United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that human rights in Iran have not improved since the election and inauguration of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, with Ban specifically citing what Reuters described as  “the prevalent use of capital punishment” by the Islamic republic.
“The new administration has not made any significant improvement in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and opinion, despite pledges made by the president during his campaign and after his swearing in,” Ban said. ” Iranians expressing dissenting views or beliefs still face arrest and prosecution, he added. Ban highlighted the fact that Mehdi Karoubi and Mirhossein Mousavi, presidential candidates in 2009, have been under house arrest since 2011, despite never being charged with a crime.
“The new government has not changed its approach regarding the application of the death penalty and seems to have followed the practice of previous administrations, which relied heavily on the death penalty to combat crime,” Ban said.
The assessment is in line with multiple evaluations – from U.N. monitors, from international human rights groups, and from the State Department – all concluding that there has been no shift in Iran’s domestic repression since Rouhani’s ascension.
Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, last fall declared that  there had been no fundamental improvements in Iran’s human rights situation. He later accused Tehran  of capital punishment practices that “contravene universally accepted human rights principles and norms.” In February, Uzra Zeya – the State Department’s acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor – assessed that  the U.S. has “seen little meaningful improvement in human rights in Iran under the new government, including torture, political imprisonment, harassment of religious and ethnic minorities.”
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