Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The authorities of the Islamic Republic confirmed yesterday that they no longer wish to become members of the United Nations Council for Human Rights. Except that, at the same time, Tehran has proposed itself as a member of the Commission for the protection of women's rights. The news was greeted with relief by governments and activists that opposed the nomination of the regime, but also with some hilarity at the idea of its wanting to assume the role of a defender of women.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mehmanparast Ramin, , said the decision to withdraw from the Council for Human Rights was taken jointly with other Asian countries, thus presenting a single candidate. According to a western diplomat quoted by Reuters, Tehran backed down when it became clear it could not secure enough votes to get a seat.
The Council for Human Rights has 47 countries and has its headquarters in Geneva. Tehran is under fire from the international community for its systematic violation of fundamental human freedoms. American UN mission spokesman, Mark Kornblau, expressed satisfaction: "It 'a step in the right direction for the Council. The presence of countries like China and Saudi Arabia in it, has contributed over the years to discredit the image of the UN body.
The Islamic Republic had tried to join the Council in 2006. But its candidacy failed as a result of pressure from the United States.
However in a move that smacks of provocation, Iran has put itself forward as a candidate for the Commission to protect the rights of women. The mullahs' regime is one of the toughest in the world towards women, who live in a state of semi-segregation. The are daily arrests and violence against women who are not "adequately covered" or who act in "a non Islamic way". At Friday prayers April 16 last, the mullah of Tehran Sadigo Kazem said that women who do not wear the hijab are responsible for the spread of adultery and "increase the risk of earthquakes (the Iranian capital is subject to seismic phenomena, ed).
Non-Muslims are marginalised from the country's political and social life despite guarantees for equal rights and obligations under the 1947 constitution.
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