Iranian officials have accused former Maldivian foreign minister Dr Ahmed Shaheed, subsequently appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, of failing to perform his duties adequately.
The Secretary General of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights labelled Dr Shaheed “more of an actor than a rapporteur”, suggesting that he had been acting like an inspector rather than a rapporteur according to the Tehran Times.
Mohammad Javad Larijani at the same time rejected Shaheed’s requests to visit the Islamic republic, stating: “I believe that the request is not serious.”
“I believe that in view of the measures taken by Ahmed Shaheed and the show of interviews launched by him, he is more of an actor than a rapporteur,” he added.
Dr Shaheed was appointed Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran in 2011 – the first time a Maldivian has held such a position.
The decision to establish a Special Rapporteur on Iran was made in 2011 after the deterioration of human rights in the country following the 2009 election.
The mandate for the position includes investigating human rights abuses and undertaking country visits in order to report back to the General Assembly.
The Tehran Times also quoted Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, who also attacked Dr Shaheed.
“He has not acted fairly and has played the role of the opposition, and his measures have been outside the purview of a UN rapporteur,” the paper quoted Abbas Araqchi as saying.
The spokesman is reported to have said that Iran has no intention of allowing Shaheed into the country until his approach is “modified”.
Shaheed is scheduled to report his recent findings to the General Assembly in October.
In his last report in March, he informed the UN Human Rights Council that Iran’s human rights violations had increased in the past two years.
In a list of recommendations, he urged Iran to “extend its full cooperation to the country mandate-holder by engaging in a substantive and constructive dialogue and facilitating a visit the country.”
Iran’s official response to this report described it as “biased” and as disregarding the “realities on the ground” and “principles of transparency, fairness and impartiality”.
Speaking with the Canadian media last month, Dr Shaheed had expressed hope that the new administration of President Hasan Rohani would result in greater opportunities for dialogue.
“Skepticism borne out of previous experience should not make us blind to opportunities,” he told the New Canadian Media website.
Shaheed’s chief critic, Larijani, made headlines last year when he reportedly described homosexuality as a “disease”.