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Iran rejects scrutiny of UN protests

Tehran, Iran – Iran has rejected efforts led by Western countries to examine at the United Nations its handling of weeks of protests across the country.

Germany and Iceland said on Friday they had submitted a request on behalf of 42 countries to hold a special session of the UN Human Rights Council later this month on the ongoing demonstrations in Iran, which would mark the first time such a meeting has been convened. such a meeting on Iran. .

The request calls for the session to “address the deteriorating human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially with regard to women and children,” and is supported by more than a third of eligible members. a council vote, which is required to call a meeting outside of normal agency hours.

The protests began in mid-September following the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman detained by the country’s “morality police” for allegedly wearing the hijab improperly.

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Protesters gather on the National Mall in DC.
Demonstrators gather on the National Mall to protest against the Iranian government in Washington, DC, following the death of Mahsa Amini. [File: Jose Luis Magana/AP]

Dozens of people are believed to have been killed during the protests and many more arrested, but Iranian authorities have not released an official count.

However, they have said that more than 40 members of the security forces have been killed and have begun holding expedited courts for “riot leaders” who could be sentenced to death.

A group of UN experts, including the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, issued a statement on Friday calling on Iranian authorities to stop charging people with capital charges for participating in the protests.

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Rights groups have condemned Iran for its response to the demonstrations amid severe restrictions on internet connectivity.

The United States and the European Union, in addition to Canada and the United Kingdom, have imposed human rights sanctions on Iranian officials and entities, to which Tehran has responded with its own sanctions.

Iran ‘warns’ UN chief

Iran has called into question the credibility of Western governments in examining Tehran’s behavior.

In a phone call Thursday with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Western governments “that spread violence and terror” would hold a Human Rights Council meeting. .

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“[It’s] not about the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is a true defender of human rights and has shown great restraint during the recent unrest,” Amirabdollahian said.

The diplomat “warned” Guterres that calling a council meeting would constitute a “political move” that would negatively affect Iran’s relations with the West.

Iranian mourners march towards the Aichi Cemetery in Saqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini.
Video captures show Iranian mourners marching towards the Aichi cemetery in Saqqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini, in the western province of Kurdistan. [File: ESN/AFP]

Iran also sent two representatives to New York City to take part in a series of UN human rights events to convey what it called a “correct narrative” of what is happening in the country, to which the officials expressed concern. referred to as “riots”.

Kazem Gharibabadi, the international affairs deputy for the Iranian judiciary who is in New York with conservative politician Zohreh Elahian, said his goal is “to prevent the wrong and hostile narrative from Western countries and the United States.”

Iran has repeatedly blamed the US, Israel, the UK and Saudi Arabia for “inciting terror and unrest” across the country and being the driving force behind the protests.

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Tehran recently blacklisted two London-based TV channels as “terrorist organizations” and said cooperating with them would be punishable by law.

Earlier this week, authorities arrested a woman they claimed was an “agent,” a claim the news organization denied.

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The UK summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires on Friday to protest “immediate threats to life from Iran” against journalists working in Britain.

‘don’t hit us’

Earlier this week, Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said warnings issued by the elite force against adversaries have been effective.

“Through various other countries, our enemies are sending us messages, saying ‘we feel you want to hit us, don’t hit us,’” he said. It came shortly after reports emerged that Saudi Arabia alerted the US to a possible Iranian attack, and Israeli warplanes escorted two US B-52 bombers into the region in an apparent show of force towards Tehran. .

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron met a delegation of activists working outside the country on Friday, later hailing the protest movement as a “revolution.”

It came after the German parliament received a group of activists and the Belgian parliament passed a resolution in support of the protests.

The demonstrations, some of the longest seen since the country’s 1979 revolution that gave rise to the current theocratic establishment, continued on Friday with online videos showing demonstrations in several provinces, including southeastern Sistan and Baluchistan.

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