UN rights investigator urges Tehran to grant visit

3rd August 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN's newly appointed human rights investigator to Iran called Wednesday on Tehran to allow him to visit the country to examine alleged rights violations there.

"I issued a written communication to the Iranian authorities to introduce myself and express my interest in visiting the country," Ahmed Shaheed, the UN's special rapporteur on the situation in Iran, said in a statement.

"It is my hope that the Iranian authorities will ... take steps to comply with its international human rights obligations," said Shaheed, a former Maldives foreign minister.

Shaheed, who officially commenced his duties on August 1, said he was also asking to meet with the Iranian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, and planned to engage with activists.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to create the rapporteur's position in March 2011, to monitor what sponsoring nations said were crackdowns on dissent and a surge in executions in Iran.

The last UN Special Rapporteur on Iran's mandate was not renewed in 2002. Tehran had explicitly banned him from visiting the country in 1996.

© 2011 AFP

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