On a weekly basis, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) Human Rights Centre releases a weekly report based on information gleaned from reports within Iran and from state-run television and newspapers. These reports demonstrate that despite Iran’s claims of a democracy, human rights abuses have not decreased.
The upcoming Presidential elections, for example, have resulted in warnings of heightened surveillance on the internet. Iran’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri did not accept responsibility for a recent wave of arrests, but he did announce through a TV interview that based on the upcoming election, the internet would be monitored and offenders would be prosecuted.
“When Telegram servers are outside of the country, and we have no surveillance over them, why should we put our information on them?” Montazeri said regarding Telegram. Yet, he also acknowledged that between 16,000 to 20,000 Telegram channels are being filtered on a weekly basis. Basic freedom of speech is being impeded, as opposition to the current government is being strictly monitored and any individuals that seems to support the opposition in anyway suffers strict punishments.
Another area where the abuse continues is in the care of the poorest Iranians. Street children, often with no funds, are left in the retail market with no assistance. Beggars have been pegged as criminals, and security forces are to collect and hand over these beggars to the municipality that they are found in.
According to the Political and Social Deputy of the Tehran Governor, Shahabodding Chavoushi, from the beginning of last year, 4,947 male beggars and 1,087 female beggars, 21,396 male homeless individuals, and 2,052 homeless females, which totals almost 30,000 people being collected from the streets.
The poverty levels have increased to a degree that even the recent Nowruz celebration was too much of a financial hardship on the poorest families. Street peddlers, unable to sell their goods, were forced to sleep next to them in the marketplace.
“The condition of the Bazaar (in Khuzestan) during these days in Izeh is (so stagnate) that we can barely pay our water and electricity bills,” said one shop owner. “It’s as if, there is no Nowruz.”
But the financial issues go beyond one celebration, as highly educated youth are left unemployed. According to the Izeh Representative in Majlis, more than 65% of young people are unemployed.
Those who try to improve their family’s financial situation, such as the border porters, face security forces and the risk of death. Recently, those security forces fired on three border porters and severely injured them.
The international community continues to note that the Iranian people are struggling to meet basic needs, yet the government continues to focus on stomping out any potential opposition and maintaining its own hold on power. The only ones who are suffering in the end are the Iranian people.