I have been sick to my stomach for days. The criminal Islamist Iranian regime continues to threaten the world and brutalize its own people. It must be stopped. Sadly, too many Americans don’t know, don’t care, or are suffering delusions that the regime can be negotiated with. It cannot. America needs leaders who will not appease and enable the Iranian regime, but who will confront it, and bring it to its long-overdue end.
I have been sick since watching the recent Republican presidential debate. It pains me that Iran was mentioned, neither as a matter of foreign policy nor as a matter of US domestic policy.
I have been sick because, for me, this is very personal. In 2009, I was arrested and sentenced to death by hanging, incarcerated in Iran’s notorious Evin prison for nine months. I was found guilty of the “crime” they call apostasy, simply becoming a Christian in Iran. Throughout my life, I have witnessed misogyny and brutality against women, fear of the regime as a Christian, and evil perpetrated at every level of Iranian society. In prison, I witnessed the suffering of hundreds of women, brutal torture, and the execution of many.
My pain deepened this week, reading about another beautiful young girl, Armita Granvand, who was savagely beaten by Iranian “morality police,” and now is in coma, for the “crime” of not covering her hair “properly.” Of course, she had no trial, not that the Iranian judicial system does anything other than hand down the most severe penalties for offenses against Islam. She was just a 16-year-old girl, pounced upon and beaten.
Rubbing salt in the wounds, the journalist who reported it, Mariam Lotfi, was arrested for covering the story. And the regime threatened and paraded out Armita’s parents, forcing them to claim she simply “fell.”
Another young girl, Zahra Hatami, recently committed suicide after being expelled from school for the “crime” of wearing nail polish. She threw herself from the top of a building near her school, unable to cope with Iran’s gender apartheid. She was in 8th grade.
The Biden administration did not execute these women, but has blood on its hands all the same, having enabled and emboldened the Iranian regime rather than resisting it. It is unconscionable that the Biden Administration was behind the recent $6 billion ransom to the Islamic regime, to free Americans held hostage. America needs a leader who will confront the Iranian regime properly. If the Republican debate is any litmus test, I fear that whoever succeeds Biden will be no better.
The message this sends to the regime is that they can do anything they want and have billions to fund it. It is akin to poking the Iranian people in the eye who are praying and protesting for regime change.
A year ago, another young woman, Mahsa Amini, was also savagely beaten by the “morality police” for the “crime” of not wearing her hijab “properly.” Since then, millions of Iranians have increasingly expressed their voice, their yearning to be out from under the heel of the regime. The Biden Administration betrayed them in 2022, the same way the Obama Administration betrayed the Iranian people during the 2009 Green Revolution, the suffering that I witnessed in prison firsthand with thousands arrested, beaten, and murdered.
Today, Americans, and people of good conscience around the world need to ask from where the Islamist regime gets its legitimacy when millions of Iranians are saying “no” to its evil. By appeasing criminal ayatollahs with the blood of thousands of people on their hands, American leaders who do anything other than fight to end the regime’s terror have blood on their hands too.
Shame for allowing the Iranian president known as “the butcher” a platform in the US to mock human rights and American values by bowing down to terrorists instead of making them accountable and bringing them to justice.
The criminal Islamic regime has ruled by murdering, torturing, raping, and executing many innocent people. They will continue as long as they are in power because they are evil to the core. I could have suffered worse, becoming one of those victims, when I was facing death by hanging because of my faith in Jesus, had it not been for massive international support that put pressure on, and embarrassed, the regime. I was not ransomed but released because of international pressure, without which I would not be alive today.
Pressure, not appeasement, must be both our foreign and domestic policy.
I experienced the brutality of this regime not only in prison but living every day in Iran under the harsh rules of Islam. I witnessed the execution of my best friend and many others. My husband was tortured, suffered 80 lashes on a trumped-up criminal charge of drinking wine, and beaten to death. I will never forget the skin peeling off his back as a result of those lashes.
