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UN Secretary-General Urges Iran to Improve Human Rights


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Iran to do more to improve its human rights situation.

In a report submitted to the U.N. General Assembly Monday, the secretary-general said Iran has made some progress on reducing discrimination against women and minorities, but still needs to do more to meet international human rights standards.

The report says Mr. Ban is concerned about a growing crackdown on the women's rights movement, and he said gender-based violence is "widespread."

He also said that there has been a recent surge in executions, even though Tehran has been revising its death penalty policies.

He praised some positive steps that the Islamic Republic has taken to change laws that discriminate against women, but said Iran needs to try harder to protect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, including members of the Bahai faith.

Bahai groups say hundreds of the faith's followers have been jailed or executed in the Islamic Republic. Iran's clerical authorities consider the Bahai religion a heretical offshoot of Islam.

The Bahai faith was founded in Iran in the 19th century. Its adherents believe its founder was the latest in a long line of prophets including Jesus, Muhammad and the Buddha.

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