It has always been said that the three fundamental needs of mankind are food, shelter and clothing. Although man cannot survive without these physical necessities, I believe that there is a fourth equally important need which is the free expression of self. These days, with the exception of the extremely poor, most people assign great importance to this need for expression of self. Everyday around the United States, there are either multiple articles being published about the restrictions imposed on freedom of speech, or public speeches given about people not being allowed to express their beliefs toward such everyday subjects like religion and war. In a way, it is ironic to note that even though they have all been allowed to publish these articles and speak about these controversial subjects, they still complain about not having freedom of speech. What they don’t realize is that there are places with much stricter policies toward freedom of expression that is even hard to imagine for an American. I have the honor of being from one of those places: The Islamic Republic of Iran. Before drawing an analogy between the current state of freedom of speech in US and Iran, I believe it's necessary to examine the core concept of this freedom in greater detail. The "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" states that "The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law." Although this text seems in itself to be a rather comprehensive definition, and every thinker agrees that all mankind freedoms must also have a limitation so that the freedom and security of others are not jeopardized, it is the last part of the definition that opens the possibility for abuse. In any country, the mechanism for proposing and approving laws is directly under the scrutiny and control of...
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