EU urges UN to up pressure on Iran over human rights

The United Nations must up the pressure on Iran over its human rights record, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly cracked down on dissent, the European Union said Wednesday.

"The EU remains seriously concerned by the worrying human rights situation in Iran, where grave violations continue to be perpetrated," Ireland's Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore told a session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Gilmore, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc, said that Iran's abuses were legion.

"We cannot remain silent in the face of violent oppression of dissent, as well as detention and execution without fair trial, severe discrimination against women and members of ethnic and religious minorities, restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and religion or belief," said Gilmore.

He also highlighted Iran's record for harassing and arresting of human rights campaigners, including lawyers defending political prisoners and their families.

"The Human Rights Council, therefore, must act," said Gilmore, urging the UN body to extend the mandate of its current Iran monitor.