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UN Panel Challenges Iran on Human Rights

FILE - Iranian policemen prepare to hang a young convict in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 20, 2013.

A U.N. committee on human rights has approved a resolution urging Iran to stop its widespread use of arbitrary detention and expressing serious concern about its "alarmingly high'' use of the death penalty.

The resolution adopted by the General Assembly's Human Rights Committee was approved Thursday, 85-30, with 68 abstentions. It is virtually certain to be approved by the 193-member world body next month.

The resolution also "strongly urges'' Iran to eliminate discrimination against women in law and expresses "serious concern about ongoing severe limitations and restrictions on the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief.''

Deputy Iranian Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib dismissed the resolution as a "political charade'' that "exposes the dishonesty'' of its U.S. and European sponsors.