Iran has said it will not allow recently-appointed UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, Dr Ahmed Shaheed, to enter the country.
The announcement that the former Maldives Foreign Minister was to take up the prestigious UN role was made last weekend. Iran’s state media outlet, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), reported yesterday that the Iranian Majlis had decided to block Dr Shaheed from entering the country.
Majlis representative and member of Iran’s Human Rights Commission Mohammad Karim Abedi said the decision was made “because the US, Britain and the Zionist regime are among the major violators of human rights in the world and the UN Human Rights Council should study their violations.”
“The United Nations studied the crimes and atrocities of the Zionist regime in 2010 during the 33-day war on Lebanon and the 22-day war in Gaza, and declared the regime’s army commanders as war criminals but could not take any action against them,” Abedi told IRNA.
“Accusing countries such as the Islamic Republic of Iran of violating human rights should be viewed as a part of their blame game,” Abedi said.
Dr Shaheed told Minivan News that the UN Human Rights Council had called on Iran to cooperate when the office of the Special Rapporteur was set up in March.
“The work will continue whether or not access is given, but will benefit from Iran’s cooperation,” he said, explaining that the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur required the permission and cooperation of the host country for field visits.
“Special Rapporteurs have a very comprehensive code of conduct – where field visits are not possible information can be gathered from a variety of sources,” he explained.
“At the same time the objective is to work with the government of Iran to ensure all the issues are covered.”
Dr Shaheed dismissed speculation that the objections of the Shiite-majority Iran were a reaction to the appointment of a Special Rapporteur from a 100 percent Sunni-Muslim country.
“What they are saying in Iran has nothing to do with me or the Maldives,” Dr Shaheed said.
The former Foreign Minister is preparing for a preliminary visit to Geneva later this week. The resolution passed by the Human Rights Council requires him to present interim findings to the UN General Assembly in September, and a full report to the Human Rights Council in March 2012.
Local newspaper Haveeru has meanwhile reported the Maldives’ conservative religious Adhaalath party as stating that Iran’s decision “brings disgrace to the Maldives’ foreign policy and weakens the country’s reputation among Islamic states.”
The Adaalath Party’s President Sheikh Imran Abdulla claimed that “Maldivians should be ashamed” by Iran’s decision.
“As far as I know this is the first time such a mission assigned to a Muslim country was returned. We, Maldivians, should be ashamed in front of the Muslim world,” Haveeru reported Sheikh Abdulla as saying.
“Tensions will rise between the Maldives and a state like Iran that has nuclear power. We, being a small Muslim nation, should take into consideration such matters before interfering in the matters of an Islamic state.”