Iranians who’ve fled to the West say that the hardliner regime has grown more oppressive since obtaining its nuclear deal with the United States and its five partners in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015, despite hopes that it would temper Iran’s leadership.
Protesters of the regime say that billions of U.S. dollars shipped to Iran and the release of frozen Iranian assets have made their way to Iran’s militaries (directly or indirectly affiliated with Iran) in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.
Shabnam Madadzdeh, a 29-year-old student organizer at Tehran’s Tarbiat Moalem University who spent five years in confinement in Iranian prisons, including Evin prison, escaped Iran through a covert network operated by the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (MEK) where she surfaced in France. In an interview with the Washington Times, she had this to say on what is really going on inside Iran since the nuclear deal:
“Every deal, every negotiation with the regime, it means additional gallows in Iran. Iranian people do not want negotiations with this regime, and they hate appeasement policy with this regime. They want the world, European governments and United Nations and the U.S. to stay firmly against the regime’s policy of violence against human rights — the regime’s crimes in Iran and Syria and exporting terrorism in the world. Iranian people want a change in regime by themselves and resistance.”
In 2010, the State Department produced a report on human rights violations in Iran where it had specifically named the ruthless prosecutor who targeted and imprisoned dissidents of the regime; one of those imprisoned was Ms. Madadzadeh. The report read:
“Tehran public prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, the most notorious persecutor of political dissidents and critics. According to international press reports, Mortazavi was put in charge of interrogations at Evin prison, where most of the  post-election protesters were detained. On February 19, authorities arrested Shabnam Madadzadeh, a member of the Islamic Association and deputy general secretary of the student organization Tahkim Vahdat, along with her brother Farzad Madadzadeh. Authorities accused her of disseminating propaganda against the state and ‘enmity with God.’ Despite her lawyer’s protests against her detention, the judge refused to assign a bond for her release, arguing that she was a flight risk. As of mid-October, she was reportedly being held in the women’s general section of Evin prison.”
The U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon recently issued a report that condemned Iran for its maltreatment against its own people. The report read:
“Human rights violations have continued at an alarming rate; in particular, a significant number of executions took place, including of individuals who were juveniles at the time of the alleged offense; corporal punishment, including flogging, persisted; the treatment of journalists and human rights defenders remained of concern, as raised by several United Nations human rights mechanisms; and religious and ethnic minorities continued to face persecution and prosecution. At least 966 people were reportedly executed in 2015, the highest such number in over two decades, in continuation of an upward trend that began in 2008. During the first half of 2016, at least 200 people were executed. Executions are often carried out following trials that fall short of the international fair trial standards guaranteed.”
Tehran states that the bulk of executions were for drug trafficking.
Ms. Madadzadeh said that the money that is currently flowing into Iran from the West is being used for the Revolutionary Guard Corps and not for humanitarian efforts of any kind. She said:
“Nothing changed in Iran’s people’s life, the deal was just with the regime. The guards of the regime, the one that was spending money to export terrorism and was spent in Syria and [for] the suppression of the Iranian people. Not for the freedom. Not for people. “
Iran continues to test the limits of the nuclear deal, thus giving President-elect Trump more cause to reexamine and/or renegotiate the terms of the agreement.