Iran’s Leaders Are Hypocrites

Javad Zarif, Javad Zarif news, Javad Zarif Twitter, Ali Khamenei, Ali Khamenei news, Iran news, Iranian news, banned websites in Iran, Iran censorship, Middle East news

Javad Zarif in Bucharest, Romania, 11/09/2016 © Gabriel Petrescu / Shutterstock

October 24, 2018 20:27 EDT

Iranian leaders use social media freely without censorship, yet the people are banned from doing so.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is known for being a moderate politician. He tweets regularly on world politics and expresses his opinion freely via social media. Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, is also active on Twitter, which he uses to communicate with the rest of the world without censorship.

But there’s just one thing. Almost all social networks, including Facebook and Twitter, are blocked in Iran despite people finding ways around this. Yes, Iranian leaders are allowed to use social media, but the people are banned from doing so. Why? Because, for the regime, Iranians cannot distinguish right from wrong and if they use social media it will cause them harm.

The Islamic Republic not only blocks social networks, but also many news websites, including Fair Observer, to prevent people from knowing the truth and gaining a deeper insight into the political situation of their country and the world. The regime also jams satellite signals to prevent people from watching foreign TV channels, as well as blocking many opposition websites.

Just last week, Zarif tweeted that US addiction to sanctions is out of control. But what is the regime’s addiction? Is it the addiction to censor websites, TV channels and social media? Is it the addiction to imprison human rights activists like Arash Sadeghi, who suffers from cancer and is not receiving proper treatment from the government? Or is it the addiction to oppress people while they protest peacefully? Wouldn’t it be better for Zarif, who often talks about democracy, to address these questions instead?

The foreign minister claims that Washington’s latest sanctions violate the human rights of Iranians — which is correct — but the Iranian government does not even respect the rights of its own citizens. The imprisonment of human rights lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh, Ghassem Sholeh-Sadi and Arash Keykhosravi are mere examples of the widespread oppression in Iran. Sholeh-Sadi and Keykhosravi were arrested in August after protesting peacefully in front of parliament and calling for free and fair elections, according to Amnesty International.

Zarif says the US government does not respect the rule of law. But what is definition of rule of law? The most significant feature of the rule of law is the independence of the judiciary, which is completely ignored in Iran. The head of the Iranian judiciary is appointed by the supreme leader through undemocratic means and stays in office for five years. The current head of the judiciary, Sadegh Amoli Larijani, is a hardliner who is famous for the violation of human rights. It is no surprise he is under US sanctions.

The minister talks about rule of law, but isn’t access to an independent lawyer part of this? Why did the Iranian parliament enact an article in criminal code to limit the rights of political prisoners to be granted an independent lawyer, instead making them choose from a list of lawyers selected by the head of the judiciary?

And isn’t freedom of speech an indispensable part of the rule of law and human rights? Yet this is something Iran has violated for decades. Human rights organizations can attest to this fact.

It’s clear that Zarif’s tweets are not based on facts. They are part of the political game that Tehran and Washington play without respecting the rights of Iranians.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

For more than 10 years, Fair Observer has been free, fair and independent. No billionaire owns us, no advertisers control us. We are a reader-supported nonprofit. Unlike many other publications, we keep our content free for readers regardless of where they live or whether they can afford to pay. We have no paywalls and no ads.

In the post-truth era of fake news, echo chambers and filter bubbles, we publish a plurality of perspectives from around the world. Anyone can publish with us, but everyone goes through a rigorous editorial process. So, you get fact-checked, well-reasoned content instead of noise.

We publish 2,500+ voices from 90+ countries. We also conduct education and training programs on subjects ranging from digital media and journalism to writing and critical thinking. This doesn’t come cheap. Servers, editors, trainers and web developers cost money.
Please consider supporting us on a regular basis as a recurring donor or a sustaining member.

Support Fair Observer

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Will you support FO’s journalism?

We rely on your support for our independence, diversity and quality.

Donation Cycle

Donation Amount

The IRS recognizes Fair Observer as a section 501(c)(3) registered public charity (EIN: 46-4070943), enabling you to claim a tax deduction.

Make Sense of the World

Unique Insights from 2,500+ Contributors in 90+ Countries

Support Fair Observer

Support Fair Observer by becoming a sustaining member

Become a Member