Amnesty claims widespread rights violations in Iran

Global human rights monitor Amnesty International has said there have been "widespread and persistent human rights violations in Iran", CNN reported Tuesday.

"It is essential if further mass human rights violations are to be avoided that the international community act on behalf of the hundreds, if not thousands, of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners imprisoned after unfair trials in Iran," Amnesty International said in a report.

It said Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini celebrated the popular revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain, saying that they reflected an "Islamic awakening" based on Iran's 1979 Revolution.

But since the 2009 election, Iran has repressed similar voices within its own borders, Amnesty International said.

"Since the 2009 crackdown, the authorities have steadily cranked up repression in law and practice, and tightened their grip on the media," it said.

"Lawyers have been jailed along with their clients. Foreign satellite television channels have been jammed. Newspapers have been banned," the advocacy group said.

The report came out just hours after the UN Human Rights Council met for its latest session in Geneva.

Ann Harrison, of Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa programme, said: "In Iran today, you put yourself at risk if you do anything that might fall outside the increasingly narrow confines of what the authorities deem socially or politically acceptable."

"Anything from setting up a social group on internet, forming or joining an NGO or expressing your opposition to the status quo can land you in prison," she said.

Iran has defended its record before the UN Human Rights Council and said Western critics are politicising the human rights issue for their own gain.

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