Foreign Policy Blogs

Iran's Human Rights Shadow

Months after Iran made headlines for human rights violations following the presidential elections in June, Iran is making headlines again.  Earlier this week Amnesty International condemned the execution of a 21 year old convict who was just 17 when he was accused of murder.  He is the third juvenile offender to be executed in Iran this year, and another 140 are estimated to currently be on death row.

Then on Tuesday, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom urged US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to press Iran on human rights during upcoming talks on the Iranian nuclear program.  The Commission was created in 1998 to monitor and make recommendation to Congress and the President on issues of religious freedom around the world.  From the letter:

“Over the years, the Iranian government has engaged in prolonged detention, torture, and executions of its citizens based primarily or entirely upon the religion of the accused.  The government also has imposed harsh prison sentences on many prominent activists, clerics, journalists, and dissidents in the Shi’a majority community who have advocated for reform.  Many have been tried under criminal laws on trumped-up charges of ‘insulting Islam,’ criticizing the Islamic Republic, and publishing materials that deviate from Islamic standards.”

Then 2003 Nobel Prize recipient Shirin Ebadi criticized not only Iran’s record on human rights, but the West’s stance towards it when it places the ongoing nuclear issue over the health and security of Iranian citizens. Meanwhile, Iranian news sources are reporting that three more opposition leaders have been sentenced to death for their role in the election protests.  At least one of them, Mohammad-Reza Ali-Zamani, was part of the en masse trial that Iran held following the election violence which has been condemned as patently unfair by human rights groups.

So all in all, not a good week in the press for Iran.



Kimberly J. Curtis
Kimberly J. Curtis

Kimberly Curtis has a Master's degree in International Affairs and a Juris Doctor from American University in Washington, DC. She is a co-founder of The Women's Empowerment Institute of Cameroon and has worked for human rights organizations in Rwanda and the United States. You can follow her on Twitter at @curtiskj

Areas of Focus: Transitional justice; Women's rights; Africa

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