Marginal Footnotes

Iran: Nation of Irony
June 27, 2006, 1:35 pm
Filed under: International, Politics, Uncategorized

It seems like Iran enjoys raising the international middle finger. It’s well known here in jolly green Ireland that the address of the British Embassy in Tehran is named Bobby Sands St., as you can see from the handy photograph to the right (which I snagged from Wikipedia). This is amusing because Bobby Sands, a member of the IRA, led the 1981 hunger strikes at the notorious Maze (Long Kesh) prison in Belfast in protest of Margaret Thatcher’s revocation of the political status of paramilitaries who had been interned (ten men died). Thatcher’s plan was to normalize the conflict in Northern Ireland by criminalizing prisoners and terrorists. It didn’t work. Sands led several republicans on the strike, and, since Thatcher refused to yield to any of the strikers’ demands, Sands perished after 66 days of starving himself. In a move to show international solidarity with the republicans, Iranian officials renamed Winston Churchill St., the location of the British Embassy, Bobby Sands St. Republican supporters still get a kick out of this and the British are still trying to have the name changed. 

All that to sugges that Iran is up to its cheeky antics once again.  It appears the government has dispatched well-known human rights abuser Saeed Mortazavi, the Iranian Prosecutor General, to represent it on the newly-established UN Human Rights Council. Comments ABC:

According to the advocacy group Human Rights Watch, Mortazavi has been responsible for the arbitrary detention, forced confessions and torture of dozens of individuals, including more than 20 web bloggers in 2004 as part of a massive crackdown on the freedom of the press.  In this campaign, which started in 2000 and has earned him the moniker “butcher of the press,” Mortazavi ordered the closure of over 100 newspapers, says Hadi Ghaemi, an expert on Iran for Human Rights Watch. 

I don’t mean to make light of human rights abuses or abusers, but you have to admit that the collective Iranian sense of humor is, well, wry.


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