Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland today said the United States is deeply concerned by the alarming increase in the Iranian regime’s efforts to extinguish all forms of free expression and limit its citizens’ access to information in the lead-up to March parliamentary elections.
The Obama Administration had imposed new sanctions against Iran for massive violations of human rights in June 2011.
The sanctions were announced by the U.S. State and Treasury Departments against three official security bodies — Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij Resistance Force, and Iran’s national police — as well as against the chief of police, Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam.
Ms. Nuland stated that in the past two weeks, security forces have reportedly arrested four journalists, including Shahram Manouchehri, Sahamedin Bourghani, Parastoo Dokouhaki, and Marzieh Rasouli.
“Iranian courts confirmed death sentences for bloggers Saeed Malekpour and Vahid Asghari, both of whom were not accorded due process and now face imminent execution on charges of “spreading corruption.” -Ms. Nuland
She stressed that the international community has repeatedly raised its concerns regarding Iran’s human rights record, calling on it to abide by its commitments to protect the rights of all its citizens and uphold the rule of law, including the conduct of a transparent electoral process that permits citizens to make their voices heard.
She urged the Iranian officials to respond to these calls, cooperate with UN Special Rapporteur Dr. Ahmed Shaheed and allow him to enter Iran to conduct his work.