PHOTO EFE/EPA/TIMOTHY A. CLARY / POOL
On the ashes of World War II, a severely wounded and dispersed international community decided to build an organization to “maintain international peace and security”, while working towards “developing friendly relations among nations and promoting social progress, better living standards, and human rights”. The world had learned that the inaction of responsible nations can lead to global catastrophe.
Seventy-seven years on, the United Nations did indeed prevent many conflicts and shaped alliances, but the UN stage has also hosted many dictators, human rights violators, and enabled aggressors and state terrorists.
The current world order has set a standard to accept anyone who takes control over a country with whatever means, perhaps arguing that a bounded dictator is better than a renegade state. Statements of concern only last a few weeks, if not days, and it takes only a natural disaster for the “free world” to begrudgingly reach out to the “new leadership” and offer help to the state for the sake of the “suffering people”. Consequently, new relationships are formed, and dealing with evil becomes the new norm.
No one questions the consequences and if the standard would not be a motive for every warlord and fascist movement to try a coup and instigate war. The word is called diplomacy, but the message translates to impunity.
The regime in Iran has widely been criticized as one of the biggest human rights violators and the most active state sponsor of terrorism at the same time. While both designations incorporate the regime’s handling of human lives, the latter is directly a result of the world’s ignorance of the first.
It’s not a surprise that Iranian state officials systematically deny the Holocaust. But don’t make a mistake. They are not judging the past, they are legitimizing their routine today and what will come in the future.
Despite desperate calls by the West for Tehran to change its behavior, Ali Khamenei installed Ebrahim Raisi, an illiterate thug who had no professional career other than executing people from teenagerhood into his sixties. Apparently, Raisi was too extreme by the regime’s own standards and Khamenei had to eliminate all insiders, even his own senior advisor, for his selection to succeed on the ballot box.
It took a few statements of concern about the regime’s “questionable elections” and soon, the European Union sent a top diplomat to Tehran for Raisi’s inauguration and set the new standard.
Ebrahim Raisi has no place on #UNGA. He should be put on trial before International tribunals for his direct role in the #1988Massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in Iran and his support for terrorism. #ProsecuteRaisiNOW https://t.co/M9o0sJlMNO
— Alireza Jafarzadeh (@A_Jafarzadeh) August 3, 2022
By changing the chiefs of all branches of power, handpicking ministers, and replacing governors with IRGC officers, the regime’s Supreme Leader clearly told the world what direction his regime is heading toward. He even reshaped the foreign ministry and the new envoys made clear how the new nuclear talks are going to look like. Yet again, the West insisted on engagement and tried what it already had for almost two decades.
One year into Ebrahim Raisi’s tenure, the Iranian regime delivered what it had promised. Proxy warmongering increased in the Middle East and beyond, the nuclear program accelerated and disappeared from the IAEA’s monitoring, Tehran expanded hostage-taking and assassinations abroad, and the regime’s judiciary broke a new record in state executions, torture, and inhuman capital punishment.
During his last year’s speech address to the UN General Assembly that took place remotely out of fears of protests in New York, Ebrahim Raisi slammed the US and boasted that Tehran is going to be more belligerent and ignorant of international calls for reform and change in behavior. Instead of a firm response or a multinational coalition building to bring the regime to its knees, the US State Department expressed interest in re-engagement with Tehran. Again, another standard was set.
This year, the regime’s President who is still legally subject to an asset freeze and US visa restrictions, and US citizens and entities are barred from doing business with him, wants to visit New York and lecture the international community about a new version of “human rights”, “liberty” and “Islamic Democracy”.
By listening to someone who has no respect for human life, the United Nations will set another new standard and becomes a worse place for humanity. As autocrats are increasingly posing a greater danger to the free world by building evil alliances and taking hostage both human lives and economies, the world must show more solidarity in rejecting and isolating bad actors.
It’s time for new standards to be set. Otherwise, this dangerous impunity will lead to more global disasters and there’s no guarantee that the new world will be a more united one.