[JURIST] Iranian official Mohammad Javad Larijani told the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] Monday that Iran is fulfilling its human rights obligations . Larijani also said that the nation has implemented long-term plans to protect human rights [Reuters report]. Larijani rejected criticism suggesting the nation engaged in the torture and murder of dissidents, characterizing these allegations as politically motivated attempts to undermine Iran in light of the recent developments in its nuclear program. Larijani reiterated that Iran's nuclear program is intended for civilian use only. The UNHRC is examining [press release] Iran's human rights record, along with the records of 15 other nations, in its two-week Universal Periodic Review [materials] session. Amnesty International [advocacy website] criticized [press release, PDF] Iran's earlier report [text, PDF] to the UNHRC, calling its portrayal of the state of human rights in the nation distorted.
Last week, the European Union (EU) and the US government issued [JURIST report] a joint statement [text, PDF] condemning Iranian human rights violations since the disputed June presidential election [JURIST news archive]. The joint statement declared that the EU and the US were concerned about the possible increase in violence and repression during the anniversary of the founding of 1979 Islamic Republic [BBC backgrounder] on February 11 and called on Iran to live up to its international obligations with respect to human rights. Also, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates [official profile] and French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website, in French] declared that Iran should receive stronger sanctions [VOA report] in response to news that the Iranian government had informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of plans to begin enriching uranium for medical purposes last week.