Rights Groups: Human Rights Sanctions on Iran Must Not Be Lifted to Reach Nuclear Deal
February 18, 2022 – In a joint statement released today, 10* human rights organizations, including the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), urged the governments negotiating a resumption of the nuclear agreement with Iran not to lift any human rights sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which includes maintaining human rights sanctions on Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi for his egregious human rights violations.
“We cannot sacrifice human rights at the mantle of the nuclear negotiations with the Islamic Republic,” said Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI executive director.
“The Iranian authorities insisted that human rights not be a part of the nuclear negotiations from day one; it is beyond hypocrisy for them to now insist that human rights sanctions should be lifted in order to resume the JCPOA,” Ghaemi added.
Following is the statement and list of signatories.
We, the undersigned human rights and civil society organizations, call on the governments engaged in nuclear negotiations with Iran not to lift human rights sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran. These sanctions were imposed because of the Iranian government’s egregious rights violations. These abuses include the criminalization of peaceful dissent, the imprisonment, torture and execution of peaceful dissidents, activists and other human rights defenders, and the killing of peaceful protesters, among many other human rights violations.
Similarly, human rights sanctions on Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi should not be lifted. He is the perpetrator of severe human rights violations that span decades, including those that rise to the level of crimes against humanity. He personally participated in “Death Commissions” that sent thousands of prisoners already tried and serving their prison sentences to their deaths by extrajudicial mass executions.
Given the crisis of impunity prevailing in Iran for grave human rights violations and crimes under international law, allowing human rights sanctions to be lifted for political expediency would send a dangerous message to autocratic and repressive governments everywhere that the international community will turn a blind eye to human rights abuses when other interests are at stake. Lifting human rights sanctions on President Raisi, meanwhile, would signal that heads of state can commit such crimes with impunity.
As the negotiations over a resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) move toward a decisive phase, we urge all parties negotiating with the Islamic Republic to continue to defend human rights and international human rights law, as an equally prioritized area of concern independent of political exigencies.
Center for Human Rights in Iran
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center for Human Rights in Iran
Justice for Iran
Iran Human Rights Documentation Center
Human Rights Activists in Iran
United for Iran
Siamak Pourzand Foundation
Association for the Human Rights of the Azerbaijani People in Iran
The Kurdistan Human Rights Association-Geneva
*This article was revised on February 18, 2022, to note PEN America as the 10th signatory.