Iran judiciary says it won’t give in to ‘human rights pressure’

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The head of Iran’s judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, criticized an upcoming UN human rights report on Iran. Upon receiving a draft, Larijani said that the body would not cave to pressure.

Before Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation on Iran, releases his reports to the public, an early draft of the report is sent to Iran to give Iranian officials time to respond. From the judiciary to the justice minister to Iran’s own office of human rights, all have dismissed the yet unreleased report.

At a meeting to commemorate late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s return to Iran from exile, Larijani criticized the relationship between the United States and other countries that guarantee less individual rights than Iran does. He said, “Terrorists and takfiris come from governments that have the support of America, governments that not even one time in their history held an election, and then they claim they are defending human rights.”

Though Larijani did not clarify which countries he was speaking of, some Iranian officials and media, particularly hard-line groups, accuse Arab countries in the Persian Gulf of supporting Sunni jihadist groups in the Middle East and have criticized the United States’ relationship with these governments.

Iran has one of the highest per capita execution rates in the world. Most executions are for drug-related offenses, particularly smuggling. Larijani defended Iran’s use of capital punishment, saying, “Capital punishment is a law that exists in many countries, in America as well.” He added, “But they have not encountered such pressure from defendants of human rights.”

“While Westerners and institutions under their dominance criticize our domestic laws, they do not even grant permission for someone to research or express opinions about the Holocaust,” he said.

Larijani added, “The nation of Iran and its officials, because of their commitment to Islam, will never cave to this type of pressure.” He continued, “It is clear to everyone that producing biased reports about the human rights situation in Iran is for [the purpose of] applying more pressure against the Islamic Republic, and the Westerners do not really have human rights concerns.”

Larijani called accusations that the judiciary makes its decisions based on security reports “nothing more than lies.” He called claims that judges do not conduct their own investigations “such a clear lie that there is no need to give an explanation.”

The last report by Shaheed was published in October 2013. Iranian officials have accused Shaheed of basing his reports on “anti-revolutionary” individuals and have dismissed his findings.

On Jan. 17, Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said, “Ahmed Shaheed did not start his work as a lawyer, but as a political agent, and from day one, he started his activities by issuing statements against reality.” He added, “Our request is that to assess the criteria for human rights in Iran, we need someone without attachments or political orientations to work on this, and on this issue, we do not know Ahmed Shaheed to be an unbiased reporter.”

In response to Shaheed’s appointment, Iran appointed Javad Larijani to head an office of human rights in Iran. He, too, has dismissed many of the findings in the UN report. Earlier this week, in a play on words, Larijani referred to Ahmed Shaheed as “ahmagh shareer,” which loosely translates as “wicked fool” in Persian.