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A group led by the US criticizes Iran for its violent repression, arrests of journalists, and shutdown of its internet

The brutal suppression of freedom of expression in Iran has drawn criticism from the United States, the United Kingdom, and 19 other nations.

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On Thursday, the Media Freedom Coalition’s (MFC) member nations released a joint statement.

They vehemently denounced the Iranian government’s on-going crackdown on demonstrators and society at large.

The MFC advised Iran to cooperate with all UN agencies and mandate holders and to uphold its obligations under international law.

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The nations cited the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran and the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council President.

The coalition demanded that the government free all people who had been detained without justification, including journalists.

It said many journalists have been detained and their homes raided to prevent them from exposing abuses.

The MFC wants the media to be able to function without fear of persecution, discrimination and violence.

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“The targeted detentions of journalists in Iran are a clear violation of media freedom and freedom of speech.”

The assertion that independent media are “manipulated by foreign forces” was also condemned in the statement.

It supported the statement from the Freedom Online Coalition that denounced the blocking of access to mobile and internet networks.

“Journalists and media workers should be able to report unimpeded by government interference,” the MFC noted.

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Other signatories are Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Iceland, Ireland and Japan.

The rest include Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO) announced that at least 448 people, including 60 children and 29 women, have been killed by security forces.

It said the numbers only include cases it verified through documents such as death certificates/medical staff testimony and independent sources.

IHRNGO accused the Islamic Republic of “trying to cover up its crimes through disinformation and lies.”

Noting that the UN fact-finding mission is critical, the body said the mechanism “should be based on citizen testimonies and [does] not require state cooperation.”

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