Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (R) gestures as he sits next to Oman's Foreign Minister Yusuf Bin Alawai bin Abdullah during his visit to Muscat March 13, 2014. (REUTERS/Oman News Agency)
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President Hassan Rouhani has made only "baby steps" to improve human rights in Iran, where forces loyal to the supreme leader are "working to suppress the rights of people," a United Nations investigator said Friday.Ahmad Shaheed, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, said the country was holding almost 900 political prisoners, "including people persecuted for religious activities, lawyers and journalists". In his latest report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Shaheed said there were 379 political activists, 292 religious practioners, 92 human rights defenders, 71 civic activists, 37 journalists and bloggers and 24 students held as what he defined as political prisoners.Iran has refused to let Shaheed enter Iran, saying its human rights record is good and accusing the West of using the issue as a pretext to add pressure to a country already under sanctions for its nuclear activities.
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