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UN Security Council meeting on Iran reveals divided opinions on council's role in protests

UN Security Council meeting on Iran reveals divided opinions on council's role in protests
From CBC - January 5, 2018

A UNSecurity Council emergency meeting on the protests roiling Iran is putting Tehran on notice that "the world will be watching" what it does, the U.S. ambassador said Friday.

Nikki Haley also said the international community ca not let Iran silence protesters' messages, particularly by blocking some social media platforms.

The U.S. called Friday's meeting after giving moral support to the anti-government protesters in a week of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations. Russia said Washington was overstepping into Iran's domestic affairs.

At least 21 people have been killed amid the anti-government protests and unrest over the country's economic woesdemonstrations Iran has accused the U.S. of stirring up.

U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration have praised the anti-government protesters as people standing up to a repressive and corrupt regime.

Iran is 'on notice'

Haley said Friday that "the world should applaud their courage," and the U.S. "stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves."

"The Iranian regime is finally on notice: The world will be watching what you do," she said.

But Iran's Ambassador to the UN GholamaliKhoshroo criticized the council for taking up a matter his country considers "purely domestic," and called it bullying by the United States.

Russia, a close ally of Iran's, agreed.

"The United States is abusing the platform of the security council," said Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, whose country has close ties to Iran. "Let Iran deal with its own problems."

Envoys from several other countries, from China to newcomer Equatorial Guinea, expressed reservations about whether the council was the right forum for the issue.

Still, the UN charter empowers the council to "investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction," and the U.S. was not alone in thinking the Iranian protests qualified.

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

France's ambassador to theUnited Nations told the meetingthat recent protests in Iran do not threaten international peaceand security.

U.S. has 'lost authority'

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