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UN condemns Iran’s response to post-election unrest

11/21/2009 Iran (BBC) – A key UN committee has voted to approve a non-binding resolution condemning Iran for its crackdown on protesters following June’s disputed elections.

The resolution also repeated annual criticism of Iran’s human rights record, including the use of torture and an increasing execution rate.

It urged Tehran to end persecution of political opponents and release those imprisoned for their political views.

Iran’s UN ambassador dismissed the resolution as politically motivated.

Friday’s text was approved by 74 votes to 48 with 59 abstentions, which the US said was “the largest vote margin on such a resolution on Iran in the UN ever”.

The resolution expresses “deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations” in Iran.

It comes as the major powers said they were disappointed with Iran’s response to an offer of a deal over its nuclear programme.

The UN committee criticised the subsequent “harassment, intimidation and persecution, including by arbitrary arrest, detention or disappearance” of opponents of the government.

It also condemned alleged abuses of those in prison and “numerous deaths and injuries” in the crackdown.

Saudi Arabia broke ranks with Muslim nations and voted in favour of the resolution, possibly because it accuses Iran of backing Shia rebels in neighbouring Yemen, says our correspondent.

Iran has rejected the offer, which would allow it to continue to develop a nuclear reactor by exporting uranium to other countries to be enriched.

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