While the prospects of reaching a comprehensive deal any time soon are far from certain, one thing is for sure: important actors, from all sides of the political spectrum inside Iran, support the diplomatic process. Indeed, just this week the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) released a study showing leading Iranian activists’ support for the negotiations.
“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 22 key human and civil rights defenders interviewed said they felt an agreement resulting in the lifting of sanctions would improve the economic conditions of ordinary people, who would then be enabled to focus on improving civil liberties.
“Every single human rights advocate – along with journalists, editors, private business owners and so on – I have met in Iran hopes for the resolution of the nuclear conflict and eventual ending of sanctions for two basic reasons: one is economic and one is political,” said independent scholar and LobeLog contributor Farideh Farhi.
“As one prominent human rights advocate told me, the right to economic livelihood is also a human rights issue. Given the comprehensive nature of US-led sanctions, these folk see them as major violations of the Iranian peoples’ rights and want them removed,” said Farhi, who is currently in Tehran.
“Politically, while the lifting of sanctions is not presumed to automatically lead to better treatment of dissidents and critics by the state, there is hope that the reduced threat perception and reduced fear of regime change will eventually lead to the further loosening of the political environment,” she added.
“The study makes clear that anyone concerned about human rights in Iran should not use human rights to undermine a nuclear deal,” Mike Amitay, a senior policy analyst at the Open Society Policy Center, told LobeLog. “Human rights issues should be addressed in tandem with support for the negotiations and in a way that does not undermine the success of the negotiations.”