In a 2-hour press conference, Head of Iran’s Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani rejected the March 17 Iran report by the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed, saying that it was biased and filled with inaccurate reports and double standards.
Larijani said that once Shaheed stepped into his position “he was turned into a media actor for propaganda against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” and added that Iran “is not against reporting [on human rights] and that we even welcome it [but] we want a reporter without prejudice.”
On the high number of executions carried out by Iran, Larijani said that 80% of Iran’s executions are for drug-related offenses, adding that since “NATO’s invasion in Afghanistan, opium poppy growth has increased four times” and many Iranians have died fighting drug smugglers on the Iran-Afghanistan border. For their efforts, he said Iran was “awaiting appreciation from Western governments, not a [human rights] report.” Two weeks ago, Larijani lamented that the West, instead of praising Iran for increasing its executions of drug-related cases, uses it as a means to attack them on the human rights issue.
In yesterday’s press conference, he said that whether or not the level of executions should continue “should be discussed,” adding that “we should not remove executions, we should execute the principle mafia and the organizations.” Larijani’s brother, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, is the head of the judiciary.
Larijani also criticized the fact that some individuals traveled to Berlin to testify for the report. Shaheed’s requests to travel to Iran to conduct his report have all been denied. Larijani said in the press conference that Shahee’ds requests have been denied because he did not want to investigate but wanted to use the trip for propaganda. He questioned how Shaheed could investigate the “3,000 accusations in three days.”
Last year, Larijani filed a letter of complaint against Shaheed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, but he said in the conference that they have not heard anything back.
In attempting to demonstrate the double standards applied in the report, Larijani said, “The approach that we had with Kahrizak is not comparable to the approach America had with Guantanamo.” During the 2009 post-election protests, many protesters were taken to Kahrizak detention center. Three individuals, at least, were killed and there were many reports of abuse of prisoners. Saeed Mortazavi, who was the prosecutor-general of Tehran at the time, reportedly received a $60 fine for “filing a false report” and “unlawful arrest.” Two other officials were also reportedly fined and banned from judicial work.
Larijani also said that the report questioned the Islamic nature of Iranian society and did not take into consideration their views toward qesas (retribution laws), homosexuality and insults against religion.