July 16, 2014— In a study released by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran today, Voices from Iran: Strong Support for the Nuclear Negotiations, prominent members of Iranian civil society expressed their strong support for the P5+1 nuclear negotiations between Iran and the world powers.
The Campaign’s study found that these leading Iranian figures were unanimous in their support for the ongoing nuclear negotiations. Indeed, support for the negotiations was equally forthcoming not only among human rights victims and former political prisoners, but also among those who believed that the negotiations themselves would have no effect on the state of human rights in Iran.
“Opponents of the nuclear talks cannot use human rights concerns as a tool to undermine the negotiations,” said Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the Campaign. “The very individuals who have suffered the most from the human rights crisis in Iran remain fully committed to the negotiations.”
More than two-thirds of the respondents felt that an agreement that results in the lifting of sanctions would improve the economic lot of ordinary people, and once this occurred the public would be more focused on the need to improve civil liberties. They argued that once economic concerns were less pressing, this would open more space for the discussion of human rights issues.
The Campaign interviewed twenty-two leading civil society, political, and cultural figures inside Iran during June 2014 for the study, including lawyers, filmmakers, literary figures, journalists, former members of Parliament, academics, and political analysts. An Appendix to the study provides a list and description of the respondents and extended excerpts from their statements.
“No one can presume that [a nuclear] deal will automatically lead to improvements in human rights and civil liberties in Iran,” wrote Ghaemi in a preface to the study. “Yet the perpetuation of tensions over the nuclear file is likely to result in continued gross human rights violations. For the past decade, Iran’s nuclear activities have been the focus of international attention and the human rights situation has only worsened. An end to the confrontation over the nuclear issue will allow the focus to turn to the state of human rights in Iran on the global stage.”
The Campaign urges the international community to pursue the improvement of human rights in Iran, but this should be done in tandem with full support for the nuclear negotiations.