Human Rights in Iran from Bad to Worst

human rights 2As Rouhani took office, his image of a moderate leader with aspirations for rapprochement with the West ignited sparks of hope that Iran would find itself out of isolation.

In regards to Tehran’s nuclear program, the sparks of hope turned into a bonfire with the preliminary agreement in Geneva. Since then, the bonfire grew and simmered but the fire of hope kept on burning, warming relations between Tehran and the rest of the world.

But as far as human rights in Iran are concerned, the sparks landed hopelessly on the hard and unwavering laws of the Islamic regime and Rouhani’s promises of reform never had a chance.

Now, over a year and a half into his presidency, the latest reports from the UN, one issued by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and another by the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran Ahmed Shaheed, the state of human rights in Iran has gone from bad to worst on nearly all fronts.


From Freedom of Speech to Jail

ankabootFreedom of speech is a rare commodity in Iran: anyone contradicting the regime’s guide lines is liable to find himself in jail, or worst.

Take social media, for example: Iranian leaders such as Khamenei, Rouhani, Zarif, Larijani etc… are heavy users of social media as part of their propaganda but the use of social media is not available to the majority of Iranians. In fact, the IRGC has launched a surveillance operation code-named “Ankaboot” (spider) which gathers data of over 8 million Iranian “likes” on facebook in an effort to root out “corrupters” and “insulters of Islam”. This program has led to at least 60-70 arrests and this is just the beginning.

More than 13 bloggers and journalists were arrested over the past year bringing the tally of imprisoned journalists to 30 including some, such as Soheil Arabi, who are facing death sentences for “insulting the Supreme Leader”.

Websites, newspapers and TV stations are shut down if they are found to be critical of the regime and it’s going to get worst as a “Media Council” bill is being drafted in parliament which will give the government more punitive powers over the media.

Shutting down media is supplemented with the systematic destruction of satellite dishes in order to make sure that content that is deemed unfit to the regime should not be seen or heard by the Iranian people.


Persecution of Religious Minorities

Education-Is-Not-A-Crime-846x454Despite the fact that the Iranian constitution allows for the freedom of religious minorities to exist, in reality, they are being persecuted.

Baha’is are singled out for persecution on a regular basis on many fronts. i.e.:

  • Burials: Tehran issues strict laws contrary to Baha’I traditions concerning burials and have repeatedly delayed Baha’I burials.
  • Education: Baha’i students are systematically discriminated in higher education and are regularly barred from registering in universities – this has sparked the worldwide “Education Is Not A Crime” campaign.

Christians are also persecuted and at least 92 Christians are in jail for their religious beliefs. On Christmas day, mass arrests were conducted in churches across the nation and several pastors remain in jail to this date.

Even Sunnis are persecuted and are not given permits to build new mosques while being told that they should pray in Shiite mosques instead.


Segregation and Persecution of Women

acid attackA set of new laws are being drafted to increase the persecution of women in Iran:

Together with women’s hair being hidden, women’s voices are being shut: Women are not allowed to sing in public. Some musicians were brave enough to defy these laws only to find their concerts shut down. Other prominent Iranian singers simply left the country to sing elsewhere.


Executions Rise

jabbariDespite all the pressure against Iran to tone down its policy of the death penalty, the numbers of executions is at a 12 year peak and is the highest per capita in the world. The human rights chief Javad Larijani made a big issue about  the fact that “80%”  of the executions were for drug-related offenses, as if that made it OK, but in fact, that number is closer to 50%. Out of 753 documented executions, 362 were drug-related. The rest of the executions include 13 juveniles and 25 women.

High profile executions  include the hanging of Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, whose crime was killing an employee at the Ministry of Intelligence who attempted to rape her and the Kurdish Saman Naseem, 22, for the crime of “enmity against God” while being a juvenile.

In order to understand fully just how bad the situation is, one should read the list of executions and identify the charges of those executed which include “Moharebeh” (enmity against God” and many suspicious “N/A” charges which could be anything from freedom of speech to human rights activism.


Rouhani promised radical changes in the state of human rights in Iran and to his credit, he continues to speak out on these issues.

Unfortunately, he seems powerless to “walk the talk” and Rouhani has not introduced one single bill which eases the desecration of human rights in Iran. Oh, and Tehran’s response to the UN reports? Tehran, as in the past, shows neither acceptance nor remorse and instead simply deemed “unrealistic” and “biased”.



Stop Funding Death – 5 Reasons to cut funding of drug campaigns in Iran

Originally posted in Iran – Addicted to Death

1. Over 70% of total executions in Iran are of individuals sentenced to death under Iran’s Anti-Narcotics Law, which mandates the death penalty for a wide range of drug-related offenses.  According to reports from human rights groups that document executions in Iran from both official and unofficial sources, roughly 650 executions were carried out in 2010 and 670 in 2011. So far, in 2012, at least 330 individuals have been executed. 

