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UN rights body deplores Iran crackdown, establishes probe

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BERLIN — The U.N. Human Rights Council voted Thursday to condemn the bloody crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran and create an independent fact-finding mission to investigate alleged abuses, particularly those committed against women and children.

A resolution put forward by Germany and Iceland was backed by 25 countries, including the United States and many European, Latin American, Asian and African nations. Six countries opposed the move — China, Pakistan, Cuba, Eritrea, Venezuela and Armenia — while 16 abstained.

The United Nations’ top human rights official had earlier appealed to Iran’s government to halt the crackdown against protesters, but Tehran’s envoy at a special Human Rights Council on the country’s “deteriorating” rights situation was defiant and unbowed, blasting the initiative as “politically motivated.”

The protests were triggered by the death, more than two months ago, of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police for violating a strictly enforced Islamic dress code.

Thursday’s session in Geneva is the latest international effort to put pressure on Iran over its crackdown, which has already drawn international sanctions and other measures.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who was on hand, said the situation presented “a test of our courage.”

“The United Nations were founded to protect the sovereignty of every state, but a regime that uses this power to violate the rights of its own people is violating the values of our United Nations,” she said.

“On many occasions, we have called upon Iran to respect these rights to stop the violent crackdown on protesters, the bloodshed, the arbitrary killing, the mass arrests, the death penalties,” Baerbock said. “The only answer we received was more violence, more death.”

Khadijeh Karimi, deputy of Iran’s vice president for Women and Family Affairs, criticized the Western effort as part of a “politically motivated move of Germany to distort the situation of human rights in Iran.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets that the Human Rights Council is abused once again by some arrogant states to antagonize a sovereign U.N. member state that is fully committed to its obligation to promote and protect the human rights,” Karimi said.

She trumpeted her government’s efforts to foster the role of women in the workplace and higher education and accused Western countries of turning a blind eye to rights abuses in places like Yemen,…

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