By Hamid Yazdan Panah
The regime in Iran has a long history of distorting truth, particularly in regards to its human rights record. Whether it’s Javad Zarif’s despicable claim that “We do not jail people for their opinions.” Or Ahmadinejad’s bold face lie that, “There are no political prisoners in Iran.” Or his comment about the 2009 elections stating, “The presidential election was the freest election around the globe. This regime has a tried and true method of distorting the truth in order to avoid any responsibility for their own atrocities. The latest target of these ridiculous lies is UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Ahmad Shaheed.
News outlets affiliated with the government in Iran released a report which claimed that Shaheed had taken $1m in bribes from Saudi Arabia in order to vilify Iran’s human rights record. As if Shaheed needed an incentive when Iran is currently setting a 12 year high for executions. The news was based on what was claimed to be documents released by Wikileaks, however the documents turned out to be forged. Wikileaks itself pointed out that no such cable exists.
Shaheed has long been denied access to Iran in order to investigate human rights violations. He recently noted that the human rights situation in the country has worsened under the supposedly “moderate” Rouhani. The real question is why Shaheed would need to take bribes when the regime in Iran is doing all it can to earn its reputation as one of the worst human rights violators in the world.
A number of official and semi-official news agencies of the regimes circulated the report before it was dismissed as an outright lie. However this is business as usual in the regime which has denied the holocaust and continues to claim that they are the center of peace and love in the world. The same regime which leads the world in per capita executions and has been condemned by the UN general assembly more than 60 times for human rights abuses.
One should expect nothing less than an Orwellian system of propaganda and deception from the regime in Tehran, particularly in regards to its heinous human rights record. Just as the regime has long sought to blame protesters for their own deaths when they are shot down in the street, the regime attempts to blame the Special Rapporteur for its own disgraceful human rights record.
Perhaps those who believe the regime can be trusted to abide by a nuclear deal should take notice.
Hamid Yazdan Panah is an attorney focused on asylum and immigration in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is also a human rights activist focused on the Middle East and Iran.