The US State Department raised the ire of Senators by ignoring the Iranian terror threat in its 2015 World Threat Assessment, but it has now finally released an annual human rights report Thursday that slams the Islamic regime for its horrific breaches of basic rights.
The report, released ahead of a June 30 deadline next week for talks on Iran's nuclear program, accuses the regime of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment" of its citizens, noting the widespread usage of callous public hangings.
A full four months have passed since the report was required by law to be published, in a delay critics say was intended by the administration of US President Barack Obama to avoid tensions with Iran ahead of the nuclear deal.
Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) threatened last Thursday that he would fine the State Department in a week if it did not release the report – evidently the threat worked, as the report was released exactly a week later.
"That report was due by law on February 25. The Obama State Department simply ignored the law," said Cruz last Thursday. "It appears that both President Obama and Secretary of State (John) Kerry are trying to sweep under the rug Iran’s horrific human rights record because, presumably, acknowledging that fact would be inconvenient" for the nuclear talks.
He charged Obama with following a policy that appears to be: "surrender everything to the Iranian mullahs in a hope they will accede to a nuclear deal that only accelerates their acquiring nuclear weapons."
The State Department had claimed that the delay was caused by Kerry's intense travel schedule, which has not allowed him to present the report in person. Cruz criticized the response, saying, "it has been 115 days since the expiration of the statutory deadline. Secretary Kerry has not been on the road continuously for 115 days."
Aside from Iran and other similar regimes, the report also focused on abuses by non-state actors such as the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization that keeps unleashing new horrific forms of execution, as well as Boko Haram in Africa that has frequently abducted young girls.
It also spoke about the role of technology both in fighting and committing human rights abuses, noting how Saudi Arab jailed bloggers with courts meant to combat terrorists.
A senior State Department official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity that the report emphasizes how the US is having to join forces with governments that commit human rights abuses in combating ISIS, making a not-so-subtle reference to Iran which has been playing a key role in backing the fight against ISIS in Iraq in parallel to the US efforts there.
“Going after ISIL in particular, we have to partner with a number of countries that have problematic human rights records," the official said, using another acronym for ISIS. "We want to be clear that this is not intended as Global War on Terror 2.0. We have learned the lessons of the past, and we want to do this in a balanced way.”