Dakar, Jan 15, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami rejected Saturday US charges of human rights violations in Iran, denouncing Washington's own record in abusing prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba.
"Of all the people entitled to speak about human rights, we don't regard the Americans as having the right to talk about the respect for human rights in Iran," he told reporters here.
The United States was quoted Thursday as having expressed 'grave concern' over the human rights situation in Iran and potential court action against 2003 Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.
Khatami said, "I believe the Americans' claims of human rights violations in Iran are lies and they had better stand accountable for their own crimes in Iraq's Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo prisons."
"The Americans had better answer for a ruthless killing which they are routinely perpetrating in the name of democracy and freedom in the world," he said before leaving the Senegalese capital for Sierra Leone on the third stage of a seven-leg African tour.
The Iranian president stressed the need for 'all-out efforts' to observe human rights in the world 'without any discrimination', citing US-backed violation of the Palestinians' rights by Israel.
"As regards (respect) for human rights, cultural characteristics of each country must be taken into account; the complete observance of human rights is a process which has to evolve patiently."
Khatami, however stressed that Iran 'respects all the benevolent people who are righteously worried about human rights'.
Ebadi has said she had been summoned to answer unspecified questions by the country's judiciary or risk arrest.
Khatami played down the summons, saying the issue was unlikely to create 'any problem'.
"As head of state, I have personally guaranteed her safety and her freedom to continue her activities," he said when asked by reporters about the summons.
"It is just an ordinary case and I hope it will be settled pretty soon," Khatami added.
AFP quoted Louis Fintor, a State Department spokesman, as saying that the department was monitoring the case.
President Khatami brushed aside the statements, describing Ebadi 'a well-known figure' who is 'freely carrying out her activities'.
"Ms. Ebadi is a Nobel Prize winner and the Iranians are happy that an Iranian woman has scooped this prize," he added.
The 57-year-old Ebadi is the first Muslim woman and first Iranian to win the prize, in recognition of her efforts for upholding the rights of women and children in Iran.
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