The following is a State Department statement issued on May 19, 2011:
President Obama remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and has successfully built an international coalition to hold Iran accountable on its illicit nuclear program. With our P5+1 partners, we have demonstrated to Iran our commitment to credible engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect.
- As a result of Iran’s continued intransigence, however, the international community imposed unprecedented unilateral and multilateral sanctions, including UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1929, the most extensive package of sanctions Iran has ever faced.
- Partners such as the European Union, Japan, Australia, and South Korea, have also implemented tough sanctions of their own in concert with these efforts. We will continue to hold Iran accountable on its nuclear program.
The Administration has also condemned Iran’s violent repression at home and will continue to call on the government of Iran to allow the Iranian people the universal right to peacefully assemble, demonstrate and communicate. And we will continue to take actions to hold the Iranian government accountable for its gross human rights violations.
The United States has drawn international attention to Iran’s deplorable human rights record through a range of diplomatic tools.
- At the March 2011 Human Rights Council session, we led the effort to create a Special Rapporteur on Iran – the first country-specific human rights rapporteur created since the Council came into being.
- For the past eight years, the United States has co-sponsored the Canadian-led resolution on Iran’s human rights abuses in the UN Third Committee. This resolution passed in the UN General Assembly by the largest margin to date in December 2010.
- The United States has designated 10 Iranian officials for serious human rights abuses and will continue to do so as events unfold in Iran and information becomes available. We worked with our European partners to amplify the effect of our asset freezes and travel bans against Iranian officials, which led to the EU’s April 11 decision to sanction 32 Iranian officials. We immediately imposed travel bans on those individuals not covered by U.S. sanctions.
- The President and Secretary of State regularly issue high-level statements to highlight Iran’s human rights abuses.
The State Department and USAID also provide capacity building training and new media tools to help Iranian citizens and civil society make their voices heard in calling for greater freedoms, transparency, and rule of law from their government.
- Since 2004, we have supported training and exchange activities, online web portals and training discussion fora, and Persian-language news websites to provide the Iranian people the tools they need to hold their government accountable.
- Since 2008, the State Department has provided $22 million to support freedom of expression and Internet freedom in closed societies, including in Iran. In April, we notified Congress of our intention to support $28 million in new global Internet freedom projects.
- Our new media efforts, including the new USAdarFarsi Twitter feed and our Farsi-language Facebook page, are part of our strategy to engage Iranian youth, using the methods through which they discuss issues that most affect them.