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Iran Slams Russia’s Suspension from UN Human Rights Council

By Orkhan Jalilov April 10, 2022

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Russia's membership in the UN Human Rights Council was suspended as a result of the vote in the UN General Assembly's meeting, in which 93 members voted in favor and 24 against, with 58 abstentions. / UN

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, has criticized a resolution calling for Russia’s expulsion from the UN Human Rights Council amid the war in Ukraine.

Addressing a meeting of the UN General Assembly, the Iranian diplomat said that his government discerned “political motives” behind the resolution. 

“The government of Iran attaches particular importance to elevating and upholding human rights, but the misuse of the United Nations’ human rights mechanisms in pursuit of political aims contravenes the need for universality and even-handedness in dealing with human rights issues,” Takht-Ravanchi said in his speech at the UN General Assembly.

“We accordingly believe that human rights must not be sacrificed at the altar of short-term political considerations,” he added.

On Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly suspended Russia from the UN Human Rights Council following a vote in which 93 members voted in favor, 24 against, and 58 abstained. The proposal, introduced earlier this week by the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, followed atrocities that emerged on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.

Bodies of Ukrainian civilians were discovered in the wake of Russia’s military retreat from the town of Bucha. The deaths have sparked global outrage and calls for stricter sanctions on Russia, which has vehemently denied its troops were responsible.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 7 that, in an anticipatory move, Russia is leaving the UN Human Rights Council. According to the foreign ministry, the Assembly’s decision was an “unlawful and politically motivated step” to “defiantly punish a sovereign UN Member State that pursues an independent domestic and foreign policy.” The decision “is not a retreat from Russia’s international obligations in the sphere of human rights,” the ministry added.

In a phone conversation with his Serbian counterpart Nikola Selakovic, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has called for a diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Ukraine. “Diplomacy, dialogue and preventing the continuation and expansion of the conflict” was a “realistic solution” to the Ukraine crisis, the Iranian minister said on Thursday. 

Amir-Abdollahian further expressed his opposition to war and “the imposition of unilateral sanctions,” and stressed the principle of Ukrainian territorial integrity.