Iran executed twice as many people in 2011 as it did in the previous year, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] reported [text, PDF] Tuesday. The report, entitled "'We Are Ordered to Crush You': Expanding Repression of Dissent in Iran," chronicles widespread international human rights violations that Iran's government has allegedly perpetrated over the past year. The AI report claims that the most common targets of Iran's crackdown on human rights are lawyers, rights activists, filmmakers, journalists and political leaders. The report also details the nature of these human rights violations, which include torture and ill treatment in detention, abysmal prison conditions and unfair trials. At the end of the report, AI strongly urges Iran to curtail its crackdown on human rights. In particular, AI requests that Iranian authorities ensure its citizens the rights to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly in the run up to the March 2 parliamentary elections.
Iran has drawn a great deal of international attention recently. Last week, JURIST guest columnist Sasan Fayazmanesh declared [JURIST op-ed] that the latest US sanctions against Iran are part of an escalating trend in American foreign policy that began in the 1980s. Two weeks ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] urged Iran to cooperate with international diplomacy efforts on its nuclear program [JURIST report]. In early February, US President Barack Obama [official website] signed an executive order [JURIST report] imposing strict sanctions on Iranian financial institutions. In January, an Iranian court sentenced an alleged CIA spy to death [JURIST report] for espionage against Iran.