The Latest - Iran - Human Rights

Iran - Human Rights Latest Mentions

2nd January 2018 – Quoted by Katherine Gypson - Voice of America

Iran Protests Revive Bitter US Political Divides

Mark Dubowitz

President Donald Trump blamed former president Barack Obama Tuesday for "foolishly" giving Iranian leadership money as part of the 2015 nuclear agreement negotiated by his administration, tweeting a claim the funds "went into terrorism and into their pockets." more...

2nd January 2018 – Quoted by Mark Landler - The New York Times

Trump Reiterates Support for Iranian Protesters, but Also Criticizes Obama

Mark Dubowitz

President Trump has given full-throated support to the antigovernment protesters in Iran. But the rising tide of unrest there complicates an already vexing decision for him: whether he should rip up the nuclear deal struck by President Barack Obama. more...

17th August 2017 – Quoted by Erin Cunningham - The Washington Post

Iranian opposition leader ends hunger strike after government agrees to relax house arrest

Behnam Ben Taleblu

An Iranian opposition leader living under house arrest has ended his hunger strike after authorities agreed to lift some restrictions and consider his demand for a public trial, a family member said Thursday. The decision marked a potentially rare concession from a government generally resistant to public pressure. more...

14th August 2017 – Quoted by Lorraine Caballero - Christian Daily

Hungary could save Iranian Christian actress facing deportation from Sweden

Clifford D. May

An Iranian Christian celebrity who is at the risk of deportation from Sweden to Iran could be saved from prison, abuse, and possibly death, by the Hungarian government, which has announced that it is ready to offer refugee status to her. more...

10th August 2017 – Quoted by VOA Persian

Top Iran-watchers comment on Rouhani’s track record and his relations with the West

Mark Dubowitz

With Hassan Rouhani starting his second term as Iran's president, VOA Persian remembers that three years ago, American observers Reuel Mark Gerecht and Ali Alfoneh wrote a political portrait of Hassan Rouhani titled "The Man and the Myth: The many faces of Hassan Rouhani" where they traced the life of Hassan Fereydoun - from his birth in Sorkheh in Semnan Province to his theology studies at Alavi School in Qom to his long political career and climb through the Islamic Republic's top hierarchy culminating in becoming Iran's president. more...

3rd August 2017 – Quoted by Catholic World News

Iranian Christian convert released from prison

Clifford D. May

Maryam Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian Muslim who converted to Christianity, has been released from a Tehran prison. more...

2nd August 2017 – Quoted by CBN News

Iran Denied Christian Prisoner Vital Medical Care

Clifford D. May

Iranian authorities released Maryam Naghash Zargaran, an Iranian Christian, from prison after she served a four year sentence for "security violations." more...

20th July 2017 – Quoted by Iran Focus

Trump Wanted to Find Iran Non-Compliant With Nuclear but Was Talked out of It

Mark Dubowitz

Donald Trump wanted to declare Iran as noncompliant with the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal but was talked out of it by national security aides shortly ahead of the midnight deadline, according to administration officials. more...

18th July 2017 – Qutoed by Erin Cunningham - The Washington Post

With U.S. scholar’s conviction, power struggle escalates between Iran’s president and hard-liners

Behnam Ben Taleblu

A high-stakes power struggle between Iran’s moderate president and his hard-line opponents in the judiciary appeared to escalate with the arrest of the president’s brother and the conviction of an American student for espionage this weekend — rulings that seemed timed to embarrass the Iranian leader at home and abroad. more...

9th June 2017 – Quoted by The Tower

Iran’s High Rate of Executions Continues After Rouhani’s Re-Election

Tzvi Kahn

Iran has executed at least 20 people since the re-election of President Hassan Rouhani on May 19, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies reported Wednesday. more...

5th January 2017 – Quoted by The Tower

Iranian Political Prisoners Go on Hunger Strike to Protest Country’s Human Rights Record

Saeed Ghasseminejad, Toby Dershowitz

Iranian political prisoners are increasingly engaging in hunger strikes as a “last resort” to bring attention to their plight, researchers from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) reported in a policy brief on Wednesday. more...

14th December 2016 – Quoted by The Tower

Experts: New Militia Commander will Perpetuate Repression in Iran

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini’s appointment of a top general as the new head of Basij, a militia that also acts as a vigilante force against domestic dissidents, is the latest “sign that the Islamic Republic has no intention of easing its grip on internal dissent,” two researchers from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in a policy brief on Tuesday. more...

