It is a "list of shame" — The list of countries that voted against a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning human rights violations in Iran.
Once again, Lebanon retained its place on the list.
On Wednesday, the draft resolution was adopted by a majority vote: 80 votes in favor, 28 against — including Lebanon — and 64 abstentions.
The UN committee urged the Islamic Republic to stop using excessive force against protesters, who have been holding daily rallies across the country since the arbitrary arrest and death of Mahsa Amini on Sept. 16. Iran has rejected the latest resolution as a mere repetition of "baseless accusations" made against it, with the aim of "defaming" the republic and "spreading Iranophobia," in the words of Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani.
Since the beginning of the ongoing wave of protests, 350 demonstrators have been killed and 14,000 people have been imprisoned, with the Iranian judiciary sentencing several of them to death in mock trials.
Iran is considered a red line by Lebanese diplomacy, and no change seems to be on the agenda.
"Lebanon's friends at the UN are surprised that this country is now outside the global consensus on human rights, even though it prides itself on being one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," laments a foreign diplomatic source who requested anonymity.
"It could at least abstain," the source said.
The vote at the UN General Assembly went almost unnoticed in official circles, with every Lebanese official interviewed passing the buck.
"We should ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," said an adviser to caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Abdallah Bou Habib did not respond to L'Orient-Le Jour requests for comment.
According to Mikati's adviser, Lebanon has remained faithful to a "traditional position of not condemning" Iran.
It had already opposed, in November 2020, a UN resolution denouncing the Islamic Republic's repression during the protests that took place between Nov. 2019 and July 2020. This decision earned Lebanon a place on the "list of shame" of the NGO UNWatch.
On Nov. 24, Lebanon is expected to once again side with Iran when it votes on a resolution to hold the Islamic Republic accountable at a special session of the UN Human Rights Council.
"We have not changed our position from the last vote on the Islamic Republic," confirmed a senior government official. "We have once again voted against a resolution condemning Iran and abstained on Syria," he said on condition of anonymity.
Many observers deplore this systematic vote in favor of Iran while, at the last session, Lebanon abstained from voting in favor of a resolution condemning human rights violations in Syria.
The 'stupidity' of Lebanon
"The resolution in question is not binding and has no significant impact on the international political scene," added the official, as if to minimize the importance of the choice made by Lebanese diplomacy.
On the side of Ain al-Tineh, the ball is immediately returned to Foreign Affairs.
"It is not a resolution of the Security Council, but of the General Assembly," said a source close to Nabih Berri, a traditional ally of pro-Iranian Hezbollah. "And as usual, Lebanon is opposed to any resolution against Iran," he added.
The source recalled that, in favor of the official policy of distancing itself from regional conflicts, Beirut opts to abstain when voting on a resolution on Syria.
Last October, Lebanon sided with Western capitals and voted in favor of a resolution condemning Russia's annexation of four separatist regions in eastern Ukraine. Hezbollah refrained from commenting on the decision, which was made in the midst of negotiations with the United States on the delineation of the maritime border with Israel.
A few months earlier, in March, Beirut also voted in the UN Assembly on a resolution isolating Moscow, as did the majority of Arab countries.
Hezbollah did not respond to requests for comment, while its Christian ally, the Free Patriotic Movement, as well as the Lebanese Forces also refrained from commenting.
Using his known sense of repartee, Druze leader Walid Joumblatt denounced "the stupidity of the Lebanese" who are "going against the direction of history."
"The Lebanese pretend to be clever, believing that Lebanon is the navel of the world in terms of freedoms, but this is a big lie," lamented Joumblatt.
"They have not learned anything."
It is a "list of shame" — The list of countries that voted against a draft resolution in the UN General Assembly condemning human rights violations in Iran. Once again, Lebanon retained its place on the list.On Wednesday, the draft resolution was adopted by a majority vote: 80 votes in favor, 28 against — including Lebanon — and 64 abstentions. The UN committee urged the Islamic Republic...