The Human Rights Situation in Iran
The United States condemns the closing of the Center for the Defense of Human Rights and urges Iranian authorities to
allow this and similar civil society organizations to operate free of oppression. On December 21, Iranian authorities
closed down the civil society organization of Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi just prior to a ceremony celebrating
the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, authorities briefly detained Ms. Ebadi, a
renowned human rights defender and both the first Iranian and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize in its
102 year-old history.
The United States is also deeply concerned by the continued detention of internationally known Iranian HIV/AIDS
physicians Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr. Kamiar Alaei. December 22 marked six months since the physicians were arbitrarily
arrested by Iranian authorities and detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, Iran has the obligation to afford due process rights to anyone detained. The two have been active
in various international exchange programs and academic research, helping to involve Iranians in the international
academic and scientific community.
In November 2006, because of their work on HIV/AIDS, the Alaei brothers were participants in the first professional
exchange program for Iranians in almost three decades, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational
and Cultural Affairs. The program, which focused on public health, led to collaboration between American and Iranian
medical professionals that could benefit the global fight against HIV-AIDS. Similar programs have brought citizens from
over 165 countries to the Unites States.
The Iranian people have consistently expressed their desire to be connected to the global community. The actions of the
Iranian Government against the Alaei brothers, Ms. Ebadi, and other human rights activists only serve to isolate further
the Iranian people. With our friends and allies in the region, we stand by the brave people of Iran, who are trying
peacefully to exercise their universal human rights, and call upon the Government of Iran to abide by its international