February 24, 2011
WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised the “bravery” of Iranian protesters and condemned the Iranian government for waging a systematic and, at times, brutal crackdown.
“The United States remains deeply concerned by the persecution of Iranian citizens at the hand of their government,” Clinton said in a written statement.
“Over the past ten days, we have witnessed the bravery of thousands of Iranians who once again took to the streets to exercise their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and expression,” she said.
“It has been made clear to the world that Iran denies its citizens the same fundamental rights it continues to applaud elsewhere in the Middle East.”
Massive police deployments in Tehran have prevented large-scale protests from erupting but as political turmoil grips the region Iranian opposition websites have reported some deadly clashes in the country.
Iranian security forces swept through the homes of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi and his family, arresting one of his sons and confiscating several documents, his website reported on Tuesday.
But Clinton suggested the repression went far wider than just the harassment of opposition leaders, detailing a widespread campaign that permeated almost every aspect of Iranian life.
“Security forces have beaten, detained, and — in at least three cases — killed peaceful protesters,” she said.
“Off the streets, the regime’s leaders have targeted human rights defenders and political activists, and authorities have recently rounded up ex-government officials and their families; former members of parliament; clerics and their children; student leaders and their professors; as well as journalists and bloggers.
“They also continue to deny their citizens access to information by jamming satellite transmissions and blocking Internet sites.”
On a day in which the United States issued targeted sanctions against top regime officials, Clinton also highlighted the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran and reiterated a call to free all political prisoners.
“The steady deterioration in human rights conditions in Iran has obliged the international community to speak out time and again,” she said.
“The world will continue to watch and will hold accountable those responsible for these actions.”