The Iranian Human Rights Crisis
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The Iranian Human Rights Crisis
7th July 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
In the aftermath of Iran’s recent “election”, ultraconservative President-elect Ebrahim Raisi is due to take over from President Rouhani in August. This comes at a crucial time for the Islamic Republic, as the country grapples with the ongoing pandemic, growing social discontent with the regime, and ongoing nuclear proliferation and violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). With President-elect Raisi, who himself is subject to US sanctions for his part in the 1988 mass executions of thousands of political prisoners, the human rights situation in Iran looks increasingly stark.
The authorities heavily suppress the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, while also using their powers to unlawfully crush peaceful political protests. The regime also continue to arbitrarily detain hundreds of protesters, dissidents and human rights defenders, sentencing many to imprisonment and flogging. Women, as well as ethnic and religious minorities, continue to face entrenched discrimination as well as systemic and structured violence.
In addition, there are currently at least five British and dual-British citizens who are being unlawfully detained in Iran. They include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who after being held for 1,799 days is now once again facing spurious charges. As a stark reminder as to the regime’s stance on abiding by international values of human rights, in March 2020 the Iranian authorities did not grant the UN Special Rapporteur on Iranian Human Rights, and other human rights observers, entry to the country.
At this crucial moment when the world’s attention is focused on Iranian nuclear noncompliance and associated regional instability and threats, the United Kingdom must continue to hold cases of systemic human rights abuses, torture, and unlawful detention of British citizens, to account. With the British government’s Integrated Review making the case for a broader UK mandate on Iranian engagement, human rights and the cases of British citizens unlawfully detained must be among the top priorities for the UK Government to address going forward.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to this timely and informative debate, where we will be joined by three renowned expert speakers to discuss the broad issues of human rights abuses occurring inside Iran. They will discuss how a Global Britain, and other major actors like the USA, can respond following the victory of President-elect Ebrahim Raisi.
Bob Blackman MP is the Conservative Party Member of Parliament for Harrow East, and also serves as the Executive Secretary of the 1922 Committee. Mr Blackman has long been an advocate for improving the human rights situation in Iran, supporting the work of the British Committee for Iran Freedom, whilst also championing the UK’s role holding Iran to account over its human rights abuses.
Jason Brodsky is a senior Middle East analyst and editor at Iran International. From 2016-21, he served as the policy director of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI). In addition to managing the organization’s research and writing portfolios, he assisted former U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman with his work on Iran. His research specialties include leadership dynamics in Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Shiite militias, and U.S. Middle East policy.
Dr Nargess Tavassolian is an Iranian journalist and legal analyst. She did her PhD in law on “freedom of thought and expression in post-1979 Iran: a Comparative study of Iranian law, Islamic law and International law.” She currently works at Iran International TV and makes reports on a variety of subjects including human rights abuses in Iran.
Robert Clark is a Research Fellow in the Henry Jackson Society’s Global Britain Programme. He completed a BA in International Relations and Arabic (First Class Honours) at Nottingham Trent University, and an MA in International Conflict Studies (Distinction) at King’s College London. Robert’s main research interests include emerging technologies within defence, alliance building and the trans-Atlantic partnership, and authoritarian threats to the global order. Robert’s most recent publications include for the NATO Defence College and Civitas. He has regularly submitted evidence for both the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees, and is a regular contributor for the UK Defence Journal, in addition to writing for The Telegraph, CapX and The Wavell Room. Robert served for nine years in the British Army, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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