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Peter Tatchell on Iran and Gays: It's Like Nazi Germany


British activist Peter Tatchell talks to the BBC regarding the case of gay Iranian teen Mehdi Kazemi, who late last week (after much outcry) was granted a reprieve from deportation by the British government, which previously had rejected his asylum request.

Says Tatchell: "If it was true that there was no homosexuality in Iran, why does the Iranian penal code need to stipulate that sexuality is a crime, and that gay people should be sentenced to death? Obviously, that's absurd. And of course there is not a single openly gay person in Iran because if you declare you're gay you'll be arrested, taken to prison, tortured until you confess, and then executed in public. Every gay and lesbian person in Iran today lives with the fear of a knock on the door in the middle of the night. It's like Nazi Germany with regard to Jews. That's the fear that exists."


Following Reprieve, Gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi Thanks Supporters [tr]
Save Gay Iranian Teen Madhi Kazemi [tr]
Gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi Seeking Asylum in the UK [tr]

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  1. I don't know how true these statements are really about being gay in Iran. I do remember seeing a programme on TV where they showed a gathering of gays in a bar in Iran, being very open about who they were. It was obviously not some secret gathering because there were straight customers there as well. Obviously the "Nazi" authorities are turning a blind eye to this kind of thing going on in thier midst. Ironically the programme was trying to show how hard life is in Iran for gay people, and really failing as it showed them happily flirting out in the open. Obviously many people in Iran and its rulers are really homophobic. But I find it hard to believe that Mr. Tatchell's comparison with Nazi Germany is an accurate one.

    Posted by: RomanR | Mar 17, 2008 10:00:18 AM

  2. Well then, Romanr, I would encourage you to go there and find out for yourself. Then report back after you've arrived and declared yourself to be a gay man in public. I guessed you missed this one:

    Good luck over there!

    Posted by: TroyTooner | Mar 17, 2008 11:54:44 AM

  3. just when you think there are no heroes, Tatchell and more so, Baron Alli, have really gone to bat for Kazemi and thank goodness, as all the others condemned to death a priori for whom they love could have no better champions. To paraphrase, God Save the Queens (literally).

    Posted by: cd | Mar 17, 2008 2:29:24 PM

  4. Why did he say, "It's like Nazi Germany with regard to Jews"? Does he not realize that homosexuals were also kidnapped and sent off to the exact same concentration camps as Jews during the Holocaust? Why does nobody seem to know about this?

    Posted by: Anonymous | Mar 17, 2008 5:28:44 PM

  5. Thankfully there are people like Peter out there! He deserves every good bit of karma we can send him! If only others would have the guts to speak up like Peter. Harvey Milk would be very proud - as am I!

    Posted by: Ian in Toronto | Mar 23, 2008 10:51:47 PM

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