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Examining Free Expression and Human Rights in Iran
Join PEN America and the Center for Human Rights in Iran for a conversation among human rights experts on the country’s upcoming presidential elections, U.S.-Iran negotiations, and opportunities for impact by the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress.

Eight years after President Hassan Rouhani came into office on a platform of “justice and dignity,” including more freedom of expression, the human rights situation in Iran remains dire. Despite promises of expanded freedoms, Rouhani’s presidency has been marked by intensified repression, including a brutal government crackdown on protests in November 2019. Government critics continue to face lengthy prison sentences, and even execution for peaceful dissent. Journalists, activists, protesters, and even rappers are targeted for running afoul of the regime’s draconian censors. According to PEN America’s Freedom to Write Index, Iran is the fourth highest jailer of writers and public intellectuals in the world, with 19 currently imprisoned.

Amid this backdrop and ongoing U.S.-Iran negotiations, Iranians are heading to the polls on June 18 in one of the most uncompetitive races in the country’s modern history. On May 25, Iran’s Guardian Council disqualified the majority of the 590 registered candidates, including all moderate and reformist-minded candidates, and all 40 women who registered. The arbitrary disqualifications, along with other political restrictions, prevent Iranians from having a voice in how they are governed, and have all but cleared the way for the victory of Ebrahim Raisi, the conservative head of Iran’s judiciary.

Jun 16, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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