Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Israel news photo: Flash 90

Iran's foreign ministry criticized on Wednesday a UN committee for passing a resolution condemning its human rights record, and accused the West of using the issue for political gain, AFP reported.

"The human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have become a plaything for Western governments," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency.

He said the human rights issue was being exploited by the West to "exaggerate and blacken" Iran's record.

Mehmanparast accused Western governments of hypocrisy, saying that they "closed their eyes to the grave record of their allies, and are unable to answer for numerous violations against their own citizens."

He did not elaborate.

The UN General Assembly's Third Committee, which concentrates on human rights issues, passed the resolution criticizing Iran on Tuesday by 83 votes to 31 with 68 abstentions.

The resolution, drafted by Western governments, hit out at torture and executions in Iran, "widespread" restrictions of freedom and "pervasive" violence against women.

The resolution is non-binding. It will go to a formal vote in the General Assembly in December.

The committee also passed resolutions condemning human rights abuses by Syria and North Korea.

The resolution on North Korea, prepared by European nations, slammed the "systematic, widespread and grave violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights," in the nation.

It highlighted the use of torture and prison camps and draconian restrictions on freedom of movement.

Syria's isolation deepened with a resolution that attracted ten more countries than last year, when it was put to the UN for the first time since an uprising started against President Bashar al-Assad.

A motion condemning "widespread and systematic gross violations" by Assad's government forces and allied militias was backed by 132 nations and opposed by 12 with 35 abstentions.

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