Unfortunately what Mr. Nahavandian says is not correct…Dr M Amiry-Moghaddam
Dr M Amiry-Moghaddam Human Rights Activist Interview By Chief IN Editor Of The Oslo Times Hatef Mokhtar
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam thank you for accepting the interview with The Oslo Times International News Network.
I recently had an interview with Mr. Mohammad Nahavandian the chief staff of President Rouhani while he was visiting Oslo. In response to the question of the situation of human rights and freedom of speech he expressed his opinion that there is a far more freedom under President Rouhani`s administrations. What is your opinion in regards to freedom of speech and human rights in Iran Today?
Unfortunately what Mr. Nahavandian says is not correct. Indicators for freedom of speech show that the situation has not changed one year after Mr. Rouhani’s election. According to a statement by the organization “Reporters without borders” published one year after the elections: “With 58 journalists and netizens in detention, Iran is still one of the world’s five biggest prisons for news and information providers. A total of 25 have been arrested since 24 June 2013. The authorities have also closed 14 news media temporarily or definitively in the past year.This wave of arrests follows a similar one five years ago after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed reelection in June 2009, when the authorities cracked down on the ensuing protests”. What has changed is that the elections led to increased optimism among the people and in the civil society. They feel more empowered and they dare more. This is what Mr. Nahavandian probably refers to. So the fact that people have more courage to express their views doesn’t mean that there is more freedom of speech. People are still persecuted for expressing their views, bloggers are still sentenced to prison for what they write and blogs and newspapers are still being shut down for crossing the establishment’s red lines.
With regards to other aspects of the human rights I must say that not only we don’t see an improvement, but in many aspects, such as the use of death penalty, suppression of the ethnic and religious minorities, we actually see a deterioration of the situation. The human rights situation has become worse one year after the election of Mr. Rouhani.
The Oslo Times International news network working for human right specially has been following the extreme numbers of executions in Iran, which has been a big concern for the international Community as well, can you give us a statistics for the year 2014? Has there been a difference or better say improvement after President Rouhani`s election?
Iran Human Rights has actually published a short report on the situation of the death penalty in Iran in 2014. According to our report at least 411 have been executed in the first six months of 2014. This is an average of more than two executions every day, which is a record even for Iran which has been on top of the world with regards to the use of the death penalty pr. capita. Among those executed there are at least 8 juvenile offenders (committed the alleged offence when they were under 18 year of age) and several political and civil activists. After the Presidential election of June 2013 we observed a dramatic increase in the number of executions in Iran. Number of executions in the six months after the election of Mr. Rouhani were twice as high as the six months prior to the elections. The trend has continued in 2014. It means that the use of the death penalty after the election of Mr. Rouhani is the highest in more than 20 years. This is despite the fact that the relationship between the Iranian authorities and the West has improved during the same period. This is the reason why Iran Human Rights and several other human rights NGOs have called for inclusion of the human rights in the talks between Iran and the international community. Mrs. NaviPillay, the High Commissioner of the Human Rights in the UN has also called for inclusion of the human rights in the talks between the group of 5 + 1 and Iran.
I have had an interview with a member of the Baha`i community recently and have been informed about the violation of thiscommunity in Iran as for its members specially the youth to be denied from education. Such an act is against the Universal declaration of human rights.What`s your opinion in this regard?
We have also observed an increase in the violation of the rights of members of the Bahai community as well as other ethnic and religious minorities. Another religious minority which is subjected to serious human rights violations is the Sunni Muslims. The same is true for the ethnic groups such as Baluchis, Arabs, Kurds and Azeris. Violation of the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities is among the most serious human rights issues in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Recently there have been intensive negotiations between Iran and United States especially about nuclear enrichment where Iran claims that it is their rights to have access to nuclear power. As a political analyzer and human rights activist what is your opinion about these negotiations and how do you think these are affecting the people of Iran?
We believe that focusing only on the nuclear issue might give short term and temporary results but will not solve the nuclear issue on the long run. Lack of stability and popular support inside Iran is the main reason why the Iranian authorities are posing a threat to the international community. A democratic Iran with the rule of law and stability will not need to develop nuclear capability. So if the USA and the international community are serious about solving the nuclear issue, and if they are looking for a sustainable solution, they must include the human rights of the Iranian people in their negotiations with the Iranian authorities. South Africa under the apartheid regime had also a controversial nuclear program. The nuclear issue was solved once the apartheid was removed. We urge the UN, USA, EU and any country negotiating with Iran to put the human rights on top of the agenda in their talks with Iran. This is good for the Iranian people and the only sustainable solution to the dispute between Iran and the international community.
As you are well aware United Kingdom has opened an envoy office in Tehran which will develop into an embassy. How do view this relationship?
We welcome increased dialogue and diplomatic relations between any country and Iran, as long as it has an improvement in the human rights situation for the Iranian people as a major focus.
Many Afghani immigrants complain that they have been humiliated, their basic human rights has been violated by the Iranian police force and some juveniles, as you know, have been executed. Iran and Afghanistan have many common grounds as to the culture, language and religion. How come that the Islamic republic of Iran who preaches brotherhood and fellowship, does not take care of Afghani immigrant and everyday their rights being violated? What`s your opinion in this regard?
Situation of Afghan citizens in Iran is among the darkest pages in Iran’s human rights records. They are among the least privileged groups in the Iranian society. Their rights are violated and neither the Afghan government nor the international community make enough efforts to help them. Iran Human Rights (IHR) has its main focus on the death penalty and we have published several reports touching upon Afghans executed in the Iranian prisons. We know that there are many Afghans in the Iranian prisons on the death row. Many are executed without fair trial and due process. Many of them haven’t even had a lawyer to defend them. Their bodies are often not returned to their families and buried secretly in Iran. Protests by the Afghan civil society and people have had some effect. But they need more backing from the Afghan government and the international community. Death penalty is not the only problem Afghan citizen in Iran are dealing with. The basic human rights of Aghans, especially the Afghan children in Iran are violated every single day. Unfortunately they get very little attention by the human rights NGOs and the international community. This is something that every single of us should give more focus to. As an Iranian I am ashamed by the way Afghan citizens are treated in Iran.
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