Iran's representative to the UN human rights committee, Paimaneh Hastaei, on Friday said a resolution drafted by Canada on the status of human rights in the Islamic Republic had been intrusive and sought to interfere in Iran's domestic affairs, IRNA reported from United Nations.
Hastaei, speaking at the UN Third Committee's session, said the call upon the Iranian government to appoint an impartial prosecutor is just an example of Canada's interference in Iran's internal affairs.
She termed Canada's draft resolution as counterproductive, and warned that it would discourage the ongoing approach based on the promotion of cooperation between Iran and the international community on human rights.
"The hidden as well as selfish agenda behind this draft contradicts the purpose of those countries that genuinely seek to promote human rights at the international level," Hastaei said.
She added the Islamic Republic of Iran has spared no efforts in the past few years to expand its cooperation and interaction with foreign countries in the area of human rights.
This, the Iran envoy said, was especially significant after the non-adoption of the latest draft resolution against the Islamic Republic in the 57th Session of the Commission of Human Rights.
"Along the line of this policy, we established mechanisms aimed at promoting relevant dialogue with a number of countries, including the European Union, Japan, Switzerland and Australia," Hastaei said. She added that this was to the extent that, in the span of one year, Iran held three rounds of dialogue with the EU.
Hastaei further stressed that Canada's draft resolution had ignored the fact that Iran's religious minorities enjoy the freedom of worship and other freedoms.
"Not only do they enjoy free gathering and worshipping in their places of choice, be they churches, synagogues or temples, arrangements are also made in the Iranian Constitution to ensure their representation in the national Parliament," she said. "As a result, Assyrians, Zoroastrians and Jews, each, elect one and the Armenians elect two members of parliament. Other than the allocated quotas, the law does not rule out the participation of the minorities in the general elections as electors or runners for local and national office."
Hastaei stressed that the recent student demonstrations in some Iranian cities, contrary to what the Canadian statement tried to convey, were clear signs indicating the political openness and the existence of the freedom of expression in the Islamic Republic. "In this respect, I wish to recall the tolerance on the part of the Iranian government to the extent that even President (Mohammad Khatami) himself, in several occasions, acknowledged the right of the students to demonstrate and protest," she said.
"It is also a matter of common knowledge that even the Iranian police went to a great length to protect the demonstrators against the vigilante groups who tried to assault them."
Elsewhere in her remarks, Iran's representative to the committee expressed regret over the death of Zahra Kazemi, a journalist of Iranian nationality who apparently held a Canadian passport too, and stressed that the issue had saddened the Iranians.
"This occurrence was very unfortunate and saddened virtually all Iranians, be they officials or ordinary citizens. The case has ever since received a wide and ongoing coverage in the Iranian media with little precedent in the recent memory," Hastaei said. "As soon as the news broke out, the Iranian Government took every possible and necessary measure with a view to bringing all culprits to justice. President Khatami ordered the establishment of an inquiry committee with four ministers in attendance and the Majlis started independent inquiries into the issue."
Still, she stressed, it is impossible to assume that the Canadian delegation might have been ignorant of the full measures adopted by the Iranian government in investigating the case of the late Kazemi. "My government has thus far gone to every length to exhaust cooperation to the Canadians on this issue. And, among other things, the Canadian ambassador to Tehran has always been personally present in the court during the hearing of the case," Hastaei said. "While we do not really understand what else they might have expected of the Iranian Government, we clearly understand why the representative of Canada failed to refer to the above facts and, instead, tried to present a distorted picture of the incident to this Committee."
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