Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Reuters - 21.3.11
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in March 2011. Photo by Reuters
Text size

Iran said on Friday that a United Nations decision to appoint a special investigator on human rights in Iran was a Washington ploy to put pressure on Tehran and showed U.S. "double standards" on the issue.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to establish a special rapporteur for Iran on Friday, the first time it has appointed an investigator to a specific country since its creation nearly five years ago.

The special rapporteur will "help the international community monitor and respond to Iran's continuing human rights abuses," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a statement on Friday.

But Tehran said the move was part of Washington's strategy of putting pressure on the Islamic Republic, which it has considered an enemy since the 1979 revolution that overthrew the western-backed Shah.

The mandate passed with a margin of more than three to one, after the United States, Sweden and over 50 co-sponsors worked to establish it.

U.S. President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said the appointment reaffirmed "the global consensus and alarm about the dismal state of human rights in Iran."

The United States and other world powers tightened sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program last year.

"The aim of the resolution was to put pressure on the Islamic Republic and to further sidetrack ... the UN Human Rights Council's periodic review of the human rights situation across the world," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mehmanparast told the official IRNA news agency.

In addition to helping the international community "responsibly address" human rights abuses in Iran, Secretary Clinton said the special rapporteur "will also give voice to the many Iranians who long not only for reform, but for their government to respect their most basic of human rights and freedoms," said Clinton .

Iran says abuses by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the existence of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre show Washington is in no position to lecture others on human rights.

"U.S. policies both in deeds and words have always been paradoxical and predicated upon double standards, and the recent resolution clearly exemplifies such behavior," Mehmanparast said.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this month that Iran had intensified its crackdown on opponents and executions of drug traffickers, political prisoners and juvenile criminals.

In a report, he also cited cases of amputations, floggings and the continued sentencing of men and women to death by stoning for alleged adultery.