U.N. rights rapporteur condemns harassment of journalists in Iran

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A U.N. special rapporteur said on Thursday there had been little change in the human rights situation in Iran over the past year, voicing outrage over the harassment of journalists and adding that progress on women’s rights was extremely slow.

A day after submitting her report to the world body, Asma Jahangir, the U.N. special rapporteur on the Iran rights situation, told reporters that torture was widespread in Iran and that some people were imprisoned for seeking justice.

Jahangir said she had not attempted to assess the impact of sanctions on human rights in Iran in her report because she had not been allowed to visit the country, which does not recognize her mandate.

Iran rejected Jahangir’s report as biased.

“The report is politically-motivated, illegitimate, rancorous and disreputable,” Iranian state TV channel IRINN quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying on Thursday.

Iran says Western countries use the issue of human rights as a political tool to apply pressure on it.

Reporting by David Alexander, Parisa Hafezi in Ankara; Editing by Susan Heavey and Hugh Lawson