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UN rights chief's remarks on Khuzestan events ‘meddlesome, politically-motivated: Iran Foreign Ministry

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 Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iran has dismissed the meddlesome and politically-motivated remarks by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on the recent incidents in the country’s Khuzestan Province, saying her words are more like a “political statement with hostile literature” than the remarks of an international human rights official.

The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said on Saturday that the UN rights chief’s statement was “regrettable” in terms of the extent of its invalidity which has been intermingled with false accusations and incorrect information.

“The leveled allegations, regardless of extensive efforts by [the Iranian] administration, judicial, security and media officials to alleviate the sufferings of the people of this province and resolve the existing problems, are the most important evidence of the politicization and invalidity of the statement,” Khatibzadeh added.

He emphasized that Bachelet’s statement was much like a political declaration with hostile literature rather than remarks made by an international human rights official.

 

In an interventionist statement, the UN high commissioner for human rights on Friday called on the Iranian authorities to concentrate on taking urgent action to address the chronic water shortage in the province of Khuzestan, rather than using excessive force and widespread arrests to crush the protests about the situation.

“The impact of the devastating water crisis on life, health and prosperity of the people of Khuzestan should be the focus of the Government’s attention, not the protests carried out by people driven to desperation by years of neglect,” said Bachelet.

Khatibzadeh rejected the UN rights chief’s “unprofessional and spiteful” remarks about management of the country's water resources which he said were neither within the purview of the official, nor the body under her responsibility to make any comment on the issue.

“The water crisis in Khuzestan is the outcome of a series of natural phenomena, particularly this year's drought, and is also one of the consequences of unilateral coercive measures imposed on our country, which have prevented the transfer of technology and investment in the water sector in Khuzestan,” the Iranian spokesman said.

He criticized Bachelet for refusing so far to condemn the “illegal sanctions imposed by the United States against the Iranian people which have led to violation of several fundamental human rights of this honorable nation," saying she has just made few short statements in this regard.

 

It seems that the UN rights body is making efforts to sow discord among the united Iranian nation in line with the political agenda of a few certain countries that harbor grudge against Iranians, Khatibzadeh said, adding that they are the very countries that abuse the noble concept of human rights and are the main supporters of politically-tainted inhumane resolutions against Iran in the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly.

Khatibzadeh reiterated the Islamic Republic’s respect for the right of its citizens to peaceful gatherings and said high-ranking Iranian officials have recognized the problem of water shortage in Khuzestan.

Khuzestan has been the scene of protests in recent weeks over water shortage. The demonstrations, however, have been hijacked by enemy forces, resulting in some incidents of violence.

On Friday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said the grievances are valid, noting that the people's complaints should have been addressed before to prevent them from being upset over the situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei hailed the people of the border province as “loyal and selfless” and said they remained on the “forefront” during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

The Leader urged the authorities to seriously follow the demands of the people.

Ayatollah Khamenei cautioned the people against playing into the hands of trouble-makers, noting that, "The enemy seeks to use everything against the [Islamic] Revolution, the country and the interests of the people; therefore, care must be taken not to give it an excuse."


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