Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh issued a statement regarding UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s latest remarks on protests that erupted in Khuzestan province. Defining the UN official’s statements as “regrettable,” Khatibzadeh said that these are invalid, false accusations based on inaccurate information.
In the statement, the Iranian spokesperson said, “The accusations have been made without considering the extensive efforts of the government, judiciary, security, and media officials to alleviate the suffering of the people of this province and to resolve the existing problems, and that is the most important proof that the statement is politicized and invalid.”
Accusing the UN High Commissioner of making a political declaration with a hostile tone, Khatibzadeh rejected her statements on the ground that such behavior is not within the scope of the Commissioner’s responsibilities.
Khatibzadeh’s statement came following Michelle Bachelet’s remarks on Friday expressing her concerns regarding deaths and injuries as well as large-scale operations of detention over the past week in the oil-rich Khuzestan province.
Additionally, Khatibzadeh asserted that US sanctions imposed on Iran block the transfer of necessary technology as well as investments that would improve the capacity in Khuzestan’s water sector.
The senior diplomat also stated that the Iranian people’s rights of holding peaceful demonstrations are respected, and the problems in the region, as well as people’s demands, have been followed by the country’s authorities at the highest level. On Friday, Supreme Leader Khamenei defined the people’s complaints as legitimate. At the same time, outgoing President Hassan Rouhani defined the protests as “the right of people,” and stated that the government is “listening to their legitimate grievances.”
In demonstrations that have entered their second week, 10 people were killed and 102 others were detained so far, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). While official statements accused protesters of being responsible for these deaths, activists stated that those people were killed by security forces.