Larijani defensive on Islamic Republic’s abysmal human rights record

Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, the head of Iran`s Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, the head of Iran`s Judiciary

Source: ISNADate: 19 October 2011

 Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, the head of Iran`s Judiciary, has joined President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a multitude of other senior figures in the Islamic Republic in declaring US accusations of Iranian involvement in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington as a means of dividing Iran and Saudi Arabia:

“The Americans want to create religious differences and disunity between Iran and Saudi Arabia, [the latter] which has power among Sunni countries…”

In his speech given on Wednesday to senior Judiciary officials in Tehran, Larijani emphasized the idea that the US was trying to create Iranophobia (Iran-harasi) in the region and wider world by framing Iran as the mastermind behind the alleged plot to kill Saudi ambassador to the US Adel al-Jubeir. Larijani stated that to the contrary, Iran itself had been a victim of terrorism, citing the examples of Abdul Malik Rigi’s Jundullah and the People’s Mujahedeen Organization of Iran (PMOI) as perpetrators, both of which he claimed had US backing. He said that Iran was building a case charging the US for state-sponsored terrorism against the Islamic Republic and other Muslim countries which would be presented soon.

Larijani went on to claim that the Islamic Republic’s religious values precluded it from using assassination as a means to achieving its policy goals:

“Just as all of our officials, the supreme leader, the head of the branches [of government] and others have frequently declared, we again declare that we follow religious values, and in a country in which religious values rule, assassinating people is undesirable, irrational and unreligious.”

During his speech the judiciary chief also took the time to condemn the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Dr. Ahmad Shahid, for what Larijani said was his anti-Iran bias in compiling a report on the state of human rights in the Islamic Republic:

“This report discusses nearly all of the views of the enemies and opposition against the regime, while when the special rapporteur goes to produce the report, more than and before anything else [he] must preserve his own neutrality…It is clear that the human rights current has a political stance against Iran, and our disagreement with the arrival of the special rapporteur to Iran was due to this, as in the past they had not passed this test [of being neutral].”

Regarding the high number of executions in Iran, Larijani said that the policy of the judiciary was to try and convince families of murder victims, who have a right to seek capital punishment against those convicted of killing their loved ones in Iran, not to seek an execution. He claimed that regardless of the efforts of the Judiciary, the ultimate choice over life and death for those accused of murder rested with the families of victims and not the regime. Larijani did not address the higher number of people executed on drug-trafficking and other charges in Iran, instead attempting to focus on executions linked to murders as a strategy to place responsibility for executions on families of victims rather than the government.

Editor’s note: The Islamic Republic’s human rights record is so abysmal that no senior official to date has addressed it in any substantive way. The mass-execution of political prisoners in the summer of 1988 is just one instance of a gross human rights violation over which the regime has remained tight-lipped. Even Reformists like ex-President Mohammad Khatami, who is sometimes considered a ‘moderate’ Iranian figure in the West, has been unwilling to discuss mass-executions, torture and arrest by the regime since 1979, as it is not an issue that implicates a single ruling figure or faction, but Iran’s political system as a whole. Given the large number of people directly (through personal experience) or indirectly (through family or friends) affected by this, human rights is likely to be a problem for the Islamic Republic well into the future, especially with many Western governments taking notice of this Achilles heel.