Despite Iran's Poor Record on Human Rights, Connecticut Non-Profit Supports Nuclear Deal

Aug 10, 2015

Despite grave concerns over a worsening human rights situation in Iran, a Connecticut-based non-profit organization that documents human rights’ violations there, supports President Obama’s nuclear agreement.

Rod Sanjabi, executive director of the New Haven-based Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, called the nuclear deal “necessary” because it would lift broad economic sanctions, which he said have had a crippling effect on the Iranian people.

"High inflation and high unemployment, which are partially a result of government mismanagement and they’re partially chronic problems, are indeed exacerbated by the sanctions regime," said Sanjabi. "I’m of the belief that they have significantly hampered the revival of civil society in Iran."

He does not think, however, that the deal would improve Iran’s steadily deteriorating human rights situation. Iran is on track right now to roughly double last year's number of executions.

"There were already roughly 700 executions carried out since January first," Sanjabi said. "It works out to something like one in every six hours or so."

Sanjabi said it's important for people outside of Iran to understand that while they cannot do much to improve human rights inside the country, the Iranian people can. "But at the same time," he said, "they shouldn’t expect things to change overnight and they should not point to certain violations of human rights or other activities by the Iranian government to try to sabotage ratification of the deal, because that is counterproductive."

The Iran Human Rights Documentation Center gathers testimony from witnesses, political prisoners, lawyers and relatives of dissidents and journalists in Iran. The material is used for research and education.