Iran’s Executions And Human Rights Abuses Reach Record Levels After Nuclear Deal

REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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Iran showed few signs of moderating its human rights policies after inking a nuclear agreement with the permanent members of the U.N Security Council and Germany last July. The Islamic Republic engaged in several human rights abuses and executed nearly 1,000 people in 2015, the highest number in over 20 years.

Ahmed Shaheed, the special rapporteur for Iran, told the U.N. Human Rights Council Monday “at least 966 persons — the highest rate in over two decades — were executed in [Iran in] 2015.” Last year’s executions represented an increase of 213 from the 753 executed in 2014.

“At least 73 juvenile offenders were reportedly executed between 2005 and 2015,” said Shaheed. “At least 160 others are awaiting the same fate on death row.”

Iran’s harsh crackdowns have not been limited to state executions, according to Shaheed. He said that as of January, at least 47 journalists and activists were imprisoned in the country. As many as 270 internet cafes were also closed for their supposed “threat to societal norms and values.”

Amnesty International’s report on Iran for 2015/2016 details many of the various human rights abuses the country continues to engage in, despite the renewed relationships it has made with the world since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (known as the Iran nuclear deal) was inked last July. Iran’s violations range from the aforementioned executions to freedom of speech, and everything in between.

“The authorities continued to severely restrict freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” said Amnesty’s report. “They blocked Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites, closed or suspended media outlets including the Zanan monthly women’s magazine, jammed foreign satellite television stations, arrested and imprisoned journalists and online and other critics, and suppressed peaceful protests.”

The report also noted that Iranian police engage in torture of prisoners during interrogations to illicit confessions. Sentences for those found breaking Iran’s strict penal code include a range of public punishments including “flogging, blinding and amputations.”

Religious persecution continued to be a mainstay in the country. Baha’i, Christians and Sunni Muslims continue to be arrested regularly and are hampered when trying to gain employment, education and the ability to practice their respective religions. Ethnic minorities continue to live under similar conditions.

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