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U.S. Lawmakers Criticize Human Rights Abuses In Iran

WASHINGTON -- Several U.S. lawmakers criticized "major" human rights abuses in Iran including executions and state persecution of religious minorities and homosexuals.

The criticism was voiced in a June 19 Congressional subcommittee hearing focused on "Iran's Abysmal Human Rights Record" under President Hassan Rohani, who came to power about a year ago.

It comes as Iran, the United States, and other major world powers are engaged in talks aimed at finding a lasting deal to Iran's sensitive nuclear work.

"Human rights cannot take a back seat in negotiations in Iran," said Congressman Ted Deutch (Democrat-Florida).

Witnesses testifying at the hearing, including a former Iranian political prisoner, said the rights situation has not improved under Rohani who has promised Iranians more rights and freedom.