Iranian minister: gays should be hanged

Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, The Times [of London] has learnt.

For those who say Iran must be supported without criticism because it opposes George Bush, this barbaric Iranian policy towards gays presents an impossible moral quandary, as many of those same people also support gay rights. This is not theoretical, two teenage males were recently hung in Iran because they were gay.

Saying “No war on Iran” can not and should not mean human rights violations in Iran should be ignored.


  1. Unfortunately the U.S. has little moral ground for this kind of criticism, since we as a nation practice execution, recently legalized torture, and don’t grant homosexuals full equal rights. That doesn’t make Iran right, it makes the U.S. wrong– but until we can get our own democratically-elected government to follow the standards we believe in, we’ve got little business applying political pressure to other nations on these matters. In this sense, BushCo’s war on terror has been devastating to the U.S.: it destroyed any moral ground we may have had.

    However, individuals of conscience might seek to support organizations that DO have moral standing: many European nations and their citizenry are as appalled at the U.S as they are at Iran. (That puts us in good company, doesn’t it?)

  2. The post was mainly about those on the Left who say Iran should not be criticized for anything at all. Apparently this very issue is, according to Craig Murray, splitting the Stop The War UK antiwar coalition.

  3. I oppose any military intervention in Iran. Many people I know share this belief. However, I have never once heard anyone claim that Iran should not be criticized, and none of them have turned a blind eye to the many human rights violations sanctioned by the Iranian government.

    This blog sounds to me like a red herring, an attempt to stir further anger against Iran and to marginalize those of us who have a well-reasoned opposition to using our military to depose yet another sovereign nation.

  4. I don’t condone the barbaric practices of any religion (and that includes more than Islam), or any country. But this story has to be taken with a large grain of salt. First, consider the source – an alleged private conversation. Then the rather unlikely claim that this Iranian claimed homosexuals should be “tortured.” Then we have the question of who is this man? Your headline talks about a “Minister,” but the article simply identifies him as “an Iranian leader” and a “high-ranked politician” without further identification. For all we know he’s the Tom Tancredo of Iran.

    Then we come to the evidence. The article talks about “a spate of reports that gay youths were being hanged.” Read the chronology at the end. This “spate of reports” consists four men hanged in 2005, two years ago, and in both cases (two men each) Iran claims, and I don’t see any evidence to prove they are lying, that they were actually executed for rape. If Iran was bent on executing gays for simply being homosexual, unless Ahmadinejad is right and there are no gays in Iran (hardly), then one heck of a lot more people would have been executed than four in 2005. Indeed, looking at the chronology, it would appear that adultery is a lot more dangerous than homosexuality.

    We should note also the final paragraph, which you don’t mention: “Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria apply the death penalty for homosexuality, according to the International Lesbian and Gay Association.” The article tells us that “Britain regularly challenges Iran about its gay hangings, stonings and executions of adulterers and perceived moral criminals, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) papers show.” Are they regularly challenging Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Nigeria as well? I doubt it.

    This is all about the demonization of Iran, and has little or nothing to do with defense of the freedom of gays and lesbians. If the latter, we’d hear a lot more about Saudi Arabia and the others.

  5. Andrew –

    From Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, fired for refusing to ignore the tortures there. STW is the major antiwar coalition in Britain.

    STW itself seems to be splintering over Iran. There is apparently a division over whether it is legitimate to criticise the Iranian government, while opposing any attack on Iran. My own view is that Iran has a dreadful government strongly influenced by theocratic nutters, the human rights situation is very poor, and it has stupidly handled the nuclear weapons question with unhelpful bellicosity. But I also think that the extremism would die down if the US stopped feeding it by mindless antagonism, and that an attack on Iran would be even more disastrous than the attack on Iraq. The tendency to whitewash anyone who opposes Bush – be it Ahmadinejad, Putin, Chavez or whoever – is one of the specimes of flabby thinking which prevents the anti-war case from being put with the force it deserves.”

    Eli –

    I say human rights violations should be challenged anywhere they happen and that the US government silence on the murderous government of Uzbekistan is a crime in and of itself.

  6. “I say human rights violations should be challenged anywhere they happen.”

    But why are so many people talking so much about an alleged human rights violation (alleged because as I said executing someone for rape, which severe in the extreme, is not a human rights violation) that occurred two years ago? There is a reason for that.

    How many people have been executed in Saudi Arabia in 2007? You can probably Google up the answer, but have you seen a single one of those executions mentioned in an American newspaper? I doubt it.

  7. President Bush has an extensive history of homosexuality. Victor Ashe was his roomate at TWO seperate all-male cheerleading schools throughout college. Mr. Ashe is openly gay……and has been convicted of voter fraud of all things. The history of Bush’s homosexuality was to be published by Hunter S. Thompson…unfortunately Mr. Thompson decided to committ suicide just weeks prior to its release and subsequint non-release. The world now knows that Hitler was Jewish. We also must come to terms that President Bush is also gay. Get over it…..although he will probably personally stay out of Iraq for fear that evidence could have him “hung” by the Iranians.

  8. Eli –

    I agree with Craig Murray, I think it strengthens the antiwar case to acknowledge the problems in Iran rather than to avoid them.

    BTW, this very issue has been so contentious on LBO-Talk, a major Left listserv, that the moderator has banned discussion of it!

  9. “I say human rights violations should be challenged anywhere they happen…”

    I agree. But at the same time, it’s disingenuous to focus on the human rights violations of others when doing so distracts from the human rights violations of our government here at home. If our (alleged) democracy cannot maintain human rights standards in a nation where protest is still (so far) allowed, why do we imagine the theocrats in Iran care what we think? Meanwhile, it’s easier (and safer) to focus on Iran’s shortcomings than to confront our own leaders on the subject.

    As wrong as the Iraq War is, morally it pales in comparison to BushCo’s legalization of torture and repeal of habeus corpus– two of the greatest moral steps backward our nation has ever taken. This should have Christians, libertarians, leftists, and decent Americans from all walks of life marching arm in arm down Pennsylvania Avenue– but if that happened, I missed it.

    “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?” (Matthew 7:3-4)

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