Iran Human RightsUS urges Iran to free political prisoners, US hikers

US urges Iran to free political prisoners, US hikers

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AFP: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Iran to meet its international obligations and release all political prisoners, as well as three American hikers held for almost a year.

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Iran to meet its international obligations and release all political prisoners, as well as three American hikers held for almost a year.

On the anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection and the deadly unrest it triggered, Clinton said Iran continues to deny its citizens their fundamental, constitutional rights.

“One year later,” Clinton said in a statement, “many political prisoners continue to suffer in jail, some facing death sentences for expressing their opinions.

“Other civil society activists in Iran are not in prison, but they face other forms of persecution,” she added.

Clinton called on Iran’s leadership “to meet their obligations to their own people and to the international community by respecting the rights and dignity of their citizens and by fully upholding Iran’s international obligations.”

She also called for the “immediate release of all imprisoned human rights defenders, including Shiva Nazar Ahari, Narges Mohammadi, Emad Baghi, Kouhyar Goudarzi, Bahareh Hedayat, Milad Asadi, and Mahboubeh Karami.

“We ask the Iranian authorities to release the three American hikers, detained without charge for almost a year, and to provide information on the status of Mr Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007,” she added.

Clinton reaffirmed US commitment “to engage with Iran on all issues in pursuit of a negotiated diplomatic resolution, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual interests.”

“But we also will continue to speak out in defense of basic human liberties and in support of those around the world who seek to exercise their universal rights,” Clinton said.

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