the Iranian regime subjected at least 25 women to acid attacks in cities of Isfahan, Kermanshah and Tehran.
• In October 2014, In defiance of international appeals, the Iranian regime executed Rayhaneh Jabbari, a 26-year-old woman whose crime was defending herself against an intelligence agent who had attempted to rape her. Amnesty International called the execution “another bloody stain on Iran’s human rights record.”
• In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly slammed the flagrant violations of human rights by the Iranian regime. The resolution criticized the Iranian regime's use of inhuman punishments, including flogging and amputations. The UN’s 61st resolution on human rights abuses in Iran also censured the mullahs’ dictatorship for the rise in executions, public hangings and executions of juveniles.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
• The Iranian Armed Forced Deputy Chief of Staff claimed in May that Tehran had test-fired a "high precision ballistic missile with a range of 2000 kilometers" - a violation of United Nations resolution 2231 that prohibits Iran's regime from firing any missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
• Iran’s regime tested a ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon on October 12, 2015. The UN Security Council's Panel of Experts on Iran said in a confidential report in December that the launch showed the rocket met the criteria for being capable of delivering a nuclear weapon. "On the basis of its analysis and findings the Panel concludes that Emad launch is a violation by Iran of paragraph 9 of Security Council resolution 1929," the panel said.
• Iran’s regime made another ballistic missile test on November 21. The liquid-fueled missile had a 1,900 km (1,180 mile) range and was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
• Tehran conducted missile tests for two consecutive days in early March 2016, firing two rockets that it said hit targets over 850 miles away and were capable of reaching Israel.
• In a letter to the defense minister on December 31, 2015, Rouhani ordered an expansion of the Iranian regime’s missile program. "... The armed forces need to quickly and significantly increase their missile capability," Rouhani wrote in a letter to Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, published by the state news agency IRNA.
Continued support for terrorism and export of Islamic extremism
• The Iranian regime is the main culprit in the continuation of the carnage in Syria. Day by day, Iran is expanding its involvement in the conflict raging onward in Syria. It is now evident that the Iranian regime is the invading force in Syria and if it were not for the Iranian regime’s all-out support for the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, he would have been overthrown a long time ago and the situation in that country would have been totally different. The Revolutionary Guards have now dispatched a conglomerate of more than 70,000 troops on the ground, consisting of 10,000 notorious Quds Force members, plus tens of thousands of foot-soldiers and mercenaries from Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan. Tehran is now so utterly embroiled in shoring up the ruthless Assad regime that an Iranian army brigade consisting of the mullahs’ ‘Green Berets’ has been dispatched to Syria as well.
• On January 2, 2016, agents of the regime ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Tehran. They also attacked the Saudi consulate in Mashhad, northeast Iran.
On May 14, 2016, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif heaped praise on Hezbollah top military commander in Syria who died in a Damascus explosion. “I express my condolences on the martyrdom of the great holy fighter Mustafa Badreddine who was full of spirit and heroism in defending the righteous values of Islam and the combatant people of Lebanon,” Zarif said in a message to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. His remarks were carried by the Iranian regime’s state media, including by the official news agency IRNA.
• On September 28, 2015, Rouhani said in an interview with CNN: In Syria “we have no solution but to strengthen the central authority, the central government of that country as the central seat of power.”
• Following Rouhani’s press conference in New York on September 25, 2015, the Associated Press reported, “Rouhani defended the government of President Bashar Assad from charges of brutality in dealing with his opponents. He denied any knowledge of the use of ‘barrel bombs’ against civilians in Syria’s civil war.”
Stagnant economy, rampant corruption, growing protest and dissent
• Despite the nuclear deal, the Iranian economy is in total stagnation. Speaking to the state-run ISNA news agency on April 12, Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Morteza Mir-Bagheri acknowledged that the rate of unemployment has reached 70 percent in 1200 towns and is between 40 and 60 percent in 420 entire counties across Iran.
• On May 17, 2016, Mohammad Soleimani, a member of the regime’s Parliament, said: “During Rouhani’s term in office more than 15 thousand industrial and manufacturing units have been completely shut down and the remaining units are active with less than 50 percent of their capacity.” He added: "Three years into Rouhani's presidency, the number of unemployed people has climbed by about one million. The employment condition in the country is currently critical and as the Minister of Labor lately said, every five minutes one person becomes unemployed."
• Public restiveness has become more evident. There have been growing numbers of protests, strikes in various sectors, and scores of political prisoners have gone on hunger strike.
• Acknowledging the serious "threat" posed by recent demonstrations and mass protests involving teachers, truck drivers, street vendors and trade unionists, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told a recent meeting of senior security officials on May 17 that further repressive measures throughout the country were now a "high priority."
No change in key power players
• On May 24, Ahmad Jannati, a notorious cleric who is among the closest confidants of Supreme Leader Khamenei, was chosen as the head of the new Assembly of Experts. Jannati, 90, is also the chairman of the Guardian Council, a vetting body that must approve all laws adopted by the Parliament according to the regime's fundamentalist constitution.