The Human Rights Council 22nd Session, which ended on March 22, was one of the most significant in the Council’s short history. The packed agenda and vast portfolio of country situations and human rights issues addressed over the past four weeks are clear evidence of the Council’s ability to serve as the lead entity in the UN for promoting and protecting human rights.
In addition to the Council’s official agenda, nearly 150 different parallel events sponsored by civil society and governments took place, a clear signal that human rights defenders consider the Council a crucial venue for their work. When Shin Dong Hyuk, a young man who escaped from the brutal North Korean labor camp in which he had been born and grew up, gave compelling testimony at an event organized by a leading NGO, it was clear that the Council can and does bring the reality of human rights issues… more »
Increasing Sanctions Against Iranian Nuclear Proliferation Networks Joint Treasury and State Department Actions Target Iran’s Nuclear Enrichment and Proliferation Program
Press Statement Victoria Nuland Department Spokesperson Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC December 13, 2012
Today the Secretaries of State and Treasury have imposed sanctions on seven Iranian private sector companies and five individuals for proliferating weapons of mass destruction pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382. These entities and individuals were designated because they provide the Iranian government goods, technology and services that increase Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and/or construct a heavy water moderated research reactor, both of which are activities prohibited by UN Security Council Resolutions. These designations generally prohibit transactions between the named entities and any U.S. person and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction. Given Iran’s continued intransigence on its nuclear program, most recently demonstrated at the IAEA Board of Governors meeting, it is essential to act to restrain continued Iranian violations.
The designations of these entities and individuals pursuant to E.O. 13382, an executive authority for sanctioning entities for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, carry consequences under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA). Foreign financial institutions that facilitate significant transactions to or from the sanctioned entities and individuals are exposed to potential loss of access to the U.S. financial sector. We hope those financial institutions will act in a manner that preserves their access to the U.S. financial system by cutting financial ties to these nuclear support companies. MORE
Regarding Significant Reductions of Iranian Crude Oil Purchases
Press Statement Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Washington, DC December 7, 2012
The United States and the international community remain committed to maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program. That’s why today I am pleased to announce that China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan have again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, based on additional reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran. As a result, I will report to the Congress that exceptions to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA for certain transactions will apply to the financial institutions based in these countries for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.
A total of 20 countries and economies have continued to significantly reduce the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran. According to the latest U.S. Energy Information Administration report to Congress, Iran’s oil production fell by one million barrels per day in September and October 2012, compared to the same period in 2011. This has reduced Iran’s export volumes and oil revenues, which fund not only the nuclear program but its support for terror and destabilizing actions in the region. The message to the Iranian regime from the international community is clear: take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community through negotiations with the P5+1, or face increasing isolation and pressure.
Designations of Iranian Individuals and Entities for Censorship Activities Under the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act and Executive Order 13628
Press Statement Victoria Nuland Department Spokesperson Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC November 8, 2012
Today, the U.S. Department of State reported to the Congress the designations of four Iranian individuals and five Iranian entities for having engaged in censorship or other activities that prohibit, limit, or penalize freedom of expression or assembly by citizens of Iran, or that limit access to print or broadcast media, including by jamming international satellite broadcasts into Iran, and related activities. These actions were taken pursuant to Section 403 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, signed by the President on August 10, 2012, and Executive Order 13628, which the President signed into effect on October 9, 2012. As a result of this action, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated individuals or entities, and all designated individuals and members of designated entities are subject to a ban on travel to the United States. This action also blocks, or freezes, the property and interests in property of designated individuals or entities.
These actions underscore the Administration’s ongoing commitment to hold Iranian government officials and entities responsible for the abuses carried out against their own citizens. Those designated today include Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Reza Taghipour, who has been found responsible for ordering the jamming of satellite television broadcasts and restricting internet connectivity. Also sanctioned are Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and its Press Supervisory Board, which have limited freedom of expression through their censorship and closure of numerous newspapers and detention of journalists. In addition, we are designating key individuals and entities responsible for assisting the regime in its crackdown on and censorship of the Iranian people.
Such abuses demonstrate the Iranian Government’s ongoing campaign to censor its own citizens, curtail their freedoms, and to prevent the free flow of information both in to and out of Iran. Countless activists, journalists, lawyers, students, and artists have been detained, censured, tortured, or forcibly prevented from exercising their human rights. With the measures we are taking today, we draw the world’s attention to the scope of the regime’s insidious actions, which oppress its own people and violate Iran’s own laws and international obligations. We will continue to stand with the Iranian people in their quest to protect their dignity and freedoms and prevent the Iranian Government from creating an “electronic curtain” to cut Iranian citizens off from the rest of the world.
