The human rights situation in Iran continues to deteriorate, and there are increasing calls by activists, non-governmental organizations and world leaders for Iran to respect the fundamental freedoms of its citizens.
Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner, lawyer, and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi recently told the Associated Press that the Iranian government "is growing more violent every day." At a press conference at the UN, Ms. Ebadi spoke of the plight of imprisoned journalist Abdul Reza Tajik, arrested 3 times since the disputed election of June 2009. During his most recent incarceration, he was stripped of his clothes and interrogated in the nude. When he objected, he was beaten and placed in solitary confinement. After his sister filed a written complaint, she was put under governmental surveillance.
Ms. Ebadi also cited the case of prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who went for days on a "dry" hunger strike – ingesting neither food nor water -- to protest the lack of due process and the terrible conditions she has been subjected to in Evin prison since her arrest in September. Ms. Sotoudeh has been charged with "acting against national security," among other so-called "crimes." Ms. Ebadi and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran have appealed to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene with Iranian authorities on Ms. Sotoudeh's behalf and on behalf of other lawyers and human rights defenders who are being persecuted by the Iranian government.
President Barack Obama says respect for human rights should not stop at the border of any country:
"There are aspirations that human beings share – the liberty of knowing that your leader is accountable to you, and that you won't be locked up for disagreeing with them; the opportunity to get an education and be able to work with dignity; the freedom to practice your faith without fear or restriction. Those are universal values that must be observed everywhere."
Mr. Obama says it is the duty of free nations to stand up for the freedom of others. The U.S has joined the international community in repeatedly calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners in Iran, and continues to urge the Iranian Government to respect the universal rights and freedoms of its own citizens.