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U.N. Rights Rapporteur Presses For Permission To Visit Iran

Javaid Rehman is a British-Pakistani legal scholar and Professor of Islamic Law and International Law at Brunel University and the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has again asked the Iranian government for permission to pay an "unhindered" visit to country.

Mr. Javaid Rehman, a Pakistani born British legal scholar who was appointed in July has repeatedly appealed to the Islamic Republic to end its 13-year ban on U.N. rapporteurs traveling to Iran.

Rehman succeeded another Pakistani lawyer and human rights defender Asma Jahangir who suddenly passed away in February 2018. Jahangir had also pursued the right to visit Iran without success.

The latest request by Rehman was made in his first report to the U.N. General Assembly on September 27. Special Rapporteurs usually submit reports on three-month intervals.

The report also is an overview of the major areas of human rights concerns in Iran. These are Iran’s execution of prisoners including juvenile offenders without due process; torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment used against prisoners, the denial of basic rights of free speech and freedom of assembly; women’s rights; and systematic violations of minority rights.

But it also contains a section about monitoring the impact of economic sanctions on citizens.

"The Special Rapporteur intends to monitor and report on the potential negative impact of sanctions on the enjoyment of rights, in particular in light of the decision by the United States of America on 8 May 2018 to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or so-called nuclear deal", the report notes.

Previous Rapporteurs also listed economic sanctions as an area of interest and Rehman in his report asks "the cooperation of the Government in assessing the impact of sanctions on the economic and social rights of those residing in the country."

In the current tense diplomatic climate in which Iran seeks allies against the U.S., this might be an incentive for Tehran to mull over extending a possible invitation to the U.N. Rapporteur to visit the country.

At the same time, repressive measures have intensified, as the Islamic Republic seeks to keep its restive population in check and such a visit might encourage dissidents to become more outspoken and active.