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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for staying silent on reports of China violating the human rights of Muslim minorities, accusing Iran of turning a blind eye because China is Iran’s number-one oil customer.
“@khamenei_ir fancies himself the leader of the Islamic world, but his regime has been totally silent as China—the top buyer of #Iran’s oil—has persecuted and detained hundreds of thousands of its Muslim citizens,” Pompeo tweeted on Thursday.
While the United States tries to choke off as much Iranian oil exports as possible when sanctions return on November 5, China has said that it will not stop buying Iranian oil. But Beijing is also said to have agreed not to increase its oil purchases from Iran.
Over the past few weeks, reports have intensified that China has been detaining and persecuting the Uighur Muslim minority in its Xinjiang autonomous region in northwest China.
At the end of August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in a report on China that it was alarmed by “Numerous reports of detention of large numbers of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslim minorities held incommunicado and often for long periods, without being charged or tried, under the pretext of countering terrorism and religious extremism.”
“The Committee regrets that there is no official data on how many people are in long-term detention or who have been forced to spend varying periods in political ‘re-education camps’ for even nonthreatening expressions of Muslim ethno-religious culture like daily greetings. Estimates about them range from tens of thousands to upwards of a million,” the UN committee said.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report from earlier this month said that Chinese authorities have “dramatically scaled up” repressive policies against the Turkic Muslim people in the Xinjiang region since 2016.
China claims that the detention camps are education centers.
It’s not only Iran that has failed to speak out against the alleged mass repression of Muslims in China. Predominantly Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia have also been silent on the issue, Bloomberg notes.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.