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In the name of security – Human rights violations under Iran’s national security laws

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The national security imperative has driven the Iranian government to turn on many of its own people, committing grave and widespread human rights violations in the name of security and combating terrorism. Thousands of Iranians have suffered arbitrary imprisonment, torture, and/or execution, including members of ethnic and religious minorities and other vulnerable communities such as migrants. Dual nationals and their families have been targeted for harassment or arrest in order to apply pressure or employ leverage over foreign governments. Iranian nationals and residents of foreign origin have been subject to trafficking and/or forced recruitment to fight in Syria, among them some of the estimated 3 million Afghans living in Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran faces real national security challenges, both externally from the US and other states, and internally, from armed militants, terrorism and the trade in narcotics. Iranian authorities, however, apply national security laws to almost every aspect of Iranian cultural and social life. The conduct of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in pursuit of Iran’s national security has itself exacerbated pre-existing poor relations with minority communities in Kurdistan and Baluchistan, as well as with Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks and Turkmen, all located on Iran’s borders.

The Iranian authorities continue to employ vaguely worded national security and anti-terrorism laws to conduct trials whose procedures do not meet minimum international due process standards. Mass demonstrations against the government have been met with excessive use of force, and large-scale arbitrary arrest and detention.

Filed Under: Law, Middle East, Iran
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