Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Monday the U.S. State Department’s claims against the Islamic Republic in its annual report on human trafficking were “baseless” and, instead, suggested that Washington is responsible for the expansion of human smuggling networks around the world.
“We reject the biased and politically motivated report which has leveled baseless and unrealistic allegations against some countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran by using unreliable sources and inaccurate information,” Qassemi said, according to Iran’s state-run Tasnim News agency.
“The US government is attempting to divert attention of the world’s public opinion from its meddlesome and destabilizing policies, which have seriously provided the grounds for the formation and spread of organized human Trafficking [sic] networks around the globe, especially in West Asia and Africa,” he said.
In November, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N., Gholamali Khoshroo said, “Human trafficking is both a source and aftermath of conflict and instability, particularly affecting most vulnerable populations. This phenomenon must be addressed both collectively and comprehensively, including by taking a close look at its root causes.” Khoshroo delivered the statement read at the Security Council Open Debate themed “Trafficking of Persons in conflict situations.”
The State Department released its annual “Trafficking in Persons Report” for 2018 in a ceremony in Washington on June 28, attended by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump.
According to the report, Iran does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so, a point the Islamic Republic lamented in an article published in the country’s state-run Tasnim News Agency.
The State Department further noted that “despite the lack of significant efforts, the government took some steps to address trafficking, including operating some centers where trafficking victims reportedly could receive assistance” and stated that “the Government of Iran does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.” As such, Iran has remained at the tier 3 designation for human trafficking.
The State Department report also noted that Iran’s government and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) “coerce male Afghan migrants, including boys as young as 12, to fight in Syria in IRGC-organized and commanded militias, by threatening them with arrest and deportation to Afghanistan.”
Tasnim News, in response, suggested that “the allegations come despite the fact that Iran’s Constitution has one of the most progressive laws with regard to human dignity based on Islamic teachings and that the country’s parliament has passed a law on fighting human trafficking in all its forms.”
Despite this claim by Iran’s state-run news agency, Amnesty International reported last year that “more than half (51%) of all recorded executions in 2017 were carried out in Iran” and noted that “Iran ranks second in the world after China in terms of executions and has ‘carried out 84% of the global total number of executions with Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.'”
Since it is so difficult to track human smuggling, data on the number of cases are scarce, and an annual global report on migrant smuggling trends does not exist.
To raise awareness about the crime of human trafficking, the United States named January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.