“We obviously regret the loss of lives as a result of the demonstrations that were not so peaceful. However, let Iran deal with its own problems, especially since this is precisely what’s taking place,” Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said.
He slammed the US for diverting attention from important international issues the UN Security Council should be addressing.
“You are dispersing the energy of the Security Council, instead of focusing it on dealing with key crisis situations in Afghanistan, Syria Libya, Iraq, Yemen, DPRK, the African continent. Instead of that, you are proposing that we interfere in the internal affairs of a state.”
“We don’t want to get involved in destabilizing Iran or any other country.”
He also reminded Washington of its own history of cracking down on protests.
“If we follow your logic, then we should have meetings of the Security Council after the events in Ferguson or after the dispersal by force of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan.”
In her opening speech, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, dubbed the ongoing unrest in Iran a “spontaneous expression of fundamental human rights,” claiming the protests were simultaneously playing out in “over 78 locations.”
“In the end, the Iranian people will determine their own destiny. Let there be no doubt the US stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves, prosperity for their families and dignity for their nation. We will not be quiet,” Haley said, dismissing any attempts to paint the protesters as “puppets of foreign powers.” The US envoy said Washington was absolutely sure they [the protesters] are acting on their own.
Attempt to disrupt Iran nuclear deal
The call to support anti-government protesters is another attempt to dismantle the hard-won international nuclear deal struck in 2015, Nebenzia argued.
“The real reason for convening today’s meaning is not an attempt to protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather a veiled attempt to seize the current moment to continue to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). We consider it unacceptable to intentionally undermine the support of the international community JCPOA which is the main achievement of the nuclear nonproliferation in the last few years… Especially in the situation where the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed full compliance by Iran with its obligations.”
“The feeling is that there is some sort of inexplicable allergy to this country and it clouds the thinking about events in this country and leads to wishful thinking,” Nebenzia concluded.
‘Violence directed from abroad’
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, reiterated the point that Tehran officials have been underlining as the protests unfolded: The rioters are being influenced from outside the country.
“We have hard evidence of the violence in Iran by a handful of protesters, in some cases resulting in the deaths of policemen and security officers, being very clearly directed from abroad. These violent elements surfaced in the crowd as early as Friday evening last week at the inceptions of the protests. At that point, the elements outside of Iran including instigators based in the United States and Europe began to visible. Incitement to violence included encouraging and training people to use Molotov cocktails, to seize ammunition parts and to stage an armed uprising.“
No threat to international peace
Several speakers at the Security Council pointed out that the unrest in Iran falls outside the UNSC’s ambit.
The French Ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, said: “However worrying the events of the last few days in Iran may be, they do not constitute per se a threat to international peace and security… We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished.”
And the Deputy Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi pointed to the UN charter: “The Iranian situation does not pose any threat on international peace or security, nor is it on the agenda of the Security Council. Discussing this domestic situation in Iran by the Council is a practice that is not in line with the Council’s responsibility as outlined in the UN charter. Doing so does not help resolve the domestic issue of Iran.”
The protests in several Iranian cities, apparently over rising food prices, unemployment, and the overall economic situation started on December 28. It has largely tapered off. Clashes with security forces have resulted in up to 22 protesters’ deaths and hundreds of arrests. Amid the wave of anti-government unrest, massive pro-government rallies were also staged across Iran, with participants reportedly numbering in the tens of thousands.