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EU foreign policy chief's human rights claims rely on false, biased information: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi

Iran has rejected the latest claims by the newly chosen High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell about recent violent riots in several Iranian cities, saying the allegations have been based on “incorrect and biased information.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic “rejects any instrumental and political use of [the issue of] human rights against independent countries.”

Respecting human rights, the official added, is a principle and a necessity of national security for the Islamic Republic as a democratic system.

Iran’s “performance over the past four decades clearly shows our country’s seriousness in promoting human rights and protecting the rights of people, and holding gatherings is among the recognized rights of people in the Islamic Republic,” he said.

The Iranian government raised gasoline prices on November 15 in order to moderate the national consumption rate, which stands at 110 million liters per day, 40 million liters above the maximum daily domestic requirement.

The move prompted some peaceful protests, but riotous elements, taking advantage of the circumstances, quickly entered the scene, destroying public property, setting banks and gas stations ablaze among other facilities and opening fire on people and security forces.

There have been reports of fatalities among both civilians and security forces, but no official toll has been released yet.

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In a declaration on Sunday, Borrell deplored the Iranian security forces for a “disproportionate” response to the demonstrations and said, “For the European Union and its Member States, the widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protestors is unacceptable.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson also said that exploiting people’s right to protest in order to launch attacks and carry out acts of vandalism is not acceptable, and that it is not tolerated in Europe either.

Mousavi added that the Islamic Republic is determined to investigate various aspects of the recent incidents in the country.

“Definitely, measures will be taken to compensate those who were hurt in the demonstrations in the same way that necessary legal action will be adopted against the armed thugs and looters of people’s properties,” he pointed out.

“We call on the European Union to seriously heed the violation of human rights in some [EU] member states or in its allied states, [its failure] to fulfill its commitments under the JCPOA (the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and the violation of rights of more than 80 million Iranian citizens due to the inhumane and unilateral sanctions imposed by the US,” the Iranian spokesman said.

The US unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in May 2018, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism in an attempt to strangle the Iranian oil trade.

Officially, the measures exempt humanitarian goods, such as medicine and medicinal instruments. But in reality, they have had negative impacts on Iran’s health sector and restricted the country’s access to medical and health services.

Despite Washington’s withdrawal, Tehran remained completely compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency in several reports, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of the sanctions.

The European signatories, however, failed to fulfill their end of the bargain, prompting Tehran to take a set of retaliatory  measures.

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