UN Human Rights expert Ahmed Shaheed said Monday that he is concerned about the human rights violations occurring in Iran [report, PDF]. While speaking to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Shaheed also stated that his concerns have increased because he has repeatedly requested to visit the country, but his requests have been denied. In the report, he states,"[T]he unwillingness to provide access to the country creates a void of information and only encourages the international community to imagine the worst, thereby intensifying the focus on the Government's human rights record." Shaheed said he has resorted to other sources in order to gain information about the alleged abuses, such as witness accounts. Shaheed voiced concern over 58 alleged violations of human rights including "the alarming increase in executions since 2003" and arbitrary arrests of journalists [WP report].
Corroborating Shaheed's concerns, Amnesty International released a report in February that Iran executed twice as many people [JURIST report] in 2011 as it did in the previous year. 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. Iran has recently been in other news when US President Barack Obama signed an executive order imposing strict sanctions on Iran [JURIST report] as part of an effort to enforce a bill he signed into law in December 2011. The bill, National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 (NDAA), allows for sanctions such as those ordered by Obama to be imposed on Iran.