Mr. Ahmad Shaheed,
United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran
We studied the draft of your report on Human Rights situation in Islamic Republic of Iran and felt duty bound to elucidate some items in order to contribute to your better understanding of the realities of Human Rights situation in Iran.
It is obvious that the status of Human Rights and, more importantly, observance of human dignity is not ideal in any country; particularly, those countries that pretend to defend Human Rights have many deficiencies that every so often some news, although little but sorrowful, on it is transmitted. Naturally, Islamic Republic of Iran is not an exception, but what is important and must be prioritized is observation of reality and accurate reflection of it; in other words, it demands you to practically be insulated from politicization and observe impartiality, independence, and transparency in your report.
Apart from this fact that why the UN Human Rights Council has focused its attention on Iran, we hope, as non-governmental organizations that are concerned for human dignity, to contribute to your realistic view to this issue.
A great portion of your report is abundant in generalizations and equivocations that resemble more political proclamations rather than legal reports. So, in the present writing we will briefly mention some of them:
You have used many vague and general references and wordings like “some techniques tantamount to torture” in your report, but what are its documentations and from what sources are they obtained?
These claims when become more difficult to believe that we refer to the words of a host of defendants of the Iranian post-Presidential election turmoil after their release from prison. By their own admissions, these detainees have not been exposed to torture and their narrations of the condition of their detention refute the media clamor of Iranian enemies.
As an example, Mr. Muhammad Ali Abtahi, one of the detainees of post-election turmoil, said in an interview with 20:30 News, “prison is bad, but we had not a bad time in prison. Honestly, within the prison the services, discourse, behaviors, and discussions were pleasant and I had made a friendly relation with my interrogator, because he was also a reasonable person. We reasoned with each other and discussed our beliefs on political issues.” Or Saeed Hajarian, another defendant of post-election events, said in a TV program entitled «theoretical pathology of post-election events», “God knows that the prison was a convalescent home for me. My friends in Guard Corpse did me a favor and took me to a place more pleasant than prison for hydrotherapy, and I still go there every other day.” This while his wife, Vajiheh Marsousi who is a doctor herself, had previously announced, in an interview with Fars News Agency that its audio file was also published, that during her visit with her husband in prison she had faced no mistreatment and the interrogators’ behaviors had been appropriate. She continued to deny any claim on torture of her husband and said, “I saw no trace of torture on my husband’s body, he is provided with any needed drug, and the nurses attend him sufficiently.”
And also some other claims inclusive of “imposition of the death penalty in the absence of proper judicial safeguards”, “women’s situation”, “torture of ethnic minorities”, etc. are observed in your report while many refuting evidences exist on them and, unfortunately, the very same items reinforce doubts on politicization of this report.
Moreover, in the continuation of general and vague claims, you have included some bizarre issues in your report without presenting even a supporting documentation for them. For example, you have asserted that “all reports reveal that the collateral security that is given to guarantee appearance (before the court) – mostly House Title Deed- has never returned to the guarantor even when the judge has acquitted the person or after serving his/her entire prison.” You have included this issue in your report without any evidence while the head of the judicial system of Iran has strongly denied it. Can it be called a legal report? Whether is it true to use a series of opaque, vague, and non-documented claims to arrange a legal report? And don’t such reports mar the status and reputation of the UN Human Rights Council?
The other parts of the report have also two points of similarities: a) non-documented and deniable claims and b) blaming the judicial system of Islamic Republic of Iran for enforcing law against the defendants in different domains. In the case of the former, you have mentioned items such as “interview with three student activists who asked to remain unknown”, or “according to eye witnesses, Ms. Sahabi was beaten by security forces and subsequently died of a heart attack”, etc. We want to know whether, in your eyes, is it possible to prepare a documented report by referring to such fictional and identity-less figures. If your answer is yes, then it should be said that preparing report on the status of Human Rights in a country doesn’t require a rapporteur and anybody in any part of the world can present detailed and lengthy reports.
