Since his landslide election victory last summer, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate, has promised to increase political freedoms and some 80 political prisoners were freed in September.
But perhaps wary of antagonizing powerful hardliners sceptical of his rapprochement with the West over Iran’s nuclear program, Rouhani has not made significant policy changes on political freedoms. Rights activists also point out that Iran executed more people per capita than any other country in 2013.
„For all we know there may be no political prisoners among them (released on Monday) or there may be. There is simply not enough information available yet,“ Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the New York- based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said in an e-mail to Reuters.
Iran, which this year marks the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution that overthrew the Shah, currently holds 895 political prisoners, according to a report by the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights, Ahmad Shaheed.