UN concerned over Iran human rights
The UN General Assembly's human rights committee has expressed "deep concern" about Iran's use of flogging, stoning and amputations as punishment in an annual review of the rights situation in several countries worldwide.
The committee voted 80-44 with 57 abstentions to underscore its worries about continued rights violations in Iran. It was a more resounding vote than last year, when the committee voted 74-48 on a similar resolution, with 59 members abstaining.
The measure is expected to be later approved by the full 192-member body.
The resolution noted continued "torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" in the Islamic-led country, as well as "the continuing high incidence and dramatic increase in the carrying out of the death penalty in the absence of internationally recognised safeguards, including public executions".
At the start of the meeting, Iran unsuccessfully tried to block the resolution by calling for a vote to take no action. That motion failed 51-91 with 32 abstentions. In 2008, the last time Iran called for a no-action motion on a human rights committee resolution against it, the vote was much closer - 71-81, with 28 abstentions.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary general of Iran's high council of human rights, told the committee that the "shameful" resolution was filled with "fallacies" and "unverifiable accusations". Although Canada was the leading sponsor, said Mr Larijani, "the United States of America is the mastermind and the main provocateur" in the drafting of the resolution "to serve as part of US policy against the Islamic Republic of Iran".
Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the leading opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran, said the "insufficient" resolution addressed "only a small part of the mullahs' egregious crimes against the people of Iran".
In a statement issued from her headquarters outside Paris, Ms Rajavi nevertheless called the vote "an indication of a global consensus against the religious fascism ruling Iran". And she called on countries to suppress trade and relations with Iran until its human rights situation improves.
The committee expressed "particular concern" at the government's failure to conduct a comprehensive investigation into alleged rights violations after the June 12, 2009 presidential elections. It called for an end to impunity for those who attacked demonstrators after the vote, and called on the government to no longer use its security forces and pro-government militias to break up peaceful protests.
Mr Larijani defended his country's handling of the protests, and noted that the United States and France in the past have grappled with street protests of their own. Referring to Iran as an "Islamic democracy", he asked: "Is it possible to have a democracy without protests?"