On November 12, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) wrote to the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, to express its disappointment over the invitation extended to Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, to speak before such a respected organisation next week.

In the letter, the co-Chair of British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF), Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, wrote, “For a respected UN organisation to invite the representative of an oppressive theocracy that is considered world's number one executioner per capita and the leading state sponsor of terrorism, stands not only in contrast to the core objectives of UNESCO to promote peace and security but also legitimises a regime playing a destructive role in the Middle East.

The letter point out that “the UN Secretary-General, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran and respected International NGOs, like Amnesty International, have all expressed concerns over the recent spike of executions in Iran while regretting that the human rights situation in the country has deteriorated in several areas during Rouhani's tenure compared to that of his predecessor Ahmadinejad.

The letter also highlights that “barbaric punishments such as amputations, flogging and public hangings, are enshrined in Iran's penalty-code and that its current constitution calls for active promotion and spreading of religious fundamentalism not only in the region but also in the world.

Taking into account these harsh realities and Tehran's unacceptable behaviour internationally, the British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom (BPCIF) urges the UNESCO to revoke its invitation to Hassan Rouhani at this moment because nothing in Tehran's behaviour suggest the theocratic regime is ready to contribute constructively in promoting international peace and universal respect for human rights, which are the core objectives of UNESCO.

British Parliamentary Committee for Iran Freedom

12 November 2015