Iran: How to halt deterioration of human rights



Iran has executed a man convicted of spying (AFP) for Israel and the United States after suspending the executions of three people involved in the country’s November protests (Al-Monitor: HT CFR).

Iranians have struggled against the repressive tactics of their country’s hardline elite and security services for decades, including their recent handling of the COVID-19 crisis, notes the latest report from the Democracy & Human Rights Working Group, a nonpartisan initiative convened by Arizona State University’s McCain Institute for International Leadership.

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, after the November 2019 protests, security forces detained 8,600 protesters and killed about 1,500, while the government imposed a media and internet blackout for nearly a week, the report adds, offering several recommendations for supporting democracy, human rights and rule of law in Iran, including:

  • Adding a “maximum support” strategy for the people to the current U.S. policy of “maximum pressure” on the Iranian regime.
  • Providing continued offers of humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people for basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Working with the international and U.S. private sector to provide the means to keep internet access available to Iranian citizens during state-imposed blackouts.
  • Coordinating with European counterparts to reach out to Iranian labor unions, who have been protest leaders throughout the country.
  • Along with the European Union, supporting programs to train Iranian civic activists, lawyers and others about their rights and advocacy techniques.
  • Supporting movements, such as environmental groups, that unite people across ethnic, cultural, and political lines, which are more difficult for the regime to control.
  • Increasing opportunities for ordinary Iranians to study in the U.S. and other western countries and participate in non-political cultural, social and academic work.
  • Developing a comprehensive information campaign along with other democracies to counter the Iranian state-run media by broadcasting on topics such as democracy, the free market, and freedom of the media.
  • Countering Iran’s misinformation and disinformation by pointing out the regime’s mistakes and exploiting the frustration born from them.
  • Collecting as much intelligence as possible on the IRGC in order to exploit any potential divisions as a possible transition approaches.
  • Leveraging history by reminding the Iranian people that they used to enjoy democracy and freedom of information – these are not principles that the West is trying to impose. RTWT

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