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U.N. On Iran Human Rights

The United Nations General Assembly called on authorities in Iran to “ensure full respect for the rights to freedom of assembly, opinion, and expression, and for the right to due process of law, to eliminate the use of torture and other cruel forms of punishment.”

The resolution, put forward by Canada and co-sponsored by forty-three nations, expressed “serious concern” over Iran’s human rights abuses and called for the elimination “in law and in practice,” of “all forms of discrimination based on religious, ethnic, or linguistic grounds, and other human rights violations against persons belonging to minorities, including Arabs, Azeris, Baha’is, Baluchis, Kurds, Christians, Jews, Sufis, and Sunni Muslims.”

In its latest human rights report on Iran, the U.S. State Department said, “members of the country’s non-Muslim religious minorities, particularly Baha’is, reported imprisonment, harassment, and intimidation based on their religious beliefs.” Ethnic minorities too, suffer political and economic discrimination.

Fakhteh Zamani is the director of an Azeri-Iranian human rights group based in Canada. She says that in Iran today, “all minorities, including Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, and others are deprived of their basic right to live in freedom and express their cultural differences.” Ms. Zamani says, “those who demand respect for their culture are subject to humiliation, arrest and persecution.”

White House spokesman Tony Snow says the United States wants Iran’s government to respect the human rights of all Iranians:

"We believe the people of Iran – like the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and throughout the world --- deserve to have a free democracy so that they can explore, each and every one of them, their unique talents and genius, and to feel not only the joys that freedom brings, but also the fulfillment."

President George W. Bush says Iran “is a proud nation with a fantastic history and tradition.” In an address to the U-N General Assembly, Mr. Bush told Iran’s people, “the greatest obstacle to this future is that your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty.”

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