The United Nations General Assembly on December 17 adopted a resolution criticizing Iran over human rights violations.
The resolution, drafted by Canada, expressed "serious concern" over Tehran's crackdown on activists, journalists, and dissidents, and for its increased use of the death penalty. It was adopted by a vote of 81 to 37, with 67 abstentions.
However, it also welcomed pledges by Iranian President Hassan Rohani to curb discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, and allow more freedom of expression.
Iran said the resolution was biased and an "indefensible political move," coming at a time when Tehran is seeking to improve ties with the outside world.
Among the countries that voted against the resolution were China, Cuba, Russia, Syria, South Africa, India, Indonesia, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Resolutions by the UN are nonbinding, but convey international public opinion on Iran's government policies. The UN also condemned North Korea for human rights violations and urged Pyongyang's referral to the International Criminal Court.