The state of human rights in Iran has been criticized both by Iranians and international human right activists, writers, and NGOs. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Commission have condemned prior and ongoing abuses in Iran in published critiques and several resolutions.
The government of Iran is criticized both for restrictions and punishments that follow the Islamic Republic’s constitution and law, and for actions that do not, such as the torture, rape, and killing of political prisoners, and the beatings and killings of dissidents and other civilians.
Alleged restrictions and punishments lawful in the Islamic Republic which violate international human rights norms include: harsh penalties for crimes; punishment of “victimless crimes” such as fornication, homosexuality; execution of offenders under 18 years of age; restrictions on freedom of speech, and the press, including the imprisonment of journalists; unequal treatment according to religion and gender in the Islamic Republic’s constitution – especially attacks on members of the Bahá’í religion.
Reported abuses falling outside of the laws of the Islamic Republic that have been condemned include the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, and the widespread use of torture to extract repudiations by prisoners of their cause and comrades on video for propaganda purposes. Also condemned has been firebombings of newspaper offices and attacks on political protesters by “quasi-official organs of repression,” particularly “Hezbollahi,” and the murder of dozens of government opponents in the 1990s, allegedly by “rogue elements” of the government.
Under the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Iran’s human rights record “has deteriorated markedly” according to the group Human Rights Watch, and following the 2009 election protests there were reports of killing of demonstrators, the torture, rape and killing of detained protesters, and the arrest and publicized mass trials of dozens of prominent opposition figures in which defendants “read confessions that bore every sign of being coerced.” 
Officials of the Islamic Republic have responded to criticism by stating the IRI is not obliged to follow “the West’s interpretation” of human rights,” and that the Islamic Republic is a victim of “biased propaganda of enemies” which is “part of a greater plan against the world of Islam.” According to Iranian officials, those who human rights activists say are peaceful political activists being denied due process rights are actually guilty of offenses against the national security of the country, and those protesters claiming Ahmadinejad stole the 2009 election are actually part of a foreign-backed plot to topple Iran’s leaders.