Furthermore, reference to vague events like the death of Ms. Sahabi and attributing it security forces is included contrary to the fact that only some hours after her death, her son Mr. Yahya Shamekhi, in an interview with the official organ of Freedom Movement of Iran- Mizan Website- denied narrations published in anti-Iranian media, that greatly resembled your report, and emphasized her natural death.
Regarding the latter, a great deal of what is mentioned in your report is singly a narration of the legal encounter of Iranian judicial system with the lawbreakers, and it should be clarified whether enforcement of a country’s law by its judicial system is an example of “violation of Human Rights”. If this logic is acceptable, then the most Human Rights violating countries are the most law-abiding ones, otherwise, what is your reason for mentioning numerous cases of the legal encounters of Iranian judicial system with the lawbreakers in your report?
In the case of sentenced people who are mentioned as the examples of violation of Human Rights, no reference to their verdict of guilty is provided so that they can be verified; on the other hand, their crimes are not specified but are recklessly mentioned under unknown and somehow fabricated topics inclusive of “insult to the Leader” and “insult to the President” or the general topic of “action against the national security”, and the behavior that has led to such a verdict is not mentioned to, at least, enable us to compare the punishment with the crime. Moreover, roorback and dubitable relations with the foreigners is an evident crime and Iran can’t be blamed for it, because the whole world treats roorbackers and traitors in this way.
Expressions such as “some reports reveal that attorneys informed the defendants of their sentence before their appearance before the court” or “these sentences are mostly the very same sentences issued by the judges” are unprovable and unjustified claims that damage the credibility of the report more than its subject. Inclusion of unproven claims in a report and its inculcation to the world is nothing but injustice.
Mr. Ahamd Shaheed,
In a part of your report you have expressed your satisfaction with the release of the two Americans who had arrived Iran illegally, that casts doubt on impartiality of your report. Many Iranians are concerned that why these individuals are released, but it seems you are unwilling to explore it.
In the case of Bahai astray sect that you have called them a religious minority in your report, it should be asked that what is Bahaism? Who is its prophet? Honestly, can it be called a religion, Mr. Shaheed? According to the verdict of the Iranian Attorney General in 1983, Bahai organizations were dissolved and its leaders declared their obedience by sending a letter, but it seems they have not stopped and continued their sectarian activities contrary to their promise that is globally condemned. On the other hand, foundation of educational center without official permission is another crime that cannot be ignored.
How Iranian can recognize a group that its center, namely Bayt-al-Adl, is located at the heart of Israel- the sworn enemy of Iran and Muslims- and its relation with this regime has been repeatedly revealed? The problem of this sect is a security problem. Relation with Israel is not acceptable for Iran. How is it expected that the life, property, and honor of 70 million Iranians be threatened by a multi-thousand-member group but no action be taken placed in response? Wasn’t it Bayt-al-Adl that ordered Bahais to come to the streets in the Ashura of 2009? Espionage for Israelis is not a treason easily digested for us.
We recommend you to take a look at the available cases regarding Bahais espionage to acquaint yourself with at least a small portion of their activities. What has discredited Bahais for Iranians more than their incorrect beliefs is their security treacheries.
In the case of Sunni brothers, it should be said that the remarks of Iranian officials and the Leader of Revolution is expressive of our fondness for unity among Muslims. According to Imam Khomeini (RA) and Ayatollah Khamenei, Sunnis are not a religious minority in our country. In Sistan and Balouchestan and Kurdistan they perform Friday Prayer and Eid-ul-Fitr Prayer with ease, study at their own specific schools and seminaries, and freely can observe their religious practices. In Tehran Eid-ul-Fitr Prayer, our Sunni brothers, apart from other 21 spots dedicated to them, stand besides other worshipers and perform it led by the Leader of Revolution; it is interesting to know that in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province, no Friday Prayer is held for Shias.
The aforementioned items were merely some parts of your unreal report and dealing with the other parts is beyond the scope of this writing.
Mr. Ahmad Shaheed,
The UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur
As a Human Rights activist you well know that Human Rights is not limited to civil and political rights, but it includes social, economical, and cultural rights, known as the second generation of Human
Rights, as well as third generation rights inclusive of “right to development”. So, we are willing to inform you of some of Iran’s progress regarding the second generation of Human Rights.
