Year after year the accusations against the regime in Iran for systematically abusing human rights are met with fervent denial and accusations of unfairness. The human rights activists within and outside Iran shout “foul” and the Iranian leadership shouts “foul” right back reminding one of a conversation by two deaf, dumb and blind people.
Shaheed Accuses, Larijani Denies
If you listen to Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, the severe human rights abuses in Iran are getting worse over time, despite the promises of “moderate” President Rouhani: in his latest report he notes that the rate of hangings, gender discrimination, incarceration of political opposition, curtailing of freedom of speech etc…are on the rise. Iranians’ human rights, especially if they are religious/gender/sexual/age minorities are abused daily by state laws, state enforcers (police and IRGC) and vigilantes.
He negates the need for a UN special rapporteur to Iran (since Iran doesn’t have a human rights problem); claims that Shaheed is biased against Iran; blames Shaheed for not sharing his research methods and for ineffective research (since he is banned from Iran); accuses Shaheed for fabricating documents as part of a conspiracy to hurt Iran; accuses Shaheed for supporting terrorists “extensively” (because he calls Iranian dissidents advocates of human rights); states that Shaheed as insulted Islam (as a Muslim himself).
Bottom line, he portrays Shaheed as a “media actor who acts for those media which air propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and as simply “irrelevant“.
But then again, Larijani believes that the real problem is a cultural one since Iran rules by the laws of Islam and Shaariah and not by secular laws. According to Larijani, being gay is a sickness, there are no political prisoners, no religious persecution and stoning to death is legitimate. Deaf, dumb and blind.
When Denial Becomes an Abuse in Itself
Shaheed is not alone in his criticism of Iran. He is supported by hundreds of NGO’s and thousands of activists who are horrified by Tehran’s state-legitimized abuses of human rights or as Amnesty put it: “Iran is a serial abuser of human rights”.
Who would agree with the above statement?
- Rouhani, according to all his pre-election promises, would agree.
- The women who were attacked by acid throwers for “bad hijab” would agree.
- The tens of Christian pastors in prison awaiting hanging would agree.
- The hundreds of victims executed would have agreed.
- The thousands of political dissidents and journalists in prison would agree.
- The tens of thousands who are arrested without trial and tortured would agree.
- The hundreds of thousands who never received a fair trial would agree.
- The millions of women who are discriminated at work and in leisure would agree.
- All minorities would agree.
But Tehran keeps on denying and this denial is in itself an abuse of human rights because it doesn’t even acknowledge the abuses perpetrated in its cause.
The Real Problem with Iran – Denial.
The real problem with Iran is not whether it empowers the abusers of human rights but the fact that it is bundled up in its lack of transparency, its inability to deal with criticism and its endless denials. The real problem is deep-seated in a regime which rejects any questioning and requires Iranians to follow the law of Islam as dictated since 1979. The lack of freedom to question, to criticize, to investigate, to accuse…
Iranians are to be “deaf-dumb-blind” in everything except for the laws of the Islamic State.
This “deaf-dumb-blind” requirement isn’t only for Iranians: It is meant for all foreign intervention, whether it be on the issue of human rights or nuclear bombs.
On October 31st, the UN’s human rights council will hold its periodic review (UPR) of the state of human rights in Iran. Judging from Iran’s response to the last UPR four year ago, no need to hold your breath: Iran rejected 41%(86) of the recommendations and has implemented only 2% (5).