There are several groups being specifically targeted by the Iranian regime in terms of removing their human rights, including religious and ethnic minorities, like the Arabs, Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis, Sunnis, Christians and Baha’is. In fact, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman is so alarmed by the situation that he has urged Iran to “ensure that all those who reside in the country have equal protection before the law, regardless of ethnicity, religion or belief”.
Of course, Iran should have no problem with this, given that it has signed up to, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees equal protection, including the right of a person to access a lawyer of their own choosing when detained on criminal charges. Except for the fact that Iran denies this most basic of the right to its detainees, especially those detained on political, religious, or ethnic grounds. They don’t want defendants having access to a lawyer because this means that the Regime won’t be able to intimidate or torture a defendant into confessing.
Recently, Iran has escalated their crackdown on the Arab population of Ahvaz, even opening fire of young activists attempting to flee, arresting them en-masse without any warrant or legal justification, according to Iran Human Rights Monitor. They’ve also been increasing their harassment of Christians and Baha’is, according to Amnesty International, charging them with national security offences solely because of their faith.
Amnesty has called on the Regime to quash the convictions and sentences of ethnic Assyrian Christians Pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz, Shamiram Issavi, Amin Afshar Naderi, and Hadi Asgari, who were sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison.
While Michael Page, Deputy Middle East Director at Human Rights Watch, cited that the increased arrests of Baha’is — including elected officials and a city council member — with no clear charges shows how “intolerant” the Regime is towards the Baha’i community.
Another group that the Regime has targeted are environmental activists, despite the fact that their actions were completely permitted by the Iranian Regime.
Dr Majid Rafizadeh wrote: “Rouhani continues to make empty promises with respect to promoting citizens’ rights and individual liberties such as the freedoms of speech, the press and assembly. Nevertheless, Iran’s latest horrendous human rights record says otherwise… In sum, under the administration of the so-called moderate Rouhani, the human rights situation has become alarming in Iran. Rouhani has emboldened and empowered the IRGC and the hard-line judiciary system.”