In its World Report 2017 published today, the Human Rights Watch said President Hassan Rouhani has not delivered on his campaign promise to improve the human rights situation in Iran over the past three years.
“As Rouhani faces elections for a second term in May 2017, the hardline factions that dominate the security apparatus and judiciary continued to crackdown on citizens for the legitimate exercise of their rights, in blatant disregard of international and domestic legal standards,” the report added. “Iranian dual nationals and citizens returning from abroad were at particular risk of arrest by intelligence authorities, accused of being “Western agents.” The report also criticized the Iranian regime’s acts of discrimination and repression against religious and ethnic minorities.
The Human Rights Watch’s report comes as Rouhani, who is expected to run for reelection in May, is under increasing pressure from his reformist base to improve the country’s dismal human rights records.
Last month, Rouhani unveiled a “Citizens’ Rights Charter” that he promised would guarantee Iranians’ individual rights and civil liberties. But his overdue and symbolic gesture is unlikely to assure Iranians who criticize the president for not standing up for their social and political rights.