Ashton, the Regime IS the Message

regime rights

Human Rights and the Nuclear Program

The issue of human rights surrounding Catherine Ashton’s visit in Tehran might seem to some a meaningless sidetrack on the highway to negotiate a permanent deal with Tehran on its nuclear program. It isn’t.

The problem with Tehran’s nuclear program, has been its lack of transparency and its unwillingness to set the infamous Iranian pride aside long enough to focus on peaceful relations with the rest of the world. Its unwillingness to accept UN resolutions and wall-to-wall criticism on the nature of its nuclear program were coupled with an arrogant defiance and macho bravado that fuelled accusations and threats that seemed condescending and border-line paranoid to the West. And although President Rouhani’s smile spearheaded the rapprochement with the West, it is the never ending rants of the hardliners that remind us that Tehran might not yet have the humility needed to accept that if everyone says that there is a problem in the contested nuclear program, there simply is one.

Now, substitute the words “nuclear program” in this paragraph to “human rights problem” and notice that it rings true in the same manner. They are both symptoms of the main problem…the bigoted regime that places Islamic Revolutionary values above all else.

Rants and Rebuttals

Ashton’s primary objective in Tehran was obviously the nuclear deal and her meetings with Rouhani and Zarif retained the essence of Rouhani’s hash tag #Constructive_Engagement.

But her two hour meeting in the Austrian embassy with 7 Iranian women’s rights activists brought the realities of the regime back into the spotlight. The next day, posters of Ashton morphed with Saddam Hussein over pictures of dead babies hit the streets and the angry rants followed:


And just as the rants from Tehran faded into background echoes, Dr. Shaheed Ahmed, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights, opened a press conference regarding his latest report on Iran with this statement: “Today, I report with deep regret that despite overtures and announcements emanating from the newly elected Iranian government, and perhaps even in spite of modest attempts to take steps towards reform, the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran remains of serious concern.” Un Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon joined Ahmed and “sharply rebuked the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, for failing to improve human rights since taking office in August“.

Yes, Rouhani would prefer to separate the negotiations with the West on the nuclear program from the issue of human rights but, unfortunately, both are intrinsically connected to the same regime.


4 thoughts on “Ashton, the Regime IS the Message

  1. US foreign policy since the advent of the Cold War has always been to build international agreements based on proven and verifiable steps towards normalization and a key component of those steps has been to improve human rights in whatever nation we are dealing with. Be it the plight of Soviet dissidents or North Korean defectors, the US has long maintained that improvements in a nation’s internal political environment has been an accurate bellwether of its ability to live up to international agreements. Iran has made no such effort to improve its human rights situation and in fact has done the opposite since Hassan Rouhani’s election, stepping up dramatically its rate of public executions and arrest and imprisonment of prisoners for political or religious reasons.

    • Its seemed for a while, judging from Rouhani’s approach to foreign policy that there would be major changes…i think it was too much change in too short a time.

  2. Pingback: Ashton, the Regime IS the Message (part 2) | IRAN 24/07

  3. Pingback: Tehran outraged at support for Narges | IRAN 24/07

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