UN committee condemns ‘serious human rights violations’ in Iran
A key United Nations committee has approved a draft resolution expressing “deep concern at serious human rights violations in Iran,” including torture, persecution of ethnic minorities and violence against women. The General Assembly’s Third Committee, which handles humanitarian issues, passed the resolution 80-44 Thursday in New York, with 80 yes votes. The resolution could be adopted by the General Assembly next month. Canadian representative John McNee sponsored the measure, arguing that there has been a “very regrettable” deterioration in Iran’s human rights situation in the past year. Iranian regime’s representative, Mohammad Javad Larijani, criticized the move, saying the United States was “the mastermind and main provocateur behind a text that had nothing to do with human rights”. The draft resolution approved Thursday also includes the high incidence in carrying out the death penalty and increased persecution against members of the Baha’i faith in its list of human rights concerns in Iran. It also notes “particular concern” about what it calls a failure of Iran’s government “to investigate or launch an accountability process for alleged violations following the presidential elections” in June 2009. Canada on the other hand welcomed the UN resolution condemning the deplorable human rights situation in Iran on Thursday, calling the resolution a strong signal of support for the Iranian people while holding the Iranian regime accountable for its actions.
Ahmadinejad urges girls to marry at 16
According to Associated Press the Iranian regime’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged young girls to marry at age of 16 in his latest rejection of the country’s once effective family planning program, local newspapers reported on Sunday. Following record birth rates in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran implemented an internationally praised family planning program in the 1990s that dramatically reduced the growth rate. Ahmadinejad has criticized the program as an ungodly and a Western import. “We should take the age of marriage for boys to 20 and for girls to about 16 and 17,” he said, according to the state-owned Jam-e Jam daily. “The marriage age for boys has reached 26 and for girls to 24, and there is no reason for this.” Since coming to power in 2005, Ahmadinejad has sought to increase of the country’s population, which is already at 75 million, with a third between the ages of 15 and 30. In July, he inaugurated a new policy to encourage population growth with financial incentives for every new child born, having previously said the country could feed a population of 150 million. Critics said the policy will only exacerbate unemployment, currently set 9 percent officially. There are an estimated 3 million unemployed people of working age in the country.
IRAN, NIGERIA: Heroin and hand grenades sour Abuja-Tehran relations
Iran may have sought to cast the recent Nigerian arms smuggling scandal as a “misunderstanding,” but it will be difficult to make the same case for at least 286 pounds of high-grade heroin found hidden inside a shipment of Iranian auto parts at a Lagos port. “The goods originated from Iran and the last destination port of the vessel is Nigeria, so the question of the container being [in] transit is ruled out” the port’s area comptroller of customs, Austin Warikoru, told the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard, which appears to have broke the story on Friday. This latest bust comes just a week after Nigeria reported Iran to the United Nations for allegedly smuggling high-caliber weapons into Nigeria despite U.N. sanctions banning Iranian arms exports. In October, 13 shipping containers originating in Iran and labeled as construction materials were found to contain rocket launchers, grenades, guns and ammunition. The same French shipping company, CMA-CGM, has been connected to both the shipments of weapons and smack.