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Nuclear agreement shows the power of international law and diplomatic engagement

Human rights should be addressed with the same dedication

Our organizations welcome the announcement that Iran and the P5+1 have reached an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and broad economic sanctions. We believe that this deal demonstrates the power of international law and diplomatic engagement and shows what acts all parties can accomplish when pursued in a serious manner.  We welcome the pending lifting of broad economic sanctions and the hope that the lives of ordinary Iranians will improve. Now there is more to be done and it is incumbent on all to look for progress on human rights.

Human rights are a matter of international law and international concern for every member state of the United Nations and every person regardless of where they call home. Therefore, we believe that as Iran’s relationship with the international community evolves, human rights must be addressed as directly and with the same level of dedication as shown by the Iranian government and the international community in their recent dialogues. 

The situation of human rights in Iran is marked by systematic violations of the state’s international treaty obligations. These violations are deeply rooted in domestic laws and practice, whether they are limits on free expression, rampant executions (more than 600 so far in 2015), torture and imprisonment of activists, or discrimination against women and religious and ethnic minorities. To turn a page on these grave problems will require the sustained attention of the international community, support for Iranian human rights defenders, and political will from Iranian authorities to enact real reform. 

Tuesday’s breakthrough shows change is possible. Iran’s president came to office on a two-pronged platform of alleviating economic sanctions and improving human rights. He has so far been seemingly successful at keeping the former promise. It is now time for his administration and other bodies within the state to prioritize rights improvement as well. At the same time, the international community has repeatedly expressed concern for human rights in Iran through resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. We believe these efforts must continue and that world governments, international civil society, and the global business community must all keep human rights at the forefront of their engagement with Iran.

Let us applaud this diplomatic success and work to achieve lasting change through the fulfillment of universal rights for every person in Iran.


Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Founder and President 

Center for Supporters of Human Rights


Firuzeh Mahmoudi, Executive Director

United for Iran


Hassan Nayeb Hashem, Representative to the Human Rights Council in Geneva

Südwind: All Human Rights for All in Iran


Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Executive Director

Iran Human Rights


Rod Sanjabi, Executive Director 

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center


Mani Mostofi, Director

Impact Iran


Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, Executive Director

Ensemble Contre La Peine de Mort (ECPM)


Taimoor Aliassi, UN Representative

Association pour les Droits Humains au Kurdistan d'Iran-Genève (KMMK-G)


Kamran Ashtary, Executive Director

Arseh Sevom


Roya Boroumand, Executive Director

Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation


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Islamic Republic of Iran, Nuclear agreement, diplomatic engagement