1. Efforts towards social justice: according to the latest statics published in 2009, all villages with 20 families and above and 68.8 percent of villages with less than 20 families have been electrified. (Majlis Research Center, 2009)
2. Literacy: according to the 2009 census, 96 percent of Iranian population was literate that is considerable compared to the region’s countries.
3. Health indicators: improvement in different health indicators of Islamic Republic of Iran in the recent years has been so considerable that in a press conference held in the last year to present the UN’s report on Iran’s success to achieve health goals of development ahead of schedule, the representatives
of international organizations appreciated Iran’s success in reducing maternal mortality from 150 per 100000 live birth in 1990 up to 30 per 100000 in 2008.
Undoubtedly, these achievements have been the fruit of Iranian people’s and authorities’ planning and efforts and preparation of a report on Human Rights situation in Iran without taking such progress into consideration lacks scientific legitimacy.
You must to comprehensively investigate Human Rights situation in Iran and report any violation of Iranians’ rights.
As you know, third generation Human Rights includes «right to development» that is confirmed in various international instruments. 1997 World Conference on Human Rights has accounted «right to development» an innate part of Human Rights and associated it with democracy and peace. World Conference on Human Rights considers it tantamount to an inseparable global right and an innate component of fundamental rights of human beings. Copenhagen Declaration also announces that right to development is an innate component of right to life and these two are interrelated. Hence, «right to development» has strong principles that raise it to the level of «Jus Cogens». According to various international instruments, this right includes access to modern science and technology.
Moreover, different instruments have recognized unilateral economic and scientific sanctions against a state contrary to international regulations. The United Nations General Assembly resolution dated 1996 implies the illegality of extraterritorial unilateral sanctions and regards it against states’ right to determine their economic destiny. The paragraph 2 of the resolution obliges the state-members to repeal extraterritorial laws that impose sanctions on corporations and nationals of other states.
Paragraph 3 called on all member-states not to recognize extraterritorial unilateral economic measures. Although nonobligatory and not yet customary, violation of their principles expresses disrespect for the states voting in favor of these resolutions.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has also issued a resolution banning imposition of economic sanctions by developed countries on developing ones. “Imposition of economic sanction, especially on national and individual properties of a member state, is contrary to the developed countries’ commitment to transfer technology to developing countries (as emphasized in TRIPS Agreement). So, unilateral economic sanctions, even if considered to be the right of developed countries, are, at least, contrary to their commitment to transfer technology.”
Hence, sanctions imposed by the Security Council, beyond its jurisdiction, and some other countries on Iran have obstructed our development. On the other hand, sanctions that have aimed preventing us from access to modern science and technology inclusive of achieving civilian nuclear energy deal with issues rooted in internal society of Iran and, for the very same reason, Iranian nation, besides its government, is hurt from these sanctions. So, it can be said that even if the Security Council has unlimited authority to embargo a member state (!), these unilateral sanctions are sanctions to deprive Iranian people of an absolute right and not to punish Iranian government for its wrongdoing.
Mr. Shaheed! It’s better to know that scientific and technological sanctions on Iran have reached a state that ban sale of laboratory facilities, which are the initial need of a country to educate its young generation and provide its researchers with adequate tools, to Iran. Take a look at the EU sanctions blacklist in 2010 to find out the injustice imposed on Iran. Efforts to obstruct Iranian progress and development are not limited to sanctions, but are pursued in the form of terror attempts of the intelligence services of Iranian enemies. During the last two years, three Iranian scientists have been assassinated by the American and Israeli intelligence services. Weren’t these attempts the evident examples of violation of Iranians Human Rights?
Mr. Ahmad Shaheed,
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
At the end, you are responsible in the presence of the history and should behave in a way that the posterity recall you as an independent, impartial, and political-affiliation-free person. As Iranian non-governmental groups, we will continue our interaction with you and will await your response to issues mentioned in the letter. This letter is to commence our interaction with you.