At the recent release of the State Department’s annual report on human rights practices, John Sullivan, who was serving as U.S. Acting Secretary of State, pointed to Iran as one of the countries with an “egregious” record:
"The Iranian people continue to suffer at the hands of their leaders. The right of peaceful assembly and freedoms of association and expression are the legitimate expectation of all individuals worldwide. Unfortunately for the Iranian people, these human rights are under attack almost daily.”
The State Department report noted the repression of nationwide protests in Iran that began on December 28, 2017 and the severe restrictions on religious freedom in the country, including the continued repression of the Baha’i community.
The report also cited the Iranian government’s disproportionate targeting of ethnic minority groups, including Kurds, Azeris and Baluchis for arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention and physical abuse.
Government harassment and prosecution of publishers, editors and journalists were reported as well, in addition to restriction of access to the internet.
The report also noted that Iranian women remain subject to broad governmental discrimination in law and practice.
In his preface to the report, Mr. Sullivan warned that states like Iran that violate their citizens’ human rights and restrict their fundamental freedoms “are forces of instability.”
“Our foreign policy,” he declared, “promotes freedom as a matter of principle and interest. . .The United States will continue to support those around the world struggling for human dignity and liberty.”