Prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh says activists in Iran feel the consensus reached in Lausanne between Iran and the 5+1 is positive but fear that it could trigger a backlash against human rights in Iran by extremists in the establishment.

Nasrin Sotoudeh

Nasrin Sotoudeh

In an interview with Saham News on Monday April 6, Sotoudeh stated that activists support putting an end to adversarial relations in the international arena and hope that the government will take a similar consultative approach domestically with its opposition and critics.

“To think that reaching an international consensus will by itself lead to an opening in the domestic scene and that the doors of human rights will open miraculously to the people is a mistake,” Sotoudeh said.

Unfortunately, she added, “power remains in the hands of extremists” in Iran, and “dissidents and the opposition perhaps must prepare themselves for worse days, because extremist groups in the government may decide to deliver a message that nothing has changed in the country by imposing more pressure and restrictions on them”.

Sotoudeh stressed that all over the world, human rights can only be obtained by “the activism of citizens and human rights activists” and they require “civic courage”.

Sotoudeh was arrested in September of 2010 and sentenced to 11 years in jail and a 20-year ban from practicing law and travelling abroad. The sentence was later reduced to six years in jail and a 10-year ban from practicing law and travelling abroad. She was released following the 2013 election of Hassan Rohani, the current president.

She has begun campaigning for the right of dissidents to work and make a living and is protesting the ban on her licence. She has been detained briefly on several occasions in the past six months due to her activism.