Sanctioned Iranian Minister Denounces U.S. at Human Rights Council

GENEVA (AP/Hamodia) -
Seyyed Alireza Avaei, Minister of Justice of Iran, attends the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

An Iranian government minister facing European Union and Swiss sanctions for human rights violations has criticized U.S. and Saudi policies at the U.N.’s top human rights body, defying calls for him to stay away.

Justice Minister Seyyed Alireza Avaei’s visit was criticized because he’s faced E.U. sanctions for six years for his role in arbitrary arrests, denying prisoners’ rights and increasing executions in Iran.

At the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Avaei blasted the U.S. decision to recognize Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, calling it “illustrative of gross violation of human rights” of Palestinians.

He criticized a blockade of Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition involved in a three-year “war of aggression” there.

About 100 demonstrators denounced Avaei outside the U.N. Geneva headquarters.

The U.S. delegation said it was “appalled” Iran sent him.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continued with preparations to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Yerushalayim.

A delegation is set to visit the Israeli capital next week to ready the relocation, scheduled for May, Hadashot reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, the Washington requested a larger plot of land for the embassy, but the municipality said that additional land was not available.