Iran Human Rights

Amnesty International continues to document serious human rights violations in Iran including detention of human rights defenders and other prisoners of conscience, unfair trials, torture and mistreatment in detention, deaths in custody and the application of the death penalty. Iran executes more people than any country in the world, other than China. Ethnic, religious and linguistic minority communities face persistent persecution. However, some signs of hope have appeared since the election of Hassan Rouhani in June 2013. In September 2013, human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, on whose behalf Amnesty International activists and its partners campaigned since her arrest three years ago, was released from prison, along with other prisoners of conscience.

Human Rights Concerns

For the past several years, Iranian authorities have been engaged in the brutal repression of Iranian civil society. Targets include labor activists who seek to form independent trade unions, women's rights activists, in particular those involved with the Campaign for Equality who work for equitable treatment under family law, students, journalists, bloggers, and those who advocate for cultural rights for Iran's ethnic and linguistic minorities. Hundreds of people are in detention; many of those serving prison terms have been convicted in unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts on vague charges including "propaganda against the state" or "endangering the security of the state." Iranian authorities have used these vague charges to suppress the right of its citizens to peaceful expression and association. The Iranian government has also endeavored to prevent Iranians from accessing information by blocking internet sites and even harassing the family members of journalists for BBC Persian and VOA Persian, which continue to broadcast news into Iran.

Many people have reported having been tortured in order to force them to make public confessions that can be used against them in legal proceedings. Some detainees – including Sattar Beheshti – have died in custody after being subjected to torture. Furthermore, Iran executes more people than any other country in the world except for China. Iran executed at least 544 people in 2012. Iran is also one of the handful of countries in the world that continue to execute juvenile offenders. Most of the people executed have been convicted of drug-related offenses while many executions are carried out in public.


Upcoming Iran Programs on Repression of Academic Freedom

In anticipation of Amnesty's upcoming campaign on the persecution of students, scholars and scientists in Iran, AIUSA is holding two public programs: one at the New School University in New York on November 13 (in partnership with the New School's Center for Public Scholarship, Scholars at Risk, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and the other at Georgetown University in Washington on November 16 (in partnership with the Committee of Concerned Scientists, the American Physical Society, the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran). Hundreds of students in Iran have been banned from continuing their higher education because of their political activities or involvement in peaceful expression of their opinions, while scholars are fired from their jobs or even imprisoned for their scholarly activities.

Read Statement

Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi

Blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki and Cleric Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi are in Urgent Need of Medical Care

Take Action

Nowruz Action

The Persian holiday Nowruz ("new day") is an ancient holiday celebrated on the first day of spring to welcome in the new year. On this Nowruz we want to remember several courageous prisoners of conscience in Iran with Nowruz greetings. Please send cards with Nowruz greetings to let our imprisoned friends know we are thinking of them at this time.

Take Action

Baha'i Community Leaders

The seven Baha'is – two women and five men – were sentenced to twenty years in prison on 7 August 2010, They are prisoners of conscience, persecuted solely for exercising their right to freedom of religion. The estimated 300,000 members of Iran's Baha'i community-Iran's largest non-Muslim religious minority-are subjected to systematic persecution, including the exclusion from higher education.

Take Action


Get more involved