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Iran Rejects UN Decision to Appoint Human Rights Monitor

Iran has labeled "political" the decision of the top U.N. human rights body to appoint an investigator to monitor human rights abuses in that country.

A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry said Friday the decision is "unjust, unjustifiable, and totally political." He said the move is meant to divert attention from human rights violations in the West, particularly in the United States.

The Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council approved the resolution Thursday with 22 votes in favor, seven against and 14 abstentions. Four of the 47 member-nations did not vote.

The council expressed concern over Iran's crackdown on opposition figures, its increased use of the death penalty and other abuses.

Iran is not a member of the council and has not admitted international human rights experts into the country for at least a decade.

In Washington, White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon welcomed the decision as "a historic milestone that reaffirms the global consensus and alarm about the dismal state of human rights in Iran."

The U.N. Human Rights Council was established in 2006 as a successor to the widely criticized U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The United States became a member in 2009.

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