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UN human rights experts 'disturbed' by Iranian response to protests

Iranian worshippers chant slogans during a rally against anti-government protestors after the Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on Friday. A hard-line Iranian cleric has called on Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps, blaming them for the unrest that followed days of protest in the Islamic Republic over its economy. Picture by Ebrahim Noroozi, Associated Press
Jennifer Peltz, Press Association

UN human rights experts have said they are "very disturbed" by Iranian authorities' response to protests across the country following the deaths of more than 20 people during the demonstrations.

The four independent experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council urged the authorities to exercise restraint in a joint statement issued in Geneva.

They added that "the (Iranian) government's instruction to the Revolutionary Guard to hit hard against the protesters, and the judiciary's threats of harsh punishment, are unacceptable".

The experts said they are also very concerned about the reported shutdown of social media services such as Instagram and messaging services like Telegram, arguing that "communication blackouts constitute a serious violation of fundamental rights".

Meanwhile, a Russian deputy foreign minister said the upcoming UN Security Council session on Iran is an attempt by the United States to violate Iran's sovereignty.

Sergei Ryabkov spoke several hours before the session is to convene.

The US, which has voiced support for the anti-government protests that have swept Iran over the past week, called for the emergency session.

Mr Ryabkov said: "The United States continues to pursue a policy of open and implicit interference in the internal affairs of other states – doing it unabashedly, openly, under the slogan of caring for democracy and human rights, directly infringing on the sovereignty of other states."

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