Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi has written to the President of Iran to express her support for the lifting of economic sanctions against the country—and to call on the President to release all Iranian political prisoners.
In her letter to President Hassan Rouhani, Ebadi calls on Iran’s leaders to treat their own people in the way they did four Iranian-American hostages. As part of a prisoner exchange deal that coincided with “Implementation Day” and the lifting of sanctions against the country, Iran released four Iranian-Americans who were being unjustly detained on political or religious grounds. Yet, dozens of Iranian citizens continue to be held as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience who, in the absence of an independent judiciary, have no hope for a fair trial. Ebadi urges Iran to use this opportunity to turn over a new leaf on the world stage and ensure justice for the country’s more than 800 remaining political prisoners.
In January, the United States and five European nations lifted oil and financial sanctions on Iran following verification that the country had complied with measures to disable its nuclear infrastructure. As a result, Iran now has access to more than $100 billion dollars in frozen assets and can fully engage in international trade for the first time in decades.
The news of sanctions lifting has been well received by supporters, including Ebadi, of the 2015 nuclear agreement in which Iran agreed to limit and allow international oversight of its nuclear activities. The Elders, an international group of human rights advocates and peace activists founded by Nelson Mandela and chaired by Kofi Annan, has also issued a press release welcoming the lifting of the sanctions as “an important step in the process of normalizing relations.”
Read Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi’s statement.
Yes, Iran released five political prisoners. 800 more are still languishing in jail, Washington Post, 28 January 2016.
View The Elders’ press release.