State Softens Human Rights Complaints against Iran

By Mills, Curt | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, April 13, 2016 | Go to article overview

State Softens Human Rights Complaints against Iran


Mills, Curt, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


The State Department released a report Wednesday that seemed to soften its criticism of Iran's human rights record, even though human rights advocates say conditions in that country have not improved.

Secretary of State John Kerry announced his departments' new human rights reports for 2015, a summary of which only included language about how Iran is not cooperating with NGOs on "alleged violations of human rights."

"In Iran, the government restricted the operations of and did not cooperate with local or international human rights NGOs investigating alleged violations of human rights," the report said. "By law NGOs must register with the Interior Ministry and apply for permission to receive foreign grants. Independent human rights groups and other NGOs faced continued harassment because of their activism as well as the threat of closure by government officials following prolonged and often arbitrary delays in obtaining official registration."

That's a far cry from State's report from a year ago, which seemed to confirm that Iran was in fact working to limit human rights in the country.

"Iran continued to severely restrict civil liberties, including the freedoms of assembly, speech, religion, and press, and to execute citizens at the second highest rate in the world after legal proceedings that frequently didn't respect Iran's own constitutional guarantee to due process or international legal norms," State said a year ago in its report on 2014.

The situation was even worse in early 2013, when State commented on Iran's human rights record in 2012.

"The government committed extrajudicial killings and executed persons for criminal convictions on minor offenses, sometimes in public or group executions. Citizens remain unable to change their government through free and fair elections. …

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