Lawmaker Responds to UK Rights Charges

Lawmaker Responds to UK Rights Charges  Lawmaker Responds to UK Rights Charges

A parliamentarian has responded to the British lawmakers who last week criticized the human rights situation in Iran.

At a conference on Thursday in the House of Commons, a cross party panel of MPs from both houses of the British parliament criticized Tehran for alleged "widespread systematic human rights abuses" as well as "increasing state-sponsored violence targeting women in Iran under the pretext of improper veiling."

In response, the deputy chairman of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee described the allegations as "shameless" and "politically motivated" and an effort to undermine the upcoming talks between Iran and the major powers over Tehran's nuclear program.

"Countries must give a clear definition of human rights," ICANA quoted Mansour Haqiqatpour as saying on Sunday.

He pointed to cases of rights abuse and violence against black people in the United States as well as the "plight" of the people of Gaza and the West Bank as a result of "cruelties" inflicted on them by Israel as clear examples of the West's double standards toward the issue of human rights.  

UK lawmakers also charged that since last year when President Hassan Rouhani came into office, "there has been a surge in the number of executions and public hangings," a claim which has repeatedly been denied by Iranian officials.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Marzieh Afkham in response to similar allegations recently said, "Over the past year, significant steps have been taken to promote civil rights, minority (groups') rights, and women's rights, and (Iran) will continue to implement plans and endeavors in that respect."

President Rouhani was elected in June 2013 promising to create a government based on "prudence and hope" as well as "moderation and transparency" in the manner the country is run.  He also pledged to address civil rights and promote social freedoms and the standard of living, among other things.

UK lawmakers also criticized Iran's role in Iraq and its support of the Iraqi government in the fight against the self-declared Islamic State (IS) militants as "destructive."

They also claimed, "Iran's destructive role in Iraq (is) the root cause of extremist groups like the Islamic State emerging in that country."  

Contrary to that allegation, US Secretary of State John Kerry in early December described any Iranian role in Iraq against terrorists as "positive".

"I think it's self-evident that if Iran is taking on ISIL in some particular place and it's confined to taking on ISIL and it has an impact, it's going to be – the net effect is positive," Kerry said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Reuters  reported.