Iran, a nation facing global backlash for widespread human rights abuses, is reportedly highlighting U.S. police discrimination in an upcoming conference and inviting Americans to attend.
An organizer tells local media the "Blacks of America" conference is "part of our soft war against world powers," according to a translation by The Foreign Desk, a website that tracks Iranian media.
In April, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that in the United States, "the black people are oppressed, disrespected and humiliated."
Of course, analysts say the Islamic Republic has imprisoned citizens and foreigners merely for criticizing the regime. In a closed-door trial, an Iranian court recently convicted Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian on charges that include espionage. He reportedly faces up to 20 years in prison.
Relatives of one American shot dead by police say they will attend the conference, scheduled for later this year. The mother and stepfather of Kawanza Beaty tell the UK Telegraph they're not worried.
"A black man in America is just like a foreigner. They're killing us. We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave but we're not worried about terrorists, we're worried about the police," stepfather Clyde Dargan told the Telegraph.
The 23-year-old Beaty was shot during a police chase in Newport News, Virginia in July, after an officer received a tip that a man was carrying a sawed-off shotgun. A shotgun recovered at the scene was found to be unloaded.
Police and prosecutors are still investigating that case. Beaty’s family filed a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit against police and the city in September.
His stepfather also told the Telegraph, "I'm interested in coming to the conference. I want to bring awareness. It's just to bring awareness to the world about what's going on in America. This is an epidemic and cops are not getting prosecuted."