For the Iran watchers and policy makers who think President Rouhani has any real authority in Iran, know that the absolute power in Iran and man responsible for this evil is Ayatollah Khamenei, along with the other unelected members of the Supreme Council.
The international community has the responsibility to elevate the human rights portfolio on par with other issues, and to induce Iran's cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council and its appointed mandate holder.
Youcef Nadarkhani, a pastor who was sentenced to death in Iran for the crime of apostasy and spent more than three years in prison, has been allegedly detained on Christmas Day in his home city of Rasht.
Iran's abysmal human rights situation should draw attention on its own merits, and trigger concerted international efforts to hold human rights abusers accountable and ensure that Iranian authorities respect their obligations under international law.
Both candidates showed determination to prevent a nuclear Iran, including by military action. Neither of them however, wondered publically whether the Iranian people, who have the most at stake in case of war, approve of Iran's leadership's policies?
My purpose here is not to defend the UN report, which speaks for itself. Rather, I want to point to what Larijani's outburst means and why it should encourage the international community to stand with the victims and strengthen human rights defenders.
Mr. Ban won't meet a free press and he won't meet free and independent people. But he can speak his mind and he can tell the world what he said. Thanks to the Internet, the Iranian people will find out what happened.
Ban Ki-moon enjoys a reputation of moral clarity and of boldness to criticize and to cling to principles. This week's visit to Tehran, where the Non-Aligned Summit is being held, represents a major test for him.
Is the nuclear program more important in Islamic Republic's quest for status and power than overcoming the economic malaise, the terrible pollution gripping its capital and the growing suffocation of civil liberties?
It's time to start paying attention to what can be done to both reduce the dangers of reporting and increase, if not simply safeguard, basic freedoms. This is important on all days, but especially today, World Press Freedom Day.
Unfortunately, some leaders of the Occupy movement have been all too eager to address Iran's state-run media, bolstering the mullahs' narrative of a violently repressive American government beholden to shadowy Wall Street power.