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Iranian Interior Minister

The Iranian government sent interior minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi as its representative to a meeting of the Tripartite Commission of Iran, Afghanistan, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland. Mr. Pour-Mohammadi is notorious for his role in the Iranian clerical regime's abuse of human rights.

In a written statement, the U.S. State Department says the decision to send Mr. Pour-Mohammadi "underscores the [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad government's open embrace of repressive policies and those responsible for carrying them out."

Since taking over Iran's interior ministry in August 2005, Mr. Pour-Mohammadi has been an active participant in a campaign to restrict the already limited rights of the Iranian people. Many dissidents have been arrested. They include student activists Abofazi Jahandar, Kheirollah Derakhshandi, and Jamal Zaher-Poor. Hadi Ghaemi, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, says the independent monitoring group is "very much concerned about their whereabouts."

According to the State Department statement, Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi's record of human rights abuses in Iran includes "his reported leading role in the 1988 mass execution of several thousand political prisoners at Tehran's infamous Evin prison, and his involvement, as deputy intelligence minister, in the 1998 murders of writers and dissidents throughout Iran." Choosing Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi to represent Iran at international meetings on humanitarian issues demonstrates the clerical regime's continued disrespect for basic human rights.

President George W. Bush says the U.S. supports the "Iranian people's efforts to win their own freedom":

"Iran is a nation held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people and denying them basic liberties and human rights."

President Bush says that the greatest obstacle to progress for the Iranian people is that Iran's rulers have chosen to deny them liberty and that the regime uses Iran's resources "to fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.