May 18, 2022 14:32 UTC
  •  UN rapporteur: Human rights in Iran severely affected by US sanctions

A top UN human rights official has slammed the United States for its brutal sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, asserting that harsh economic sanctions have had a damaging impact on human rights in the country.

Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, who is on an official visit to Iran these days, convened a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, Douhan noted that decades of sanctions have wholly affected Iranian people’s lives and have particularly hit the low-income section of the society.

While presenting her assessment of the unilateral coercive measures (UCM) against Iran, the UN official who works under a mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council, called on Washington to abandon its hard-nosed policy of maximum pressure against Iran and other countries.

Douhan, who arrived in Tehran earlier this month, said she had met with many civil society members, representatives of financial centers, diplomatic community during her visit.

She said she will address her concerns about the legality of US sanctions in her final report, which will be released at a later date.

Douhan’s mission from May 7 to 18 is the first to Iran by a UN special rapporteur. 

Her visit to Iran came amid the stalemate over the nuclear deal, with the US showing reluctance to respond to Iran's proposals.

Decrying the US decision to abandon the nuclear deal and continue with its sanctions regime, she said the deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Applying extraterritorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran … is illegal under international law,” she asserted.

Commenting on Iran's frozen assets abroad, the UN official said the assets estimated to be around $120 billion need to be unblocked. 

“I urge the states that have frozen the assets of Iranian Central Bank to immediately unfreeze Iran’s funds based on international law.”

Douhan began her 11-day visit to Iran on May 7, a day before the fourth anniversary of the US illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Last week, Iran’s top human rights official Kazem Gharibabadi said Douhan’s visit was only aimed at gathering information on the impact of sanctions to hold countries (US) to account.

“Nations hit by sanctions should use all available resources to hold the countries calling for and enforcing unilateral sanctions liable,” Gharibabadi said.

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