Readout on the United Nations Security Council P-5+1 Ministerial
Special Briefing Senior State Department Official New York, NY September 27, 2012
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: …[T]he P-5+1 remains completely unified in wanting to get the Iranians to consider and to address the concerns of the international community, and that the P-5+1 is completely united in ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon.
In addition, the P-5+1 is unified in our dual-track approach. No one likes sanctions. We understand that sanctions sometimes not only hurt countries, but have an effect for people’s day-to-day lives. We’re quite well aware of that. But we believe that it is necessary for Iran to understand that there are consequences to their not addressing the concerns of the international community, and we believe that it also helps to create political space for the diplomacy, which is far and away the preferred way to deal with this issue. All of the ministers were unified in their belief that diplomacy is the much preferred way forward, and that we are committed to that dialogue and diplomacy, and to the dual-track approach which we have been pursuing.
We discussed how we will proceed forward in making sure that we have all of the right substance on the table. We expect there to be contact in the next instance between Cathy Ashton and Dr. Jalili to discuss the next steps forward. She had said she would call him after this P-5+1 consultation, both with political directors and ministers. She will do that. They will talk about what we discussed as possible next steps. We think we will do this – continue to do this in a step-by-step process, which will include some additional consultations among ourselves, then consultations with the Iranians. And I would suspect at some point, we will indeed return to P-5+1 political directors track for a fourth round.
But we are taking this step by step, and so I think unity is – was the key word today. There was complete unanimity among the ministers most importantly, and also a strong affirmation of the job that the High Representative has been doing in coordinating this effort and coordinating these talks and the way forward. MORE
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addresses the United Nations Security Council session on peace and security in the Middle East, New York, NY, September 26, 2012. You can read the Secretary’s full remarks here.
Press Statement Hillary Rodham Clinton Secretary of State Washington, DC September 14, 2012
The United States is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and has pursued a dual-track policy to do so. Yesterday, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that clearly reflects the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. Iran must take concrete steps to address those concerns. Iran must cooperate fully and immediately with the IAEA on all outstanding issues. We welcome the resolve of the international community to make clear the onus is on Iran to abide by its international obligations, honor its commitments to the IAEA, and prove that its intentions are peaceful.
The international community is also determined to make significant cuts to Iranian oil revenue, which funds not only the nuclear program but Iran’s support for terror and destabilizing actions in the region and around the world. I am pleased to announce that Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom have again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, as amended (NDAA), based on reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran.
As of July 1, the European Union implemented a full ban on Iranian crude oil and petroleum products, strengthening the comprehensive measures it has taken to hold Iran accountable for its failure to comply with its international nuclear obligations. Japan has also taken significant steps to reduce its crude oil purchases, which is especially notable considering the extraordinary energy challenges it has faced in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. As a result, I will report to the Congress that the exception to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA will apply to the financial institutions based in these countries for a renewable period of 180 days.
These renewed exceptions result from our extensive cooperation with the international community since the enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, reducing Iran’s oil revenues and isolating its Central Bank from the international financial system. We have brought significant pressure to bear on the Iranian regime, and we will continue to work with our partners to ratchet up the pressure on Iran to meet its international obligations.
Press Statement Victoria Nuland Department Spokesperson Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC September 10, 2012
The United States welcomes reports that Iranian authorities have released Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani and finally allowed him to reunite with his family. This comes after nearly three harrowing years during which he faced a death penalty sentence on charges of apostasy—in clear violation of Iran’s international human rights commitments.
Despite this welcome news, the status of religious freedom in Iran remains grave. Many more Iranians remain in prison and face persecution simply because of their faith. More than 100 Baha’is and members of the Sunni Muslim, Zoroastrian, and Gonabadi Dervish communities suffer in confinement, and we call for their immediate release. The United States will continue to stand with the people of Iran who struggle to have their fundamental human rights respected.
Press Statement Victoria Nuland Department Spokesperson Office of the Spokesperson Washington, DC August 28, 2012
Tomorrow marks 2,000 days since U.S. citizen Robert Levinson went missing in Iran on March 9, 2007. Mr. Levinson was last seen on Kish Island and the United States reiterates its call on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to provide any information on Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts and to help ensure his prompt and safe return to his family.
Determining Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts and reuniting him safely with his family continues to be a priority for the U.S. Government. The United States also continues to welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation.
On March 6, 2012, the FBI announced a $1 million reward for information on Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts that could lead to his safe return. Anyone who may have information about this case should contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Victoria Nuland addresses U.S. offer of assistance to victims of the Iran earthquake during the Daily Press Briefing on August 13, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]