VOA: UN Rights Commissioner Meets Officials in Iran, Despite Activists Warning Her of Propaganda Risk

Feb 7, 20240 comments

This article originally appeared on Voice of America. A more detailed discussion is also included in the Flashpoint Iran podcast. 

WASHINGTON — The U.N. human rights office has issued its first statement about a U.N. rights official’s controversial visit to Iran, telling VOA it is aware of rights groups’ concerns that Tehran will exploit the visit for propaganda but is confident the world body’s work will not be undermined.

In the statement emailed to VOA on Monday, U.N. rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani confirmed that Nada Al-Nashif, deputy high commissioner for human rights, arrived in Iran on Friday and was due to depart later Monday. She said the visit entailed “meeting with relevant state interlocutors, including judicial officials, and U.N. partners.”

Iranian state media had published a preview of Al-Nashif’s visit but did not report anything about her meetings while she was in the country.

Rights activists inside and outside Iran had urged Al-Nashif to use her three-day visit to inspect the conditions of dissidents languishing in Iranian prisons and to meet with political prisoners, injured protesters and other Iranians deprived of basic rights, while ensuring such meetings are held in safe environments free of intimidation from authorities.

It was not clear from the U.N. human rights office’s statement whether Al-Nashif engaged in any such meetings.

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