Human rights violations in Iran escalated last year, a United Nations monitor said, spotlighting abuses including repression of freedom of speech, torture and secret executions.
"The prevailing situation of human rights in Iran continues to warrant serious concern," Ahmed Shaheed told the UN Human Rights Council. "The situation for individuals in Iran who advocate advancement of human rights, or those that document, report, or protest against human rights violations is grave and is deteriorating," he said.
Those who speak out "continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, interrogation and torture, and are frequently charged with vaguely-defined national security crimes, which is seemingly meant to erode the front line of human rights defence in the country".
Shaheed pointed to an "apparent increase in the degree of seriousness" of violations in the Islamic republic. He highlighted "frequent and disconcerting" reports about "punitive state action" against several groups, including the jailing of opposition politicians, journalists and human rights campaigners.
He also expressed concern about rights violations affecting women and religious and ethnic minorities, and retaliatory action against individuals that Tehran suspects of co-operating with UN monitors.
Iran's delegate to the council, Mohammad Larijani, said it was a "compilation of unfounded allegations".