Human Rights

Iranian Supreme Leader Criticizes American Election

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran since 1989, criticized the American presidential election in a series of tweets last week while commemorating the 37th anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

Khamenei criticized the two leading U.S. candidates for president, calling them “unethical.”

Khamenei didn’t specify what “facts” he was referring to, nor why he regarded the candidates as being “unethical.”

He also claimed that the “U.S. system is far away from values of humanity.”

United Nation Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon decried Iran’s high rate of executions last month, calling them “alarming” in an official report. Ban also expressed his concern “about continued restrictions of public freedoms and the related persecution of civil society actors, the persistence of discrimination against women and minorities and conditions of detention,” none of which have improved during the term of President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in 2013 on the promise of opening up Iran’s closed society.

Khamenei also accused the United States of racism.

Leaders of the Baha’i, a minority religion in Iran, accused the Iranian government last month of leading a “campaign to incite hatred against Baha’is,” perpetuating systematic discrimination as a way to “destroy” the religion. Ban’s report also observed that all ethnic and religious minorities are subject to discrimination in Iran.

Khamenei also praised the students who took over the U.S. embassy in 1979.

According to international law, a nation’s embassy is regarded as “inviolable,” with article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations declaring that “the receiving State is under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the premises of the mission against any intrusion or damage and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of mission or impairment of its dignity.”

Khamenei has also targeted U.S. President Barack Obama with verbal attacks. Earlier this year, when Obama offered the Iranian people greetings during Nowruz, the Persian New Year, Khamenei mocked the president, referring to the United States as the main enemy of Iran. Last year, right before the nuclear deal with Iran was agreed to, Khamenei tweeted out an image depicting Obama pointing a gun at his own head.

[Photo: Ayatullah Khamenei Speeches English / YouTube ]