WATCH: Iranian Foreign Minister Calls Human Rights a 'Security Requirement,' Not a 'Moral' Issue

Nick Kangadis | February 19, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke and took questions at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Sunday, and the majority of his comments blamed everyone else around the world for the problems Iran faces.

A major talking point for a lot of people when talking about Iran is human rights. Towards the end of Zarif’s post-speech interview with the BBC’s chief international correspondent Lyse Doucet, human rights came up, and Zarif’s answer was very telling of the Iranian mindset.

Here’s what Zarif told Doucet about human rights:

I’m a human rights professor. I have taught human rights for over thirty years, so I have concerns about human rights. I believe human rights need to be respected. I believe human rights for us [Iran] is a security requirement, not a moral nicety. It’s a security requirement.

Isn’t it telling that the Iranian Foreign Minister thinks that, for Iran, human rights are more of a “security requirement” than a “moral” issue? Maybe I’m reading too much into Zarif’s answer, but politicians, especially high-ranking politicians, are very measured in most things they espouse to the public. 

If you’re a human rights professor, wouldn’t you also see the issue of human rights as at least somewhat of a “moral” issue, not just because you don’t want further sanctions for violating said human rights? Isn’t there a moral component in wanting and/or giving people their basic human rights?

Zarif spent most of his speech, and question-and-answer session, blaming the United States and Europe for all of the negatives that have befallen Iran. I’m not saying that all other countries are completely innocent in all their dealings, but when you’re a country — like Iran — that publicly espouses the destruction of other societies, you really don’t have a ton of leeway when you speak about the alleged atrocities of other nations.

You watch Zarif's full speech and Q&A session below (Human rights comments can be seen at the 35:46 mark):


Not even a year ago, a scene on the Iranian parliament floor saw lawmakers literally burning a photocopy of the American flag, all while chanting “death to America.”

Take a look:


Non-profit organization Human Rights Watch wrote the following summary of the current state of human rights in Iran:

President Hassan Rouhani secured a second four-year term in office in May 2017, in an election marked by debate over the state of civil and political rights in Iran. But despite harsh criticisms he made on the human rights situation during his campaign, he has done little to curtail the rampant violations of the security apparatus and the judiciary, especially as they have continued their crackdown on citizens’ legitimate exercise of their rights to free expression and assembly. Iran has also experienced protests expressing frustration against the government, including allegations of corruption and the lack of political and social freedoms. Several women have also been arrested and detained for their protests against mandatory dress laws.

Iran may want to find its “morals” someday in the future when talking about human rights. It starts in your own backyard.

H/T: Daily Wire