EXCLUSIVE US to put UN focus on Iran protests


UNITED NATIONS, Oct 28 (Reuters) – The United States will next week put a United Nations spotlight on protests in Iran sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody and look for ways to promote credible, independent investigations into Iranian human rights abuses.

The United States and Albania will hold an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, according to a memo outlining the event seen by Reuters. The Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and the Iranian-born actress and activist Nazanin Boniadi will give briefings.

“The meeting will highlight the ongoing oppression of women and girls and members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran,” the memo said. “It will identify opportunities to promote credible, independent investigations into the Iranian government’s human rights violations and abuses.”

Independent UN investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, is also due to speak at the meeting, which may be attended by other UN member states and rights groups.

Iran has been gripped by protests since the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody last month. The unrest has turned into a popular uprising by Iranians from all walks of life, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

Iran has blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York accused the United States and its allies of abusing its platform “to advance their political agenda.”

“Given its hypocrisy, use of a double standard and selective application of human rights, we find US claims to support Iranian women to be misleading and lacking in good faith,” it said.

Rights groups have said at least 250 protesters have been killed and thousands arrested across the country. Women have played a prominent role in the protests by removing and burning veils. The deaths of several teenage girls allegedly killed during protests have fueled more anger.

“The meeting will highlight the ongoing illegal use of force against protesters and the Iranian regime’s pursuit of human rights defenders and dissidents abroad to abduct or assassinate them in violation of international law,” the note on the planned meeting read.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Friday called on the Iranian authorities to address “the legitimate grievances of the population, including with regard to women’s rights”.

“We condemn all incidents that have resulted in the death or serious injury of protesters and reiterate that security forces must avoid any unnecessary or disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters,” Dujarric told reporters. “Those responsible must be held accountable.”

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