Iran's top human rights official has given a robust defence of his country's right to engage in the stoning of criminals and imprison lawyers viewed as threatening the stability of the Islamic Republic, as he assailed the United Nations' censure against Tehran for what it said was an accelerating crackdown on its opponents.
"We think this line of action is neither fair, nor contributes to the promotion of human rights... This resolution is stemming from American hostility towards Iran....It's a politicisation of human rights," The Wall Street Journal quoted Mohammad-Javad Larijani, as saying at Iran's UN mission in New York before the vote by the committee, which comprises all UN members.
The UN resolution said that Tehran's government has moved to choke off the ability of Iran's opposition to communicate via the Internet, and has continued to arrest leading political opponents, journalists and attorneys.
The document, which is nonbinding, calls on the Ahmadinejad government "to launch a process of credible, independent and impartial investigations into reports of human-rights violations and to end impunity."
But Larijani, a senior envoy and chief of Iran's Human Rights Council, defended his country's right to utilize the threat of stoning, saying it hasn't been applied for years because of a moratorium, and served as an important deterrent.
"Stoning means you should do a number of acts, by throwing the stone in a limited number, in a special way... In the eyes of some people, stoning is a lesser punishment than execution because there is a chance you should survive... More than 50%...may not die," he said.
Larijani also denied that the Iranian government was seeking to silence attorneys, saying that the lawyers, against whom actions were taken, had violated their oaths by speaking to the foreign media and attacking the credibility of Iran's judicial system.
"Everybody can speak to the foreign media, but it depends upon what they want to say," Larijani said, adding, "If they [are] defaming the legal system...they should be responsible for that."
On the nuclear issue, Larijani said that Tehran remains willing to hold new talks next month with the international community, and is willing to cooperate with the US in stabilizing Afghanistan, but stressed that his government would not retreat from its program to produce nuclear fuel- a key demand of the UN Security Council.
"We are the only country in the Middle East...that has the capability to produce the fuel... Nobody should ask us to dump this capability," he argued. (ANI)