Iran’s first UN envoy slams Oberlin College Prof. as ‘agent of totalitarian theocracy’

"It's shameful that Oberlin College allows Mahallati, with such a dark past and present, to have access to young students and brainwash them," human rights activist Lawdan Bazargan tells the Post.

Mohammad Jafar Mahallati at TEDxTehran. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Mohammad Jafar Mahallati at TEDxTehran.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oberlin College has again been plunged into chaos after a prominent Iranian-American academic and Tehran’s first ambassador to the UN in late September urged Oberlin professor Mohammad Mahallati to condemn the Islamic Republic’s massacre of political prisoners.

Dr. Mansour Farhang, a professor of Politics at Bennington College, slammed Mahallati “as an agent of Iran’s totalitarian theocracy” who refuses to take responsibility for the clerical regime’s mass murder of 5,000 Iranians in 1988.

Mahallati served as the Islamic Republic of Iran’s ambassador to the UN from 1987-1989. Farhang resigned as the top UN envoy for the theocratic state in Tehran in 1980 because the founder of the Islamic Republic Ruhollah Khomeini refused to release American hostages.

Khomenei’s revolutionary Islamic regime dismissed a UN Commission of Inquiry recommendation report to free the US embassy hostages.

Farhang published a scathing indictment of Mahallati’s refusal to confront the reported crimes against humanity allegedly carried out by the Iranian regime in the September 23 issue of the student paper Oberlin Review.

 Protest for the removal of Oberlin College professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati (credit: MELISSA LANDA) Protest for the removal of Oberlin College professor Mohammad Jafar Mahallati (credit: MELISSA LANDA)

The article was titled “Professor Mahallati Should Condemn ’88 Iran Massacres.”

Who is Dr. Mansour Farhang?

Farhang is the first formidable former top-level Iran diplomat to blast Mahallati. His role as a distinguished academic also adds a new dynamic to the growing calls for Oberlin College to fire Mahallati.

Farhang wrote about Mahallati’s reported car crash in a June interview with Voice of America journalist Masih Alinejad, in which she asked the Islamic studies professor Mahallati what knowledge he had about the 1988 massacre.

Mahallati told Alinejad “I strongly believe that killing one person is equal to killing the entire world.”

“I strongly believe that killing one person is equal to killing the entire world.”

Mohammad Mahallati, Oberlin professor

Farhang wrote “This absurd and demagogic answer to a specific question reveals the shameless hypocrisy of Mahallati. Has there ever been a despot who admits to killing innocent people? All dictators consider their critics or opponents guilty. Mahallati, as an agent of Iran’s totalitarian theocracy, implicitly follows the same rule but uses the preposterous words quoted above to hide his position.”

The former ambassador added that "Mahallati denies knowing about the massacre when it happened." He maintains that “one is responsible based on the information they are aware of. This is another example of his sophistry. The truth is that, shortly after the Iranian state started its criminal acts, Amnesty International and several news organizations, including the Associated Press, reported the crimes. The information was out there; Mahallati chose to continue the regime’s cover-up.”

Lawdan Bazargan, an Iranian-American human rights activist who has been leading a campaign to secure Mahallati’s dismissal from Oberlin College, told The Jerusalem Post: “Dr. Farhang’s decision to resign from his post as Iran Islamic Regime Ambassador to the United Nations and his choice to leave the country and work for a Human Rights organization proves that Mahallati had options other than staying close to Iran’s regime too.

"Mahallati willingly chose to stay with a brutal regime, promote its propaganda and its leaders, such as Khatami, and stay close to power. It's shameful that Oberlin College allows Mahallati, with such a dark past and present, to have access to young students and brainwash them."

In a highly detailed 2018 Amnesty International report, the London-based human rights organization accused Mahallati of covering up “crimes against humanity” when he was ambassador.

A press query was sent to Mahallati on Tuesday.

In a 2020 response to the Post, Mahallati denied that he played a role in the cover-up of  “crimes against humanity.”

Iranian-Americans from Alliance Against Islamic Regime of Iran Apologists protested against Mahallati and the Islamic Republic's president Ebrahim Raisi last week in New York City in front of the United Nations and in front of the business of the chair of Oberlin College’s Board of Trustees, Chris Canavan. Raisi delivered a speech at the UN.

Canavan’s company Lion’s Head Global Partners is located in Manhattan. Iranian-Americans urged Canavan to “stop protecting Mahallati.” In a digital information flyer, the protesters wrote Canavan “has turned a blind eye to crimes committed by the former Iranian official and & Oberlin College professor, Mohammad Jafar Mahallati.”

The Iranian-American activists noted that “Mahallati defended the killing” of author Salman Rushdie.

The Post reported in May that Mahallati supported the Iranian regime’s directive to assassinate Rushdie for allegedly defaming the prophet Mohammad in his 1988 novel The Satanic Verses.

In August, a pro-Iran regime suspect named Hadi Matar stabbed Salman Rushdie while he was onstage in Chautauqua, NY.

The Post sent press queries to President of Oberlin College Carmen Twillie Ambar.

The Post sent press queries to the president of Oberlin College, Carmen Twillie Ambar.