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Human rights monitors are voicing deep concern over the treatment of Iranian citizens by their government. Reporters Without Borders said in a recent statement that Iran has once again become the world's biggest prison for journalists, with 42 behind bars. In addition, the press freedom organization said it is "very disturbed" by the calls of Iranian officials for harsh treatment of detainees, including journalists, who were arrested after June's disputed presidential election.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has condemned the widespread arrests of women's rights activists and female journalists in Iran, saying they are being persecuted by the Iranian government in an attempt to repress masses of Iranians from advocating for their civil rights. Those women arbitrarily arrested in recent weeks include female human rights and student activists; the sister of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi; and several members of the One Million Signatures Campaign – an organization that advocates the repeal of discriminatory gender laws in Iran.
Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community representative to the United Nations in Geneva, has voiced grave concern over the plight of 7 Iranian Baha'is who have been in Evin prison for over 20 months on false charges and who are reported to face trial on January 12. Iranian authorities have accused them of espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic.
In addition, Ms. Ala'i says the Iranian government is responsible for an anti-Baha'i media campaign which has culminated in accusations that Baha'is are provoking civil unrest in Iran. Thirteen Baha'is were rounded up in Tehran and taken to a detention center on January 3, she said, where authorities tried to get them to sign a document saying they would not engage in future demonstrations.
President Barack Obama has condemned the "violent and unjust suppression of innocent Iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in detentions, injuries and even death," and has called on Iran "to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people."
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Iran John Limbert said in a recent interview, "We support the absolute rights of the Iranian people, and we will never remain silent in the face of state violence and mistreatment against them."