UN Security Council opens formal meeting on Iran protests

Russia: US Call for UN Meeting on Iran “Destructive”

Russia: US Call for UN Meeting on Iran “Destructive”

On Thursday, the United States formally requested an open meeting, and Russian Federation then called for the closed-door talks at 2:30 pm (1930 GMT) Friday.

In contrast to the USA response to the Iran protests in 2009, where the Obama administration took a relatively hands-off approach, President Trump has promised "great support" for the demonstrators, while the State Department has hinted at sanctions for officials who abuse protesters and said that it will use Facebook and Twitter to communicate directly with activists. The unrest spread over 80 cities and towns and has resulted in 22 deaths and more than 1,000 arrests, according to Iranian officials. It has said those restrictions will be lifted on Friday, and there were signs Thursday that it had begun easing some of them.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations KIkki Haley had sought emergency meetings with UN Security Council and the Human Rights Council over the riots in Iran.

Iran's Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo told the council that his government had "hard evidence" that the protests were being directed from overseas, also saying that the United States had abused its position as a permanent council member by forcing the session. "It is limiting the flow of information into Iran, restricting free speech, and attempting to prevent the outside world from observing its own repression", her statement said.

"Despite the many attempts to distort what is really going on (in Iran), I am sure that our neighbor, our friend, will overcome its current difficulties", Ryabkov said.

The statement closed, vowing, "To the regime's victims, we say: You will not be forgotten".

Ben Evansky reports for Fox News on the United Nations and worldwide affairs.

The Iranian government restricted access to social media at the height of the protests over the weekend, but many Iranians also use VPNs so the government can not track their online activity. Since the demonstrations began six days back, at least 21 people have been killed - including a police officer - while hundreds more have reportedly been detained.

Pro-regime rallies were held around Tehran on Friday for the third day running with authorities seeking to put a lid on the violence.

He added his government has "hard evidence" the recent protests in Iran were "very clearly directed from abroad".

Haley said that "in the end, the Iranian people will determine their own destiny", and she reiterated USA support for the protesters.

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

"The United States continues to pursue a policy of open and implicit interference in the internal affairs of other states — doing it unabashedly, openly, under the slogan of caring for democracy and human rights, directly infringing on the sovereignty of other states", Sergei Ryabkov said Friday in comments carried by the Interfax news agency.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month by Myanmar's government against the Asian nation's Rohingya Muslim minority amounted to "ethnic cleansing."Haley's Christmas Eve announcement on cuts to the UN budget for 2018-2019 came days after the US in years at the UN Security Council".

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