Iran Round-Up, Oct 25: “No Sign of Improvement in Human Rights”


LATEST: Iran and 5+1 Powers Set Expert Nuclear Talks for October 30-31


First-Hand: Claim — Daughters of Opposition Leader Mousavi Abused by Guards

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SUMMARY: A report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Ahmed Shaheed, claims, “The human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to warrant serious concern, with no sign of improvement in the areas previously raised by the general assembly or the various human rights monitoring mechanisms.”

Shaheed condemned the high number of executions this year and restrictions on freedom of speech, especially on-line.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry responded that the report “describes the human rights situation in Iran in a completely unfair light and with political motivations”.

Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Tehran will not allow “such prejudiced reports to become the judging standard of its human rights situation”.

Shaheed has not been allowed into Iran since he was appointed in 2011, so he has relied on testimony by phone from inside the country as well as statements by Iranians in exile, activists, and human rights groups.

Afkham maintained the ban on Shaheed on Thursday, “Iran considers the appointment of a special human rights rapporteur an insult to the great Iranian nation, and thus does not recognise it.”

She said Shaheed relied on “sources from terrorist and violent groups”.

Iran’s UN mission added its criticism, “[The report] has not paid sufficient notice to Iran’s legal system and Islamic culture and considers whatever [Shaheed] sees in the West as an international standard for the entire world.”

It continued, “The report is a product of a non objective and counter-productive exercise initiated by a group of countries with specific political claim against Iran…a catalogue of poorly resourced and outdated allegations”.

Latest Updates, Most Recent First

Iran and 5+1 Powers Set Expert Nuclear Talks for October 30-31

Tehran and the 5+1 Powers have scheduled expert discussions on October 30-31 to discuss the possible lines of a preliminary agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

The talks on technical details and sanctions will be followed by another round of high-level negotiations, following last week’s successful resumption of discussions, in Geneva on November 7-8.

Protest in Iran Against “US Deception and Racism”

Not everyone in Iran is happy with engagement with America, including in nuclear talks — there was a march in Tehran for “The Friday of USA’s Apology Due to Deception and Racism“.

iran US protest hegemony satan

US Institute Releases Another Scare Report on Iran Nuclear Program

The Institute for Science and International Security has released another one of its periodic reports on the threat of Iran’s nuclear program — conveniently timed to challenge the positive turn in negotiations between Tehran and the 5+1 Powers.

The report on “Iranian Breakout Estimates” puts out the provocative claim that Iran could “break out in as little as approximately one to two weeks” to weapons-grade uranium.

The fright from that teaser is only reduced when one realises that the report is based on omission of key facts — such as the current state of Iran’s centrifuges — exaggeration of others, and dubious assumptions. For example, with no evidence, ISIS builds its estimate on the assumption of “a covert [nuclear] plant”.

In fact, the report is designed more for politics than science: it is calling for the permanent shutdown of Iran’s second uranium enrichment plant at Fordoo and for a ban on use of the IR-2m centrifuges, which are being intalled — but are not yet operational — to replaced the 40-year-old IR-1 model.

CNN is untroubled by any of this analysis, however. It proclaims, “Nuclear Group: Time Iran Would Need to Make Uranium for a Bomb ‘Too Short’“.

Civil Rights Activist Released on Bail

The political prisoner and civil rights activist Pejman Zafarmand has been released on bail.

Zafarman was given a 3-year prison sentence on charges of “assembly and collusion against national security” in May.

Senior US Official: Washington “Not Contemplating” Removing Sanctions “At Front End” of Negotiations

Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Obama, cautioned on Thursday that Washington is “not contemplating” the removal of sanctions “at the front end” of negotiations with Tehran.

“We are not contemplating anything that removes those sanctions at the front end of any negotiation or agreement, because it’s going to be important to test Iranian intentions,” Rhodes said.

“Before we could pursue sanctions relief, we’d have to see concrete steps by the Iranians to get at the state of their nuclear program,” he added, speaking at the Reuters Washington Summit.

Commenting on the recent negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations regarding Tehran’s nuclear programme, Rhodes said “We continue to want to have that flexibility to pursue this diplomatic track. There’s an opening that we want to test.”

Rhodes also warned that progress in negotiations “doesn’t mean that Congress won’t consider new sanctions. It means that as they do, they should take into account the progress we’re making on diplomacy, and that we need to have some flexibility to pursue an agreement.”

Iran Biggest Oil Supplier to China in September

Iran was the largest supplier of fuel oil to China in September, according to data released by China’s General Administration of Customs.

Tehran shipped 410,867mln tons (mt) of fuel oil to China last month.

China also imported 475,521 barrels per day (bpd) from Tehran in september (a 24% rise from the previous year), making it the biggest purchaser of Iranian oil.

