TEHRAN: Iran is willing to address accusations of rights violations and host UN human rights chief Navi Pillay and experts, a senior official was was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Human rights chief Mohammad Javad Larijani made the comments as Iran faces mounting international pressure over its controversial nuclear program and risks further sanctions.
Iran has also come under fire by international rights organizations over its handling of the post-vote unrest and violence against protesters rejecting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election last June.
In a meeting with the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, Larijani said Iran’s "invitation to Navi Pillay and special experts stands and Tehran is ready to host her," the official IRNA news agency reported.
Larijani, who heads Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, also "reiterated Iran’s readiness to effectively respond to claims made by Western states about human rights violations in the Islamic republic," IRNA said.
UN human rights investigators and experts say they have been unable to gain access to Iran for five years, despite an open invitation the previous Iranian president, reformist Mohammad Khatami, made in 2003.
In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Pillay, asked Iran to allow experts from her office into the country after Larijani invited her for a visit, which she would not be able to make before 2011, her office said.
Dozens of demonstrators were killed in clashes with security forces during election protests last year and the authorities faced major embarrassment after an opposition leader, Mehdi Karroubi, charged that some protesters had been raped in jail.
Iranian authorities denied this but admitted that widespread prisoner abuse had been committed in the notorious Kahrizak jail south of Tehran, where at least three demonstrators died of injuries inflicted during custody.
Iran has so far rejected Western calls to allow in the UN expert on torture and for wider investigations into post-election violence, a United Nations report in February said.