Eleven United Nations human rights experts expressed serious concerns over the Iranian government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protesters. “We are alarmed at the recent escalation of allegedly arbitrary arrests of teachers, labor rights defenders and union leaders, lawyers, human rights defenders and other civil society actors,” they wrote in a statement. “The space for civil society and independent associations to carry out their legitimate work and activities is becoming impossibly narrow.”
The UN experts spoke out as demonstrations continue throughout Iran. Multiple sectors of society are protesting a host of issues, including low salaries, poor working conditions, steeply rising inflation, government corruption, and political repression. The UN experts noted that security forces have responded with “excessive use of force.” At least five protesters have been killed since the beginning of May, and many more beaten. In addition, dozens of protesters have been arrested, and the government blocked internet service in numerous cities.
In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran said, “The protests we are seeing now in Iran are a measure of the Government’s corruption and mismanagement, and the brutal response to those protests are a reminder of the Government’s moral bankruptcy.”
State Department Spokesperson Ned Price applauded the work of the UN human rights experts and declared that their concern about the excessive use of force against the protesters “is certainly a concern of ours.”
“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesters,” Spokesperson Price said. “We support the human rights of Iranians to peacefully assemble and express themselves without fear or violence.”
Spokesperson Price noted the U.S. Treasury Department has authorized the provision of a wide range of personal communications software and services to Iranians. “We’ll continue to work with the private sector and the Treasury Department to identify additional measures to support and facilitate the free flow of information inside of Iran,” he said.
To date, the United States has imposed sanctions on dozens of Iranian officials and entities that have been involved in repressing protestors and civil society activists and organizations. Spokesperson Price pledged, “The United States will continue to hold Iran accountable for human rights abuses that take place inside of Iran. We will continue to hold Iran accountable for every strain of nefarious activity that it undertakes.”