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Tue 9 Aug 2011 08:48 PM

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Iran chides UK over human rights of rioters

Tehran tells Britain to avoid using force to suppress human rights of troublemakers

Iran chides UK over human rights of rioters
A large fire breaks out in shops and residential properties in Croydon on August 9, 2011 in London, England. (Getty Images)

Iran urged Britain on Tuesday to avoid using force to suppress riots that have rocked London, mischievously turning the tables on Western critics of its own human rights record.

In other reaction to the wave of looting and rioting sweeping the British capital, France and Austria issued travel advisories to their citizens and a Belgian lawmaker said he feared copycat violence spreading to his own country.

"It must be weird for Londoners to read travel advisory from foreign countries against the UK; usually the other way around," tweeted Gulf social commentator Mishaal al-Gergawi from a region that has witnessed a lot of civic unrest in the Arab Spring.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the British government should "exercise restraint", avoid using violence and instead "talk to protesters and listen to their requests", the official IRNA news agency reported.

For many years Iran has been on the receiving end of criticism from Western countries over its human rights record, especially the crushing of demonstrations after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June 2009.

A member of Iran's parliament, Hossein Ebrahimi, told the semi-official Fars news agency that Britain should allow a delegation of human rights monitors to examine the situation.

The British riots broke out on Saturday in a district of northern London when a protest over the police shooting of a suspect two days earlier led to violence.

The riots in London are the worst violence in the British capital in decades and politicians and police have firmly blamed the violence on criminals and hooligans.

Iran's state-run rolling news channel led with dramatic pictures from London, with one announcer describing the scenes as "civil war".

An official in Egypt, where unrest earlier this year ousted veteran President Hosni Mubarak, also could not resist making an ironic jab at a Western country that normally prides itself on its respect for the rule of law and for human rights.

"We will send Egyptian NGOs (to London) to check it out," said the official, in a reference to Westerners who monitored Mubarak's attempts to quash protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

France and Austria urged their nationals to exercise caution when visiting Britain, especially city centres after dark.

Italy's foreign ministry said it had set up a 24 hour hotline for Italian nationals affected by the rioting. It said it had sent warnings via social media such as Facebook and Twitter and also by mobile phone messages to citizens registered on a special website that tracks Italians abroad.

The London riots could be replicated in Brussels, local MP Alain Destexhe told Belgian newspaper La Capitale on Tuesday.

"It is possible that this might happen in the more or less near future," he told the newspaper.

A potent mix of high youth unemployment in Brussels -- reaching 50 percent in some parts of the Belgian capital -- years of badly managed immigration policy and demographic pressures contribute to the risk of riots, Destexhe said.

"The police do not dare do anything for fear of inciting an uprising," he said.

In France, which was rocked by urban riots in 2005, Christophe Barbier, chief editor of weekly French magazine L'Express, echoed those concerns.

"Who can be sure that the riots in London and surrounding areas could not happen in France? We're not out of harm's way because we have the same youth: unintegrated, unemployed and victim of the crisis," he tweeted.

"This issue should be discussed in the presidential election campaign and new solutions found. This youth needs an economic future."

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Glen 9 years ago

This is excellent advice from a government that sends in brutal motorcycle brigades to terrorise their citizens.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the British government should "exercise restraint", avoid using violence and instead "talk to protesters and listen to their requests", the official IRNA news agency reported.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry should be asked to cite examples in their own country, the only talking they do with their own citizens after arresting them, is telling them what to confess to after brutalising. The word restraint does not exist in practice with them and even the use the word is borrowed from a nation that is certainly using restraint to the extreme.

Locke 9 years ago

Oh the irony...

DH 9 years ago

Surely a comparison between the riots of the Middle East and those in the UK should identify that in the ME, protesters demonstrated against poverty, dictatorship and for the right to be governed by whom they choose. In the UK the riots have risen with no clear understanding of why or what the "protesters" intend to achieve through their demonstrations. Information surrounding the shooting of a “potential suspect” seems unclear with few details being released. It’s almost being used as an excuse for the initiation of the “protests” which from what I’ve seen are now pure vandalism and looting, both of which are punishable by law. I’m a Brit, and im not sure that this is human rights case at all. What’s the difference between 2 people break into a Sony warehouse because they feel they deserve a new TV and 200 people breaking in and setting fire to it afterwards?

Red Snappa 9 years ago

The real issue beneath all the claims of mindless riots and destruction persisting in UK cities, also one of 'have' and 'have nots'. The parents of the rioters or they themselves, live on the benefits system because there are no where near enough private sector jobs and therefore cannot afford products they see on display every day.

Plus the rank and file at the bottom of the wealth pile may, in a peverse sort of way, not see a current UK government made up of millionaire Old Etonians making huge budget cuts in benefits as well as budgets for social and community services. All this in an economy that with curtailed public spending has failed to grow to forecast.

Having said that the UK riots are not the best way to find a voice for change but for sure they will change some things, hopefully police budget cuts will be reversed for a start as well as some cuts in the armed forces, which were on the brink of being called out to assist the police in maintaining public order.

salim shaikh 9 years ago

Whether Iran has criticised this as a mock strategy or not. An iron fisted brutal suppression of rioting youths which violates human rights need to be highlighted may it be in Iran or anywhere else. As no body should be above criticism and get away with their holier then thou stamp of upholders of human rights if they themselves do not follow it.

Arabian Man 9 years ago

You reap as you sow, seems like justice is fast catching up with western nations, and why not, they have been meddling and poking their long noses in every country’s affair from China to Chile. They have acted the super cops for too long and neglected their own houses.
Hope the turn of events in UK will trigger a European Spring and bring the much needed change that is required in the west. Who says western nations have good track record of human rights. They are the ones who have trampled humans and their rights and dignities under the guise of capitalism and still counting. Who can forget the British, Italians, French, Portuguese, Dutch and various other colonial forces who enslaved millions around the world not long ago. They raped and maimed millions while they were the masters in many countries and they talk of human rights.
Moral of the story: People living in glass houses should not throw stones.

nirsly 9 years ago

The Iron Hand of the brutal British regime strikes again, and quells all pro-democracy movements in the UK. Let the poor and disenfranchised remain so.

The Brits are very good at criticizing everyone except themselves.

Kat 9 years ago

These are not legitimate rioters or protestors they are thieves and hooligans - big difference between the UK and the issues that arose out of the last Iranian elections - get over yourself Mr Minister.

Lani 9 years ago

Britain must talk nicely to the rioters. No police are needed on the streets. This is what has been preached to Libya and Syria by the same Britain.

Toby 9 years ago

What kind of change do you see happening? The re-introduction of religion and basic human values into the education program? The requirement for pupils to study at school? The automatic transfer of money from the employed to the unemployable? Perhaps even the eradication of democracy? Because if there is to be European Spring there needs to be a clear and significant goal. Please let us know your views, thank you.