Ayatollah Ali Khamenei extended his sympathies to the three dead and 176 injured in two explosions in the last mile of the Boston marathon. While the empathy expressed by Iranian supreme leader is reminiscent of the outpouring of support from the Middle Eastern nation following the 9/11 attacks, the ayatollah simultaneously offered blistering criticism of the United States’ drone policy:
“The US and other so-called human rights advocates remain silent on the massacre of innocents in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, but they cause a ruckus after a few blasts in the United States.”
His remarks will assuredly do little to improve American-Iranian relations, which soured when the 1979 Islamic revolution overthrew its U.S.-backed monarchy. Citing the peaceful teachings of Islam as reasoning for condemning the Boston bombing and American military strikes overseas, the ayatollah’s comments are juxtaposed with the training and weaponry it has provided its ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and domestic reports of acts of violence and intimidation towards anti-regime Iranians. Iran’s stained human rights record will likely be held up as a mirror to negate the Khamenei’s attempt to reflect critical light on the U.S. drone war.
The legality of the American drone war started by President George W. Bush and greatly expanded under President Barack Obama has been hotly contested within the international community. Sending bombs instead of soldiers, its growing usage of unmanned aircrafts to fight international terrorist cells was investigated by the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights
Day Ben Emmerson. Following a three-day investigation in Islamabad, Emmerson by proxy of the UN found that the drone strikes in Pakistan violate international human rights law.
Though messenger, moral leader of a nation that openly threatens American allies like Israel and moves to obtain nuclear power, remains questionable his message of the damage caused by acts of attacks from Boston to Yemen is valuable.
Though messenger, moral leader of a nation that openly threatens U.S. allies like Israel and moves to obtain nuclear power, remains questionable his message of the damage caused by these attacks on American and foreign soil are valuable. Earlier this month 11 children died in a U.S. drone strike. The day of the Boston marathon 37 people died and more than 140 were wounded in 20 separate attacks in Iraq, a nation cleaved by American war. And in its wake, blasts in Yemen occurred.
With White House Secretary Jay Carney excusing deaths of civilians as collateral damage in a decade-long war to end terror, a change in U.S. foreign policy and adherence to international law seems unlikely.