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Iran rights official slams US ‘violent crackdown’ on pro-Palestine student protests

US police officers arrest a demonstrator during a pro-Palestinian protest against the Israeli war on Gaza, at Emory University, in Atlanta, Georgia,on April 25, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s top human rights official has condemned the United States’ violent treatment against professors and students protesting the Washington-backed Israeli genocide in the Gaza Strip, saying the suppression emboldens the occupying regime to continue atrocities.

Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, made the remarks in a letter sent on Sunday to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, amid US police brutality against pro-Palestinian demonstrators on college campuses.

“Undoubtedly, the violent crackdown on student movements by the United States and other Western governments is in line with their policy of openly supporting the Zionist regime’s killings and war crimes,” he said, warning that such an approach will encourage Israel to “continue warmongering, genocide and crimes against humanity in the occupied territories.”

“Attempts to suppress and silence the voices of protesting professors and students and intimidate them ... are in flagrant contradiction to the [Western] countries’ obligation to guarantee free speech, freedom of peaceful assembly, prohibition of arbitrary arrest, and the right to education under international treaties and conventions,” he added.

The protests began at Columbia University in New York City, where students set up an encampment of tents in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

They demanded a permanent ceasefire in Israel's Gaza war and an end to US military assistance for the regime, as well as university divestment from companies profiting from the aggression.

The peaceful demonstration spread to at least two dozen universities across the US.

In recent days, US police have raided campuses, clashed with pro-Palestinian students and professors, and arrested hundreds of them.

Gharibabadi expressed the support of Iran's High Council for Human Rights for the student movement in the US, urging the Türk to condemn the suppression of peaceful protests and back mechanisms that promote their goals.

He further expressed regret that the US has used its political, financial, and media capacities to cover up the Israeli crimes in Gaza and provided all-round military and intelligence support for the occupying regime.

“Instead of listening to … professors and students, the US government has … resorted to extreme force in a bid to suppress the protest movement. Other pro-Zionist Western governments, including France, Britain, and Germany, have also adopted the same approach,” Gharibabadi said.

The heavy-handed clampdown shows the Western countries’ “lies and hypocritical" approach towards freedom of expression and human rights, he noted.

Israel waged its brutal war on the besieged Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out a historic operation against the usurping entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

The Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 34,388 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 77,437 others.

Since the start of the onslaught, the US, Israel's most dedicated ally, has fast-tracked arms shipments to the regime and blocked UN resolutions that called for a Gaza truce.

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