UN rights body considers new Iran scrutiny

Germany's foreign minister has appealed for greater scrutiny of Iran ahead of a special session by the UN's top human rights body devoted to the Islamic Republic's bloody crackdown on protesters.

"All our efforts go to the people who demand their rights with courage and dignity," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement on Thursday.

"For these demands alone, they are killed by the hundreds, arrested by the thousands, and oppressed by the millions."

The Human Rights Council was set to debate and vote on a proposal, presented by Germany and Iceland and backed by dozens of other countries, to set up a team of independent investigators to monitor human rights in Iran as protests continue.

The protests were trigged by the death in mid-September of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while being held by the morality police for violating a strictly enforced Islamic dress code.

The session in Geneva is the latest international effort to put pressure on Iran over its crackdown, which has already drawn international sanctions and other measures.

"The Iranian protesters have no seat on the Human Rights Council in Geneva, they themselves have no voice at the United Nations," said Baerbock, who was to take part in the session.

"Today, members in the Human Rights Council can fly the flag against the injustices, the beatings and the shootings that the Iranian regime uses to destroy peaceful protest."

The proposal aims to ratchet up scrutiny that for years as been carried out by the council's "special rapporteur" on Iran, whose efforts have been shunned by the Islamic Republic's leaders.

The proposal would set up a "fact-finding mission" to investigate rights violations linked to the protests that erupted on September 16.

It also demands that Tehran co-operate with the special rapporteur.

Amini remains a potent symbol in protests that have posed one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement protests drew millions to the streets.

At least 426 people have been killed and more than 17,400 people have been arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the unrest.