As Iran’s Raisi rails about human rights, his own shock troops pounce
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi yesterday slammed the West for oppression, injustice and human rights violations, even as his own commandos simultaneously brutalize their own citizens.
Mr. Raisi is in New York for the 77th United Nations General Assembly. Speaking at the convention, he denounced Canada’s mistreatment of indigenous peoples, the United States’ treatment of immigrants and Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, but ignored his own regime’s violations.
“Human rights belong to all but are unfortunately trampled on by other governments,” he said. “We believe that any repression is a threat to world peace and stability. The United States cannot stand some countries being able to stand on their own two feet.”
In his speech, Mr. Raisi recounted a long list of grievances with the West, from international pressure on Iran in the early 20th century to the US assassination of Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020, which he held up his portrait and waved in front of the general. Assembly room.
He criticized the U.S. for tearing up the 2015 nuclear deal, which his hardliners had publicly opposed when negotiating with his predecessor, while accusing Western powers of bullying Iran.
“What we seek is the rights of the Iranian nation, the Iranian people,” he said. “Relationships based on oppression will not be tolerated. Any success of the Iranian nation has not been accepted by world powers.”
Despite Mr Rice’s attempts to tout Iran’s achievements and international relations, much attention this week has been on the brutal domestic crackdown on widespread popular protests sparked by the death of a young woman last week.
As Mr Raisi spoke, Iranians began to warn that since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in dozens of cities and towns across the country.
Over the past few days, videos posted online showed Iranian regime law enforcement officers in plainclothes and uniforms beating women with batons, firing tear gas and possibly firing live ammunition directly into the crowd.
At least six people have so far been killed in chaotic street clashes sparked by security forces aimed at quelling public outrage over the death of Ms Amini, who was left in a coma while being held by morality police in Tehran. Among the victims was a plainclothes regime adjutant in Shiraz.
But the latest protests, which have coincided with the international focus on Iran in New York, appear to have complicated the authorities’ calculations. The regime has often avoided the use of lethal force to quell protests by urban elites, while imposing the full force of the security apparatus on marginalized minorities and marginalized communities.
Demonstrations this week have drawn multiple segments of society and sparked dissent even within the regime’s elite. In addition to large areas in the heartland of the Iranian Kurds, the capital Tehran as well as Mashhad, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Urmia, Rasht, Kerman, Bandar Abbas, Qom, Ardabil, Kermanshah, Zanjan, Surrey, Rafsanjan, Mazandaran, Gorgan, Qazvin, Semnan and other cities.
Iran watchers said the killing of Amini, seen as an ordinary young woman who took care of her own affairs, touched a nerve in Iranians, and even conservative women who wanted to make the hijab mandatory.
The extent of this raw sentiment has been compared to how Iranians felt after a Ukrainian Airlines flight was shot down by the Revolutionary Guard in 2020, which apparently mistook it for a U.S. missile. On Iranian social media, influencers who had never been exposed to political topics posted messages about Ms. Amini, a Kurdish woman.
Meanwhile, the mouthpieces of the Iranian regime have relegated protesters to deviants, demagogues, rioters and saboteurs. State television has repeatedly stated that Mr Raisi has contacted Ms Amini’s family and has promised a full investigation into her death.
Officials played down the protests and blamed the unrest on international channels, including BBC PersianA pro-government newspaper accused “counter-revolutionary media and terrorist groups” of using Ms Amini’s death to pursue their agenda.
Still, senior and former officials have called on Iran to reduce the role of the ethics police, so-called “directed patrols.” In a rare television appearance, Gholamhossein Karbaschi, the former mayor of Tehran, called for changes to a rule requiring women to follow an Islamic dress code they vehemently oppose.
Lawmaker Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi said parliament was considering a bill aimed at limiting police powers.
“We have dozens of reports every day that Directing Patrols detain disrespectful and abusive people, leaving them to stay to deal with serious traumatic experiences,” he was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.