...Since January, Iran has been on an execution binge. In February, the United Nations reported that the rate of executions in Iran had increased threefold in 2011 over the previous year. Amnesty International reported that Iran is the only country this year known to have executed juvenile offenders, a violation of international law. And though exact numbers are difficult to come by, it is now estimated by human rights organizations that more than 140 people have been executed in Iran so far this year, a rate that, if continued, would push the number far past the total for 2010.
...In response to Iran's brazen attempts to intimidate and terrorize its own people, United Against Nuclear Iran has launched a Cranes Campaign. The goal is to educate crane manufacturers worldwide about the Iranian regime's clear misuse of their products and how such use can tarnish their brand image. We know that these companies — including the Swiss company Liebherr, China's XCMG and the Japanese firms Tadano and UNIC — do not in any way condone the use of their cranes to stage public executions. That is why they should take the principled stand of renouncing their business ties with the regime until Iran becomes a civilized member of the international community. Already, some companies are doing just that. U.S. construction manufacturers Terex Corp. and Caterpillar and Japan's Komatsu have all ended their business ties with Iran.
Severing business dealings sends an unequivocal message to leaders in Iran that the international community finds their activities abhorrent. But that is just a start. Governments from around the world need to scrutinize the worsening human rights situation and call Iran to account.
...The lesson Iran learned from the uprisings of 2009 — and the one it is trying to impart to other leaders in the region — is that the way to quash peaceful dissent is through a public display of brute force, terror, intimidation and humiliation. The proper response to that from the international community must be resolute and firm: Iran's behavior is unacceptable and far outside the boundaries of civilized society. Civilized nations, and the businesses based in them, should never be complicit.