2. Even if you support the capital punishment in general, these numbers are regarded concerning by officials and professionals. The UN secretary-general and the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran both expressed concern in 2011 about the high number of executions for drug-related offenses. In October 2011, the UN Human Rights Committee recommended that the Iranian authorities consider abolishing the death penalty or at least revising the penal code to restrict the death penalty to only the “most serious crimes.”  The British foreign secretary, William Hague, recently condemned Iran’s leadership for the ‘continued, widespread persecution of ethnic minorities, human rights defenders and political prisoners’

3. Iranian leaders of the current regime have repeatedly failed to answer to questions on the matter, giving vague or irrelevant answers at best. While human rights groups have raised concerns to the Iranian government about the mandatory death sentencing for drug-related offenses, the Iranian authorities have failed to respond to this criticism in any meaningful fashion.

4. In spite of repeated pleas by opposition figures and NGOs, the mullah regime refuses to allow international entities such as UN chief Mr. Ban Ki-Moon to visit prisons and meet prisoners captured due to unnamed offences. 

5. Executions are not limited to convicted felons or even suspects – Every Iranian citizen is in danger.  Shadi Sadr, Executive Director of London-based Justice for Iran, says “Our research shows how thousands of people, including women who are the single-income providers for their children, have been sentenced to death without minimum standards of due process whilst Iranian judges and other authorities that bear responsibility in these severe violations of human rights violation enjoy absolute impunity.”

Share this post or just the Image, communicate with your representatives and help stopping the funding of  systematic murders.

Tweet to Yuri Fedotov, executiv director of UN ODC @yurifedotov and demand his response and denunciation!


IR Human Rights Documentation Center

Intl. Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

News Track India

UN Human Rights News

Human Rights Watch

Modern Day Slavery in Iran – Illegal Labor Camps

We have addressed the hijacking the current regime in Iran makes of the War on Drugs agenda to justify severe human rights violations in the past, and participated in a global campaign to draw attention to it. Extensive resources are paid to Iran in order to eliminate the drug problem, and extreme measures such as death penalties are applied with seemingly no objection. Recent reports are that the regime is now taking the “No drugs” based violations to another level – And establishing labor camps to drug addicts and sellers.

Illustration Image:

“The anti-drug labor camps treat both the drug addicts and drug dealers,” Official representative of Iran’s anti-drug organization Ali Aliakbarian said. “The drug dealers will do hard work in the camp, while the drug addicts will be medically treated.”

2 million people are considered drug addicts by the \Iranian regime, and 8 million are declared suffering from drug-related issues. The question is how many of these will be sent to one of the 7 planned Labor camps and how many “dealers” will be sentenced to isolation and hard work because of their political oopinions? How many of them will have the right to a fair trial? Past experience, and information brought at the Amnesty “addicted to Death” report, leave us pessimistic.

Labor camps, or holding one in slavery, is opposed to International law. The fact that Iranian officials speak of this questionable mass rehabilitation project so openly and confidently is indeed concerning.

Article 7 

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In particular, no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experimentation.

Article 8

1. No one shall be held in slavery; slavery and the slave-trade in all their forms shall be prohibited.

2. No one shall be held in servitude.


(a) No one shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour;

(b) Paragraph 3 (a) shall not be held to preclude, in countries where imprisonment with hard labour may be imposed as a punishment for a crime, the performance of hard labour in pursuance of a sentence to such punishment by a competent court;

(c) For the purpose of this paragraph the term “forced or compulsory labour” shall not include:

(i) Any work or service, not referred to in subparagraph (b), normally required of a person who is under detention in consequence of a lawful order of a court, or of a person during conditional release from such detention;

(ii) Any service of a military character and, in countries where conscientious objection is recognized, any national service required by law of conscientious objectors;

(iii) Any service exacted in cases of emergency or calamity threatening the life or well-being of the community

Message from Iran on World Press Freedom Day

May 3, 2012 is World Press Freedom Day.
To mark the occasion Iran180 spoke with a range of thinkers about the importance of a free press, and the realities of practicing journalism in Iran.

Roya Hakakian, Gissou Nia, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi speak about freedom of Press in Iran

Iran nuclear sites: an animated guide for making a bomb

This clip turns to be really relevant to to the another upcoming Summit of 5+! in 13th of May

Global powers are urging Iran to open a sensitive nuclear site to international inspectors as fears grow over Tehran’s race to obtain nuclear weapons.
This animation highlights several key installations that comprise Iran’s nuclear program.