Talks of Peace, Though Acts of Aggression
As the word ‘peace’ echoes from the General Assembly’s hall during the UN General Assembly’s 68th Session, civilian blood is being shed in the Middle East on a daily basis. World leaders convene in the paper castle of the UN in New York to pontificate about strategy and world peace, whilst flexing their political muscles in the form of rhetoric in a laughable attempt to play ‘school yard dominance’ in the international arena. The cynical fact remains that whilst various state leaders lectured on what is ‘best for Syria’ or how relations between Iran and the USA can commence improving, they are all vying after one thing – supremacy. This supremacy is sought after at any cost, as President Barack promised to use all elements of power, including military force in order to secure their “core interests in the region”.Iranian President, Dr. Hassan Rouhani played no exception to the above theatrical performance. Whilst he insisted the Iranian nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, and rightly mentioned that the sanctions are serving only to victimise the innocent Iranian civilian population, the ‘democratically’ elected President wasn’t without the usual rhetoric. He labelled the “human tragedy in Syria” as a representation of the catastrophic spread of violence and extremism in the Middle-East. The Iranian President implicitly criticised external support for the Syrian rebels through the “infusion of arms and intelligence” and “active support of extremist groups” as an attempt to change the regional balance through proxies using ‘humanitarian rhetoric as camouflage’. It may strike some as a surprise that such words flow from the mouth of a regime that has been found to provide such ‘arms and intelligence’ to the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas – also relying on ‘humanitarian rhetoric as camouflage’ for their own sinister agenda. As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had stated, the intention is to create world-wide hostilities and chaos to such a point that would ‘hasten’ the arrival of the Messiah.
The timing of Rouhani’s attendance at the General Debate couldn’t have come at a more compelling time. As what appears to some as a PR stunt, the Iranian government released eleven political prisoners, including human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotudeh. The authorities issued the pardon without notice on the eve of President Rouhani’s attendance at the meeting in New York. Speaking on the sudden amnesty, Nasrin Sotudeh revealed that she was not informed as to why she was released, and on which legal basis the authorities released her. Nasrin Sotudeh was serving six years imprisonment for allegedly ‘endangering national security’ by misusing her profession as a lawyer. The human rights lawyer represented prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors – a flagrant violation of international human rights law - ‘child executions’, as well as representing the imprisoned opposition activists following the disputed 2009 Presidential elections. The release of the eleven detainees takes place on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the mass extra-judicial executions of political prisoners that was ordered by the Iranian government in 1988.
Whilst the Iranian regime’s mouthpiece stands before the world in New York speaking of peace and humanity, suggesting a fantasy notion for a movement – “WAVE” – World Against Violence and Extremism, human rights agencies have maintained a record of gross human rights violations spanning over three decades, perpetrated by the Iranian government since its inception in 1979. Human rights violations include child executions; rape of virgin detainees on the eve of their execution; stoning to death; breaching the rule of evidence; disregarding the right to a fair trial; oppressing the right to freedom of expression by the use of torture and execution; the perpetration of torture; violence against women; discrimination towards women; and the list is far more exhaustive.
Double standards and hypocrisy were the demonstrated theme at the General Assembly’s 68th Session, despite the resonance of words for peace and humanity. Whilst the middles-east remains conflict-ridden with human rights violations on the increase, Heads of State attempt to mask the situation with ‘hopes of peace’.
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