Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani dismissed international concern about human rights abuses in Iran and claimed that people of all faiths and backgrounds enjoyed freedom and protection in the Islamic Republic. He also lamented that attacks against Muslims and their places of worship in the West are on the rise and accused Western countries of promoting “Islamophobia.”
Separately, Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights and a brother of Sadegh Larijani, condemned the United Nations’ plan to appoint a new special rapporteur for human rights in Iran. “Designating a special rapporteur for Iran is unjustified and is a byproduct of great powers’ politics and interference in human rights issues. This is a double-faced and hypocritical approach,” he complained.
The Iranian judiciary chief’s claim that the Iranian regime grants protection and freedom to religious minorities in the country is a blatant lie. International human rights organizations constantly condemn the Islamic Republic’s mistreatment of Iranian citizens on religious grounds. Indeed, it is the judiciary authorities, along with the intelligence units of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), that perpetrate most acts of repression against Iranians, particularly religious and ethnic minorities. According to Baha’i media sources, the community suffers repeated acts of discrimination and violence and local authorities refuse to defend them.
The human rights situation in Iran has not improved since President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013. In his annual report to the UN General Assembly last September, for example, then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that rights violations in Iran continued at an “alarming rate,” adding that the Baha’is in Iran are “the most severely persecuted religious minority.”