Iran-Based Dissenters Urge Biden To Be Tough On Those Who Violate Iranian Rights | Voice of America
WASHINGTON – Prominent Iranian-based dissidents urge US President Joe Biden’s administration to do more to hold Iranian officials accountable for large-scale rights violations to show Iranians that the US cares about them comes out.
Former Iranian political prisoners, Abbas Vahedian Shahroudi and Mohammad Nikbakht, made the video calls from Iran at a conference at the National Press Club in Washington on Wednesday hosted by Iranian diaspora news site AVA Today.
“Personally, I think President Joe Biden understands our suffering and concerns,” Shahroudi said, speaking in Farsi through an English translation provided by the event’s organizers.
Speaking to Biden, Shahroudi said: “The Iranian opposition asks you not to provide financial resources that make it possible [Iranian leadership’s] economic survival. We [also] ask you to continue [the regime’s] human rights abusers by preventing them and their families from working and prospering in Western countries.
Shahroudi, who is based in Mashhad, Iran’s second most populous city, said honoring these demands would help the United States “erase the bitter memories” the Iranian people have of what he called ” the erroneous American interventions and the mistakes of the last decades. ”
Nikbakht, also speaking through an English translator in a video message recorded Tuesday from Isfahan, called on the Biden administration to put human rights issues at the top of all negotiations with Iran .
“Using human rights to put pressure on the regime will produce results because they are not able to suppress the whole nation,” Nikbakht said. “Please stay on the side of the Iranian people. If you ignore human rights or devalue their importance, the Iranian people will suffer irreparable losses and lose confidence in the American people, ”he added.
A report on the human rights situation in Iran by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, presented last week to the World Human Rights Council, said Tehran’s record “remains very worrying”. He said that “obstacles to the rule of law and weak justice and accountability mechanisms lead to impunity, perpetuate the [human rights] violations and increase the risk of future violations.
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Iran’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Esmaeil Hamaneh, dismissed Guterres’ report, calling it politicized, prejudicial and full of baseless allegations.
Representatives of Iranian diaspora rights groups, including Iranian-based Washington-based human rights and Oslo-based human rights activists, told VOA Persian that calls from dissidents based in Iran Iran for more help from the Biden administration have produced little concrete action in the nearly six months since Biden took office on Jan.20.
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The Biden administration has also been criticized for its response to Iran’s April elections to the UN’s highest legislative body on women’s rights. When asked what the United States thinks about Iran securing a seat on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, State Department spokesman Ned Price , described Iran as one of “countries with very troubling records, deeply troubling records.” His comment fell short of the explicit denunciation of the Iran election result that many rights activists had hoped for.
A punitive measure against Iran by the Biden administration came a month earlier, when the State Department sanctions two Iranian interrogators with the country’s main military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. He said Ali Hemmatian and Masoud Safdari and their immediate family members would be banned from entering the United States in response to alleged mistreatment of anti-government protesters in 2019 and 2020.
Human Rights Activists in Iran’s senior advocacy coordinator Skylar Thompson said her group was encouraged by what she called the US shift to “Magnitsky-style” sanctions such as those imposed on the two IRGC interrogators. A 2016 U.S. law called the Global Magnitsky Act allows U.S. authorities to impose visa bans on anyone suspected of committing rights violations around the world.
Thompson also expressed his understanding for Iran’s lack of further action by the United States.
She cited the relatively short tenure of the Biden administration, its efforts to distance itself from former Biden President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, and what she said was ” fragility ”of indirect US-Iranian negotiations in Vienna in recent years. month.
Negotiators on both sides tried to get back into compliance with a 2015 nuclear deal in which Iran pledged the United States and other world powers to curb nuclear activities that could be militarized in return for nuclear relief. international sanctions.
Trump withdrew the United States from the deal, known as the Common Comprehensive Plan of Action, in 2018 and tightened U.S. sanctions to further toughen Iran, which retaliated the following year by exceeding its limits. nuclear activity of the JCPOA.
In March press conferencePrice was asked if the United States would follow through on its sanction of the two IRGC interrogators with other punitive measures unrelated to Iran’s nuclear program.
“We can prosecute (…) an Iran that is permanently and verifiable prohibited from acquiring a nuclear weapon (…) just as we defend and act in accordance with our values (…) for make it clear that there will be consequences for the type of gross human rights violations in which these people have engaged. We can absolutely do both, ”Price said.
Thompson has suggested that Iran’s recent elevation of ultra-conservative Islamists to positions of power may make the political goals of the Biden administration more difficult to achieve.
Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, won a landslide victory in Iran’s presidential election last month that the United States called neither free nor fair. Khamenei on Thursday chose another loyalist, Deputy Head of the Judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, to replace Raisi in the top judicial post.
“The United States is now forced to negotiate with a regime whose supreme leader, new president and new head of the judiciary are all on the right track. List of US sanctions for human rights violations. It created an unprecedented situation, ”said Thompson.
This article originates from The Persian service of VOA.