AFP: Iran has accused the European Union countries of committing "blatant human rights violations" in a response to fresh EU criticism of the Islamic republic's own record, press reports said Wednesday.
"The issue of violating the rights of Muslims, as well as other discriminatory laws regarding minorities, worries the Islamic republic of Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza
Asefi was quoted as saying. AFP

TEHRAN - Iran has accused the European Union countries of committing "blatant human rights violations" in a response to fresh EU criticism of the Islamic republic's own record, press reports said Wednesday.

"The issue of violating the rights of Muslims, as well as other discriminatory laws regarding minorities, worries the Islamic republic of Iran," foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi was quoted as saying.

"Regarding the blatant human rights violations in Europe, (Iran) expects European countries to take positive actions towards improving human rights."

A meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday resulted in a statement saying the bloc remained "deeply concerned (that) serious violations of human rights are continuing to occur in Iran."

The statement also said there has been "little overall progress" since a human rights dialogue between the EU and Iran began in December 2002.

The EU also voiced concern that "the situation with regard to the exercise of key civil rights and political freedoms such as freedom of expression has deteriorated since the parliamentary elections of February this year."

The Iranian parliament fell into the hands of hardliners and conservatives after most reformist candidates were barred from standing.

But Asefi said the EU declaration was based on "incorrect and inaccurate information", and accused the European of not understanding "the realities of the Iranian society."

"The Islamic republic of Iran, based on its religious values, indigenous culture and national agenda, is pursuing the improvement of human rights within the framework of its political and social development and so far there have been achievements," he said.