Written byShahriar Kia
While no foreign national— no matter ordinary, researcher, or official— has ever achieved a visit without the strictest state surveillance and orchestration, the touring of a UN rapporteur, particularly with the human rights label is ironic in its strongest capacity.
On May 8, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur Prof. Alena Douhan is scheduled to travel to Iran to measure “the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights”.
The history of every single UN Special Rapporteurs who wanted to monitor the human rights situation in the post-1979 revolution in Iran says it all:
Andrés Aguilar (1984–1986) resigned as Tehran kept sabotaging his job.
Reynaldo Galindo Pohl (1986–1995) who “had learned the lesson” and did play by the mullahs’ rules, managed to visit Iran three times between 1990 and 1992. Though the 1988 massacre found a place under his watch, he preferred bond over duty but still, after his third visit, he was barred from visiting Iran and some of the people who had talked to him were killed by the state.
Following the resignation of Galindo Pohl, the UNCHR appointed Maurice Copithorne, a Canadian lawyer, as the Special Rapporteur. On 22 April 2002, while Mohammad Khatami kept promising reforms and the Western appeasement policy towards Iran was blooming, the UNCHR decided Iran doesn’t need to hear Mr. Copithorne’s reports on Iran’s human rights and voted to end his mandate. Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (2011-2016), the late Mrs. Asma Jahangir (2016–2018), and Mr. Javaid Rehman (2018-) have never had the chance to set foot in Iran, let alone to measure any impact of anything on human rights in the country.
As history is a guide, Tehran has not the slightest interest in transparency and the eleven days of a managed tour inside Iran is not promising any eye-opening report for the world, except Ms. Douhan is going to join her colleagues who have become persona non grata by Tehran.
If Tehran had the slightest interest to decrease the people’s misery, it could be perfectly doing so by opening up the officials’ bank accounts and investing the multi-billion fortunes of its huge cartels into the nation’s economy.
If Ms. Douhan intends to make a real change, she ought to insist on visiting the Mostazafan Foundation, Setad Ejraiye Farmane Emam, Astan Quds Razavi, Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs and its affiliate Kowsar Economic Organization, Barakat Foundation, Alavi Foundation, Fifteen Khordad Foundation, Housing Foundation of the Islamic Revolution, Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, Khatam-ol-Anbiya Headquarters, etc.
According to Forbes, “In 2020, the number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) in Iran grew by 21.6%, way above the global average of 6.3%. The collective wealth of these dollar millionaires grew even faster at 24.3%.”
On April 23, the NCRI Secretariat issued a statement that “strongly condemned the clerical regime’s manipulation of the UN bodies”, while calling for investigating the regime’s massacres and crimes throughout the recent years.
In January 2018, while Iran was enjoying sanction relief provided by the 2015 nuclear deal, millions of Iranians took to the streets and protested the skyrocketing prices. Rejecting all ruling factions, Iranians called for regime change.
Since 2018, major uprisings have erupted and shaken the regime’s foundations. The Iranian people continue to chant: “Our enemy is right here, saying it’s America is a lie”.
As unprecedented inflation and soaring prices for basic commodities are pushing the country towards new “riots and rebellion”, something state officials are now openly warning about, Tehran will try to exploit Ms. Douhan’s visit to blame the international sanctions for the misery. Whether the regime will survive the new wave of uprisings is a serious question, but the fate of a dubious report is certainly not.