Russia and Iran have both blamed the U.S. for calling a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday to discuss recent protests in Iran which have killed at least 21 people.
Russia’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia said involving the Council was wrong because what was happening in Iran was an ‘internal affair’ which undermined the reputation of the U.N.’s top body.
Nebenzia argued that if American logic on the issue was to be followed, a Security Council meeting should also have been convened after the 2014 killing –during a drug deal– of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter after the meeting that the Security Council ‘rebuffed the U.S.’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate.’
He said the majority on the Council emphasized the need to fully implement the 2015 nuclear deal and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of other countries.
‘Another FP (foreign policy) blunder for the Trump administration,’ he wrote.
The Iranian envoy at the meeting, Gholamali Khoshroo, said that the U.S. had ‘lost every shred of moral, political and legal authority and credibility in the eyes of the whole world’.
France was also critical of the move to convene the meeting, pointing out that any interference in Iran’s affairs would be counter-productive.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said the emergency session put Iran on notice that ‘the world will be watching’ its actions.
Her call for the emergency meeting surprised Security Council members and she had to overcome Russian opposition to get it – the U.S. required the backing of at last nine of the Council’s 15 members for it to have gone ahead.
Haley said that her country stood ‘unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation’.
She said that ‘no dishonest attempt to call the protesters puppets of foreign powers’ would deter the US from speaking out.
Protests began in Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city, on 28 December and spread to several other cities and towns. The demonstrations were triggered by a rise in food prices and soaring unemployment.
Hundreds of people were arrested in addition to those killed.