China has bought 16.01 mt of Iranian crude oil in 2013 up until the end of September, or an average of 428,160 bpd. Trade between Iran and China in the past year was estimated at $45bln, according to Fars News.

MPs: Recognition of Tehran’s Enrichment Rights “Confidence-Building Step” and “Red Line”

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has said that recognition of Tehran’s nuclear rights is the first confidence-building step needed for future agreements.

Speaking to two visiting French senators, Boroujerdi said “The recognition of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s right to acquire peaceful nuclear energy forms the basis for any agreement with the P5+1.”

Meanwhile, Mansour Haqiqatpour, the Commission’s vice-chairman, reiterated that uranium enrichment is one of Tehran’s “red lines.”

Haqiqatpour said, “We consider uranium enrichment our inalienable right and will under no condition back down from it.”

He added, “We are not going to back off from this issue (uranium enrichment) which serves as an achievement for us.”

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  1. Has anyone actually read Ahmad Shaheed’s report? Here is a link to the original:

    It starts off strongly, with chapters I – V raising legitimate concerns about freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, and so on (although very few concerns are unique to Iran, and in fact Iran is light years ahead of its neighbours in these regards). But then it gets weird.

    Chapter VI: Ethnic Minorities

    With scarce – and, in some cases, no – evidence, point 48 the report claims that Iranian Arabs,
    Azeris, Baluchis and Kurds are discriminated against. Funny, because the word “Azeri” actually appears only once in the entire report. So where is the evidence? The article refers us to UN resolution 67/182. Reading resolution 67/182 leads us to paragraph (i), which states,

    “Continued discrimination and other human rights violations, at times amounting to persecution, against… Azeris… noting in particular the violent repression of environmental protests in Azeri territory…”

    Here is EA’s coverage of the protests (in this case, 4th September 2011):

    Can someone please point to me where these protests – wholly environmental in concern – and subsequent crackdown are ethnically motivated? Where is the state-sanctioned discrimination against ethnic minorities? Someone should remind Shaheed that Iran’s population is very diverse, and that national problems transcend “ethnic” boundaries. Someone should also remind him that Iran’s Supreme Leader, and his house-arrested arch nemesis, are both ethnic Azeris.

    Point 49 in the same chapter then states,

    “…the extreme poverty and inadequate living standards facing ethnic minorities… in
    regions traditionally inhabited by ethnic minorities.”

    Can Shaheed state with confidence that this again is state-sanctioned discrimination? For that matter, is Shaheed claiming that the life of a poor Iranian in an “ethnic” region of Iran is someone distinct from a poor Iranian – facing the same dire conditions – living in South Tehran? Iran has a poverty problem across the entire country, made worse by the fact that the geographically-diverse country is sparse – and the size of Western Europe.

    Chapter VII: Landmines

    I fail to see how any of this chapter fits into a human rights report. Landmines are a concern in every conflict-ridden country, particularly one that endured an eight-year onslaught by an international coalition spearheaded by Saddam’s Iraq. Furthermore, Iran has been praised on multiple fronts for its post-war development.

    After stating that Iran has cleared 99% of known landmines on its territory, Shaheed claims, in point 62, that the “absence of warning signs” is a human rights violation. In point 63, Shaheed highlights that landmine victims are considered veterans and martyrs under Iranian law, but only after a formal review to identify whether the victim was at fault. This is a human rights violation how exactly?

    Chapter VIII: Sanctions

    This entire chapter is a joke, because it equates financial mismanagement (of a sanctions-ridden economy) to state-sanctioned human rights violations. What?

    What a disappointing report by Shaheed. I am absolutely shocked to see such a poor and shoddy report pass for a UN-sanctioned piece of work. This report would fail a high school exam, let alone a university dissertation, or, more importantly, a report authored by the largest and most important international organisation. What a joke.

    • A human rights report is a report to give instructions where human rights are violated.
      Landmines is a problem in many countries.

      If you compare how other countries are trying to solve the landmine problem – you’ll quickly see where the problem is located in Iran.

      IRI is doing nothing – the Pasdaran not even make signs on to warn of landmines.

      1. The Islamic Republic of Iran has not acceded to the Mine Ban Treaty.

      2. Iran is not known to have made any statements about its mine ban policy
      in 2010 or 2011.

      3. Iran did not attend any international meeting on the mine ban in 2010 or the
      first half of 2011.

      4. Iran is thought to have a large stockpile of antipersonnel mines, but no official
      information is available on its size and composition.

      5. Despite these government statements, there is evidence that Iran has both produced
      and exported antipersonnel mines in the past decade.

      • Shaheed’s own report refutes your claim that Iran “is doing nothing”.

        As for your other points, since when are not signing a treaty or not making a statement human rights violations? The same goes for producing, stockpiling, and exporting land mines. Sure, these points raise transnational moral and ethical questions, but they are not standalone human rights violations.

