Hate speech by Western politicians threatens ‘human rights’, says Iranian envoy

November 6, 2020 - 19:51

TEHRAN — A recent increase in hate speech by certain Western politicians pose a serious threat to human rights, Tehran’s representative at the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly warned on Thursday.

Mohammad Zare’ian said Iran fully believes in freedom of speech but not the sort that incites hatred against others.

“Muslims, migrant communities and Africans have been the target of dangerous rhetoric, which is a flagrant abuse of freedom of expression,” the diplomat said while addressing a virtual meeting of the committee, which was held on the subject of a report by the UN Human Rights Council. 

“We also express our serious concern about the increase in insults to Muslim sanctities in Western countries,” Zare’ian told the committee through video conference, according to Press TV. 

In September, Macron defended the “right to blaspheme” in France after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished sacrilegious cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). On October 2, he claimed in a speech that Islam was “in crisis globally” and announced his plan “to reform Islam” to bring the faith more in line with French values.

Later, Macron supported a French teacher’s displaying of cartoons insulting the Prophet in his class. “France will never renounce caricatures,” Macron declared, defending the teacher for “promoting freedom.”

Muslim states and leaders have issued condemnatory statements against Macron, and thousands-strong protests have been held worldwide to protest his remarks.

In remarks on October 28, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a short message intended to the French youth in which he wanted them to ask their president that why he insults the God’s messenger and calls it “freedom of expression”.
“Does insult and sacrilege to shinning and sacred figures mean freedom of expression?” the Leader asked.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the next question is: “Why doubt about the Holocaust is a crime, and if anybody writes anything about it will be jailed but blasphemy against the Prophet is permissible?”

Rodney Shakespeare, a British professor and co-founder of the Global Justice Movement, tells the Tehran Times that Macron is just like "a pimply, juvenile boy" who has heard of the phrase "free expression" and is trying to hide French involvement in "precipitating terrorist attacks".

Shakespeare also says, “The West is completely contemptuous of Islam and willing to demonize Islam because the West is arrogant, short-sighted, and determined to further Zionism.”

‘Unilateral sanctions inhumane’ 

Elsewhere in his remarks, Zare’ian censured as “illegal and inhumane” the imposition of unilateral sanctions against countries, and said the restrictive measures “openly target the daily lives of ordinary citizens without discrimination and are designed to undermine any achievement of social development.”

The Iranian diplomat said the implementation of unilateral and coercive measures continues to fundamentally violate the human rights of all countries, and that “such sanctions, due to their extraterritorial nature and their illegal application outside national borders, also undermine human rights across the world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, a stern critic of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, unilaterally pulled Washington out of the historic pact in May 2018 and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangulate the Iranian economy

The U.S. government claims humanitarian goods are exempt from sanction. But a web of sanctions tied around Iran over years has made foreign banks and companies extremely wary of engaging in any trade with the country.  

Iran has also said that the unilateral U.S. sanctions imposed on the country have seriously hampered its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has so far killed over 37,400 people in Iran.


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