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In the immediate aftermath of the anti-Israel protest outside the London School of Economics (LSE), all eyes were on the viral clip of Tzipi Hotovely being rushed to her car by police and her security detail. But to truly understand the gravity of what took place, turn to the footage of the protesters. Standing in the centre of the mob was Massoud Shadjareh, the head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). In an interview last night with Iranian state propaganda channel Press TV, he called Mrs Hotovely a “hate preacher”;
In the past, Mr Shadjareh has said he was “inspired” by Iranian General Qasam Soleimani, the former head of the regime’s brutal Quds Force;
Shortly after Qasam Soleimani was assassinated by the US, Mr Shadjareh made a speech in honour of the former head of the elite Iranian Quds Force in which he said: “You are very fortunate to live at a time [when it is possible] to see and to touch and to feel a man like Soleimani. And we hope and we pray and we work hard to make sure that there will be many, many more Qasem Soleimanis;
“We aspire to become like him, we are inspired and we are jealous of his shahadah [martyrdom] and we want the same thing for ourselves and for our loved ones because that’s the best thing that could happen to us.”;
At the demonstration outside LSE last night, flags for the Iran-backed, Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Kata’ib Hezbollah — whose leader was killed alongside Mr Soleimani by an American missile last year — were waved behind Mr Shadjareh while he spoke;
In May, Mr Shadjareh appeared alongside a Tehran-based Hamas representative at a panel event for an “International Quds Webinar”;
Massoud Shadjareh, the chairman of the IHRC, spoke of of Ayatollah Khomeini, the cleric who became Iran’s supreme leader after the 1979 revolution, as “a torch of light for the whole of mankind”. Mr Shadjareh, who was born in Iran, gave an interview this year to the state-owned Press TV in which he waxed lyrical about the Islamic Republic’s glorious record of “standing against injustice”.
Iran was, he said, “the only nation standing against oppression, against tyranny, in line with the wishes of Iranians and the overwhelming majority of people in the region and beyond”.
IHRC, which was founded in London in 1997, has three directors in addition to Mr Shadjareh. They are:
– Saied Reza Ameli, the Tehran-based secretary of one of Iran’s leading policy-making bodies, the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution;
– Arzu Merali, the research director, who was introduced at a 2014 conference as “a revolutionary” and a “powerful voice of Islamic-inspired resistance to the status quo”. She said then: “We know who the enemy is. It’s the West, Nato countries [and] . . . the white supremacist or liberal structure we’re all suffering at the hands of.” She and Mr Shadjareh wrote a 2008 paper in which they told of their “radicalisation” as Islamists and said: “We are all Hezbollah.”
– Nazim Ali, who at a rally days after the Grenfell Tower fire condemned “Zionists who give money to the Tory party to kill people in high-rise blocks”.
IHRC’s wrath has also been directed at Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the European Court of Human Rights. But it stays silent about women’s rights in Iran. Sahar Khodayari was arrested for trying to watch a football match and died last month after setting herself on fire outside court.
Reason for the color:
» Propaganda group supported by regime gets millions of dollars from Iran;