Tehran is “blessed” with quite a few politicians who are exemplary at saying one thing and meaning something totally different.
Zarif, who until now had steered clear of the issue of human rights, just like Rouhani, finally opened his mouth on the issue and the results could have been funny if they were not so sad: According to Zarif, not only are people in Iran “not jailed for their opinions” but it seems that Tehran actually has a “plan to improve human rights”.
Zarif is “breathtaking” in his hypocrisy” as was headlined in this article.
“Freedom of Opinion” in Tehran
Let’s start with the first statement: Does this mean that all of the political dissidents, journalists, bloggers, activists and opposition leaders that have been or still are in jail (or house arrest) – simply don’t exist?
- Has Sohel Arabi, a facebook blogger on death row because of posting content critical of the regime, ceased to exist?
- Has Nasrin Sotoodeh, a lawyer activist imprisoned for attending a protest agains tacid throwing at women, evaporated?
- Are the hundreds of social media users picked up through the government spying system “Ankaboot” (Spider) non existent?
- Have the opposition leaders Karroubi and Mousavi who are under house arrest since 2009 disappeared?
The list is as long as the people in jail (or released from jail) but you get the point. Zarif would want us to believe that these people are in jail because they broke the law and not because of their opinions. But what is the difference between the regime and its laws if expressing an opinion diverse from the regime’s is illegal?
Tehran’s “Plan” for Human Rights
The last time Rouhani really said anything about changing the state of human rights in Iran was on his campaign trail to the presidency. But since he became president, he has focused on foreign policy or specifically, getting rid of the nuclear sanctions.
Rouhani is ready to talk about every issue you can think of, but when it comes to human rights, he simply zips up. His first year in office may have brought Iran out of isolation but the state of human rights went from bad to worst. In 2014, there were over 750 executions and 2015 is looking like a record breaker with over 1,000 estimated executions.
So what, exactl,y is this miraculous plan which is making human rights worst instead of better? Why isn’t this plan publicized in order to understand what exactly is being planned and what is the timeline? Don’t hold your breath for an answer….
Lies, Denials and Accusations
In the context of lies, denials and accusations, the first that come to mind are the Larijani brothers-in-lies, Sadeq (judiciary chief) and Javad (human rights chief) who systematically deny that Iran even has a human rights problem. Here are a few snippets from Javad’s speech at the last UPR that might make someone think that Iran is actually Norway or New Zealand:
- “The will of the people shall be the basis of authority of the government”.
- Tehran “genuinely and meaningfully” involves its citizens “without any discrimination of any kind”.
- Iran creates and maintains the “necessary measures for the protection of the rights of the vulnerable groups” (especially women and children).
- There are no forced legal marriages of children in Iran.
- All Iranian nationals are “equal before the law”, “have the right to choose their own lawyers” and can count on “the presumption of innocence”.
- Iran prohibits the use of torture and arbitrary arrest.
- Iran has “continuously worked for the promotion of human rights ” (with the UN).
- Iran “adheres to renouncement of all forms of violence” and calls for unity in “combatting all forms of terrorism and extremism”.