Prominent Reformists Reject Claims Of Foreign Interference In Protests

Russia's United Nations envoy said the U.S.is "abusing the platform of the Security Council" by calling an emergency meeting on the protests that have roiled Iran in recent days.

The world "witnessed that (all other) members of the UN Security Council spoke about preventing the meddling in Iran's internal affairs", he said.

Russia's Vassily Nebenzia, meanwhile, said that the U.S. was "abusing the platform of the Security Council" by calling the emergency meeting.

The U.S. on Friday sought to highlight the importance for the Security Council of ongoing demonstrations in Iran, prompting criticism from some member states who questioned the topic's validity within the institution tasked with maintaining global peace and security. She said United Nations member states can not use sovereignty as a shield when they categorically deny their people human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"And I call on the government of Iran to stop censoring the voice of the people and to restore the access to the internet".

"Discussing the domestic situation of Iran by the council is a practice that is not in line with the council's responsibilities as outlined in the U.N. Charter".

"It is right and proper - indeed, our responsibility.to assess whether a situation like this could become a threat to global peace and security", British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said before the meeting.

Nearly a week of sporadically violent protests involving upwards of 50,000 demonstrators in the Middle Eastern country has seen at least 22 killed, as Tehran authorities accuse the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia of tacitly fomenting unrest that began in late December 2017. She said the global community must also "do more" to prevent Iran from silencing protesters' messages, particularly by blocking some social media platforms.

Thousands of government supporters staged rallies in Iran for a fourth day on Saturday in a backlash against widespread anti-government protests that the clerical establishment has blamed on the country's enemies.

Many seemed to fear the loud criticism by the Americans was simply a pretext to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, which President Donald Trump has long desired to scrap.

Many of them, he said, had been arrested at their homes.

Countries such as China also criticised the move, with the French ambassador saying the protests did not pose a global security risk in an apparent rebuke to the US.

Ms Haley had to use her veto to block a similar resolution in the Security Council that was supported by every other member.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom came under fire this week after she spoke with the national media about Sweden's "great concern and dismay" about the events in Iran, but expressed skepticism about the need for a meeting at the United Nations.

The Iranian regime was "on notice" she added, and "the world will be watching what you do". Something that of course will only see to further anger not only protesters but the government in Tehran too.

The U.S. imposed new sanctions Thursday on five Iranian entities over their involvement in developing ballistic missiles. State television showed rallies in cities including Amol, Semnan and Shadegan waving Iranian flags and chanting "Death to America", "Death to Israel" and "Death to Britain".

Vanessa Coleman

Comments