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US Report Highlights Iran’s Systematic Abuse Of Human Rights

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The US State Department on Monday released its annual report on Iran’s human rights situation, stressing that the country’s “already severe restrictions on human rights worsened in a number of areas” during 2023.

The report outlines an increase in government restrictions and violence against citizens. It also highlights discriminatory laws and executions, including those of juveniles. It documents arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances, and widespread torture by the Iranian government forces aimed at suppressing any opposition.

“Women continued to face discrimination, including through enhanced means for enforcing the mandatory dress code, which led to acts of civil disobedience,” read the report.

Notably, the report mentions the sharp increase in executions, with 798 citizens executed, marking a 37% rise from the previous year. Many of these executions involved minor or politically motivated charges, often after unfair trials or forced confessions, the report said. “There were numerous reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings, during the year.”

The role of the Iranian judiciary, especially the Revolutionary Courts, is particularly criticized for denying fair trial rights and due process.“As documented by international human rights observers, so-called revolutionary courts continued to issue the majority of death sentences and failed to grant defendants due process,” read the report, adding that the courts “regularly denied defendants legal representation and, in many cases, solely considered as evidence confessions often extracted through coercion or torture.”

The report also discusses severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, assembly, religion, and the press, with the government imposing harsh penalties on those who dissent. Internet and media freedoms are severely curtailed, with the regime employing censorship, surveillance, and intimidation to control information and suppress activism.

The US State Department specifically singled out the Islamic Republic’s threats against Iran International journalists, which forced the network to temporarily relocate its studios to Washington.

“In February, media outlet Iran International temporarily relocated its headquarters from London to Washington, DC, after London’s Metropolitan Police warned the organization that their journalists were facing threats that posed an imminent, credible and significant risk to their lives and those of their families,” the report noted.

The report also referred to a statement by Iranian Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib, who said in November 2022 that “the Islamic Republic recognized Iran International as ‘a terrorist organization’ and that anyone affiliated with the channel would be pursued.”

Additionally, the report underscores the plight of ethnic and religious minorities, who face systemic violence and discrimination. It also notes the government’s failure to address gender-based violence and the mistreatment of women and LGBTQ+ individuals.