“The world will be watching what you do,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has warned Iran during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation in the Islamic nation which has faced a series of nationwide anti-government protests.
During the meeting, three members France, Russia and China of the permanent five, joined Iran in asserting that this 15-membered body was not an appropriate forum to discuss the current situation in Iran as it does not pose any threat to international peace and security.
Heated debate took place on the floor of the Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York after its 15 members were gathered at the request of the US to discuss the current situation in Iran.
“The people of Iran are rising up. They are asking for something that no government can legitimately deny them: their human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are calling out, Think of us. If the founding principles of this institution mean anything, we will not only hear their cry, we will finally answer it. The Iranian regime is now on notice. The world will be watching what you do,” Haley told a meeting of the UN Security Council.
The meeting of the UN Security Council was convened at the request of the US to discuss the current situation in Iran, where some 21 people have lost their lives in more than week-long anti-government protests across the country.
US President Donald Trump has come out in support of the protestors.
Every UN member state is sovereign, but member states cannot use sovereignty as a shield when they categorically deny their people human rights and fundamental freedoms, Haley said.
She called on all of her other colleagues in the Security Council to join her in amplifying the message of the Iranian people.
“And I call on the Government of Iran to stop censoring the voice of the people and to restore the access to the internet. Because in the end, the Iranian people will determine their own destiny,” she said.
“And let there be no doubt whatsoever: 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. No dishonest attempt to call the protestors, puppets of foreign powers, will change that. The Iranian people know the truth. And we know the truth,” Haley said.
Briefing the Security Council, Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant UN Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said the demonstrations taking place in Iran were a fundamental expression of human rights, and a powerful exhibition of brave people who were so fed up with their oppressive regime that they were willing to risk their lives in protest.
The Iranian regime’s contempt of the rights of its people had been widely documented, she said.
Addressing the Security Council, the Iranian Ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshoroo slammed the 15-membered body to have allowed itself to be abused by the Trump Administration in holding a meeting that falls outside the scope of its mandate.
This is a mistake by the Security Council, he said.
“This is nothing but another desperate attempt by the US administration to escape, as it has lost every shred of moral, political and legal authority and credibility in the eyes of the whole world,” he said.
There is a long history of US bullying at the UN, and the case of the Iranian protest was a preposterous example of interference in the purely internal affairs of a nation.
Khoshoroo alleged that the US has a long history of intervening in the internal affairs of Iran, including a continuous pattern of disruption in the democratisation process in Iran.
British Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, refuted the Iranian allegations and said that no one is forcing Iran onto their agenda.
“The Security Council is perfectly empowered through Article 34 of the UN Charter, and I quote, to investigate any dispute or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security,” he said.
However, the Russian representative Vassily A Nebenzia agreed with Iran and said US is abusing the platform of the Security Council.
Iran should be allowed to deal with its own problems, he said asserting that the Council should not be involved in destabilising Iran.
“Following the current logic, it should have held a meeting after the events in Ferguson, Missouri. History is full of attempts to replace undesirable regimes, but people preferred not to remember that. The real reason to convene the meeting is a veiled attempt to use the current moment to undermine the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” he said.
Observing that the Council’s primary responsibility is maintaining international peace and security, Wu Haito of China said that it should not be the venue for discussing the human rights situation of any country.
“The Iranian situation did not pose a threat to international peace and security, and discussing its domestic situation is not part of the Council’s responsibilities as outlined in the Charter,” he said.
Joining Iran, Russia and China, the French Representative to the UN, Francois Delattre it is up to the Iranians alone to pursue the path of peace.
“However worrying the recent events were, they did not constitute a threat to international peace and security. Change in Iran would not come from the outside, it would come from the Iranian people themselves,” he added.
Among the non-permanent members, representatives from Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia sided with the Iranian argument that the Council was not the forum to discuss the current situation in Iran.
The meeting was chaired by Kairat Umarov, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to the UN. Speaking in his national capacity, he said his country considered the developments in Iran to be a domestic issue that did not fall under the mandate of the Security Council.