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The Scene at Durban II

3:40 PM, Apr 20, 2009 • By JAMIE WEINSTEIN
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Before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took the stage and spouted his racist drivel at the UN Durban II Anti-Racism conference, I got a preview of what was to come while interviewing a delegate at the conference who is a part of an Iranian NGO.

The self-proclaimed Tehran University Professor of International Law told me that, thankfully, the Islamic Republic does not have any problems with racism and discrimination.

"Actually in Iran, fortunately, it is the idea of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Because I am doing law I know about the Iranian constitution. It is anti-racism so there is no possibility according to Iranian law to get any kind of discrimination so it is part of the Iranian constitution. "'

But what about, for instance, government persecution of homosexuals and people of the Bahai faith?

"We are in a democratic community," he said. "The Iranian people have decided according to their discretion to have some, a kind of, I mean a limitation on some activities. If this is the law, we are under the law. So it is the law."

But can't a law decided by "the people" be racist or bigoted?

"It is the kind of punishment according to Iranian law that is under the discretion of the people."

He then compared Iran's persecution of homosexuals to America's targeting of drug traffickers, saying, "Anything against the health of people according to our view is against humanity."

As you might imagine, this NGO member feels right at home at Durban II and believes that "As far as I have seen…the draft of the conference it is exactly according to Iranian idea."

For good measure, the good professor told me that "Israel is a kind of artificial state" and Zionism is racism.

"We believe that Zionism is a kind of racism so it should be out of the whole world," he told me.

He noted, however, that this does not mean he is against Jewish people. Phew.

Check out the full video of the interview here for more outrageous statements.

Jamie Weinstein is a syndicated columnist with North Star Writers Group.