Experiencing these injustices changed me forever. Even living in the greatest country on earth, I cannot enjoy my freedoms as long as these murderers rule my country of birth, threatening and murdering innocent people in Iran and around the world. Iran has infiltrated U.S. politics, media, and education to corrupt my adoptive country as well.
All Iranians are asking of Western politicians is to not support the murderous regime, not empower them while they are sacrificing their lives for their freedoms. All they are asking is to be given basic human liberties, not closed Western eyes in the face of their suffering.
I feel ill when I see how the West has fallen for Iranian lies, employing policies of appeasement and enabling them. I don’t expect better from the Biden Administration, though I pray that a Republican candidate will stand strong against the Iranian regime. If I were moderating the debate, I would ask questions that all Americans deserve answers to:
If the child-killing ayatollahs had raped, tortured, blinded, and murdered your own children, only because of how they dress or freedom of speech, what would be your policy regarding these terrorists?
If these criminals arrested your own daughter for the “crime” of not having a “proper” Islamic hijab, beating her to death, like Mahsa Amini, or into a coma-like Armita Granvand, what would you do about Iran’s gender apartheid?
If evil people would rape your own daughter before their executions and refuse to give her body to you after being murdered, like what happened to my dear friend, Shirin Alam Hooli, what would you do?
If these misogynist murderers would blind your daughter by shooting at their eyes or throwing acid in her face to disfigure her, what would be your policy toward the Islamic extremists?
When you see the Islamist regime in bed with Russia, providing weapons to brutalize Ukraine and others, will you turn a blind eye, or seek to put an end to this evil and murderous collaboration?
When you hear threats “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” as Iran churns its way to a nuclear weapon, what would your foreign policy be to protect America and the world?
When you see the actions of the Islamist regime, will you send them billions of dollars to empower them, and give them a seat in the international community to mock human rights and laugh at us? Or you would do anything in your power to make them accountable, eliminate the regime, and free Iran and the world from their threats?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Closing our eyes to the injustices Iranians are facing now and empowering the evil regime invites that evil into our homes. Indeed, they have infiltrated deep into our system because of weak leadership and a refusal to see evil for what it is.
It’s been documented that the regime has infiltrated our politics, media, and education to normalize and desensitize against its evil. I experienced this firsthand studying in America, witnessing how some of my professors mislead students that Iranian officials are rational people, and can be dealt with, even with nuclear weapons.
I feel ill when I see our government risking the lives of Americans by hiring those who have been trained and planted by the regime to infiltrate the highest echelons of our government. It is foolish to reject truthtellers and those who truly experienced the brutality of this regime like me and elevate the spies of the regime who lobby for them.
Official Iranian media sent a video showing the map of the world eliminating Israel used to teach children. They brainwash children with their dangerous ideology about destroying an entire country, and millions of Jews, as just another savage way to seek destruction, to spread their evil ideology everywhere.
America must stand strong in the face of these very real facts and threats from Iran and elect strong and competent leaders who understand these threats and who are willing and ready to engage them, not appease and enable them. America needs strong leadership to protect our national security and values, not to bow down to terrorists who threaten us from within and outside our borders. America needs leaders who will not pay the ransom and or sign a nuclear deal with a terrorist regime, but who will sanction and squeeze the regime from outside, while helping freedom-seeking Iranians from within. America needs a strong leader with clear policies to help Iranians put an end to the evil regime, so Iranians will be free, and the world will be free from the regime’s threats.
Marziyeh Amirizadeh is an Iranian American who immigrated to the US after being sentenced to death in Iran for the “crime” of converting to Christianity. She endured months of mental and physical hardships and intense interrogation. She is author of two books (the latest, A Love Journey with God), public speaker, and activist for religious freedom. She has shared her inspiring story throughout the United States and around the world, to bring awareness about the ongoing human rights violations and persecution of women and religious minorities in Iran. She can be reached at www.MarzisJourney.com.