Reaffirming its earlier stance, Iran on Monday again rejected a newly-appointed UN investigation into the country’s repression of anti-government protests, saying they would not cooperate with the committee.

“Iran will have no cooperation with the political committee formed by the UN Rights Council,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.

Iran has proof that Western nations were involved in protests that have swept the country, Kanaani said.

“We have specific information proving that the US, Western countries and some of the American allies have had a role in the protests,” he said, without giving details.

The latest assertion is a repeat of what the ministry had stated in its immediate reaction last week on May 24 after the UN Human Rights Council voted to appoint a probe into Iran’s deadly crackdown on protests.

On that day, a statement read that the ministry “strongly condemns an anti-Iran move by a small group of Western countries to impose a resolution on the Human Rights Council against Iran”.

“It is highly regrettable that the Human Rights Council has been exploited once again to serve the short-term interests of a small number of countries,” the statement added.

Of the 47-member council, 25 voted in favour of a resolution, demanding Tehran to cooperate with the its special rapporteur on Iran, including by granting access to areas inside Iranian territory, such as locations where people have been arrested.

There were 16 abstentions and six nations – Armenia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan and Venezuela – voted against the measure.

Volker Turk, the UN rights commissioner, had demanded that Iran should end its “disproportionate” use of force in quashing protests that erupted after the death-in-custody of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on Sept 16.

Activist news agency HRANA said 450 protesters had been killed in more than two months of nationwide unrest as of Nov 26, including 63 minors. At least 60 members of the security forces had been killed and 18,173 protesters detained, it added.

Challenging the Islamic republic’s legitimacy, protesters from all walks of life have burned pictures of Khamenei and called for the downfall of Iran’s Shia Muslim theocracy.

The protests have particularly focused on women’s rights — Amini was detained by morality police for attire deemed inappropriate under Iran’s Islamic dress code — but have also called for the fall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The unrest has posed one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical ruling elite since it came to power in the 1979 Islamic revolution, though authorities have crushed previous rounds of major protests.

Iran has given no death toll for protesters, but a deputy foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, has said that about 50 police had died and hundreds been injured in the unrest — the first official figure for deaths among security forces.

He did not say whether that figure also included deaths among other security forces such as the Revolutionary Guards.

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