Iranian Tehran Times on HRDs: a lot missing

August 5, 2020

My eye was drawn to a post in the Tehran Times of 4 August 2020 entitled: “Ex-diplomat urges intl. community not to keep silent over U.S. violation of human rights

Mohsen Pakaeen, the former Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan, has urged the international community not to keep silent over the United States’ violation of the human rights when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic. The aricle then continues to list some international statements in support of lifting sanctions:

The international community must respond to the United States’ behavior and make this country fulfil its duties regarding respect for human rights,” Pakaeen told IRNA in an interview published on Tuesday. He also said, “In a situation in which all countries in the world and international institutions, even [the United Nations] High Commissioner for Human Rights, stress the necessity of removing sanctions on countries battling the coronavirus, we are witnessing the United States’ healthcare terrorism against our country.”

On March 31, a UN human rights expert called for lifting international sanctions against countries ranging from Iran to North Korea and Venezuela in coronavirus crisis, according to Reuters.

The continued imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Cuba, and, to a lesser degree, Zimbabwe, to name the most prominent instances, severely undermines the ordinary citizens’ fundamental right to sufficient and adequate food,” Hilal Elver, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, said in a statement.

In a letter to the G-20 economic powers on March 24, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for rolling back international sanctions regimes around the world.  Guterres said sanctions are heightening the health risks for millions of people and weakening the global effort to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, Foreign Policy reported.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, also said on March 24 that “At this crucial time, both for global public health reasons, and to support the rights and lives of millions of people in these countries, sectoral sanctions should be eased or suspended,” .

The Tehran Times is known as an English-language mouthpiece of the regime {see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/02/13/dreams-about-a-referendum-to-end-the-mullahs-regime-in-iran/]. Its selectivity is almost amazing when one does a search on the term “human rights defenders” which yields 50 hits. None of them are about HRDs in Iran itself. The best it can do is – not surprisingly – reporting on the plight of HRDs in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Still, there would be enough to report on in Iran, see e.g. https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/iran/

https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/450879/Ex-diplomat-urges-intl-community-not-to-keep-silent-over-U-S

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