UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- A U.N. committee on Tuesday urged Iran to cease enforced disappearances and the widespread use of arbitrary detention and has expressed serious concern about severe limitations on freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief.
The General Assembly's human rights committee approved the measure by a vote of 85 in favor, 35 against and 63 countries abstaining. The assembly is virtually certain to adopt the resolution when it's put to a vote next month.
The measure welcomed pledges by Iran's president to eliminate discrimination against women and ethnic minorities as well as granting greater space for freedom of expression.
But it also expressed concern over the "alarmingly high frequency" of the death penalty and urged Iran to eliminate laws and practices that constitute human rights violations against women and girls.
Iran's Foreign Ministry swiftly rejected the vote. The official IRNA news agency quoted ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi as saying the vote was "unacceptable" and motivated by "special political purposes."