Mohammad Javad Larijani

Iran’s human rights chief has announced plans for an "Islamic Charter of Human Rights" that will be prepared jointly among some Islamic countries.

Iranian media quoted Mohammad Javad Larijani, the international advisor to the judiciary and the head of its Human Rights Council, from comments he made to a group of Iranians in South Africa: "The preliminaries of this project were accomplished in an earlier meeting in Tehran; however, we will finalize the details of the project in a meeting with judicial and legal representatives of Muslim countries and announce it to the world."

"The "Islamic Charter of Human Rights will have the capacity to even affect non-Muslim nations," Larijani said.

He added: “Western countries led by the U.S. have committed a tremendous crime in order to exert pressure on our country; they have turned a vital issue like human rights into a political project.”

Iran has often been accused of human rights violations by Western countries, especially since the controversial elections of 2009 and the government crackdown on election protesters.

On March 24, the United Nations Human Rights Council approved the appointment of a special human rights rapporteur for Iran for the first in 10 years.

Of the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council, 22 supported the move, 14 voted against it, and seven abstained. “Oppression of dissidents” and the “increase in executions” were the council’s top concerns.

Iran has condemned the UN Human Rights Council’s decision, saying: “The Human Rights Council has become an instrument in the hands of the great powers and the behind-the-scenes dealings of its members, and it is not qualified to review the human rights issues of other countries.”

Since 2005, the Islamic Republic has denied UN representatives the right to travel to Iran to report on the state of human rights.

Iranian authorities have repeatedly emphasized that human rights are culturally relative, affected by religious and cultural differences. That is one reason they have begun to create an Islamic charter for human rights.