Iranian delegation’s reaction to Ahmad Shaheed’s recent report
HRANA News Agency – Islamic Republic of Iran delegation to the United Nations on Wednesday (18th October) after the release of the latest report of Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Iran, has sent a document to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Council and reflected its response to the report in some cases including the freedom of expression and association and rights of minorities in Iran.
Undoubtedly the publishers of this document in the office of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Geneva know the facts better than anyone else and are more aware of the truth and real situation in Iran. It is evident that their job is to deliver such declarations and that is what they are getting paid for. But to just remind them once more that this way of earning money is not a very moral one, I want to draw the attention of these gentlemen to these simple points about they have mentioned in their released document:
1) The Iranian delegation has claimed that what Mr. Shaheed has declared in his report about the none-adjustability of presidential elections with international standards is “political” and “engineered”.
Here are some facts about this claim:
First of all the mechanism of presidential elections in Iran is against the international standards of a free election by its nature. The Guardian Council as a watchdog of the leader denies the right of a half of Iranian society to be nominated for the presidential office. This none elected body rejects the eligibility of any person who may have some different viewpoints with Supreme Leader. The Ayatollahs in this Council even rejected the eligibility of another Ayatollah who has been a key figure from the very first days of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani).
Secondly these gentlemen who use the word “engineered” for Mr. Shaheed’s report are deputies of a regime whose military arm (Revolutionary Guard) recognizes the “ Engineering of Elections” as one its “natural duties”. If there is any “engineering” in this report that would be certainly from the powerful lobby of Islamic Republic to put pressure on Mr. Shaheed to prevent him from telling the whole truth about the real catastrophic situation of human rights in Iran and just pointing out the most evidence examples of violating the basic rights of Iranian citizens. Mr. Shaheed has not talked about the awful situation of Iranian prisons and the violation of the basic rights of none political prisoners as much as he should. Mr. Shaheed has not mentioned in detail the situation of more than 81 Baha’i prisoners in different cities of Iran. Mr. Shaheed is not putting enough pressure on Iranian regime about the seizing the properties of Baha’is by this regime. He has also not mentioned the forced exile of Baha’i population from their original regions in Iran by Iranian security forces. These are just some few examples of the effect of Iranian lobby pressure on the reports of Ahmad Shaheed.
2) This office also rejected any restriction on freedom of expression in Iran claiming that the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran ensures freedoms of expression, information and association or assembly.
First of all we can see some very clear samples of freedom of speech and expression in the Islamic Republic in the verdicts issued by 15th and 25th of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran by Judge Salavati and Judge Moghise almost every day!!!
secondly the recognition of some rights and principles in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic does not necessarily mean that government is giving these rights to people, especially in a country where the Supreme Leader knows himself “over constitution” not “under constitution” and he not only can rule against the Constitution but also have also the ability to suspend the provisions of Islamic Sharia.
3) Another part of the document claims that imprisonment of journalists and bloggers, is not related to freedom of expression, but because those journalists have committed some acts which are considered as a “crime” according the Iranian Law.
These diplomats are right in this part of their declaration as these journalists have really committed a “crime” according to Iranian law but the problem is that what Iranian law declares as a crime is called freedom of speech in the international instruments on human rights! The Islamic penal code has certainly defined any criticism of the government a crime: the “propaganda against the Islamic Republic”. In a country where the leader has issued a “fatwa” declaring that talking about the corruption and injustice of authorities is forbidden, publishing an article about the injustices and wrong actions of government would be definitely a crime.
That’s why Iran has become one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists!
Regarding the freedom of assembly and association in Iran, we can find some examples of such freedom in the suppression of peaceful rallies of people following the 2009 elections and even in the arrest of people who were voluntarily helping the earthquake casualties in Azerbaijan Provence.
The Iranian Regime claims the freedom of association while it does not tolerate existence of any labor union in the country and cracks down even a simple peaceful gathering of workers claiming their unpaid salaries!
4) These diplomats have also pointed out that what is mentioned in Shaheed’s report about the executions and use of very violent punishments by Iranian judiciary is wrong and any observer should take the “cultural situations” of each particular country into consideration when evaluating the legal and judicial situation in that state.
First of all the cultural conditions regarding the drug abuse, thanks to thirty four years of the Islamic governance, is in such a terrible situation that the deterrent effect of the death penalty for drug carriers has no effect on reduce of the production and consumption of drugs! So exactly because of taking the cultural situation in Iran into consideration, we believe that Islamic Republic is taking the lives of people who are themselves victims of cultural problems.
Secondly Iranian culture and civilization have not fall down into a level in which Iranians deserve to have the first grade in number of executions in the world! Islamic Republic is not executing people in Iran to establish the right and proper order and reduce the rate of crimes because it is absolutely proven that not only the capital punishment has no effect in decrease of crimes rate but also is not a legitimate instrument to reach that conclusion. Iranian Regime is just using execution and other violent punishments as an instrument to frighten people and preserve its dominance over the situation in Iran.
5) The Iranian representatives in Geneva, have described the Shaheed’s statement about discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran as “wrong”.
First of all anyone who just take a look at Iranian civil and criminal codes can easily see the examples of that kind of discrimination. Giving the right to divorce exclusively to men, opening the way to escape from Stoning punishment for men and closing it for women, relying the right of women to have a passport to the convenience of their husbands, discrimination in punishment of murder when the victim is not a Muslim and denying access to the majority of public or governmental jobs for none-Shia citizens are just some few examples of such legal discriminations in Iranian laws.
Secondly, arrests of dozens of Christian priests, imprisonment of Baha’i academics, preventing Baha’is from attending university and even preventing Sunnis from holding Fitr and Azdha prayers in large cities are only a small part of the whole reality about this part of the Shaheed’s report.
6) The Office also responded to Shaheed’s report by claiming that it is Baha’i community itself that imposes the audit of opinions on Baha’is. It is also claimed that International House of Justice of Baha’i faith is preventing the Baha’i youths from attending universities and the Islamic Republic has no problem with allowing them into the universities.
The first reality that shows the falseness of this argument is that according to very basic teachings of Baha’i faith, each Baha’i should do research about the true religion himself and individually to be accepted as a member in the Baha’i community. In addition, each type of audit opinion and even question about the practice of religious duties is strictly prohibited in this faith.
Secondly if the Islamic Republic is true in this claim, it can allow some Baha’is in Iran to share their own experiences in this regard with free Medias.
It should also explain that why its judiciary system has declared the BIHE as an illegal institute and convicted its professors to long periods of jail just because of providing the access to higher education for Baha’is inside Iran?
We would be very happy to hear the explanation of those diplomats in Geneva about several cases of Baha’i student fired out from universities in Iran just after that government found out about their religion.
Kavian S. Milani, M.D