Friday, December 20, 2013

Keep the Focus on Iran's Human Rights? Nah

Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of a human rights NGO dedicated to Iran, wrote an op ed for the Huffington Post requesting anyone that reads it not to lose focus on Iran's human rights abuses. Here's some excerpts from the article:
 As Iran's foreign policy makers move towards rapprochement with the West after 34 years of estrangement, Iranians are worried that their basic rights, instead of being elevated to the importance it deserves, will be sacrificed in these negotiations. They fear that repression in Iran could even intensify if the regime concludes that once a nuclear deal with the international community is reached, there will be little international pressure to improve the country's human rights record....Rouhani came to power with an overwhelming mandate by the Iranian electorate not just to change the country's foreign policy track, but also to significantly reduce the social and political repression gripping the country. So far he has achieved little on this front. If Rouhani does not demonstrate leadership on the domestic front, his hardline opponents will capitalize on this weakness and may well challenge him on his foreign policy initiatives too, significantly endangering a final agreement on the nuclear file.There can be no long-term stability in Iran if the millions of young, educated, Internet-savvy citizens who came out in huge numbers to vote for reform and human rights are abandoned. An Iranian government that respects basic freedoms of expression, association, and assembly, observes basic standards of justice and the rule of law, and opens up the social and political space to tolerate peaceful dissent, is essential to the stability of the region.For too long the Iranian people have paid a heavy price for their government's disregard for human rights. They should not now pay further for the international community's single-minded focus on the nuclear crisis and abandonment of human rights.
Like a true leftist, he blames "the international community" for Iran's failure to accept basic human rights, but overall it's pretty solid. I could have gone for some more specific examples, but overall I can't complain. At least the great state of Iran is being challenged, even a little bit, on the Huffington Post.

How did the Huffington Post readership respond to this article, despite it's high placement in the World section? THREE COMMENTS. There's that dedication to human rights we've grown so accustomed to.

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