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Iran Dismisses US Human Trafficking Report As Baseless

Group of central Asian women seized from a human trafficking organization by Iranian police

One day after the latest human trafficking report was published by the US Department of State, Iran denounced the report as “baseless accusations”.

In a statement on Wednesday, June 28, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Washington lacked the competence and legitimacy to issue such reports. He further accused the US of being the real cause of international human trafficking: “The US interventionist policies are indeed the root cause of human smuggling across the world”.

“The unilateral, interventionist and aggressive policies as well as the wars of attrition, terrorism and ethnic cleansing in which the military and security forces of America and some of its allies are involved,” are the real causes of human trafficking, he noted.

The US Department of State’s report on human trafficking had described Iran as a source, transit site and destination country for men, women and children subjected to human trafficking.

The report was published on June 27 in a ceremony with Secretary Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump present.

While the Iranian tier in the human trafficking ranking remained unchanged compared with last year, it was stated in the report that organized groups subject Iranian women, boys and girls to human trafficking.

In response, Mr. Qassemi said in his statement that such reports are biased, politically motivated and based on double standards, and only aim to tarnish the image of Iran.

Another form of human trafficking highlighted in the report was the “[coercion] of male Afghan migrants and registered refugees, including boys as young as 12, to fight in Syria”. The report accused the Islamic Republic and its strong military empire, the Iranian Revolution Guards’ Corps (IRGC), of recruiting Afghan migrants by threatening them with arrest and deportation. Iran says foreign troops it sends to war zones are volunteer forces and it never coerced any foreign citizen to go to war against their will.

The Islamic Republic has usually tried to avert similar criticisms back to the usual suspects, the US and its allies. In his newest message of denigration, Bahram Qassemi stated: "Undoubtedly, the US government is responsible [for human trafficking], and cannot shirk its responsibility for that by playing blame games and leveling unfounded and false accusations against other countries.” Bahram Qassemi stated