U.S. should make clear it backs Iranian people

Sergio Conner
January 13, 2018

Twenty-one people, majority demonstrators, have died in protests that began nearly a week ago in Iran's second-largest city of Mashhad; hundreds more have been arrested.

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley called on Tehran to allow peaceful demonstrations.

France's ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council the protests in Iran did not require a meeting before the worldwide body.

The United States requested an emergency session to deliver a scathing rebuke of the Iranian government, and throw its full backing behind anti-government protesters.

Iran's interior minister said up to 42,000 people took part during the week of protests. He did not elaborate.

While they acknowledged that Iran's economic woes are indeed feeding the ongoing rallies in Iran, experts at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank noted on Friday that the demonstrations are primarily fueled by displeasure with decisions made by the Islamic Republic's regime. This time, we will not be silent.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reports that Tehran's Islamic leadership may have found a scapegoat in the form of "an ultra-hard-line cleric and Khamenei ally in Iran's fundamentalist heartland ..."

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.

Alma Konurbayeva, a spokeswoman for current council president Kazakhstan, confirmed that Friday afternoon's meeting is about Iran.

Efforts by the Trump administration to marshal a muscular worldwide response to Iran's crackdown on anti-government protesters appeared to have backfired, as members of the UN Security Council lectured the United States ambassador on the proper goal of the body and to reaffirm support for the Iran nuclear agreement. Falk reports that if Russian Federation or any of the 14 other Council members object to the meeting, it will go to a vote about whether to go ahead with it.

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"The situation is not an issue that belongs on the agenda of the Security Council", the representative from Bolivia said, saying it will "run the risk of the Security Council becoming a political tool exploited for each member's ends". Government supporters turned out in force in Tehran and elsewhere on Friday.

The president has said that "oppressive regimes can not endure forever", and our administration will continue to support the protesters in their calls for freedom and demand that Iran's leaders cease their risky and destabilizing actions at home and overseas.

"The Iranian people will determine their own destiny. And we know the truth", Haley said.

The White House, meanwhile, continues to tighten the economic screws on Iran.

Iran is also weighing in to U.N. Security Council members.

Khatami says that "the nation does not support a social network that has its key in the hands of the United States".

Russia's deputy foreign minister has called the United States proposal "harmful and destructive".

If the USA does not garner the votes to hold the meeting, it will bolster the US argument that the United Nations fails to speak out on human rights.

Today the Iranian people are again rising up to demand freedom and opportunity, and under President Donald Trump, the United States is standing with them.

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