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Opinion: How can Iran oversee women's rights?

A country that deems spousal rape legal will now monitor how other nations treat women.

Some of the most flagrant human rights violators in the world — Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and North Korea, for instance — are rarely, if ever, rebuked by the UNHRC. For that we can thank in part the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which has commandeered the council to sate its pathological obsession with Israel. The vast majority of the council focuses on Israel to deflect concern over its own egregious record on human rights.

(Read another opinion on how UNHRC has rendered itself irredeemable.)

The world’s human rights overseer is mute on far too many state human rights abusers.

With Iran’s entry to this women’s group, we can expect much of the same.

Iran systematically and pervasively oppresses women. And now women worldwide are to look to Iran for help?

But Iran’s treatment of women is in keeping with its oppression of its people in general.

There is no such thing as free speech in Iran. Those who dare to speak out against the Iranian regime are routinely rounded up, beaten, left to rot in devastating prison conditions, or executed. Journalists are routinely arrested. The Revolutionary Guard, militia and police arrest peaceful anti-government protesters en masse.

Iran is one of the few countries left in the world that executes children and child offenders, something that international law prohibits. Iran is also second in the world in the number of adult executions carried out each year.

The Tehran regime severely restricts access to the internet and to non-state-run television; does not acknowledge any rights for homosexuals; and, of course, is actively working to acquire nuclear weapons — perhaps the ultimate threat to global human rights.

This aspiring human and women’s rights guardian, whose leader has vowed to “wipe Israel off the map,” and which is also pursuing a path toward nuclear weapons, is completing the trifecta of violence and extremism.

Is Iran in any way capable of championing women’s rights? Of course not. We should have known better. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Daniel S. Mariaschin is executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, where he directs and supervises programs in more than 50 countries.