The UN Security Council Chamber in December 2017. Photo: Eskinder Debebe | UN
UNITED NATIONS, New York — At the behest of the United States, the UN Security Council will hold a discussion on Friday afternoon after a week of deadly protests across Iran. Russia sees "no role for the UN Security Council in this matter."
The council meeting is titled "the situation in the Middle East" and is scheduled for 3 p.m. at UN Headquarters in New York.
US Ambassador to the UN Nicki Haley requested briefing the council to "discuss the troubling and dangerous situation in Iran."
At least 21 protesters and two security forces have died in the protests that spread from Iran's second-largest city of Mashhad in the far east to western cities in Iranian Kurdistan.
"The world has witnessed the horrors that have taken place in Syria, that began with a murderous regime denying its people's right to peacefully protest," stated Haley.
"We must not let that happen in Iran," she added.
Russia, a permanent council member with veto powers, sees "no role for the UN Security Council in this issue."
"I am sure that no matter what decision will ultimately be taken on this harmful and destructive American idea, we are our position, which is very consistent and based wholly and entirely on adherence to the norms of international law," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told his state media RIA Novosti on Thursday.
“We see no role for the United Nations Security Council in this issue,” he said, according to the agency. “Iran’s domestic affairs have nothing to do with the United Nations Security Council’s role.”
The anti-regime demonstrators have protested against a lack of jobs, rising costs of goods including fuel, oppression of free speech, and Iranian intervention across the Middle East, especially in Syria.
People also protested in support of the regime.
During the protests, Tehran blocked several social media and online messaging applications.
The top commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian Army declared on Thursday the protests had ended.
Gholam Ali Khoshroo, Iran's Ambassador to the UN, sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
"In the past several days, the US administration, led by the US president, has stepped up its acts of intervention in a grotesque way in Iran’s internal affairs under the pretext of providing support for sporadic protests, which in several instances were hijacked by infiltrators to include acts of senseless homicide," Iran's Tasnim news agency reported Khoshroo as writing.
He expressed hope that the other countries would condemn US policy and would call on Washington to abide by international law.
The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced sanctions on five entities with ties to Iran’s missile program on Thursday. He warned that additional sanctions “targeting human rights abuses” may be forthcoming.
US State Department Heather Nauert was asked if the sanctions should be considered a response to the protests.
"I believe all of that has been in the works for quite some time," she said on Thursday.
Kazakhstan holds the Security Council presidency through January.