Germany, which holds the European Union presidency, voiced concern Friday over Iran's recent human rights record, citing the imposition by force of stricter dress codes and the "worsening situation" of minorities, among other worries. The 27-nation EU "is particularly troubled by the recent wave of arrests of civil society and women's rights activists," Germany said in a statement on behalf of the bloc.
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"Teachers, students, union members, scholars and journalists exercising their right to freely express their opinion are facing constant intimidation, and stricter dress codes for men and women are being imposed by force," it added.
Hard-liners in Iran, which is at odds with the West over its nuclear program, have taken advantage of the confrontation to crack down on opponents and launch morality campaigns like one in which women were arrested for not meeting Islamic dress codes.
Germany's statement said that "the EU also wishes to draw attention to the worsening of the situation of ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, in particular to the plight of the Baha'i, who are excluded from public life, discriminated against and harassed."
It also urged Teheran to abolish completely the juvenile death penalty, amputations and "other cruel punishments, such as stoning." EU countries have abolished the death penalty.