Despite outcry, Iranian minister addresses UN rights body

An Iranian government minister facing European Union and Swiss sanctions for human rights violations has criticized U.S. and Saudi policies at the U.N.'s top human rights body, defying calls for him to stay away.

Justice Minister Seyyed Alireza Avaei's visit was criticized because he's faced EU sanctions for six years for his role in arbitrary arrests, denying prisoners' rights and increasing executions in Iran.

At the Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Avaei blasted the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, calling it "illustrative of gross violation of human rights" of Palestinians.

He criticized a blockade of Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition involved in a three-year "war of aggression" there.

About 100 demonstrators denounced Avaei outside the U.N. Geneva.

The U.S. delegation said it was "appalled" Iran sent him.