On January 27, 2014, the Iranian paramilitary Basij presented its 2013 report on human rights in the U.S., which was published in Farsi, Arabic, and English. The Basij report details human rights violations by the U.S administration, including execution, torture in prisons, and racial discrimination in the American justice system.
The report includes few statistics and sources, relying largely on the websites of organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International that cannot be accessed in Iran; the Iranian regime has in the past referred to these organizations, which have criticized the Basij itself, as "Zionist." According to the Rooz website, HRW criticized the Basij's role in suppressing the 2009 presidential election protests in Iran. The United Nations Human Rights Council, also mentioned in the Basij report, once called the Basij an "oppression machine" and dispatched a special envoy, Ahmed Shahid, to Iran to investigate human rights violations there, but the Iranian regime continues to prevent him from even entering the country.
The Basij report was presented at a ceremony at Tehran University, at which regime officials, among them Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi, Deputy Majlis speaker Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi, and Iranian Judiciary Human Rights Council head Mohammad-Javad Larijani, made anti-U.S. statements. Larijani even called UN envoy Shahid an "evil idiot."
The following are the main points of the report.
Presentation of the report. Source: SNN.ir, accessed February 6, 2014.
Basij: The U.S. Administration Is Violating Human Rights At Home
The Basij report reviewed several areas of human rights violations in the U.S. Examining the number of executions since 1967, it noted that there had been fewer in 2013 than in 2012, but that the number of inmates on death row had risen 20% over the previous year. Claiming that prisoners' human rights were being violated, it said that at Bagram prison in Afghanistan, 600 Americans are involved in carrying out torture of thousands of prisoners, most of whom are innocent, and in harming their Islamic faith.
The report stated, "Physical and psychological tortures and solitary confinement in the U.S. prisons reached their heights in 2013 so that on July 8 California prisons faced their biggest hunger strike throughout the U.S. history. Almost 30,000 inmates participated in those hunger strikes and some of them were holding their protest for two months." It added that prisoners were allowed only one hour a day in the prison yard, and that prisons banned personal items like watches, cigarettes, and cosmetics. One hunger striker died, it said, because prison officials had refused to provide medical attention. The report also stated that in other hunger strikes in other prisons, prisoners were force-fed – also a human rights violation.
According to the report, illegal immigrants in the U.S. are also victims of human rights violations; it referred to an HRW demand for U.S. immigration reform. It also claimed that 11 million illegal immigrants would rather not report crimes against them to the authorities, so as not to run the risk of deportation.
Claiming that police in the U.S. are prejudiced and discriminate against blacks – as proven by the disproportionately high number of black prisoners – the report noted also that blacks face racism in the economic system, that the rate of home ownership among whites is much higher than among blacks, and that many more black homeowners lost their homes in the past year due to the economic crisis than white homeowners.
The report refers to media stories to show further evidence of discrimination: Hispanic neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman's acquittal in the killing of black teen Trayvon Martin, and a white man's killing of a black youth in front of the youth's mother, because he suspected him of breaking into his home.
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Other violations of minorities' human rights in 2013, the report says, include increased discrimination against Native Americans due to the economic crisis, the tracking of Muslims in New York, and cultural discrimination against Muslims at the University of Massachusetts, where, it claims, wearing a hijab is considered a sign of terrorism. The report also claims that the U.S. refuses to sign the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and therefore children in the U.S. are tortured and their human rights are violated by their parents.
The report mentions the cases of Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning as examples of free speech violations, and even notes that President Obama is the second president in U.S. history to increase restrictions on speech. It also stated that sexual assault of women in the armed forces is up significantly, along with ongoing sexual violence against women in civilian society. U.S. residents' phones are tapped by the authorities, which are also cyber spying on them, the report says.
Iranian Officials' Statements On The Report
Basij Commander Naqdi: "America Is The Root Of Terrorism"
At the Tehran University ceremony presenting the report, Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi assailed the U.S., claiming that the report cites merely "one thousandth of America's anti-human rights reality." He pointed out the racial discrimination there, and stressed that "America is the root of terrorism" and "the chief source of all anti-human rights behavior in the world." World peace, he said, depends on "replacing the regime that violates human rights with one that is based on the opinion of the people."
Naqdi added: "Most prisoners in America are black, while the black population is a minority and a kind of racial bias against [blacks] is coalescing... To date, America has not gone a single day without war or without attacking [other] countries or supporting aggressors... The crimes we see today that are ongoing in all tyrannical countries and against human rights are supported by America. America supported the king of Bahrain [Hamad bin 'Isa Al-Khalifa], the king of Saudi Arabia ['Abdalla bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Saud], [Iraqi dictator] Saddam [Hussein], [Chilean dictator Augusto] Pinochet, and all those [who are even] more criminal...
"America is the root of all terrorism; it even sets aside a budget for terror operations... For world peace and for the peace of the world's residents, this regime must be replaced with a regime is based on the opinion of the people... America is the chief source of all anti-human rights behavior in the world."
Iran Judiciary Human Rights Council Head Larijani: UN Envoy Is An "Evil Idiot"
Iranian Judiciary Human Rights Council head Mohammad-Javad Larijani called Ahmed Shahid, the UN envoy for investigating human rights violations in Iran, "ahmak sharir" – "evil idiot" in Persian. He added that Shahid's call for Iran to cease executions was unacceptable.
Deputy Majlis Head: 20% Of Female Students In U.S. Are Raped On Campus; In American Society, Which Has No Morals Or Religion, It Is Impossible To Talk About Human Rights
Deputy Majlis speaker Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi said at the ceremony: "Women are victims of sexual assault and violence in America. In 2010, according to data published by the National Institute for Justice in America [sic], 20 million women were victims of sexual assault... Approximately one-fifth of female students in the U.S. are raped on the campuses, with 60% of the assaults occurring in the dorms. In this society, which has no morals or religion, in which the mind is a tool for actualizing desires, it is impossible to talk about human rights...
"In Islamic Iran, we discuss freedom and individual rights; we implement them commendably because we have a religious regime at whose center is a just jurisprudent [i.e. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei]... An immoral society cannot remain alive. This is precisely the secret behind the decline of the West."