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U.N. Votes to Condemn Iranian Human Rights Abuses

Iran among world leaders in executions

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani / AP
• November 19, 2014 11:50 am

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The United Nations late Tuesday voted to condemn Iranian human rights abuses and single it out for executing upwards of 1,000 political opponents and prisoners in the past year.

The measure, originally drafted by Canada, garnered the support of 78 nations on the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee, with 35 nations voting against and 69 abstaining from the vote.

In addition to condemning the sharp rise in executions in Iran, which are said to top 1,000 in the past year, the U.N. resolution labeled Iran’s human rights infractions as systemic and "alarming."

Approval of the measure came just days before the Nov. 24 deadline for nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West.

The measure "expresses deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations" in Iran, particularly the "alarming high frequency" of state-sanctioned executions, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

This includes the killing of those under the age of 18.

Executions in the Islamic Republic have become a major issue in recent months, as Iran is on pace to kill a record number of citizens, many of them political dissidents.

Western nations such as the United States have been hesitant to criticize Iran’s human rights infractions, which are among the worst in the world, so as not to offend Iranian negotiators at a critical juncture in the talks.

Iran continues to bar international human rights activists from entering the country to take inventory of the extent of the regime’s state-sanctioned killings and other abuses.

The U.N.’s human rights rapporteur for Iran has not been permitted in the country since 2005, a situation that parallels Tehran’s ongoing refusal to permit nuclear inspectors full access to the country’s military sites.

Recent U.N. reports claim that, in addition to executing more than 400 people in the first half of 2014, Iran also has been burning political opponents and amputating their limbs, a point of concern raised in the resolution.

"Pervasive gender inequality and violence against women" also is raised as an issue in the resolution.

Much of the blame for these brutal atrocities has been placed at the feet of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected as a so-called moderate and vowed to reform Iran’s flawed judicial system.

Iranian dissidents long critical of Iran’s human rights record hailed the U.N.’s Tuesday vote.

"This resolution leaves no doubt that the appalling human rights record of the clerical regime must be referred to the Security Council for the adoption of binding and punitive measures and that those responsible for 120,000 political executions should face justice," Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, said in a statement following the vote.

The U.N. has made "it palpably clear that this regime has trampled on all 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," she said. "Moreover, the resolution underscores that the mullahs are violating the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Law."

Iranian officials lashed out at the U.N. following the vote, calling the organization "biased" and politically motivated.

"It is regrettable that the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms and tools have been and continue to be abused by the Western countries; therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejects the introduction, adoption and content of such resolutions," Iran’s Foreign Minister Spokeswoman, Marziyeh Afkham, was quoted as saying on Wednesday in the Iranian press.

Afkham went on to claim that the resolution disregards "the realities on the ground and [is] being adopted on the basis of political motivations."

Published under: Hassan Rouhani, Iran