US accuses Iran of 'blatant' rights violations

Washington condemns Iranian arrests of political figures, Internet meddling; 2 Iranian officials get US sanctions over human rights abuses.

White House 311 (photo credit: courtesy)
White House 311
(photo credit: courtesy)
WASHINGTON - The United States on Sunday accused Iran's government of hypocrisy and "blatant" violations of the rights of its citizens.
"The United States strongly condemns the Iranian government's organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists and bloggers," the White House said in a statement.
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"The Iranian government also continues to deny its citizens access to information by jamming satellite transmissions and blocking Internet sites," said the statement, which was issued by White House National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
The United States slapped financial sanctions on two Iranian officials on Wednesday for what it said were human rights abuses against protesters following Iran's disputed presidential election in 2009.
US officials have recently suggested that Iranian authorities were hypocritical for clamping down on protesters in their country while applauding the demonstrations in Egypt that toppled its leader, Hosni Mubarak, a longtime US ally.
"The United States and the world will continue to bear witness to the Iranian government's blatant violation of the universal rights of its citizens and its ongoing hypocrisy," the White House statement said.
"The Iranian government should allow active dialogue among its citizens, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly without fear. Iranians deserve the same justice and rights that their government extols the virtue of abroad."
An international advocacy group said earlier on Sunday that two leading opposition figures in Iran, Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, had been moved from their homes where they had been under virtual house arrest.
The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, which has staff in the United States and Germany, quoted an "informed source" as saying Mousavi and Karoubi, along with their wives, had been moved from their homes to a "'safe house' in an area close to Tehran".
The source said they had not been physically abused and that their new location was not a prison.