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Human Rights Developments In Iran

The Iranian government is continuing its assault on the rights of the Iranian people.

In June, Iranian authorities arrested two renowned doctors, Arash Alaei and his brother Kamyar Alaei. The two are internationally known for their work in Iran on drug abuse and on the spread of HIV/AIDS. The regime is reportedly accusing the two brothers of fomenting "a velvet revolution in Iran."

On August 4th, Iranian authorities executed Yaghoub Mehrnehad, journalist and leader of Voice of Justice, a civil society organization in the Sistan va Baluchistan province. Accused of belonging to an armed resistance group, Mr. Mehrnehad had vehemently denied any contact with violent organizations, and was reportedly tried in the absence of a lawyer. Sistan va Baluchistan is home to Iran's Baluch minority, who have complained of iron-fisted repression by the Iranian government.

The execution of Yaghoub Mehrnehad has renewed fears for other journalists condemned to death in Iran, including Kurdish-Iranian journalists Adnan Hassanpour and Hiwa Boutimar.

Also in August, Amnesty International called on the Iranian government to release a dozen students who were arrested across Iran in July. They were detained by security forces around the anniversary of the 1999 student demonstrations that were violently repressed by the government. Amnesty calls the detained students "prisoners of conscience, held on account of their conscientiously held beliefs."

President George Bush says that for years the United States has spoken out against human rights abuses in tyrannical regimes like Iran, and will continue to do so. But, said Mr. Bush, the call of freedom in places like Tehran will not be denied.

"The people of these nations dream of a free future, hope for a free future, and believe that a free future will come. And it will."

"May God be with them in their struggle,” said President Bush. "America always will be."