Iran’s Hamid-Reza Asefi scolds the U.S. and France for human rights violations. In the U.S., one of them is “control over the media.” I’m with you on that one, Asefi. Why, I myself had a book that spent four months on the New York Times Bestseller List, and nevertheless did not receive a single review in any major print publication, and was shunned by both liberal and conservative media figures. Did the idea of a cowed and brainwashed mainstream media, marching in lockstep to a politically correct tune, cross my mind? You bet it did, Asefi.
But as for the rest, I’m a bit more skeptical. Institutionalized racism? Asefi, the whites-only drinking fountains have been relegated to the dustbin of history here for quite some time. And as for the expulsion of Muslim clerics from France, I’m sure it wouldn’t bother you, Asefi, but there is the small matter of the fact that they were teaching jihad warfare and the overthrow of the French government.
And anyway, while we’re on the subject of religious minorities, let me say that I’m glad to see that you’re so concerned about human rights, Asefi. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be in the position of the proverbial glass-house-dwelling stone-thrower. Let me make it easier for you. Here’s something I posted the other day, about the treatment of religious minorities in Iran. It’s from the State Department’s 2005 Religious Freedom Report on Iran. It’ll give you and Ahmadinejad something to work on domestically until your nukes are ready. No, don’t thank me. It’s my pleasure. Here goes:
The Constitution states that “within the limits of the law,” Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians are the only recognized religious minorities who are guaranteed freedom to practice their religion; however, members of these recognized minority religious groups have reported imprisonment, harassment, intimidation, and discrimination based on their religious beliefs. Adherents of religions not recognized by the Constitution do not enjoy freedom to practice their beliefs. This restriction seriously affects adherents of the Baha’i Faith, which the Government regards as a heretical Islamic group with a political orientation that is antagonistic to the country’s Islamic revolution….
Non-Muslim owners of grocery shops are required to indicate their religious affiliation on the fronts of their shops….
By law and practice, religious minorities are not allowed to be elected to a representative body or to hold senior government or military positions; however, 5 of a total 270 seats in the Majlis are reserved for religious minorities….
All religious minorities suffer varying degrees of officially sanctioned discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing. The Government does not protect the right of citizens to change or renounce their religious faith. Apostasy, specifically conversion from Islam, may be punishable by death; however, there were no reported cases of the death penalty being applied for apostasy during the reporting period.
Members of religious minorities, excluding Sunni Muslims, are prevented from serving in the judiciary and security services and from becoming public school principals. Applicants for public sector employment are screened for their adherence to and knowledge of Islam. Government workers who do not observe Islam’s principles and rules are subject to penalties. The Constitution states that the country’s army must be Islamic and must recruit individuals who are committed to the objectives of the Islamic revolution; however, in practice no religious minorities are exempt from military service.
University applicants are required to pass an examination in Islamic theology, which limits the access of most religious minorities to higher education, although all public school students, including non-Muslims, must study Islam.
And here is the report on Asefi’s words: an Oh-For-Petes-Sake Alert from Iran Focus, with thanks to Mackie:
Tehran, Iran, Apr. 09 — Iran accused France and the United States of human rights abuses on Sunday.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi told reporters in Tehran that the Iranian embassy in Paris had sent a memo to French officials protesting “violations of citizens” rights” and the “expulsion” of Muslim clerics.
Tehran also objected to “violations of women’s rights” in France, particularly the French ban on headscarves being worn in schools.
“We expect France to uphold its international obligations and human rights and act with greater patience and tolerance”, Asefi said.
He also blasted “human rights violations” in the United States. “America with its bleak record on human rights and democracy is not in a place to judge others”, he said.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman listed 10 examples such “failings” by the U.S., among them “control over the media” and institutionalised “racism”.