Human rights lacking in Britain, Iran says

Aug. 16, 2011 at 6:03 AM
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TEHRAN, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Iran kept up its criticism of Britain's handling of the last week's rioting, saying over the weekend that London had "no respect" for human rights.

Senior Iranian lawmaker Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Islamic Consultative Assembly's foreign policy committee, Saturday blasted Britain's response to the riots, which spread across London and other British cities early last week.

Boroujerdi cited comments made last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron that he would consider using the army to help suppress future riots, saying soldiers are "only tasked to protect the territorial integrity of a country," the official Mehr News Agency reported.

"The repressive measures of the British government are indicative of the fact that there is no respect for democracy or human rights in the country's ruling system," Boroujerdi added.

Scotland Yard revealed Sunday that 1,401 people had been arrested in connection with the unrest, with 808 of them charged with crimes, the BBC reported.

The British government "ruthlessly suppressed the demonstrators instead of trying to listen to their demands," Boroujerdi asserted, while fellow Iranian lawmaker Amin Hossein Rahimi said the riot response showed that support for human rights claimed by London is "nothing more than a lie."

Rahimi, a leader of the Iranian Parliament's legal and judicial committee, predicted that even if more riots broke out in Britain, the U.N. Security Council would turn a blind eye and not condemn the situation.

He called for the Security Council to be reformed to compel Britain and other permanent members to follow human rights standards themselves, Mehr reported.

Iranian students protested outside the British Embassy in Tehran Sunday, denouncing the police crackdown on protesters.

The Iranian official news agency said the students threw eggs and waved placards, some of which read, "Down with the British Royal Regime," "Where is Human Rights?," and 'Mr. Cameron: U.S. and Zionism or Your People? Choose One!"

The protesters also reportedly called for Iran to ratify a proposal calling for the severance of ties with Britain.

The Tehran demonstration came at the same time that 5,000 people attended a peace rally in Birmingham, England, which was hit by looting during the riots, and to remember three residents who were killed while trying to defend their businesses.

Attendees at the rally in the city's Winson Green held a moment of silence for Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, the BBC reported.

"We are working together, politicians, faith leaders, community leaders -- the desire for normality in this city is tangible," Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby told the crowd.

A 26-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were charged with three killings each Sunday in connection with the slayings, authorities said.

British Home Secretary Theresa May defended the country's policing methods after some members of Parliament and Metropolitan Police officers objected to government ministers being advised by former New York Police Chief William Bratton.

"Ministers must ensure the police know what the public expect of them," she told the BBC, adding that when the riots escalated the night of Aug. 8, police had to change tactics.

"I was as concerned as the public were about the scenes we saw of people being able to loot without anything appearing to happen to them," she said. "They wanted to see more police on the streets but also tough action to go in and arrest people and actually that's what the police started to do."

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