China fails to weaken Iran motion before UN rights body

GENEVA (Reuters) -China tried but failed to pass an amendment to a motion on Iran before the U.N. Human Rights Council on Thursday that would have stripped out the main paragraph referring to a new investigative probe into Iran's suppression of mass protests.

The last-minute amendment was rejected with 25 against, six in favour and 15 abstentions.

China's envoy Jiang Yingfeng told the council that the motion led by Germany was "overwhelmingly critical" of Iran. "It obviously will not help resolve the problem," he added, calling for a key paragraph to be deleted.

The paragraph in question would establish an "international fact-finding mission" that would be operational until early 2024. Iran's representatives also repeatedly criticised the motion which it called "completely biased".

Representatives from the dozens of countries backing the motion, including the United States and Britain, criticised the last-minute change and called for the 47-member Geneva council to vote it down.

"(The amendment) denies the survivors, the families, the victims, the right for their suffering to be recorded," said British Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Simon Manley. The U.S. ambassador for human rights Michele Taylor said she was "appalled" by China's last-minute revision.

(Reporting by Emma FargeEditing by Paul Carrel, Rachel More)