File Photo: A session of UN Human Rights Council
On March 8, 2022, Tehran desperately but officially threw the towel and pleaded with its foreign interlocutors to restrict and ban the organized opposition to its regime. In a formal letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, President of the Human Rights Council, President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, and President of the European Parliament, the Iranian regime’s deputy chief of staff for International Affairs and Human Rights Kazem Gharibabadi said the Western countries should stop providing impunity and safe haven for what he called “the criminal and terrorist group of Monafeqin (regime’s pejorative term to describe the Mujahedin-e Khalq)”.
“Due to the immunity granted by Western countries to this group, spreading a red carpet and inviting them to meetings in their governments and parliaments as well as providing material and spiritual support, we have been witnessing for some time that the leaders of this dangerous organization are projecting as human rights defenders,” wrote Gharibabadi in his letter.
He called on the UN and European Union officials to restrict the activities of the MEK in Europe and other countries, threatening “that the suffering and dangers of terrorism and its spread to European countries will have negative consequences for these countries.”
On March 13, 2022, the IRGC-run Javan news agency reported: “Deputy Chief of the Iranian Judiciary and Head of the country’s Human Rights Headquarters Kazem Gharibabadi blasted Sweden for supporting the anti-Iran terrorist groups.”
“He strongly condemned Sweden’s support for terrorist groups like Alahwaziah and Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO also known as MEK, NCRI or PMOI) and blasted the country for allegations and anti-human rights measures against an Iranian national,” Javan added, citing the case of Hamid Noury who is currently standing trial for his role as a former prison guard during the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.
The Judiciary-run news agency Mizan quoted Kazem Gharibabadi as saying, “Sweden has become a hub in Europe to direct terrorist activities against Iran… Some members of the terrorist group are using this country to lead their terrorist activities against Iran. Allocating a budget of tens of millions of euros, the Swedish government has handed over its judicial system to the hypocrites.”
Gharibabadi, who represents a regime with one of the worst human rights records in the world told the Swedish government to stop supporting what he called “terrorist groups”, to “cut ties with the MEK”, to “maintain the independence and professionalism in its judiciary”, to “respect the human rights of individuals” and “to put an end to this fake show against Iran”.
On February 28, when the UN Human Rights Council was holding its forty-ninth session, while many countries condemned Tehran’s grave human rights abuses and the UN Special Rapporteur expressed his deep concern over continuous human rights violations in Iran, Gharibabadi knew to exploit the stage and to express other concerns with which the regime is truly struggling.
While rejecting the UN special rapporteur’s report and claiming Tehran is a human rights champion that “should be rewarded for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, drug trafficking and hosting millions of refugees”, he said: “The MKO terrorists enjoy the freedom of activity in the US and Europe and even hold regular meetings in which European and American officials make speeches.”
Throughout the history of the clerical regime, every official or organization attached to the tag ‘human rights’ has only one job to do: whitewashing the regime’s gross human rights violations which is a systemic practice for a tyranny that lacks legitimacy and knows only to survive through suffocating dissent.
People like Mohammad Javad Larijani, former the Head of the Human Rights Council of the Iranian regime’s Judiciary said on August 5, 2014: “We are proud of our judicial system, and we do not feel uncomfortable with Law of Retribution and even stoning.”
His successor, Ali Bagheri Kani who now leads the current nuclear talks in Vienna and is obliged to seize maximum concessions from the west, was also an exemplary phenomenon.
On December 18, 2020, responding to the European Parliament resolution criticizing the human rights violations in Iran, he told Radio Free Europe: “Europeans are now accused of killing dozens of sick Iranian children, so they do not have the authority to defend human rights. They do not even have the authority to talk about animal rights.”
But now, instead of the usual aggressive tone, Tehran is playing the victim. The question is what has changed now.
The answer has been given by Gharibabadi all along. The clerics in Tehran and the IRGC leaders they have installed in senior positions to guard them are terrified of the fading impunity they are witnessing in European judicial systems. The courts that are holding trials for their functionaries like the terrorist diplomat Assadollah Assadi or the former prison guard Hamid Noury.
They see how the MEK is gaining popularity, both inside the country and on the international stage. Day and night, they receive intelligence reports about relentless resistance units that torch and disrupt everything they had taken for granted for safe for so long. They know that society, majorly starved, unemployed, and young is extremely dangerous.
Unlike the saber-rattling in the Middle East or the use of tough rhetoric at the negotiating table, Tehran knows very well how much the IRGC or the MOIS can withstand the coming upheavals. The more the resistance gains popularity, the more they have to fear for their fate because they know that no foreign power can help them with what is coming.