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Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Iran

President,

Norway remains deeply concerned about the high number of executions carried out by the Iranian Government. We note with dismay the increased use of the death penalty since president Rohani took office in 2013.

We are particularly concerned about the deplorable application of capital punishment on juvenile offenders in Iran. Norway condemns the death sentence against Saman Naseem, and call on the Government of Iran to provide information about his status

While welcoming the current Government’s expressed will to create a more open society, we are far from convinced by the development in the country. In recent months, we have observed the ban or closure of a number of newspapers, magazines and news agencies. Arrest of journalists, bloggers and activists remain a widespread practice. The government’s consistent calls for more freedom of speech, cultural diversity and Internet freedoms must be translated into concrete action.

Furthermore, Norway is concerned about arrests and arbitrary detention of human rights defenders in Iran. We are gravely concerned about the fact that many human rights defenders and lawyers, contrary to elementary rule of law principles, are serving prison sentences based on insufficiently defined criteria, such as “being an enemy of God” (Mohareb) or “spreading propaganda against the establishment”.

We deplore the seemingly systematic targeting of religious and ethnic minorities and the mistreatment of minority rights activists.

All of these challenges underline the importance of the work of the Special Representative. Norway therefore encourages the Islamic Republic of Iran to acquiesce to the repeated requests from Mr. Shaheed to undertake a visit to Iran.

We have the following two questions to the Special Rapporteur:

  • How do you assess the recent reports on the discussion in the      Iranian judiciary on a moratorium regarding executions for drug offenders?
  • What is your recommended approach for supporting human rights      defenders operating under difficult circumstances in Iran?