UN Rebukes Iran on Human Rights as Nuclear Talks Near Deadline

A United Nations committee voted for its strongest condemnation of Iran’s human-rights record less than a week before a deadline for world powers and the Islamic Republic to reach a deal on curbing its nuclear program.

The UN General Assembly’s main committee handling human rights yesterday adopted Canada’s version of a resolution criticizing Iran’s “alarming high frequency and increase in the death penalty,” widespread restrictions on basic freedoms and worsening discrimination and persecution of women and minorities.

Iran’s goals for a deal with world powers before a Nov. 24 deadline set by negotiators includes the easing or lifting of economic sanctions. In addition to measures aimed at pressing it to drop its nuclear program, Iran wants to be freed from sanctions imposed for its human-rights violations and support for terrorist organizations.

The stronger language in this year’s non-binding resolution follows an independent UN investigator’s report that found Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has failed to deliver on his campaign pledge to improve human rights. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN special rapporteur on Iran, reported a surge in public executions and the deteriorating status of women’s rights in Iran.

Gholam-Hossein Dehghani, Iran’s acting charge d’affaires at the UN, called Shaheed’s report unreliable and inaccurate, and criticized the committee for adopting country-specific resolutions that only “increase distrust and undermine the UN’s credibility” as an organization promoting global cooperation.

Canada’s proposed revised text of the annual resolution was adopted with 78 votes in favor and 35 “no” votes cast by countries including Russia, China, Syria and North Korea. There were 69 abstentions.

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