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Britain to push for Iran resolution

Britain will push at next week's United Nations General Assembly for a strong resolution condemning human rights violations in Iran, Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Mr Hague said the Tehran regime's refusal to respond to its people's demands for greater freedom - particularly in the crackdown on the 2009 democracy protests - is isolating the country and preventing it enjoying normal relations with the rest of the world.

He accused the authorities in Tehran of "breathtaking hypocrisy" in claiming to support popular revolutions elsewhere in the Muslim world while suppressing protests at home.

The revolutions of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya show the desire for human rights and open government is universal and efforts to suppress it in Iran will fail, said Mr Hague.

Speaking at an event sponsored by The Times to highlight the plight of opposition figures, activists, lawyers and journalists imprisoned in Iran, Mr Hague said that human rights sanctions on Tehran will be tightened if the regime fails to improve its record.

But he added: "We are ready to engage in meaningful and substantive discussion with the Iranian authorities on human rights issues at any time, which they are currently completely unwilling to do."

Mr Hague went on: "The lessons of the Arab revolutions hold true for Iran just as they apply to repressive countries across the world.

"Demands for respect for rights, open government, action against corruption and genuine political participation have and will spread by themselves over time - not because we and other nations advocate them, but because they are the natural aspirations of all people everywhere.

"Simply refusing to address legitimate grievances about human rights or attempting to stamp them out will fail. While some governments across the region are waking up to this truth, Iran is moving in the opposite direction.

"The actions of the Iranian regime are holding Iran back, isolating its people and suffocating their immense potential, and preventing Iran from enjoying normal and productive relations with the outside world."

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