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Concern Over Detainees In Iran

Concern Over Detainees In Iran
Concern Over Detainees In Iran

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In the weeks following Iran's disputed presidential election, hundreds of Iranians have reportedly been arrested. They include human rights activists, journalists, scholars, women's rights activists, students and ordinary citizens.

International human rights groups have expressed concern over reports of excessive force used by Iranian security officials during the arrests, psychological and physical abuse in prison, and the persistent lack of due process. The right to due process in Iran is not only addressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – to which Iran is a signatory – it is also ratified in its own constitution.

While the Iranian authorities have released some detainees, there are reports from Iranian families of loved ones who remain missing since the election and are presumed to be in prison.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly voiced concern about the way the Iranian government is treating its citizens:

"We're deeply concerned about all these arbitrary arrests, detentions and harassments that have taken place in Iran, as well as the persistent lack of due process. All along, we've called upon Iran's leadership to release all of those who have been detained unjustly and so allow them to be reunited with their families."

Mr. Kelly also expressed concern about the detentions of foreign citizens by Iranian authorities:

"Including an American scholar that we've talked about here [at the State Department] before, Kian Tajbakhsh, Newsweek reporter Maziar Bahari, and there's a French scholar, Clotilde Reiss."

Mr. Kelly says the detention of the three "without any grounds" is "unacceptable." He called on the Iranian government "to resolve all outstanding foreign national cases."

As President Barack Obama has said, if the Iranian government seeks the respect of the international community, it must respect the rights, and heed the will of its own people. It must govern through consent, and not coercion. That's what Iran's own people are calling for, and the Iranian people will ultimately judge the actions of their own government.