Ex-Iranian female MP hails UN decision to keep Iran away from gender equality seat

Washington, Nov 16 (ANI): Dr. Fatemeh Haghighatjoo, an female Iranian MP who had to resign in 2004 after many fellow Reformist candidates for parliament were disqualified by Iran's Guardian Council, has hailed last week's decision of the United Nations member states to prevent Iran from obtaining a seat on the board of a new organization dedicated to gender equality.

According to Fox News, speaking about the decision to keep Iran off the new UN women's rights commission and the message it sends to the leadership of that country, Dr. Haghighatjoo said: "From my perspective, this is a very good decision and most women's rights activists do welcome this decision."

On being asked about the way the international community can best influence Iran in its policies on human's and women's rights, she said "It's hard to say put sanctions on Iran to promote the issue of human rights. I would say at least the international community needs to address more and more the issue and maybe make statements to tie this to trade opportunities for Iran,"

This would be more positive than just putting new sanctions on Iran to stop human rights violations, Dr. Haghighatjoo, who is now working at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, US, said.

While the UN member states kept Iran aside, Saudi Arabia, a country that unlike Iran does not allow women to drive, did get a "donor" seat on the new board.

This happened just days before Iranian officials arrested five female lawyers. Three were returning from abroad when they were detained at the airport in Tehran, the report said.

Maryam Kianersi, Sara Sabaghian and Maryam Karbasi were called a threat to national security and accused of "violating the Islamic Republic's moral standards while outside Iran." Three of them had also signed a petition calling for the release of another human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is now on a hunger strike in Iran.

Meanwhile, the country is also being criticised globally for its planned decision to execute Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, the Iranian woman sentenced to be stoned to death for adultery.

The International Committee Against Stoning has hired an Italian lawyer now to deal with Ashtiani's case. Her first lawyer had to flee Iran for his safety, the second, Houtan Kian, is in jail now, along with Ashtiani's son, Sajjad Ghaderzade.

Mina Ahadi, an activist of the German-based International Committee Against Stoning (Icas), who has been accused on TV of spreading Ashtiani's case worldwide for her own benefit, has again claimed that Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and her wellwishers have been "tortured" in prison to make such statements against her.

Earlier, the Iranian state television had broadcast a purported statement by Ashtiani, who was sentenced 'death by stoning' for adultery, calling herself a "sinner." (ANI)

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