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    Posted May 11, 2014 by

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    Rouhani Is No “Moderate” When it Comes to Human Rights


    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly touts his commitment to “constructive engagement” with the international community, particularly as he negotiates a comprehensive nuclear agreement. Yet, as nuclear talks resume this week, the systematic and widespread violations of human rights in Iran continue unabated, overshadowed — if not sanitized — by the myopic international focus on the nuclear issue.

    It should be recalled that when the U.S. negotiated an arms control agreement with the Soviet Union in 1975, it did not turn a blind eye to the USSR’s human rights abuses. Instead, the Helsinki Final Act linked the security, economic, and human rights “baskets” with human rights emerging as the most transformative of the three. Negotiations with Iran should replicate this approach.

    The latest report by Dr. Ahmed Shaheed — the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran — provides an inventory of continuing human rights abuses that remain unaddressed, even under Iran’s new “moderate” leadership.

    Accordingly, the ongoing nuclear negotiations should neither distract nor deflect from addressing and redressing the Iranian regime’s massive domestic repression.

    The following constitutes an overview of the serious human rights abuses in Iran, and a corresponding set of queries that will serve as a litmus test for the authenticity of Rouhani’s commitment to justice and human rights for the Iranian people.

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