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Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi speaks out against Iran sanctions

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Though talks ended on a positive note, with negotiations slated to continue in Baghdad on May 23, Ms. Ebadi claims it's too quick to predict if and how Iran's nuclear negotiators will ultimately follow through.

“We have to see what the results are. Up to today, they've always used negotiations to buy time. In this regard, we have to wait for the second round of negotiations.”

No. 2 country for capital punishment; crackdown on dissent

But while the bulk of international attention on Iran is focused on its nuclear program, human rights violations in the Islamic Republic often go relatively unnoticed.

In 2011, Iran executed more than 360 people, making it the No. 2 country for capital punishment after China, with nearly nine times more executions than the US, according to the Guardian.

Since Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election, the Iranian government has engaged in a broad crackdown on journalists, political opposition figures, activists, and students. As of late 2011, 49 journalists and bloggers remained in prison, and lawyers seeking to represent rights activists have faced mounting pressure from security authorities, with a number of prominent lawyers currently facing stiff prison sentences or long-term bans from practicing law, according to a 2012 Human Rights Watch report.

Three of those lawyers – currently imprisoned on charges of acting against national security – cofounded the now-banned Defenders of Human Rights Center with Ebadi.

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