UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The UN’s expert on human rights in Iran said Wednesday the situation there remains disturbing and pleaded for access to the country in order to better perform his duties.

Ahmed Shaheed said Iran continues to use the death penalty at high rates and in manners that do not meet international standards.

The findings were part of his second report on human rights in Iran presented Wednesday to the General Assembly.

Shaheed said the country has one of the highest numbers of journalists detained in the world with 40 currently in prison, along with 32 human rights defenders and lawyers.

Representatives of the Iranian government have criticized the quality of Shaheed’s sources pointing out that he has not visited the country. Shaheed, however, says the country has not yet honored his request to visit.