A senior Iranian official rejected as preposterous a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Iran, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly's rights committee on Monday.
The resolution received 86 votes in favour, 32 against and 59 abstentions. It showed a decrease in support for Tehran compared with last year, when a similar resolution received 80 votes in favour, 44 against and 57 abstentions.
The substance of (this) resolution is absolutely unfounded and a shameful fabrication of baseless allegations and totally preposterous, Mohammad Javad Larijani, a foreign policy adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told the General Assembly's Third Committee.
The document is an onslaught on the good conscience of the international community and an unforgivable insult to the whole institution of the U.N., Larijani said.
The resolution, which was introduced by Canada, expresses deep concern at serious ongoing and recurring human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Among the abuses listed in the resolution were torture, excessive use of the death penalty, discrimination against women, persecution of journalists and religious minorities, including members of the Baha'i faith, as well as the detention of key opposition leaders from the 2009 presidential election.
Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the committee's adoption of the nonbinding resolution on Iran, which will be confirmed with a second vote in a General Assembly plenary session next month.
Iran has shown scant evidence of cooperation with the U.N. to improve its human rights record, Hague said in a statement. The fact that this resolution passed by a record majority shows the international community is strongly united in its condemnation of human rights abuses in Iran.
Russia and China, which have vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, were among those that voted against the resolution, highlighting the divide between Moscow and Beijing, which have close commercial ties to Iran, and the West, which would like Tehran to face new U.N. sanctions over its atomic program.
Diplomats from several nonaligned developing countries criticized the annual ritual of adopting resolutions condemning a handful of individual countries. The assembly's human rights committee adopted similar resolutions on Myanmar and North Korea on Monday.
Larijani also attacked Canada, Europe and the United States for what he said were their serious human rights violations.
Among the examples he gave was increasing discrimination against immigrants, Muslims and other people of foreign origin in Europe, United States and Canada.
The committee is also planning to vote on Tuesday on a European-drafted resolution condemning Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.
That resolution, which Western diplomats say will be approved, has at least four Arab co-sponsors and is expected to receive the support of a majority of Arab nations.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)