State Department Report on Iranian Rights Abuses Is ‘Indictment’ Against Tehran Regime, Says Advocacy Group
An advocacy group dedicated to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons called on the US administration to consider a new government report on human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic while it conducts talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.
The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which reviews the status of human rights in 198 countries and territories, was released Tuesday by the US State Department. Its section on Iran blamed the Tehran regime for “significant human rights issues,” including unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and restrictions on religion and free expression.
“Secretary [Antony] Blinken and the State Department are clearly under no illusions about the Iranian regime’s grotesque human rights abuses,” said the heads of the United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) advocacy group, Chairman Senator Joseph I. Lieberman and CEO Ambassador Mark D. Wallace, in a statement Thursday.
“The Biden Administration should ask itself, before making any agreements with Iran, whether shifts in US policy will improve the lives of those suffering at the hands of the Iranian regime or enrich and empower their abusers. If the President has indeed put human rights at the center of American foreign policy, as he has pledged, then there is no rationale for making it easier for the regime to reach new depths of depravity.”
The State Department’s lengthy Iran section detailed government discrimination against minorities, noting concerns that LGBTQI+ individuals have been executed under specious charges. Iranian women, too, faced disproportionate punishment for crimes like adultery, including death sentences.
The report added that members of Iran’s 9,000-strong Jewish population describe government restrictions and discrimination, and said Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of routinely engaging in “egregious antisemitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial and distortion.”
“According to media reports, officials and media propagated conspiracy theories blaming Jews and Israel for the spread of COVID-19,” the report said. “According to NGO reports, school textbooks contained content that incites hatred against Jews as part of the state curricula for history, religion, and social studies.”
Elsewhere, the report described abuses perpetrated by Tehran in conflicts abroad, including Iraq, Yemen and Syria — in particular, through its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
World powers have been negotiating a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement for the past year, with talks currently stalled, in part, over whether the US will lift its designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).
The New York-based UANI urged the Biden Administration to uphold sanctions against Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and other regime leaders, and to consider adding new sanctions on those responsible for hostage-taking and other human rights abuses.
“This report is an indictment against the Iranian regime,” the UANI heads said. “It is a moral obligation and in our security interests to promote and defend human rights, especially where they are under the greatest threat.”