Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 2 March denounced what he called "widespread instances of Islamophobia."

"While racism and anti-Semitism are rightly condemned and even penalised in many societies, widespread instances of Islamophobia and blatant disregard for the values, beliefs and sanctities of Muslim citizens of most societies are not only tolerated but even publicly glorified as freedom of expression. And we all see the catastrophic consequences, which we should condemn vehemently and unequivocally," Zarif said.

Referring to propaganda videos circulated on the Internet by Islamic State, Zarif said that there was a "systemic failure" in the West to fight recruitment for the group.

"Isn't it frightening that Daesh [Islamic State] terrorists beheading innocent civilians speak European languages with native accents? Such high rate of terrorist recruitments signify a systemic failure, which has led to marginalisation, alienation and disenfranchisement of groups and individuals born, raised and educated in western democracies," he said.

Zarif also called on other nations to "join hands to contain, control and defeat Islamophobia".

After Zarif addressed the Human Rights Council in Geneva, he was expected to head to nearby Montreux for talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry about Iran's disputed nuclear programme.