7 April 2014, 17:00

Iran says EU parliament "lacks legitimacy"

Iran says EU parliament "lacks legitimacy"

Iran has criticized a European Parliament human rights resolution, saying the body lacks the "legitimacy" to advise countries on such matters, media reported on Monday. The resolution passed on Thursday condemned Iran over "continued, systematic violation of fundamental rights."

The resolution went on to say that Iran's 2013 presidential election was not "held in accordance with the democratic standards" and "any future parliament delegations to Iran should be committed to meeting members of the political opposition and civil society activists, and to having access to political prisoners."

Iranian officials hit back, saying the "irresponsible and counter-productive" text could harm talks between Tehran and world powers over the Islamic republic's disputed nuclear program.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran would not accept conditions for any future European parliamentary visits, AFP reports.

"The government will not allow any European parliamentary delegation to visit Iran with such terms in the resolution," Zarif was quoted as saying on Monday in Sharq newspaper.

"Considering the political weight of the European Parliament... it lacks legitimacy to preach others for observing human rights," he added.

On Sunday, Zarif's ministry summoned the ambassador of Greece, which currently holds the EU rotating, to protest against the resolution.

It also comes ahead of a demonstration that hardline Basij students are reportedly planning to stage outside the Greek embassy in Tehran on Tuesday.

Ayatollah Ahmad Janati, a prominent hardline cleric, strongly denounced members of the European Parliament.

The resolution, he said, was signed by "a bunch of idiots who are not committed to any humanitarian values and shamelessly legitimized the illegitimate relationships of homosexuals."

Western diplomats in Tehran downplayed the importance of the resolution, as the topic is a regular source of tensions between the two sides.

Iran also criticized European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton over an "unsanctioned" meeting she held with rights activists in March.

Another meeting between eight-member European Parliament delegation, rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi in December triggered the criticism of conservative politicians.

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