The Janus Nature of Human Rights in Iran: Understanding Progress and Setbacks on Human Rights Protections since the Revolution

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Book Chapter

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Political Science

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There have been serious concerns raised both internally and externally about human rights violations in Iran over the past 30 years. Is there any reason to believe there will be an improvement in the protection of human rights in the future? Risse and Sikkink have suggested that states can be socialized to improve at least part of their human rights record. They argue that Western states, advocacy networks, and international norms can have a positive impact on rights of personal integrity in most if not all non-Western developing countries. Will Iran be socialized to improve its human rights record? This chapter examines both the progress on and the violations of human rights in Iran over the past 30 years. I want to explain why the Islamic regime has restricted the basic rights of its citizens, as well as what accounts for the progress made on some second generation rights. To see further improvements in the protection of human rights this chapter suggests that minimizing threats is a necessary step for further progress. Therefore, this chapter examines Iran’s human rights record in the framework of the interplay of international human rights norms and perceived threats.


This book chapter was originally published in Human Rights in the Middle East pp 111-127: Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2011, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137001986_7

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