Iran rejected the latest US human rights report as hypocritical on Saturday, saying it was "biased by political objectives".
"Iran considers the annual report by the US State Department and in particular allegations raised about human rights in Iran as absolutely biased by political objectives, which depicts a distorted and unrealistic image of our country's situation," said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi in a statement on the ministry website.
He said the United States was "recognised as one of the biggest violators of human rights in the world" and "supports well-known violators of human rights" including Israel and Saudi Arabia.
International rights groups also criticised this year's State Department report, saying it had been stripped of reporting on women's and reproductive rights.
Acting Sec. Sullivan: The people of #Iran continue to suffer at the hands of their leaders. The right of peaceful assembly & freedoms of association & expression are the legitimate expectation of all individuals. Unfortunately, these #humanrights are under attack almost daily. pic.twitter.com/WRBwx2yH3a
— Department of State (@StateDept) April 20, 2018
Still, among the accusations made in the US human rights report on Friday were that Iran has high rates of execution without fair trial, disappearances by government agents, torture, hundreds of political prisoners and severe restrictions on freedom of expression, association and religion.
The US challenged Iran, China, North Korea and Russia over their human rights records, nations that have already been designated as leading foes of Washington, Newsweek reported.
The report echoed the sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump's "America First" National Security Strategy in calling out the quartet of nations typically placed at the top of the current administration's foreign policy concerns, Newsweek said. The document was introduced by acting Secretary of State John Sullivan, who himself made the connection between US priorities and this year's report, arguing that Trump's strategy "recognizes that corrupt and weak governance threatens global stability and US interests."
It also laid into Tehran for its sponsorship of foreign groups, including the Lebanese Hezbollah, as well as its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose Iranian and Russian backing has helped him mostly overcome a 2011 uprising favoured by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states, according to Newsweek.
Ghasemi responded: "It would be better for America, instead of interfering in other countries' internal affairs… to take necessary measures as soon as possible to support human rights inside the United States and react to its foreign allies' widespread violation of human rights."