Iran: Election amid repression of dissent and unrest

The Iranian presidential elections are to be held this month on 12 June. The candidates are: the incumbent President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Mohsen Rezaei, a former commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps; Former Prime Minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi (backed by former president, Mohammad Khatami); and Mehdi Karroubi, a former parliamentary speaker.

While Amnesty International welcomes pledges from some of the candidates to address the prevailing discrimination against women in the country – an issue which has been forced to the forefront of the debate by the efforts of women’s rights activists – and ethnic minorities and to tackle economic issues to improve the welfare of the population, there are other serious human rights concerns which also need addressing. These include severe curtailments of freedom of expression, arbitrary arrests, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials and a high recourse to the death penalty (including against juvenile offenders) as well as incidents of people being stoned to death.