Human Rights in Iran
While the Iranian nuclear program grabs all of the headlines, for the average Iranian what matters more is the worsening human rights abuses of the regime in Tehran. The United States was vague on this issue for over a year after Iran’s disputed 2009 presidential election and the protests and brutal crackdowns that followed. However, the Obama administration has now strongly signaled that it is heeding the advice of many Iranians and humanitarians around the world to take up this cause by sanctioning eight Iranian regime officials for their involvement in large-scale abuse of human rights.
On October 28, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings and the National Security Network hosted a discussion of human rights and its relevance to broader American policy towards Iran. Panelists include Century Foundation Fellow Geneive Abdo; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philo Dibble; Iranian human rights activist Saba Vasefi and German Commissioner for Human Rights Markus Löning.
Senior Fellow Kenneth Pollack, director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. After the program, the panelists took audience questions.
Former Brookings Expert
Fellow, Middle East/Southwest Asia, The Stimson Center, Nonresident Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, U.S. Department of State
Iranian Human Rights Activist
Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, Federal Republic of Germany
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[The protests constitute] one of the most serious crises Iran has faced in the past 25 years... We now see that Iranians are willing to take profound risks to challenge the regime directly in a way we have not seen in years.