EDITH M. LEDERER
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power protested the election of repressive regimes including Iran to the U.N. Committee on Non-governmental Organizations which deals with civil society groups accredited to the United Nations.
Iran's U.N. Mission responded Thursday by rejecting "baseless accusations" raised by Power on the status of human rights and civil liberties in the country.
Iran was one of 19 members elected Wednesday by the U.N. Economic and Social Council to four-year terms starting Jan. 1, 2015. The others were Burundi, Guinea, Mauritania, South Africa, Sudan, China, India, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Uruguay, Venezuela, Greece, Israel, Turkey and the United States.
Power accused Iran in a statement Wednesday night of regularly detaining human rights defenders and "subjecting many to torture, abuse and violations of due process." She called its unopposed candidacy "a particularly troubling outcome" of the election.
The Iranian Mission said in a statement that the government finds "these assertions both unconstructive, obstructive and against the spirit of cooperation between sovereign member states and the principles of sovereign equality of states."
Power only singled out Iran, but said the election of repressive regimes to the committee "is yet another reminder of how much remains to be done to protect civil society's role as a critical driver of progress and liberty in countries around the world."
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