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      Iran Rejects UN Condemnation, Says it is 'Biased'

      Iran rejects a UN resolution which condemned its human rights violations, claims it was based on reports by "terrorists".
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/20/2013, 5:42 AM

      A courtroom at the revolutionary court in Tehran
      A courtroom at the revolutionary court in Tehran
      AFP photo

      Iran rejected on Thursday a UN resolution which condemned its human rights violations, The Associated Press (AP) reported, citing state TV.

      According to the report, Iran’s foreign ministry said that the resolution was biased.

      The resolution, which was approved Wednesday with 86 votes in favor, expressed concern over serious ongoing abuses in Iran, but also acknowledged pledges by Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, on human rights issues such as eliminating discrimination against women and members of ethnic minorities and promoting freedom of expression and opinion.

      Iran regularly executes people who are convicted of murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking, adultery and espionage. In 2011, Iran put to death more than twice as many people as it did the year before.

      The UN envoy on human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, said in October that Iran's rights record should not be overlooked amid overtures to the West by Rouhani. He criticized Tehran for executing 724 people in 18 months, including dozens after Rouhani was elected in June.

      However, spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham of Iran’s foreign ministry said Thursday the resolution is "full of untrustworthy items."

      She further claimed that the resolution presents no evidence except reports by western sources and "terrorist groups."

      Afkham accused the West of systematically violating human rights itself but using claims of its infringement for political gain against other countries.

      The resolution also praised Rouhani's plan to implement a civil rights charter and encouraged Iran "to take concrete action to ensure these pledges can result in demonstrable improvements as soon as possible and to uphold the government's obligations under its domestic laws and under international human rights law."

      Iranian Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi recently criticized Rouhani’s human rights record, citing a dramatic increase in executions since he took office this year and accusing the government of lying about the release of political prisoners.

      Similar condemnations of Syria and North Korea’s human rights records were adopted as well on Wednesday, but while these annual resolutions intensify international pressure and further isolate those countries, they have no legal consequences.