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November 14, 2022 2:55 pm
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Jewish Groups Welcome UN Human Rights Council Session on Iran Amid Escalating Violence

avatar by Andrew Bernard

The Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room of the Palace of Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. The room is the meeting place of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Photo: Ludovic Courtès via Wikimedia Commons.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and B’nai B’rith International this weekend lauded the organizers of an upcoming special session of the UN Human Rights Council on Iran as the regime continues to crack down on protesters.

“The Human Rights Council has a responsibility to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its brazen, violent crackdown on its own citizens. The international community’s credibility is on the line,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch on Saturday.

“Any appropriate reproach must be firm: the fanatic, despotic regime has been terrorizing civilians for decades,” B’nai B’rith tweeted on Sunday. 

The request for a special session was submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva late on Friday evening by Germany and Iceland. Seventeen members of the council supported the request out of the 16 votes required to hold a special session. Formally titled “the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, the special session will be held on 24 November.

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The convening comes amid escalating regime violence and efforts to suppress months of protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman, in police custody in September. Amini, 22, died after being sent to an “educational and orientation” class following her arrest by Iran’s Morality Police for allegedly not wearing her hijab, the headscarf all Iranian women are compelled to wear, in the proper manner.

On Sunday, Iranian state media reported that the Islamic Republic’s judiciary handed down its first death sentence related to the protests. The charges against the accused, who was not named, included “setting fire to a government building” and being “an enemy of God.” The sentence can still be appealed.

Responding to the death sentence, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday said that “the eyes of the world are on Iran.” “The human rights abuses inflicted by its government must not go without consequence. The hundreds of protestors already killed at the hands of Iranian state authorities deserve justice,” he said.

According to Iran Human Rights, a Norway-based NGO, at least 326 people have been killed by Iranian security forces since the start of the protests.

Sullivan also welcomed a new round of sanctions adopted by the United Kingdom and European Union against Iran on Monday. Those sanctioned include Iran’s Minister of Interior, Ahmad Vahidi, who is head of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, and four members of the Morality Police squad that arrested Amini.

On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Iranian women dissidents, including a one-on-one meeting at the Elysee Palace with Masih Alinejad, a US-based Iranian-American women’s rights activist who was the target of a 2021 Iranian intelligence plot to kidnap her from her home in Brooklyn.

On Monday, Macron described the protests in Iran as a “revolution” and said that the regime’s actions were harming the prospects of a renewed deal between Iran and the international community over its nuclear program.

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