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Iran's Foreign Ministry Slams UNHR Chief's Statement on Protests in Country's South-West

© REUTERS / DENIS BALIBOUSEFILE PHOTO: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet gestures during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 9 December 2020.
FILE PHOTO: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet gestures during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, 9 December 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.07.2021
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As violent protests hit the south-western regions, local media have been reporting daily about riots, exchanges of gunfire and clashes in the streets, which have resulted in injuries and even deaths among citizens.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh dismissed the statement made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet regarding the recent protests in the country as politically motivated false accusations, Mehr news agency reported Saturday.
Bachelet on Friday accused the Iranian government of using excessive force to quell violent protests that broke out in the southwestern province of Khuzestan over a water shortage.
"I am extremely concerned about the deaths and injuries that have occurred over the past week, as well as the widespread arrests and detention," Bachelet said.
In response, Khatibzadeh said that the "interventionist" statement of the UNHR chief relies on incorrect information, and does not take into account the "all-out efforts" on all fronts to tackle the issue, as quoted by Mehr.
"In this respect, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ statement is more like a political statement with hostile literature than the remarks of an international human rights official," Khatibzadeh said, according to the outlet.
Khatibzadeh reportedly explained that the water crisis in the province was triggered by natural causes, and was one of the consequences of the "unilateral coercive measures" the US slapped on the Islamic Republic, apparently referring to the so-called "maximum pressure" campaign launched by the administration of former US president Donald Trump.
"Here, a question is raised why the UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights has not so far condemned illegal sanctions imposed by the United States against the Iranian nation, which has led to the violation of many of the fundamental human rights of this nation?", the diplomat asked, according to Mehr.
Citizens have been protesting in Iran's southwest over an acute water shortage triggered by a drought - the most severe in 50 years. Protesters have blamed the government for poor water management and are demanding access to clean water. The most violent protests hit the oil-rich province of Khuzestan, where, according to Fars News Agency, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, considered a terrorist organisation by Tehran, has once again gained ground.
According to media reports, the riots have resulted in arrests, injuries, and even deaths.
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