As Tel Aviv Pride, the largest LGBTQ event in the Middle East and Asia, kicked off in Israel last week, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, reiterated  the Islamic Republic’s right to execute homosexuals.
Paul Ronzheimer, a reporter for the German daily newspaper Bild, said on Twitter that he had asked Zarif two questions: “Where do you stand regarding Israel’s right to exist?” and “How do you deal with the executions of gays?”
Responding to the second question, Zarif said: “Our society has moral principles, and according to these principles we live.” He added that, “These are moral principles regarding the behavior of people in general. And that’s because the law is upheld and you abide by laws.”
Gay sex has been illegal in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. According to a 2008 British WikiLeaks dispatch, Iran’s regime executed between 4,000 and 6,000 gays and lesbians since the mullah’s rise to power.
In January, the Islamic Republic publicly hanged a 31-year-old man in the southwestern city of Kazeroon after finding him guilty of violating the country’s draconian anti-gay laws. A court said he had engaged in “lavat-e be onf,” sexual intercourse between two men, which carries the death penalty.
Responding to Rozenheimer’s first question about Israel’s right to exist, Zarif charged that, “The problem is the aggressive policies of Israel and the USA.” Threats to destroy Israel by Iranian leadership are not uncommon.
In February 2019, at a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, a general in the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) threatened the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa with destruction.
In April of last year, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that Hezbollah, the terrorist organization that exercises complete political and military control over Lebanon, had a rocket arsenal that will “turn Haifa and Tel Aviv into ghost-towns.”
A few days later, Ali Shirazi, the liaison between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the IRGC, said: “Iran has the capability to destroy Israel and given the excuse, Tel Aviv and Haifa will be razed to the ground.”
[Photo: Elvert Barnes / Wikimedia Commons]