US Assails Iran's Treatment of Dissidents
The United States harshly condemned what it called Iran's "severe repression of dissidents" following the death of a jailed student activist, reportedly as the result of a long hunger strike...Student activist Akbar Mohammadi died Sunday in Tehran's Evin prison, where he had been held for his role in pro-democracy student demonstrations in July 1999.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Mohammadi's detention "was not an isolated case" and his death was symptomatic of the Iranian regime's harsh treatment of its opponents.
"The United States condemns the Iranian government's severe repression of dissidents, and its continued crackdown on civil society and those fighting for personal freedom in Iran," McCormack said.
He said Mohammadi's brother Manouchehr remained imprisoned for participating in the same 1999 rallies, and that there were recent reports that his parents may have been arrested as well.
"These arrests, and the harsh treatment of dissidents and opposition leaders, are part of a deliberate campaign by the Iranian government to silence the student movement in particular, and civil society more broadly," he said. READ MORE
"The United States is gravely concerned about the crackdown by the Iranian regime against its opponents and dissenters, and about the status of those who are currently being held by the Islamic Republic," he said.
He specifically mentioned Ali Akbar Moussavi Khoeini, a former member of parliament and student leader imprisoned since being arrested on June 12 during a women's rights rally in Tehran, and jailed union leader Mansour Osanloo.
"We call on the Iranian government to respect the human rights of all Iranian citizens, including students, members of religious minorities, workers, and women, and to release those arrested and imprisoned as a consequence of defending universally accepted human rights and freedoms," he said.
The US condemnation comes amid ongoing tensions between the West and Tehran over Iran's alleged program to develop nuclear weapons.
The United States and its fellow members of the UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution that requires Iran to halt uranium enrichment and other sensitive nuclear fuel work by August 31 or face the prospect of sanctions.
Washington has also blamed Iran for fomenting the ongoing crisis between Israel and Lebanon through its support for the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.