Lawmakers want U.N. rights auditor barred from Iran

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 19, 2011 10:08 AM
Lawmakers want U.N. rights auditor barred from Iran

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iranian lawmakers urged the government on Sunday to prevent a U.N. investigator from coming to the country to look into allegations of human rights abuses.

Ahmed Shaheed, a former Maldives foreign minister, was last week named special rapporteur on Iran by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which had voiced concern at Tehran's crackdowns on opposition figures and increased use of the death penalty.

"There should be no permission issued for the U.N. rights envoy's entry into Iran," official news agency IRNA quoted Mohammad Karim Abedi, spokesman for the Majlis Human Rights Committee, as saying.

"Instead of focusing on Iran, the U.N. Human Rights Council should consider the breaches of human rights in America, the Zionist regime (Israel) and Britain," he said. "They are the world's biggest violators of human rights."

Government officials had no immediate comment.

The post taken up by Shaheed was established on March 24, a move spearheaded by Washington.

U.N. officials and diplomats say Iran has not allowed U.N. human rights experts to visit since 2005, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first took office.

Opposition supporters have been jailed since Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009, which the opposition says was rigged. Iranian authorities say it was the "healthiest" vote in the past three decades.

Eight people were killed during anti-government street protests that followed the election.

Even if Shaheed is barred from Iran, he would still be expected to contact the government frequently about allegations and produce an annual report incorporating testimony from activists and alleged victims of abuse.

(Editing by Dan Williams)