Washington, D.C. – NIAC President Trita Parsi released the following statement after poet Hila Sedighi was arrested upon entering Iran:
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“The arrest of Hila Sedighi is part of an outrageous ongoing campaign to attack free speech in Iran. Sedighi was reportedly sentenced in absentia on charges by the Culture and Media Court while she was living in the United Arab Emirates, and arrested upon arrival in Tehran. As has been the case with other Iranians targeted by Iran’s Judiciary, the government has not even indicated what charges Sedighi is facing, though a family member has indicated the charges are related to her cultural activities. This is not the first time that Sedighi, who previously worked on Mir Hossein Mousavi’s campaign and recited poetry at Green Movement rallies, has been harassed by Iranian authorities. Sedighi is currently out of prison on bail ahead of her appeal.
“NIAC calls on the Iranian government to drop all charges against Sedighi, and reiterates its call for all prisoners of conscience in Iran to be released without delay.
“Iran has taken major steps to moderate its foreign policy and reach accommodation on the nuclear issue. However, at the same time, hardliners have overseen a crackdown on reformists, journalists, artists and members of the diaspora in advance of key elections to the Iranian parliament and Assembly of Experts, which could appoint the next Supreme Leader. These illegitimate and condemnable actions diminish the key steps taken to moderate foreign policy, and must be addressed at once.
“Particularly at a time when Iran is condemning Saudi violations of human rights, its own human rights abuses render its condemnations hollow. The forces who want to reintegrate Iran into the global community must confront hardliners and stop their abuses in order to achieve lasting change.”