Iran rejects visit request of UN human rights monitor

Iran said on Tuesday that it had rejected fresh requests by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s monitor for human rights in the Islamic republic, to assess the situation on the ground.

“We unfortunately do not consider Ahmed Shaheed to be an impartial rapporteur,” foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi said during his weekly briefing with reporters in Tehran, Iranian media reported.

Araqchi said Tehran had received two official letters from Shaheed requesting access to assess the human rights situation in the country.

But such a visit, he said, would not happen as long as Shaheed “continues his trend of writing unfair reports about Iran.”

Tehran has so far refused to let Shaheed visit the country since being appointed as the UN’s monitor for human rights in Iran in 2011, and has responded to only a handful of official requests for information.

Shaheed has thus far relied on contacting campaigners and victims inside Iran, as well as exiles and human rights groups, to write his reports on the country.

In March, the UN body monitoring human rights in Iran sounded the alarm after Shaheed’s latest report touched on restriction of freedom of speech and a slew of other abuses, including torture, forced confessions, secret executions and the jailing of members of the political opposition.

At the time, he also condemned an increase in the number of journalists arrested, pointing out that more than 50 reporters were behind bars, and said that the crackdown was meant to intimidate the press ahead of Iran’s presidential elections in June.

Iran has accused Shaheed of failing to consider whether the international community was breaching the rights of its people by imposing sanctions over Tehran’s controversial nuclear drive.

By The Journal Of Turkish Weekly


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