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Rights Group Calls On Mogherini To Pressure Tehran Over Human Rights

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

Amnesty International has urged European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to use an upcoming visit to Iran to demand that Tehran immediately release all imprisoned human rights activists.

The London-based rights watchdog on August 3 called on the European Union to take a tougher stance after the group published a report accusing Iran of a "vicious crackdown" that has dashed hopes of human rights reform under President Hassan Rohani.

Amnesty's Iran researcher, Nassim Papayianni, called on Mogherini to request a meeting with jailed human rights defenders and ensure they are not targeted later for retribution.

"We would also call on her to forcefully call for the release, immediately and unconditionally, of all human rights defenders that are imprisoned in Iran," Papayianni said.

Papayianni said Mogherini should ask to meet with activists including Narges Mohammadi, the former head of the Center for Human Rights Defenders in Iran. Amnesty said the criminal case against Mohammadi was opened in reprisal for a 2014 meeting she had with Mogherini's predecessor, Catherine Ashton.

Mogherini's spokeswoman Catherine Ray said Mogherini would "raise the topic" of human rights when she visits Tehran for Rohani's inauguration ceremony on August 5.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters