May 6, 2021
Since 1979 Iran’s government has shown a consistent disregard for the rights of religious minority communities who run afoul of the government’s narrow interpretation of Shi’a Islam. Even the majority Shi’a Muslim population must adhere to the government’s religious doctrine of Leadership of the Jurist (vilayt e-faqih). Those with alternative or differing opinions have suffered harassment, surveillance, arrest, imprisonment, and even a death sentence for blasphemy, insulting religious sanctities, or identifying as gay.
On top of its severe violations, Iran is approaching several key political junctures. The country’s leadership recently began engagement with the Biden administration over its nuclear program. It’s also set to hold presidential elections next month on June 18th. The government of Iran continues to deal with sustained widespread protests over a host of political and social issues that have been ongoing since December 2017.
USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer joins us to discuss why we have recommended Iran be designated a Country of Particular Concern.
Dwight Bashir, Director of Outreach and Policy, USCIRF
Gary Bauer, Commissioner, USCIRF