Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
August 4, 2006
The Iranian Regime: Human Rights and Civil Liberties Under SiegePDF version
"Let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free democratic Iran."
- President George W. Bush
The Iranian people call out for freedom and respect for their human rights. Courageous voices that speak out risk suppression, imprisonment, and violent government crackdowns. The Iranian regime's record of human rights abuse is among the worst in the world. The United States stands with the Iranian people in their desire for freedom and democracy.
Rule by Unelected Leaders
Iranians cannot freely choose their own leaders. The Guardians' Council - an unelected body comprised of six clerics and six jurists - exerts broad control over election procedures and candidates. They ensure that only supporters of the unelected theocratic rulers are permitted to run for the presidency or parliament.
Deteriorating Environment for Civil Liberties
Since his election, President Ahmadi-Nejad has installed hard-liners throughout the government - including serious human rights abusers. Iran 's Interior and Intelligence ministers have been implicated in human rights abuses, including the 1988 massacre of political prisoners at Evin Prison. For inaugural meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2006, Iran sent as its representative Saeed Mortazavi, the notorious Tehran Prosecutor General, responsible for jailing hundreds of journalists and linked to the 2003 arrest, imprisonment, and death (as a result of torture in Evin Prison) of an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist. Under Ahmadi-Nejad, censorship has increased and hard-line academic administrators are increasingly exerting control over Iran's universities, restricting academic freedom.
Restricted - Freedom of Expression
The Iranian regime severely limits freedom of speech and the press, cracking down on weblogs and blocking access to many Internet sites.
Prevented - Right to Assemble
Iranians face severe restrictions on their ability to voice grievances through public assembly. The leader of Tehran 's bus drivers union has been detained without charges since December 2005. In January, a strike by the 17,000 member union to protest his arrest and to demand recognition of the right to organize, was forcibly repressed. On March 9, 2006 and on June 12, 2006 Iranian security forces put down peaceful women's rights assemblies in Tehran , beating and arresting many participants.
Unjust Treatment of Women
Women in Iran are speaking out against inequality and violence against women is an ongoing concern.
Persecution of Religious and Ethnic Minorities