According to Mehr News Agency, Sadegh Amoli Larijani, referencing the criticism raised in human rights reports about the existence of the death penalty for drug traffickers in Iranian law, said, “The death penalty exists in many countries, including the United States, but they don’t face such pressure from those who claim to be human rights defenders.”
Referring to the mounting pressure from the West about human rights, Larijani said, “It is clear to all that preparing biased reports about the situation of human rights in Iran is aimed to exert more pressure on the Islamic Republic, and the Westerners don’t really have any human rights concerns.”
Since his appointment to the position of UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran in 2011, Ahmed Shaheed has submitted several reports to the UN, documenting severe violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Iranian government has not engaged with the Special Rapporteur at any meaningful level and has refused to allow him to visit the country to carry out his mandate. Furthermore, officials have repeatedly criticized Shaheed for interviewing victims of human rights violations, whom the Iranian government calls “anti-revolutionaries,” and have questioned his methodology and his motives, calling him names and accusing him of working for Western powers.
In a recent public appearance, Sadegh Larijani’s brother Mohammad Javad Larijani, Head of the Iranian Judiciary’s Human Rights Council, called Ahmed Shaheed “a wicked fool,” and said “human rights defender” is another name for terrorists. “Those who are referred to as ‘human rights defenders’ these days, are soiled with terrorist acts and and call themselves human rights defenders. But such a title is unprecedented in UN documents; therefore, you should know that when you hear the name ‘human rights defender,’ these are individuals who commit terrorist acts,” said Javad Larijani. This was not the first time Javad Larijani attacked Ahmed Shaheed and his reports. In March 2013, referring to Ahmed Shaheed’s appearances on television interviews, he said that Ahmed Shaheed “goes from network to network like a television actor. He says the same things Americans and Israelis say, and his statements have the approval of anti-revolutionaries.”
At the meeting this week, Sadegh Larijani provided a somewhat detailed account of parts of the latest Shaheed report, which as yet has not been made public. “In this text it is written that the judges make their decisions ‘almost exclusively,’ and only based on reports from security organizations; but this claim is nothing but a lie. The meaning of this claim is that the different judges in the judicial system, in the halls of justice and in courts, don’t do any investigations themselves, and this is such a clear lie there is no need for explanation,” he said.
Referring to the point that most of the items written in human rights reports about Iran are usually documented with “statements by anti-revolutionary and opposition figures of Islamic Republic,” the Head of the Judiciary stated, “The natural and rational expectation of any rapporteur is to be objective; whereas the one-sided human rights reports about Iran present an inaccurate picture of the country and of the Islamic regime.”
“In that same report you say that your laws cannot be against international standards and that you have to give up executions for drug-related crimes and for certain sexual relations. Well, what business of yours is this? We have Islam, we have a source for our laws…. Do you want to impose your liberal ideologies on our people? They will not hear of it! Not only are the officials of this country not going to pay any attention to such talk, our people will not listen to it, either,” he said to the Judiciary officials.
The Larijani brothers are not the only Iranian officials who have recently verbally attacked Ahmed Shaheed. During a January meeting in the city of Mashhad, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi called Shaheed “corrupt,” “a political worker,” and “not a legal expert.” “Ahmed Shaheed did not begin his work in this regard as a legal expert, but as a political worker, and from the first day of his activities, he started issuing false statements,” said Pour-Mohammadi.
Just a few weeks before Ahmed Shaheed presents his new report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the vigorous offensive against him and human rights workers is a clear indication that the Iranian government is concerned about the mounting pressure from the international community for its alarming, record execution rates, its continued incarceration of Iranian activists and thinkers, and its prosecution of political dissidents and religious and ethnic minorities.