China, Russia say UNSC meeting on Iran protests defies UN charter

World Today

The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in Iran, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Iran is “now on notice.” That’s the warning from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nation Nikki Haley. She made the statement during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, requested by the U.S. after more than a week of anti-government protests in Iran.

At least 21 were killed and hundreds arrested in the biggest demonstrations in the country since 2009.

CGTN’s Liling Tan reports.
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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.

“In the end, the Iranian people will determine their own destiny,” Haley said. “Let there be no doubt, the U.S. 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.”

Russia was equally scathing in its rebuke of the U.S., accusing the Trump administration of using the Security Council to address an issue for which it has no jurisdiction. Moscow said the Iranian protests are not an international peace and security matter.

“The real reason for convening today’s meeting is not an attempt to protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people,” according to Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s U.N. ambassador. “But rather as a veiled attempt to use the current moment to continue to undermine the Iran nuclear deal.”

China also left little doubt about Beijing’s position that the Security Council is not a place to discuss the internal affairs of any country.

“The Iranian issue does not pose any threat on international peace and security, nor is it on the agenda of the Security Council,” China’s Ambassador to the U.N. Wu Haitao said. “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. Doing so does not help resolve the domestic issue of Iran.”

Both Iran and Russia said that if the Iranian protests are a matter for the Security Council to oversee, then the American Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson should have been as well.

Iran also accused the U.S. of overreaching and bullying at the UN, while meddling in Iranian and Middle Eastern internal affairs.

At the heart of this is the long-running dispute over the Iran nuclear deal. This meeting widened the divide between Washington’s criticism of the pact, and an international community that largely stands by it.