Iran envoy rejects U.N. investigator’s charges of rights abuses, alleges Iranophobia and Islamophobia

(Iranian Reyhaneh Jabbari, shown in 2007, was executed in Tehran for the murder of a former intelligence official she accused of trying to rape her.)

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Iran on Tuesday dismissed a U.N. investigator’s allegations of severe human rights abuses in the Islamic Republic, saying the criticisms were aimed at inciting “Iranophobia and Islamophobia.”

The latest report, by U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed, says executions in Iran have sharply increased since President Hassan Rouhani’s election last year. He said torture is used in prisons, the situation of women has deteriorated and religious minorities are still persecuted.

Iranian envoy Forouzandeh Vadiati told the U.N. General Assembly’s Third Committee, which focuses on human rights, that its discussion of her country was a “fruitless annual ritual.”

She said Shaheed’s criticisms were encouraged by “certain countries’ foreign policies” and “the final gain that they aim to achieve is to enhance their project of Iranophobia and Islamophobia.”

Vadiati also rejected the idea that the situation of women in Iran has deteriorated. Shaheed’s report said the number of women enrolled at Iranian universities has decreased to 48 percent in 2013-2014 from 62 percent in 2007-2008.

“Laws, polices and practices that discriminate against Iranian women and girls continue to institutionalize their second-class status,” Shaheed told the Third Committee meeting.

Vadiati denied that there were problems for Iranian women…