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U.S. Statement on the Human Rights Situation in Iran
November 8, 2019


For decades, the Iranian regime has flagrantly violated its citizens’ human rights, targeting political and civil society activists as well as religious and ethnic minorities. There are approximately 700 prisoners of conscience detained in Iran, in addition to numerous credible reports that government agents have widely engaged in unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearances, and torture.  Moreover, the Iranian government routinely targets journalists and restricts the online exercise of freedom of expression.

This shameful pattern of cruelty that the regime has knowingly inflicted upon the Iranian people continues.  The United States strongly condemns the regime’s ongoing human rights violations and calls on the Iranian government to respect its own laws and its obligations under international human rights law.  At today’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, the United States recommended that Iran:

  1. Immediately release all Iranian prisoners of conscience, including Narges Mohammadi, Nasrin Sotoudeh, Youcef Nadarkhani, and Esmail Bakhshi, and prisoners of other nationalities unjustly detained, including U.S. citizens Xiyue Wang, Bob Levinson, and Siamak Namazi.
  2. Immediately end the use of torture, and credibly investigate and prosecute all allegations of torture, including the deaths in custody of Kavous Seyed-Emami and Mohammad Raji, and prosecute those found responsible.
  3. Establish an independent judiciary, including significant reforms to the Revolutionary Courts, and implement fair trial guarantees.
  4. Abolish laws requiring women to wear hijabs in public, end legal prohibitions on women’s full participation in society, and stop criminalizing women’s calls for reform.

We also urged the government to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran to visit the country and investigate existing practices.

The United States will continue to speak out about the Iranian government’s deplorable actions.  We will work closely with partners and allies around the world to emphasize the international community’s outrage and deep concern that the Iranian regime continues to systematically violate the rights of the Iranian people, including the right to freedom of religion or belief.  Despite the Iranian regime’s brutal suppression, the Iranian people clearly remain steadfast in their desire for basic and fundamental human rights.  We stand with the Iranian people in their struggle for a better future.  We urge Iran to accept the recommendations we delivered today, and more importantly to heed the demands of their own people for rule of law and protection of the human rights of all Iranians.