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New Zealand suspends bilateral human rights dialogue with Iran

Hundreds of Iranians demonstrate in Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, October, 29, 2022, protesting in solidarity with Iran protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died while in police custody. [Dinendra Haria - Anadolu Agency]
Hundreds of Iranians demonstrate in Trafalgar Square in London, Britain, October, 29, 2022, protesting in solidarity with Iran protest following the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman who died while in police custody. [Dinendra Haria - Anadolu Agency]

New Zealand, on Monday, announced to suspend its bilateral human rights dialogue with Iran after recent protests, Anadolu News Agency reports.

In a statement, Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, said her country has taken the decision after recent events which showed Iran's position on human rights is deteriorating, not improving.

"This decision sends a strong signal that bilateral approaches on human rights are no longer tenable with Iran, when they are denying basic human rights and violently suppressing protests of those who stand up to them," Mahuta said.

"New Zealand and Iran established the human rights dialogue in 2018 with the hope of advancing human rights issues and concerns. The first session was held in 2021 and the next one was due to take place later this year," she added.

Last week, New Zealand also urged its citizens to leave Iran as protests are continuing throughout the country, and a number of foreign nationals have been arrested.

"New Zealand continues to be appalled by the use of force by Iranian authorities in response to peaceful demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini last month," said New Zealand's top diplomat.

Earlier, Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, also signed an open letter coordinated by a global collective of women, including Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde and Malala Yousafzai, calling on UN member States to remove Iran from the UN Commission on the Status of Women, according to Mahuta.

Iran has found itself in the midst of mass protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody last month.

Amini died on 16 September under mysterious circumstances, after being detained by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran's Islamic dress code.

Iranian officials have attempted to cast the young woman's death as the result of a heart attack she suffered while in custody, but that explanation has fallen flat with protesters and her family, saying she was brutally beaten to death.

READ: Iran warns that security measures may be intensified against protesters

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