Tony Blair is ignoring human rights abuses in Iran, a gay campaigner has warned.
Gay activist Peter Tatchell has accused the Prime Minister of “cosying up to Tehran” for his own political aims while ignoring “gross human rights abuses” against gay people, women, students, trade unionists and ethnic minorities.
Mr Blair offered Iran a way out of “isolation” in a speech earlier this week by encouraging the country to help the Middle East peace process, stop supporting terrorism and to curb its nuclear ambitions.
But Mr Tatchell said it is a disgrace that Iran’s human rights abuses were not mentioned.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “For months Tony Blair has been obsessed with Iran’s nuclear programme, now he want their help to get him out of the mess in Iraq.
“In both cases the British government is ignoring the gross human rights abuses by the regime.”
He was backed by Liberal Democrat Women and Equality spokesperson Lorely Burt.
She said the government cannot ignore Iran’s human rights record, “Although peaceful efforts to detract Iran from producing nuclear weapons are welcome, Blair’s proposal to involve Iran in the international community should never detract from the UK’s total condemnation of their human rights record.”
It comes after reports that a man was executed in Iran for being gay last month.
News agency Iran In Focus said the man, Shahab Darvishi, was found guilty of sodomy. Last year two teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari, 15, and Ayaz Marhoni, 17, were publicly executed because according to the regime they were rapists, however gay campaigners insist the boys were killed under Sharia law for the crime of homosexuality.However, the Conservatives said the human rights issue is separate to working for peace in the Middle East.
A spokesperson told PinkNews.co.uk: “We are concerned about issues surrounding human rights, but sometimes we have to talk to our enemies as well as our friends.
“It’s common sense that you look to Iraq’s neighbours to play a serious role.”
Downing Street said the government is aware of human rights concerns in Iran.