Iranian citizens accuse UN of hypocrisy over appointing Iran as chair of technology forum

Iranian citizens accuse UN of hypocrisy over appointing Iran as chair of technology forum
The appointment of Iran’s ambassador to the UN as chair of this year's Human Rights Council Social Forum sparked anger among Iranian opposed to the government, while the establishment's supporters welcomed the move.
2 min read
05 June, 2023
Amir Saeid Iravani, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran, addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria) in UN Headquarters. [Getty]

Ordinary Iranians who have struggled with repeated internet shutdowns and witnessed the executions of two men for their comments about religion on Farsi social media accused the United Nations (UN) of hypocrisy after Iran's ambassador to the UN was appointed to the chair of the UN Human Rights Council 2023 Social Forum.

Vaclav Balek, president of the UN Human Rights Council, announced the appointment on 10 May in a statement saying that the forum would "focus on the contribution of science, technology and innovation to the promotion of human rights".

Balek's decision was warmly welcomed by the pro-establishment factions in Iran, hailing the appointment as an international victory for the authorities.

"This is the [best] answer to those who cast doubt on [Iran] complying with human rights," wrote Akram Shojaei, a social media user who identified herself as someone waiting for the resurrection of the 12th Shia imam.

Live Story

Other pro-establishment shared the news, thanking the honour gained for Iran by President Raisi, who is accused of involvement in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.

Meanwhile, many Iranians expressed their disbelief and the loss of faith in international rights organisations' policies to support ordinary citizens who live and suffer under the rule of a theocracy.

"It's time to lose faith in all these international organisations which claim to protect human rights but appoint the abusers in charge," wrote an Iranian author and translator, Rouhi Shafii, on Twitter.

Live Story

Behzad Hamrahi, an Iranian protestor who lost one eye in security forces attacks, in a video, urged the UN to "clarify on which side it is, with the Iranian people or with the establishment".

"With the appointment that the UN made, it has become evident that they are against the Iranian people and with the Islamic Republic," he added.

Meanwhile, the Geneva-based human rights organisation UN Watch launched a petition demanding the removal of Bahraini from the position.

"This year's theme is technology and promotion of human rights; Iran's regime just hanged Yousef Mehrad and Sadrollah Fazeli Zare for using social media to criticise religion," the rights NGO wrote in its petition.