Appearing before the UN Human Rights Council today, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki lashed out at Israel, declared unwavering support for the UN’s plans for a “Durban II” anti-racism conference, and attacked the European Union’s stance on freedom of expression.
“I would like to request one minute silence and ask my Muslim brothers and sisters to read the Fatah (from the Koran) for those martyrs in Gaza,” said Mr. Mottaki. After 30 seconds of silence, the Foreign Minister accused Israel of “brutal occupation” and acting in a “horrendous and repressive” manner.
Mr. Mottaki pledged that Iran would play an “active and constructive role” in planning the 2009 follow-up conference to the original Durban conference against racism, a 2001 UN gathering that saw the largest display of anti-Semitism since the end of World War II.
The comments by Iran, which in 2001 hosted a round in Tehran that set the stage for Durban with virulent attacks on Israel and downplaying of the Holocaust, underscore fears that the 2009 conference will repeat the 2001 fiasco.
Foreign Minister Mottaki also called on the world to “prevent the infringement” of “Islamic rights,” specifically asking the European Union to take “appropriate measures” to prevent “any offense” to Islam.
Other highlights from today:
- Belgium noted its “concern” about the direction of the 2009 Durban II conference.
- Uzbekistan, Iran, Algeria, and Zimbabwe attacked The Netherlands for comments made by the Dutch Foreign Minister that were highly critical of those countries’ records on human rights.
- Albania accused Serbia of policies of “genocide and apartheid” in Kosovo.
- The Foreign Minister of Belarus praised the Council’s decision last year to abolish independent experts who investigated human rights abuses in his country, as well as in Cuba.