‘Iran is moving in the wrong direction’ says UK minister for the UN

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A panel of British legal experts including the UK’s minister for the UN condemned on Wednesday Iran’s human rights record at a meeting at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), highlighting Iran’s failure to uphold its international obligations.

“If Iran is going to come in from the cold it must comply with the basic rules of international law. It has got to stop seizing vessels unlawfully, fulfil its commitments set out in the nuclear deal, and start respecting the basic principles of human rights instead of arbitrarily detaining dual nationals,” said the UK Minister of State for the Commonwealth, UN and South Asia, Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon.

“Iran is moving in the wrong direction, and we have a moral duty as part of the international community to shine a light on their violations and hold them to account,” Lord Ahmad added, according to a Foreign and Commonwealth Office press release.

The event was attended by independent legal experts including Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a leading QC who represents BBC Persian, and Hossein Ahmadiniaz, a human rights lawyer who was arrested after openly criticizing Iran’s judicial practices.

The panel gave evidence of Iran’s failure to uphold international obligations. Lord Ahmad also drew attention to Tehran’s ongoing arbitrary detentions of British and other foreign nationals, which violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

High profile detentions include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been kept under solitary confinement for long periods since she was detained in 2016. Her husband Richard Ratcliffe has campaigned her release and attended the UN event.

Travel blogger Jolie King, an Australian-British national, and her Australian boyfriend Mark Firkin were recently arrested for allegedly flying a drone without a license.

Iran’s human rights record also came under the spotlight at United Against Nuclear Iran’s Iran Summit, which took place concurrently with the UNGA. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “The world is awakening to the truth” about Iran, while Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said that Tehran “has gotten away with murder for 40 years.”

US President Donald Trump also addressed Iran in his speech at the UNGA, where he described the Iranian regime as “one of the greatest security threats facing peace-loving nations.