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Saudis, MKO marring UN’s Iran human rights report to EU

 Mohsen Rezaee, the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, said on Friday that Ahmed Shaheed, the special UN rapporteur on human rights in Iran, has embedded his latest report on the situation of human rights in Iran with what he called a pack of “lies” to present it to the European Parliament in days.

European countries will use the report as an excuse to cut trade with Iran, said he while paying a visit to the Velayat TV Network headquarters in the religious city of Qom.

“In his latest human rights report on Iran, Ahmed Shaheed has reflected lies about Iran, due to be raised in the European parliament in future days, based on which a verdict will be issued, leading the European countries to cut trade with Iran.”

In his March 2016 report, Ahmad Shaheed called on Iran to, inter alia, consider a moratorium on “the use of death penalty,” ease crackdown on “freedom of expression and opinion,” and leave “journalists,  lawyers, religious minorities and individuals” with more leeway to “defend the rights of women, children, workers, and ethnic minorities.”

Tehran, however, rejected the report as “biased,” written with “subjective wordings,” and full of “substantially baseless” issues though it had welcome positive steps taken by Iran, including 18 cases of development in the situation of the human rights in the country.

In addition to the negative report drafted by the UN rapporteur, there are other pens depicting a gloomy picture of Iran, according to the Iranian official.

“Saudi Arabia and the Mojahedin Khalq Organization (which Iran has designated as a terrorist group) have prepared material on Iran in tens of pages and under 400 articles so as to present their reports to the European Parliament,” said Rezaee, calling on President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to take steps.

Relationships between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained for the past years over a number of issues, particularly over Syria where the two back opposing sides in the now five-year conflict.

Their long-troubled relationship deteriorated when Saudi Arabia executed a top Saudi Shiite cleric in January, apparently incensed by Iran’s deal with the West over its nuclear program.

In retaliation, after an Iranian mob attacked Saudi’s diplomatic posts in Tehran and Mashhad, Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

 Rezaee’s comments come days after Kazem Qaribabadi, deputy chief of the Iranian High Council for Human Rights, said, “Tehran has accepted in principle to initiate dialogue with the European Union on human rights, and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini already knows this.”

If Rezaee’s words turn out to be true, this will be the second most serious confrontation between Tehran and the West, following the two sides’ match on Tehran’s nuclear program.

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