Javad Zarif Smiles for the Cameras While Iran’s Regime Tortures Dissidents

Written by Mahmoud Hakamian

Former European lawmaker Struan Stevenson has penned a piece for the United Press International exposing the Iranian regime’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is wrongly viewed by some in the Western media as the moderate face of his regime.

Last week, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Zarif had been added to America’s list of sanctions against Iran’s regime, calling him “a propaganda minister rather than a foreign minister” and stating that: “This is a leader who has supported a regime that jails political dissidents, treats women horribly. They go after peaceful worshipers. He’s the mouthpiece of that autocracy. And they suppress free speech.”

In his opinion piece in the UPI on August 7, 2019, Mr. Stevenson writes: Pompeo is outraged that Zarif, like the Nazi’s Joseph Goebbels in the 1930s, journeys around the world attempting to justify the Iranian regime’s criminal behavior, such as the illegal seizure of the British-flagged Stena Impero oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the sabotaging of six other oil tankers in the Gulf and the shooting down of an American drone in international airspace. Zarif is also the apologist for the way his regime supplies missiles for its Houthi rebel proxies in Yemen to fire into Saudi Arabia and its supply of weapons and personnel to prop up Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria, the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon, the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq and Hamas in Palestine.

As foreign minister to a regime described by Pompeo as the godfathers of terror, Zarif was the ultimate boss of the diplomat from the Iranian embassy in Vienna, who has been charged with handing over explosives to three Iranian agents with instructions to bomb the Iranian opposition’s annual Free Iran rally in Paris in June 2018. Zarif was also in charge of the ambassador and first secretary from the Iranian embassy in Albania, both of whom were expelled from that country last December on similar charges, Mr. Stevenson points out.

Mr. Stevenson added: While Zarif smiles for the cameras in the West, back home his government has executed more than 3,500 people, including women and children, since he took office in 2013. Inside Iran, the torturers and executioners are busier than ever, determined to crush all opposition under a tidal wave of fear and oppression. But Zarif is no stranger to crimes against humanity. He was active as a senior career diplomat in the United Nations in 1988 while his government butchered over 30,000 political prisoners, members and supporters of the Mojahedin e-Khalq/People’s Mojahedin of Iran (MEK/PMOI), the main democratic opposition movement in Iran. In 1989, shortly after this horrendous crime against humanity, Zarif was appointed as Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations.

In September 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump told the United Nations that “the Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos.”

Zarif responded with an angry tweet: “Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times — not the 21st century U.N. — unworthy of a reply.” As foreign minister for a fundamentalist regime that flogs, immolates, amputates limbs, gouges out eyes and hangs people in public, Zarif certainly has firsthand knowledge of medieval times, Mr. Stevenson argues.

Mr. Stevenson adds: The blacklisting of Zarif by the United States is a measured and justifiable response to his campaign of misinformation and duplicity on behalf of one of the most corrupt, evil and dangerous regimes in the world. The EU should abandon its policy of appeasement toward the fascist Iranian regime and follow America’s lead.

Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change. He was a Member of the European Parliament representing Scotland (1999-2014), president of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq (2009-14) and chairman of the Friends of a Free Iran Intergroup (2004-14). He is an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association.

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