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British MPs Urge United Nations to Cancel Visit of Iran’s President Rouhani

LONDON /PRNewswire/ — On November 12, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) wrote to the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, to express its disappointment over the invitation extended to Iranian president,Hassan Rouhani, to speak before such a respected organisation next week.

In the letter, the co-Chair of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, wrote, “For a respected UN organisation to invite the representative of an oppressive theocracy that is considered world’s number one executioner per capita and the leading state sponsor of terrorism, stands not only in contrast to the core objectives of UNESCO to promote peace and security but also legitimises a regime playing a destructive role in the Middle East.”

The letter points out that “the UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran and respected International NGOs, like Amnesty International, have all expressed concerns over the recent spike of executions in Iran while regretting that the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated in several areas during Rouhani’s tenure compared to that of his predecessor Ahmadinejad.”

The letter also highlights that “barbaric punishments such as amputations, flogging and public hangings, are enshrined in Iran’s penalty-code and that its current constitution calls for active promotion and spreading of religious fundamentalism not only in the region but also in the world.”

Taking into account these harsh realities and Tehran’s unacceptable behaviour internationally, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) urges UNESCO to revoke its invitation to Hassan Rouhaniat this moment because nothing in Tehran’s behaviour suggest the theocratic regime is ready to contribute constructively to promoting international peace and universal respect for human rights, which are the core objectives of UNESCO.

lord-carlile-portrait-300x300

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC CBE

Lord Carlile of Berriew QC CBE,

Co-Chair of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom and the UK government’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation from 2001 until 2011

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom 12 November 2015

Analysis: Iranian human rights situation following Iran deal by Rachel Avraham

A recent report by the Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group has documented that in spite of Iranian promises in the wake of the Iran deal, the rate of executions remains high, the jailing of journalists and human rights activists continues unabated, and the lack of freedom of expression and discrimination against women continues to be widespread: “The five main reasons for death penalties in Iran are heresy, rape, murder, drug smuggling and armed struggle.  Capital punishment has spiked under Rouhani.   More than 2000 executions were carried in Iran during President Rouhani’s period since October 3, 2013.   The human rights situation has not improved since Rouhani became President two years ago.”

iran men hanged

Public execution in Iran. Photo Credit: Channel 2.

The Boroujerdi Civil Rights Group noted that the rate of executions in Iran has risen by 16% since the last year of Ahmadinejad’s presidency, despite the perception in the West that Rouhani is a moderate and Ahmadinejad was a hard core extremist: “Furthermore, Iran has the horrible status of being the world’s last official executioner of child offenders, people convicted of crimes when they were under the age of 18.”

The report noted that the UN confirmed that the Bahais are still persecuted in Iran despite claims by the Iranian government to the contrary: “Bahai citizens continue to face discrimination, arrest and arbitrary detention in connection with their religion.  Bahais have been systematically persecuted since 1979; extremist Islamic groups close to the regime have confiscated their property and assets.”   The report also noted that Bahais are not given work permits, are deprived of the right to attend university, and don’t have any representative in parliament, a privilege that is given to other religious groups within the country.   They stressed that Bahais aren’t even permitted to bury their loved ones in public cemeteries: “Since 2005, more than 800 Bahais have been arrested.   Over the years, thousands of pieces of anti-Bahai propaganda have been disseminated in the Iranian media.”

According to the report, Iran treats the Baloch nation living with her borders like second class citizens: “Balochistan has the lowest economic participation in the country, the highest illiteracy rate, the highest unemployment rate, the highest percentage of poverty, the highest rate of executions, the highest mortality rates for mothers and children, and the highest percentage of malnutrition.   Living in the poor region of Balochistan is a torture in itself but the people of this region go through different types of tortures and persecutions. The medieval tortures are a bitter memorial of what Iran’s officials have been using against Baloch dissidents in the regimes detention centers.”   According to the report, the methods of torture employed against Baloch dissidents include waterboarding, pulling out fingernails, cutting off fingers, hanging the dissidents from the ceiling, lashings, high voltage shocks, shoving sharp objects into sensitive organs, burning sensitive organs, rape, roast chicken torture, mock executions, sexual harassment, hanging objects from the testicles, and lethal injection.

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