US warns Iran at UN: ‘The world will be watching what you do’

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UNITED NATIONS: US Ambassador Nikki Haley warned Iranian authorities on Friday that the world is watching as it responds to anti-government protests.

Iran faced a barrage of calls for restraint at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council amid demonstrations that have left more than 20 people dead in the country.

“The Iranian regime is now on notice: The world will be watching what you do,” Haley told the UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Islamic republic.

Haley spoke Friday after her country called the meeting. She said the international community must also “do more” to prevent Iran from silencing protesters’ messages, particularly by blocking some social media platforms.

US President Donald Trump and members of his administration have praised the anti-government protesters as people standing up to a repressive and corrupt regime. Haley said Friday that “the world should applaud their courage,” and the US “stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves,” AP reported.

The British ambassador to the UN said that Iran’s security interests in the Middle East destablize and threaten others. Matthew Rycroft said that Iran’s security interests have seen it support terrorism and that its activities have distorted the Iranian economy.

Karel J. G. van Oosterom, the permanent representative of the Netherlands to the UN, urged Tehran to launch an “accountability” process and to lift online and offline restrictions.

At least 21 people have been killed amid the anti-government rallies and unrest that began last week. Iran has also seen three days of large pro-government demonstrations.

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, has portrayed the Security Council meeting as an American attempt to violate Iran’s sovereignty.

Iran’s representative to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, said the US had “abused its power” in calling the meeting.

“(The US) administration is now desperately reaching for every straw that keeps it afloat,” he said.

Representatives of both China and Russia to the UN protested over the inclusion of the Iran issue in the Security Council agenda.

“Discussing the situation in Iran (at the Security Council meeting) is not in line with the charter of the UN,” China’s representative said.

He argued that the recent demonstrations in Iran do not pose any threat to international peace, and therefore should not have been discussed.

“We call for a political solution to issues in the region — we should resolutely combat terrorism to eliminate root causes that breed terrorism,” he said.

Russia’s representative accused the US of abusing the Security Council platform, and said Iran should be allowed to deal with its own problems.

Earlier in the day, UN human rights experts slammed the treatment of protesters in the country.

Four UN special rapporteurs expressed extreme concern over the reported deaths of more than 20 people including children and hundreds of arrests across the country.

“We are very disturbed by the way the authorities have responded to the protests,” the experts said in a joint statement.

“We share the worries expressed by Iranian civil society groups over what will happen to the people who have been arrested.”

“The names and whereabouts of all persons detained in connection with these protests ought to be made public and they should be allowed immediate access to their families and legal counsel.”

They added: “The Government’s instruction to the Revolutionary Guards to hit hard against the protesters, and the judiciary’s threats of harsh punishment, are unacceptable.

“We urge the authorities to exercise restraint and respond proportionately in their efforts to control the protests, to limit the use of force to a strict minimum, and to fully respect the human rights of the protesters, including their rights to life, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

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