US criticizes Iran for closing human rights group

The United States on Tuesday criticized Iran for closing the office of a human rights group led by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the closure reflected a deteriorating human rights situation in Iran. Iranian authorities on Sunday shut down the office of Shirin Ebadi's Center for Protecting Human Rights. Ebadi, a lawyer and human rights and democracy campaigner, won the prize for efforts that included promoting the rights of women and children in Iran and worldwide. She is the first Iranian and Muslim woman to win the award. Her group had been planning to present an award Sunday to Taqi Rahmani, who spent a total of 17 years in jail after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.