Iran News ...


8/16/06

Human Rights: Trick or Treat?

By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

 

When former president Jimmy Carter gave a speech on December 7, 1978 on the importance of human rights in American diplomacy, Wei Jingsheng, a young Chinese man was listening in Beijing; he also made the grave mistake of believing him;  So much so that the following day a wall poster went up in Beijing, the author of this famous poster being none other than Wei Jingsheng. 

 

Carter’s words cost Wei his freedom.  The Democracy Wall movement led by Wei was quickly squashed by the Chinese government.  The dissidents, mostly students, were jailed. Wei was sentenced to 15 years which caused the Carter administration to issue its first and only negative statement to China about repression.  However, on a trip to China, when asked about Wei by a reporter, Carter said: “I’m personally not familiar with the case you described”.  Meanwhile China was given the most-favored-nation (MFN) trade privileges by Carter. (Mann pp104-106)[i].   America enhanced its relationship with China at the expense of human rights, but it also learned a valuable lesson: human rights could be used as a valuable tool.

 

Today, the Bush Administration does not favor Iran, on the contrary, it is set on a collision course with it.  Finding itself in a quagmire in Iraq and having been advised by Pentagon that it does not have the capability to engage in ground warfare with Iran, the neo-cons/Pentagon planners are using prominent Iranian human rights activists as bait, a tool to be used to their advantage.  And surprisingly, the crafty mullahs have fallen for this simple and yet evil plan.

 

Not withstanding the human rights abuses in its own backyard, and the support given to the crimes/genocide being committed by Israel, Pentagon has decided to give full support to the activists to such the extent that it would arouse not only suspicion in the Islamic regime, but learning from the Chinese experience, force it to crack down even harder on the public, activists in particular, closing centers such as the one being run by Dr. Shirin Ebadi.  Their aim is to arouse hatred and rebellion towards the regime by provoking them to be more oppressive towards the populace.  In addition, by humiliating intellectuals such as the recent Sharif scientists at the US ports of entry, the neo-cons intention is for the public to turn their indignation and humiliation against the regime; disrupting the unity that had been achieved through supporting the Nuclear program – following the age-old British motto ‘divide and conquer’.

 

Regrettably, the Pentagon planning would not end with the masses turning on the IRI; the bombs would come after the crowd has been divided and ‘prepared’ to receive a ‘friendly regime’.  It would seem that this administration has lost touch with reality and still envisages ‘a greeting with flowers’ in Iran – even if she were violated. 

 

The optimists among us may choose to believe that ‘human rights’ is meaningful to the Administration.  One may ask how long must it be condemned for Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib and for practicing rendition in an effort to extract information by way of torture in ‘friendly’ countries?  One could answer this is a White House which as recently as August 2006 made a mockery of human rights by  drafting amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing any humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees [ii].  Personally, I would like to take the side of caution.

 



[i] James Mann, ‘About Face: A history of America’s curious relationship with China, from Nixon to ClintonRandom House. NY. 1998

... Payvand News - 8/16/06 ... --



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