30th October 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

UN Investigator: Iran’s Executions Are An “Unprecedented Assault On The Right To Life”

Benjamin Weinthal

Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations investigator of human rights in Iran, called the high rate of executions he monitors an “unprecedented assault on the right to life in Iran,” The New York Times reported Wednesday. more...

28th October 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

U.N. Human Rights Report Highlights Executions, Floggings, Amputations in Iran

Benjamin Weinthal

The latest report issued by Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, highlights a variety of harsh punishments meted out by the Iranian regime, including executions, floggings, amputations, and even blinding, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, reported for Fox News on Tuesday. more...

21st September 2015 – Quoted by David Yaffe-Bellany - Yale Daily News

Experts Square off on Iran Deal

Mark Dubowitz

More than 150 students gathered in Linsly-Chittenden Hall Sunday evening to watch two foreign policy experts spar over an issue that has drawn the praise of Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 and the ire of Henry Kissinger: the Iran deal. more...

16th August 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

Iranian Dissidents: Nuke Deal Will Enrich “Tyrants and Theocrats,” Fund Human Rights Abuses

Benjamin Weinthal

A group of 53 Iranian dissidents wrote a letter, published Friday by The Daily Beast, outlining their opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran and arguing that the agreement’s failure to hold Tehran accountable for its human rights abuses, both domestic and international, will only empower the Islamic regime and endanger the world. more...

16th June 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

Expert: Repression of Christians in Rouhani’s Iran Raises Concerns About Nuke Deal Credibility

Benjamin Weinthal

The continuing repression of Christians and other religious minorities in Iran raises questions about President Hassan Rouhani’s inclination to adhere to any nuclear deal his country might sign, Benjamin Weinthal, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote Sunday in an analysis for The Jerusalem Post. more...

4th June 2015 – Quoted by Isaiah Narciso - The Gospel Herald

Christian Persecution in Iran: 18 Sent to Prison by Revolutionary Court for Practicing Faith

Benjamin Weinthal

Although Iran recognizes Christians as an official minority group, its revolutionary court sentenced 18 of them to harsh prison sentences last week. more...

3rd June 2015 – Quoted by The Tower

Iran Sentences 18 Christians to Prison as Human Rights Worsen under Rouhani

Benjamin Weinthal

An Iranian court sentenced 18 Christians to prison for practicing their faith, Ben Weinthal, a research fellow for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies reported Tuesday for Fox News. more...

11th May 2015 – Quoted by Irwin Cotler - The Jerusalem Post

Defending Human Rights Prisoners of Tehran

Mark Dubowitz

Canadian parliamentarians from across the political spectrum joined together to launch the fourth annual Iran Accountability Week in order to sound the alarm on the toxic convergence of threats posed by the Iranian regime: the nuclear threat, terrorism, incitement to hatred, and particularly the widespread and systematic violation of human rights. more...


Michael Ledeen

Freedom Scholar

Benjamin Weinthal

Research Fellow

Reuel Marc Gerecht

Senior Fellow

cia, iran, iraq

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Senior Fellow

Tony Badran

Research Fellow

Behnam Ben Taleblu

Research Fellow


26th August 2014 - 11:45 AM

Polling the Iranian Street: A Look Inside the Prospects for Reform in Iran

The IMF reports that Iran is experiencing a modest economic recovery. While the Iranian regime has used the breathing space to build greater resiliency, the overall standard of living for the Iranian people is not improving. At the same time, the tempo of arrests and executions has increased, freedom of the press has been further curtailed, Green Movement leaders Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi remain in isolation, and public protests over Iranian involvement in Syria and Iraq have increased.

What does President Rouhani’s failure to improve economic conditions and human rights for average Iranians say about his political will and Iran’s capacity for meaningful reform? Is there still a significant domestic movement for real reform? What do these and other factors indicate for the strength and stability of the Iranian regime? How do these factors impact P5+1 negotiations and future U.S. policy towards Iran?

12th June 2014 - 12:00 PM

Dashed Hopes: Iran’s Human Rights Record Under President Rouhani

A conversation with Ali Alfoneh, Katrina Lantos Swett, and Arsham Parsi. 
Moderated by Mark Dubowitz 
Opening remarks by Congressman Ted Deutch and Senator Mark Kirk

One year after Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran, what is the current and future outlook for human rights in the country? Have President Rouhani’s positive statements regarding rights and freedoms in Iran been backed up by any improvements? How can the U.S. and the international community help improve the human right situation in Iran?