Ahmed Shaheed’s report on “striking patterns of violations” in Iran was welcomed by human rights organisations
As the UN human rights council gathered today to discuss the latest report by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Iran special rapporteur, senior officials in the Islamic republic dismissed allegations of “striking patterns of violations” in the country.
The report, released last week, was welcomed by human rights organisations as “a significant document that gives voice to the victims of widespread violations” but top regime supporters said it was “politicised” and “fabricated”.
Kazem Jalali, an Iranian MP and member of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy was quoted by the state English-language television, Press TV, as saying that Shaheed’s report was biased.
“The first problem is the structure of the human rights body, it should be known that this institution is mainly biased towards Iran and is trying to prove its [anti-Iran] claims,” he said. “The second problem is that the enemies and the arrogant [powers], in order to prove their claims, try to find opposition and individuals who are prejudiced against the Islamic Republic.”
Zohreh Elahian, the head of the parliamentary commission on human rights said the report was based on “politically tainted objectives and politicisation”, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“As was clear in Ahmed Shaheed’s draft document, the report is biased and serves political objectives since he had visited a number of European states and had meetings with the opposition and anti-revolution forces living abroad,” she said.
Tehran has not allowed Shaheed to enter the country to investiagte Iran’s record on human rights. Independent NGOs and human rights organisations have been banned in recent years in Iran and many activists put in prison, including prominent human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Alistair Burt, the British foreign office minister for the Middle East today expressed concerns over human rights violations in Iran.
“In the last year, Iran has continued to execute more people per capita than any other country in the world, increased arbitrary arrest of ethnic and religious minorities, and attempted to silence dissent through control of the media and the detention of journalists, opposition leaders and human rights defenders,” he said.
“Most recently, I was appalled to see reports of the sentencing of lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani to 18 years in prison. It is shocking that the charges against him of co-operation with an NGO and receiving an international human rights award should be considered offences at all,” Burt added.
“It is disappointing that Iran has refused to engage with Dr Shaheed, denying him the opportunity to visit and attempting to discredit his report. I urge Iran to recognise its international obligations and co-operate with the Rapporteur’s work by allowing full and unrestricted access to the country.”
Read Ahmed Shaheed’s full report here.
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from Saeed Kamali Dehghan