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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Senator Sharon Keogan — Human Rights Abuses in Iran

I second the amendment to the Order of Business. At this stage, no one here does not know what is happening in Iran. Thousands are being interrogated, unfairly persecuted and arbitrarily detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, and hundreds remain unjustly imprisoned. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment, including denying prisoners adequate medical care, remain widespread and systemic. Judicial punishments of flogging, amputation and blinding are being imposed. The death penalty is being used as a weapon of oppression, and executions are being carried out after unfair trials.

This week, the Royal Navy intercepted a boatload of Iranian missiles and drones that were being smuggled to Yemen, proving Iran is breaching a UN Security Council resolution on drones and missiles. Iran has used boats and a State-owned airline to smuggle new types of advanced long-range armed drones to Russia for use in its war on Ukraine. Just yesterday, the BBC reported that after one of the world's most promising chess players, 25-year-old Sara Khadem, decided to play at an international tournament without a headscarf in solidarity with the protest movement in Iran, she could not return to Iran. Arrest papers were issued and the authorities are waiting for her. She now lives in exile in southern Spain with her husband and one-year-old son.

In a defiant speech at Tehran's Azidi Square on 11 February, President Ebrahim Raisi claimed nationwide anti-government protest movements had been defeated. The authorities have cracked down hard on the widespread protests, which are demanding more freedom and women's rights. Security forces have killed more than 520 people, including dozens of children, and have detained more than 18,000 activists. Following unlawful detentions and biased trials, the judiciary has handed down stiff sentences to protesters. Despite all this, Ireland is set to open the embassy in Tehran before the year is out. What message does that send to the world about Ireland and its values? Ireland now has a seat at the UN Security Council and has played a key role in facilitating the 2015 deal struck on Iran's nuclear programme. Are we now to turn a blind eye to Iran's support for Russian atrocities in Ukraine and Iran's human rights violations at home? Today I am looking for the support of the Leader on this.

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