        Shaheed, whether intentionally or not, is conflating three issues into one overarching human rights umbrella:

        1. State-sanctioned human rights abuses on a macro, systematic level, often enshrined in a state’s legal system.

        2. Micro-level governance problems, such as supplying drinking water to a region, or setting up “warning signs”

        3. A normative, ethics-based debate on human rights

        He should have focussed only on point 1 instead of going on a free-for-all and ultimately diluting his report to a worthless piece of paper.

        • After your answer I understand your criticism of Shaheed much less.

          Shaheed quots a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament criticizing
          celebrations for the conclusion of the demining process in Kermanshah Province, saying that human casualties still
          occurred because of the lack of demining,

          Shaheeds statement is a prompt to perform the work to an end.

          Whats wrong with it?

          a. Shaheeds statement can´t be a worthless paper because it can save lives and legs – saying: hurry up with demining.

          b. if the iranian regime wants to talk about human rights (ethics-based debate) — why Iran is boycotting the convention on human rights?

          c. The most important article of the UN Convention are the
          Rights on personality — namely:

          The guarantee of the right to life and physical integrity.

          Therefore it is a duty of the UN convention to note that demining isn`t finished.

    • Can someone please point to me where these protests – and subsequent (??) crackdown are ethnically motivated?

      The Chief Executive Officer of Association for Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran (ADAPP) answers:

      “”……….It goes back to almost 80 years of racism and discrimination against Azerbaijanis in Iran. Azerbaijanis have been called different names and been dehumanized in many ways. It was not the first time.””

    • Your criticism of Shaheed’s report is very strange. The substantive justification why you’re lying wrong, check out the various comments on this page.

      But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – even more important is something else.

      IRI had issued a standing invitation to all thematic special procedure mandate holders in June 2002, which coincided with the discontinuation of the mandate of the Special Representative on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, established by the Commission on Human Rights in 1984.

      During 2003 and 2005, six special procedure mandate holders visited the country.

      But there have been no further visits by any special procedure mandate holders
      since 2005.

      What does that tell us?

      With the beginning of Ahmadinejad’s presidency in 2005 IRI had further worsened the iranian human rights situation. Politically motivated surpression, murder and torture has been increasingly used. Ahmadinejad responded by having the contacts with the UN Rights Convention (Iran is a longstanding member) drastically curtailed.

      This means: There should be no way boycotting the UN Convention on Human Rights.
      That would isolate Iran more than sanctions.

      • You are a human rights violator, because you just called me a liar. I am going to report you to a United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, who will no doubt write a 20 page dossier detailing your gross and flagrant human rights abuses. Maybe the Special Rapporteur will also find that you did not brush your teeth last night.

  2. Iran—the new investment frontier?

    “Companies should start planning for Iran, analysts say, as the slow thawing of diplomatic relations with the country could open the door to foreign investment.

    Matthew Spivack, practice leader at emerging market advisory firm Frontier Strategy Group told CNBC that investors now need to start working a contingency plan for when, and if, sanctions are rolled back.

    “Iran is not just about oil,” he said. “FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and healthcare companies prioritize Iran, because of very attractive demographics.””

  3. The list of the human rights violations of the Islamic republic is long – but not so long that it would not be possible to find evidence for the discrimination of minorities.

    Continued discrimination and other human rights violations, at times amounting to persecution, against persons belonging to ethnic, linguistic or other minorities, including Arabs, Azeris, Baluch is and Kurds and their defenders, and noting in particular reports of the violen t suppression and detention of ethnic Arabs and Azeris, the violent repression of envir onmental protests in Azeri territory and the high rate of executions of persons belonging to minority groups, including the recent secret group execution of members
    of the Ahwazi Arab minority;

    Increased persecution and human rights violations against persons belonging to recognized religious minorities, including Christians, Jews, Sufi Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Zoroastrians and their defenders, and noting in particular the widespread arrest and de tention of Sufi Muslims and evangelical Christians, including the continued detention of Christian pastors;

  4. Mismanagement and Sanctions

    The report by Shaheed says:

    “”Some reports indicate, however, that the Government could have done more to safeguard medical supplies in the face of sanctions.

    A former Iranian Health Minister is reported to have maintained that of the $2.5 billion earmarked for foreign exchange necessary to meet the import needs of the medical sector in 2012, only $650 million was provided, intimating that the funds were misallocated.””

    This is a clear hint that the regime could import more medical tools – if it had bothered.
    Beyond that – medicine was/is excluded from the sanctions.

    Marsieh Wahid-Dastdscherdi, the former health minister, was fired by Ahmadinejad because she had critized him that the central bank is not willing to put money on the import of drugs, but for animal feed, horse saddles and dog collars.

    Sanctions have made ​​it difficult to import whatever – but for the shortage of drugs Ahmadinejad is responsible – as this incident shows.

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