In its latest report on human rights conditions in Iran, the U.S. State Department noted that in 2016 there were “severe restrictions” on the Iranian people’s civil liberties, “including the freedoms of assembly, association, speech, religion and the press.”
In addition, the State Department reported “abuse of due process,” as well as “politically motivated violence and repression, disappearances, [and] limitation on citizens’ ability to choose their government peacefully through free and fair elections.” The report also noted arbitrary arrest; denial of fair public trial; and the lack of independent judiciary.
Recent news from human rights monitors confirm that the new year has not brought an end to such abuses in Iran.
In February, Amnesty International reported that Iranian doctor and Swedish resident Ahmadreza Djalali, who was arrested and imprisoned last year on a visit to Tehran to attend a conference on disaster medicine, was brought before a revolutionary court without his lawyer and informed that he was accused of espionage, a charge that is punishable by death.
In March, according to Human Rights Watch, intelligence authorities ramped up detentions of peaceful government critics, arresting journalists Hengameh Shahidi, Ehsan Mazandarani, and Morad Saghafi. HRW also noted the arrest of administrators who manage channels within Telegram.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran has also noted that in the run-up to the presidential elections in May the Intelligence Ministry has increased the arrests of individuals “for their peaceful activism and personal beliefs,” including civil rights activist Farzaneh Jalili, teenage ethnic Arab environmentalist Mohammad Kab-Aomair, and film director Saleh Deldam.
Most recently, multiple news outlets have reported that Faezeh Hashemi, women’s rights activist and daughter of the late President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has been sentenced to six months in prison for "spreading lies against the judiciary.”
In the preface to the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that “[p]romoting human rights and democratic governance is a core element of U.S. foreign policy.”
The United States calls on all governments, including the government of Iran, to respect the fundamental human rights of their citizens, thereby forming, in Secretary Tillerson’s words, “the foundation of stable, secure and functioning societies.”