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EU, US condemn Iran human rights violations

[JURIST] The European Union (EU) and the US government on Monday issued a joint statement [text, PDF] condemning Iranian human rights violations since the disputed June presidential election [JURIST news archive]. According to the statement, the Iranian government must respect international human rights principles, especially during the coming anniversary of the founding of the 1979 Islamic Republic [BBC backgrounder] this week. The joint statement declares that the EU and the US:

are particularly concerned by the potential for further violence and repression during the coming days, especially around the anniversary of the Islamic Republic's founding on 11 February. We call on the Government of Iran to live up to its international human rights obligations, to end its abuses against its own people, to hold accountable those who have committed the abuses and to release those who are exercising their rights.

Also on Monday, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile] and French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French] declared that Iran should receive stronger sanctions [VOA report] in response to news that the Iranian government had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of plans to begin enriching uranium for medical purposes on Tuesday.

The Iranian government continues to prosecute its citizens for their alleged roles in protesting the 2009 presidential elections. Earlier this week, former Iranian deputy foreign minister Mohsen Aminzadeh was sentenced [JURIST report] to six years in prison, making him the highest ranking official convicted thus far. Two individuals were hanged [JURIST report] in January, and the Fars News Agency [official website] has reported [JURIST report] that nine more will soon be executed for their roles in the post-election protests. Last month, Amnesty International [advocacy website] labeled [JURIST report] human rights violations committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years. In September, human rights groups called for [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly [official website] to appoint a special envoy to investigate allegations of rights violations. Alleged human rights abuses of detainees include sexual assault, beatings, and forced confessions [JURIST reports].

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