Efforts by the Trump administration to marshal a muscular international response to Iran’s crackdown on anti-government protesters appeared to backfire on Friday, as members of the UN Security Council instead used a special session called by the U.S. to lecture the American ambassador on the proper purpose of the body and to reaffirm support for the Iran nuclear agreement, The New York Times reports.
There was evidence of a mini-revolt brewing within the Security Council chamber, not only among traditional adversaries like Russia and China, but also among close allies like France and Sweden. Many seemed to fear that the outspoken criticism by the Americans was simply a pretext to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump has long desired to scrap.
The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, was blunt in his addressing. He asked rhetorically why the Security Council had not taken up the issue of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo., which were at times also met with a violent police response.
“The real reason for convening today’s meeting is not an attempt to protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather as a veiled attempt to use the current moment to continue to undermine” the Iranian deal, Mr. Nebenzya said.
By calling a UN Security Council meeting with the demand to support anti-government protesters in Iran, the U.S. is trying to bend the UNSC mandate, which does not deal with countries’ internal affairs, Russia’s UN envoy has said.
“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,” Nebenzia said.
He slammed the U.S. 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.”
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.