A panel at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law discussed the state of human rights in Iran since the election in June on Tuesday night.
Panel members leading the discussion were ASU assistant professor Shahla Talebi, who was in Iran during the 1979 revolution, Renee Redman, executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center in Connecticut, and Orde Kittrie, an ASU professor and a member of a special committee created by Congress to make recommendations about how to prevent the proliferation of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.
Talebi, who became a United States citizen in 2008, said the human rights situation in Iran is a problem. Since before the election, she said, people have been silenced.
“Every single human rights violation that you can imagine is happening,” she said.
Redman said the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center has been documenting human rights since the 1979 revolution. Redman said human rights violations have been happening as they have been writing instead of writing about events after the fact.
However, Redman said there is some evidence of human rights violations, but in many ways, information is missing.
“This isn’t an accident that there isn’t much information right now. The Iran regime is making sure of that,” she said. “As for people in Iran, there are people who are leaving the country but these people are traumatized. They aren’t ready to sit down with a human rights worker who is investigating abuse.”
Shirin, an Iranian woman who didn’t want to give her last name because she still has family in Iran, said the problem with human rights is obvious to her.
“There are none,” she said.
Shirin and her family in Iran don’t speak about politics on the phone because they fear repercussions.
“They are not involved in politics; we don’t discuss politics,” she said. “It’s a matter of survival.”
Shirin said she agrees that Iran should not be able to have nuclear weapons. If given the opportunity to tell President Barack Obama what she thinks, she said she would say there should be sanctions on nuclear weapons in Iran.
“I would tell [President Obama] to mean whatever [he says] but do something,” she said.
Law student Shannon Mataele said the topics of the discussion were relevant to current events and there needs to be more focus on international issues in general. She said she thinks students can become more aware by coming to these events.
“It’s interesting to me how many Iranian people came — interesting and eye opening,” she said. “I hear what Americans think all the time, and I think you’ll only understand everyone’s point of view by engaging in events like this.”
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