The U.S. State Department's newly released annual report on human rights conditions in Iran shines a spotlight on horrific abuse.
Early in the document, the State Department cites reports of multiple acts of arbitrary or unlawful killings committed by the government or its agents.
An example: the July 2009 murder of Mohammad Naderipour, chairman of the student chapter of former presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi's election campaign. Mr. Naderipour's body was found in his car 48 hours after plain-clothed security agents arrested him. He had been beaten to death. Authorities, the State Department said, demanded the family bury his body immediately, allegedly to avoid further investigation.
Saeedeh Pouraghai was arrested in September 2009 for chanting "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest), considered a call to dissent, from the rooftop of her home in Tehran. Two days later her mother was summoned to claim her body, which reportedly had been partially burned to hide evidence of rape and torture.
In introducing the country reports on human rights practices in 194 countries, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that over the past year the Iranian regime executed more than 300 people:
"Many of them were ethnic minorities. For example, in May, four Kurdish men were hanged in Evin prison. They had been arrested in 2006 for advocating that Iran should respect human rights. They were reported to have confessed to terrorism under torture."
The report cites multiple instances of torture of political opponents in Iranian prisons, including beatings, long confinement in contorted positions, hanging detainees by the arms and legs, pulling out toenails and teeth, sexual humiliation and rape.
It also notes that the government crackdown on Iran's civil society – its journalists, human rights defenders, women's and ethnic rights activists, labor leaders and students – has continued. In addition, the report said, "There was little judicial independence and few fair public trials. The government severely restricted the right to privacy and civil liberties, including freedoms of expression. . . .assembly, association and movement, and it placed severe restrictions on freedom of religion."
Yet the Iranian people remain unbowed. In a recent statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paid tribute to the determined commitment of the Iranian people to human rights "despite brutal repression by their government." And the United States, she said, will continue to stand with them as they insist on their fundamental rights and freedoms.