Toward a Human Rights and Democracy Agenda for Iran

October 2012 – Over the past decade, the international community has been largely focused on curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions at the expense of critical support for human rights and freedoms in the country.

In particular, the timing of the mass protests in 2009 coincided with a new US Administration and renewed efforts to engage the Iranian regime on its nuclear program. Also, the concern in some quarters that international backing for the “Green Movement” could harm the legitimacy of Iran’s indigenous opposition complicated a more vigorous response to the legitimate democratic demands of the Iranian people.

It took two years—and after Iranian authorities had essentially crushed the pro-democracy opposition—for the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to reestablish a reporting mandate on the country.