Iran’s campaign to take the anger directed towards its repressive Islamist regime and redirect it at the United States continued Thursday with a senior military official declaring that the United States’ “history of barbarism” nullified American criticisms of reported arrests and torture of dissidents in the country.
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri dismissed President Donald Trump and his administration’s call for the Iranian regime to respect the basic human rights of its citizens, arguing that the United States upholding human rights was “ridiculous,” according to Iranian outlet Tasnim.
“Certainly, such stances by such a country (the U.S.) are quite ridiculous given its record of barbarism, and the whole world knows this,” Baqeri is quoted as saying. Tasnim reports that Baqeri argued that America “itself is a symbol of oppression of people and has a long record of barbarism and crimes against humanity,” without elaborating.
Baqeri went on to question the 22 reported deaths during protests against the regime that began on December 27, the most recent occurring inside Iran’s Evin Prison, known as a center of abuse and torture of prisoners of conscience.
“Major General Baqeri also said that most cases of the deaths in the riots are suspicious because those killed have been shot from behind and the shootings have taken place in unknown areas,” Tasnim states.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued similar comments on Wednesday, specifically condemning the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a resolution in support of Iranians protesters, who have demanded that Tehran cease funneling millions into terrorist activity around the world.
Spokesman Bahram Qassemi told reporters that the House resolution was “unwise and irrational” and decried “the greedy and domineering nature of American rulers,” according to Iranian state outlet PressTV.
The House declaration resolves to support “the rights of the people of Iran to free expression, condemning the Iranian regime for its crackdown on legitimate protests, and for other purposes.” Only two representatives, both Republicans, voted against the bill.
The Congressional chamber joins a growing chorus of voices in the American federal government supporting Iranian protesters and calling for the Islamic regime to observe international law with regards to how they are treated. President Donald Trump was the first voice in the U.S. government to speak up for the protesters on Twitter, warning Iran in December, “The world is watching!”
The State Department has subsequently expressed support for the protests and revealed that its sources have documented at least 1,000 arrests of peaceful protesters since late December.
“We condemn the deaths to date and the arrests of at least 1,000 Iranians by the Iranian regime during this week’s protests and called on the United Nations Security Council to speak out in support of the Iranian people,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement last week.
Protesters began objecting to skyrocketing food prices, but their protest chants rapidly evolved into “Death to [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei” and “Death to Hezbollah,” the Iran-sponsored Shiite terrorist organization. Iranian officials have insisted that a minority of Iranians lodged “economic” protests against the regime, though protesters insist that this is a revolt against the political structure of the country. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has documented uprisings in over 90 towns and cities across Iran.
The Iranian regime has also denied any attacks on protesters and claimed the uprising in an American/”Zionist”/Kurdish plot against Khamenei. Government officials deemed the latest death documented, that of 23-year-old student protester Sina Ghanbari, a “suicide” without elaborating. Ghanbari died in custody in Evin Prison.
Relatives of those still imprisoned say that their loved ones are being tortured in Evin. Fox News reports that over 3,000 protesters remain in custody, their families uninformed as to their wellbeing. One protester told the outlet, “People inside are being tortured, maybe tortured to death.”