Will row over Iran’s human rights dash Tehran’s hope of links with Sweden for economic recovery?
A week after a visit by a Swedish delegation including the Prime Minister, Iran has lashed out at Stockholm’s criticism of the Islamic Republic’s record on human rights.
The Foreign Ministry expressed anger over Sweden’s plans to submit a draft UN resolution on March 10, claiming it was part of a plot with Washington and Israel.
“The US and the Tel Aviv regime along with several of their allies have presented joint draft resolutions against Iran to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva due to a negative atmosphere against our country, aimed at creating a wave of Iranophobia since around seven years ago,” said spokesman Bahram Qassemi.
He claimed a double standard by the “West” on human rights: “Such moves are made while most of these countries have simply shut their eyes to the killing of innocent people in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and the atrocities of the regional supporters of terrorism.”
Qassemi emphasized that the draft resolution had no connection with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s meetings in Tehran last weekend.
The Rouhani Government promoted meetings with the Sweden delegation as a sign of Iran’s success in economic recovery, with revival of trade and investment. The two sides signed documents in the areas of innovation and technology, higher education and research, road construction, communication and information technology, and family and women’s affairs.
Iranian officials also focused on a solution to Tehran’s difficulties in the restoration of financial and banking channels after the July 2015 nuclear agreement, amid the continuation of some US restrictions. Rouhani told Löfven that the European Union should build its banking relations with Iran.
Iranian State media spoke of the potential of bilateral cooperation in sectors such as infrastructure, auto manufacturing, energy, environment, food and agriculture, and mining.
The Supreme Leader used Löfven’s visit to accuse the US and European allies of fomenting conflict in the Middle East and to promote Iran’s leading role in the region.
TOP PHOTO: Supreme Leader with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, February 11, 2017
Video: Iran’s Zarif Evades Questions to Defend Support of Assad
Iranian Foreign MInister Mohammad Javad Zarif defends Iran’s essential intervention to keep President Assad in power, in an interview with CNN.
Asked by Christiane Amanpour, “Where was your defensive nature [in the intervention]?”, Zarif initially tries to push the question onto the “wrong choices” of other powers. He then says that “it is your impression” that Assad has been a brutal, deadly oppressor of the Syrian people. Challenged again, he insists that the problem is the “decision to arm a group of terrorists”, rather than Assad’s behaviour.
The Foreign Minister also evades the issue of the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons.
"Where was the 'defensive nature' of your intervention on behalf of Bashar Assad in Syria?" I asked Iran's FM. https://t.co/edQ34kOP0m
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) February 18, 2017
(Cross-posted from Syria Daily)