US Stands for Freedom of Iranian People, Pompeo Says, as State Department Lashes Tehran Regime’s Human Rights Record
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a reminder of the harrowing fate of an anti-regime protester in Iran as the State Department released its annual human rights report on Wednesday.
Unveiling the report in Washington, DC, Pompeo spoke about Iranian student Pouya Bakhtiari, who was killed by regime security forces during pro-democracy demonstrations this past December.
Bakhtiari was “a young engineer, one of hundreds of thousands of Iranians who protested the regime last fall. His mother, Nahid, was with him,” Pompeo said. “By the end of the day, they were no longer marching shoulder to shoulder. Nahid was holding her 27-year-old son’s body. Pouya had been shot in the head by security forces.”
Pompeo then explained that “the regime has denied the family the right to mourn Pouya in accordance with their faith. When they tried to hold a funeral, Pouya’s 11-year-old nephew, his grandparents, his parents and other relatives were all arrested.”
The secretary of state declared: “Today I want great Iranians like the Bakhtiaris to know America remembers those lost and stands for their freedom.”
The State Department’s 2019 human rights report painted a grim picture of ongoing repression in Iran, meanwhile.
“In response to widespread protests that began November 15 after a fuel price increase, the government blocked almost all international and local internet connections for most of a week, and security forces used lethal force to end the protests, killing approximately 1,500 persons and detaining 8,600, according to international media reports,” the report observed.
The report added that “significant human rights issues included executions for crimes not meeting the international legal standard of ‘most serious crimes’ and without fair trials of individuals, including juvenile offenders; numerous reports of unlawful or arbitrary killings, forced disappearance, and torture by government agents, as well as systematic use of arbitrary detention and imprisonment; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions.”
The report also highlighted Iranian abuses of human rights outside the country’s borders.
Regime officials “materially contributed to human rights abuses in Syria, through their military support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah forces; in Iraq, through aid to pro-Iran militia groups; and in Yemen, through support for Houthi rebels, who targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” the State Department report said.