by Atousa Pilger
There is no reason to entertain tyrants or their enablers in order to avoid war, so why have Norwegian officials rolled out the red carpet for Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif?
Norway is a country that values human rights, so why are they not holding Zarif to account for the Iranian regime’s abuses?
Iran’s regime has the world’s highest rate of executions per capita, normally for non-violent crimes, and have executed 120,000 dissidents since 1979. The Regime is also the leading state sponsor of terrorism, supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and threatens the world with ballistic missiles.
While all officials are vetted for allegiance to the supreme leader, Ali Khamenei handpicks a number of ministers, including the foreign minister. Zarif is complicit in the regime's crimes because as the “moderate” face of the mullahs abroad, he has worked to implement Khamenei’s agenda and whitewash the regime.
Since 2013, when he became foreign minister, Iran has:
• Executed over 3,500 people, including children
• Arrested over 8,000 pro-democracy activists during the nationwide December 2017 protests alone, torturing dozens of them to death
• Tried to bomb an MEK rally in Paris in June 2018 using an Iranian diplomat, who is awaiting trial
Lars Rise wrote: “In reality, he is more of a propaganda minister than a foreign minister… Zarif is no stranger to crimes against humanity. He was active as a senior career diplomat in the United Nations in 1988 while his government butchered over 30,000 political prisoners, members and supporters of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, the main opposition movement in Iran.”
Zarif even brags about his relationships with Qassem Soleimani, the sanctioned commander of the notorious IRGC Quds Force, and Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah. He even pledged that Iranian support for Hezbollah would continue, while the government admits that 70% of the Iranian public will be below the poverty line at the end of 2019.
Now, his two-faced game worked well for the regime when they had the benefit of the West’s appeasement policy, but that is slowly going away. It was never wise to have this plan, but now the world is waking up to this.
Rise wrote: “Nobody wants a war with Iran, but the best way to prevent war is to reject Tehran’s egregious conduct wholesale. By rejecting Zarif’s visit and holding him to account, Norway would be taking an ethical and principled position while sending a message of support to the Iranian people who are crying out for freedom.”