What are Iranian criminals doing in the UN Human Rights Council?
Two months have passed since Iran’s uprising. A revolt that continues to wreak havoc across the ruling regime in Iran. Senior officials, terrified of the consequences and awaiting punishments in the near future from the Iranian people, are busy pointing fingers at others for years of crimes and crackdown.
Two such examples vividly explain this reality.
The horrific murder of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi has remained silent for years. She was arrested in Iran back in 2003 and murdered after horrific torture. Her body was not given to her family and buried by the authorities, while completely denying the murder. Reports indicate they splashed her body with acid to destroy any evidence of crimes.
Nearly 15 years later, Ali Younesi, former intelligence minister under Mohammad Khatami, acknowledges the fact that authorities murdered her. However, to deny any role for himself and the “reformist” Khatami he accused former Tehran public prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi as the main individual behind Kazemi’s death.
Another case involves the quelling of the 1999 Tehran University crackdown, again under Khatami’s watch. While more than 18 years have passed, we are now hearing Hassan Firouzabadi, currently the military advisor of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and armed forces chief of staff at the time, saying very specifically how the crackdown was carried out in agreement with Khatami and current President Hassan Rouhani, both of whom claim to be “moderates” and/or “reformists.”
In a February 25th interview with the Fars news agency, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Firouzabadi explains as the 1999 student uprising began he went to see Rouhani – then Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council – and said Tehran is witnessing a coup deta. If we don’t contain a number of places we will not be able to control the capital, Firouzabadi said at the time, adding IRGC units must be dispatched.
Rouhani agreed, according to Firouzabadi, and asked for confirmation from then-president Mohammad Khatami for the protesters’ quelling. Firouzabadi further reveals that Khatami agrees with the IRGC to bring an end to the protests yet emphasizes for these units to enter the scene wearing plainclothes to decrease any sensitivity.
First and foremost, this acknowledgment unveils crimes committed by individuals claiming to be reformists, while the West turned its back and practically legitimized these crimes.
In recent months the Iranian protesters have been heard chanting, “Reformists, principalists, end of story.”
However, the recent Iranian uprising is forcing these Iranian officials to resort to such confessions. Not only the late December – early January uprising, but also the possibility of further protests to come. The state-run Iran daily, linked to Rouhani’s government, described this concern in a piece ran on January 26th:
“In January we surpassed what can be described as a small avalanche. If the political apparatus refuses to think twice about its decisions, we will experience much larger avalanches.”
In such circumstances where the mullah’s regime is under increasing international criticism for its crackdown and vicious crimes against the Iranian people, in a shameful act Iranian Justice Minister Alireza Avaei, known for his involvement in the 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, mostly the members of Mojahedin of Iran (MEK), has been invited to deliver a speech in the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley slammed this world body on Sunday, saying it should be “ashamed” for inviting an Iranian minister, sanctioned for known human rights violations, to speak at the council’s annual meeting in Geneva this week.
In the meantime, Mohammad Mohaddessin, Chair of the National Council of Resistance of Iran’s Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, urging him to cancel Avaei’s intervention at the opening session of the Human Rights Council.
This would remain “as a dark stain on the Council and would be considered an affront against people of Iran in general and families of victims in particular,” he said.
“It is now time to end offering important international forums on human rights to such criminals and instead take measures holding them accountable and ending their impunity,” Mohaddessin added.