Skip to main content

Zarif's denial on political prisoners sparks backlash

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated over Facebook his claim that Iran does not jail anyone for their political beliefs.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the New York University (NYU) Center on International Cooperation in New York April 29, 2015. Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday offered assurances that Tehran is committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf in the aftermath of the seizure of a commercial ship by Iranian forces a day earlier. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  - RTX1AULC
Read in 

During his trip to New York to continue another round of nuclear talks, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made controversial remarks about political prisoners in Iran. An online backlash forced him to respond on his Facebook page.

In an April 28 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS, Zarif said, “We do not jail people for their opinions. The government has a plan to improve, enhance human rights in the country. As every government should. And I believe we have an obligation as a government to our own people to do that. But people who commit crimes, who violate the laws of the country, cannot hide by being a journalist, being a political activist. People have to observe the law.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.