In testimony before Congress on the violations of human rights in Iran and Syria, Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, said the two regimes "share shameful records on abusing their own citizens:"
"The actions that these countries are practicing are depraved. It is no accident that Iran is [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad's best friend, and that Syria is Iran's best friend, and that neither has any other true allies in the region."
Mr. Feltman spoke of Iran's hypocrisy in claiming to support Arab demonstrators in some countries, while wielding a merciless iron fist against its own citizens who attempt to exercise their fundamental rights.
That hypocrisy also shows itself in Iran's sending advisors and material support to Syria to aid the Syrian government's vicious five-month crackdown on peaceful protesters - – protesters who first took to the streets after authorities arrested and terrorized children for writing political statements on walls.
Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, noted that the Syrian government's attacks against children have continued, extending even beyond the infamous torture and mutilation by Syrian security forces of 13-year-old Hamza al Khateeb:
"A 10-year-old boy, a 4-year-old girl were killed during raids on several towns around Homs; and on July 15th, a 12-year-old, Talha Dalal, was shot in the head by police officers in Damascus. Horrific images of these bodies and those of other children have been smuggled out."
The European Union and other nations have joined the United States in enacting sanctions on key regime figures in both countries to hold their leaders accountable for the violence. The U.S. continues, moreover, to urge more nations to join in its efforts, in bilateral and multilateral settings, to shine a spotlight on Iran and Syria's gross violations of their citizens' human rights.
In a joint statement, Assistant Secretaries Feltman and Posner said, "It is essential that these brave people know that the international community supports them, just as it is essential that human rights abusers in Damascus and Tehran know that we are watching them."