(photo credit: AP)
Iran denounced what it called Israel's "horrific human rights record" in a letter to the UN secretary-general while denying recent Israeli accusations of widespread rights abuses in the Islamic republic.
In the Iranian letter, obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, the country's UN ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said his government would not respond to "baseless allegations and distortions about the situation of human rights" in Iran.
Israel's "futile" attempt "to raise allegations against others' human rights situation is nothing but a preposterous, and indeed tired, practice to distract the international community's attention from its shameful human rights record," he said.
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Khazaee was responding to a June 19 letter from Israel's deputy UN ambassador Daniel Carmon to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, which urged the international community to denounce Iran's "systemic, grave, and widespread" violation of human rights.
The Israeli letter cited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust and his calls for Israel's destruction while developing "an ominous military nuclear weapons program."
Iran insists its nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes to produce nuclear energy.
In response to the July 27 Iranian letter, Carmon said Wednesday, "Our letter is a wake up call to the international community."
Khazaee's four-page letter cites UN human rights reports condemning Israel's treatment of Palestinians and "its discriminatory behavior toward the Arabs who have lived under its brute rule for the past six decades."