Jul 03, 2014

Iranian Minorities Delegation Informs US Congress of Increased Human Rights Violations

Brussels, 2 July 2014 – Two representatives of the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran (CNFI); Mr. Loghman Hazhar Ahmedi, head of foreign relations of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, and Mr. Nasser Boladai, representative of the Balochistan People’s Party, engaged in meetings with US Congressman, Senators, policymakers, human rights activists and academics during the month of June 2014. The meetings, organized by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), aimed at expanding support for a secular, democratic and federal Iran, for which the CNFI campaigns.

On the picture (from left to right): Mr. Nasser Boladai, Congressman Steve Chabot, and Mr. Loghman H. Ahmedi.

Despite having a rich cultural diversity, the Islamic Republic of Iran prioritizes Shi’a Persians, ignoring the many minorities the country has. These minorities, including Kurds, Baloch, Ahwazi Arabs, Azerbaijani Turks, Fars, Lor, Armenians and Baha’I, who make up almost 50% of the population, face economic, cultural and religious discrimination on a daily basis.  They are also ruthlessly oppressed, with torture, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and enforced disappearances being common tactics. Despite the hope of many that Rouhani would be a more moderate president, the human rights situation in Iran has actually worsened since his election, with an increase in executions of political prisoners, many of whom belong to minorities.

During their meetings the CNFI delegation expressed deep concerns regarding the disregard of minorities in the policymaking towards Iran, stressing that when negotiating and dealing with Iran, policymakers should contact all kinds of social groups. Currently, the dialogue undertaken is limited to government officials, and does not include members of minority groups. This gives officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran leeway to paint a very one-sided picture of the country, portraying the Iranian people as a homogenous group, and ignoring the linguistic, cultural and religious diversity in Iran. Policymakers also often rely on Iranian news sources, which misrepresent the situation in the country.

At a time when the United States and Iran are establishing friendly relations, the CNFI and UNPO call upon the US government not to forget the minorities in the country, which form almost 50% of the population. If the aims of the US government are to achieve peace and stability in the region as a whole, and avoid a spillover from the crises in Syria and Iraq, it must demand a more inclusive dialogue with its Iranian counterpart, which takes into account the perspectives of representatives of various nations, religions, and cultures living in the territory, with equal rights to all.