In appointments strongly condemned by the United States, the United Nations has granted Iran seats on five subcommittees of its Economic and Social Council, including one that fights for women's rights, The Washington Times reports
The selection of Iran to participate on the Commission on the Status of Women is puzzling as the Middle East nation is routinely criticized for its suppression of women's rights.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, questioned Iran's appointment in a statement.
"The unopposed candidacy of Iran, where authorities regularly detain human rights defenders, subjecting many to torture, abuse, and violations of due process, is a particularly troubling outcome of today’s election," Power said.
Earlier this week, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani admitted women in his country still face discrimination and cultural barriers.
"[I] confess there are still so many deficiencies with regards to the vindication of women's rights," Rouhani said.
But he insisted they are not universally treated as second-class citizens.
Iranian society frowns upon premarital sex, and women are expected to remain virgins until marriage. And Iran's civil rights record is regularly criticized by international rights watchdogs and Western governments.
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