Iranian Judiciary Chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani lambasted Washington for eavesdropping the phone talks and messages of the world people and leaders, calling the move as the worst kind of violation of human rights.
“The Americans have violated human rights in its worst form by wiretapping the (phone) conversations,” Amoli Larijani said, addressing a number of Judiciary officials in Tehran on Wednesday.
He blasted Washington’s double-standard policy on human rights, and asked how come the Americans criticize the human rights conditions in other countries like Iran, while they even don’t respect people’s privacy.
Amoli Larijani also challenged the US officials’ claims that they have carried out eavesdropping to safeguard security of their country, and said they sacrifice human rights by attacking other countries, including Afghanistan and Iraq, and wiretapping the phone calls of other states’ leaders under the excuse of protecting security in the US.
The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The confidential memo, dated October 2006, reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such as the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems.
The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA.
The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused the US of tapping her mobile phone.
The NSA memo suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so.
The rift over US surveillance activities first emerged earlier this year with reports that Washington had bugged European Union offices and tapped half a billion phone calls, emails and text messages in Germany in a typical month.
Merkel’s government said in August just weeks before the German election that the US had given sufficient assurances it was complying with German law.
This week’s news has reignited criticism of the US surveillance, and Volker Kauder, head of Merkel’s party in parliament, called it a “grave breach of trust” and said the US should stop its “global power demeanor”.