Above: Russia’s Vasily Nebenzya speaks to Nikki Haley of the United States before a Security Council meeting on Iran (Mary Altaffer/AP)
Security Council Tells United States Protests were a Domestic Issue that Did Not Threaten Peace and Security.
Use the Opportunity to Express Support for Iran Nuclear Agreement
The United States took the Iran protests to the UN Security Council this week, but was rebuffed and told the protests were an inappropriate issue for the Council. Reuters described the meeting as one where the US was criticized for abusing its power. Multiple countries claimed the small protests were not worthy of the Security Council’s consideration as they did not threaten peace and security but were a domestic issue that the UN should not intrude on. This was another of a growing list of examples of the US losing influence on the global stage.
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council, but the attempt to turn the UN against Iran backfired. US ally, France, warned against the United States using internal matters for its personal benefit, with Reuters reporting Ambassador Francois Delattre saying, “We must be wary of any attempts to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have the diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished.”
The US was criticized with countries claiming the protests did not fall under the Security Council’s mandate to deal with issues related to international peace and security. A group of countries, led by China and Russia, argued this was a domestic issue that did not threaten peace and security. FOX news described a tense meeting where Russia argued the US was “abusing” the platform of the Council by calling the session over what it described as a purely internal matter. “Today we are witnessing once again how the U.S is abusing the platform of the Security Council,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.
Bloomberg reports that “China’s envoy said that if Haley’s logic were to be followed consistently, the Security Council should have held hearings after the 2014 racial protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in 2011.” Russia made the same points and, FOX news reports, so did France French Ambassador Francois Delattre saying “However worrying the events of the last few days in Iran may be, they do not constitute a threat per se to international peace and security.”
FOX reports that Iran joined the chorus of criticism of the United States, as “Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo seized on the Russian argument and slammed what it called an ‘abuse of its power by a permanent member and an abuse of the Council itself.’ In a rambling speech, he listed a lengthy history of protests in the U.S. and other Western countries.”
Koshroo also accused the United States of interference in Iran. Reuters reported that Khoshroo told the Security Council his government has “hard evidence” that recent protests in Iran were “very clearly directed from abroad.”
“The real reason for convening today is not protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather a veiled attempt to continue to undermine the Iranian nuclear agreement,” Russia’s Nebezia stated, according to the Tehran Times. The meeting had the opposite effect, Bloomberg reports ,members “used the opportunity to defend the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, an accord increasingly seen as under threat by President Donald Trump’s administration.” Even the close ally of the United States, the United Kingdom, stood up to the US., with their Ambassador Matthew Rycroft saying, “The U.K. remains fully committed to the JCPOA,” an acronym for the nuclear accord. “We encourage all members states to uphold all their commitments. A prosperous, stable Iran is beneficial to all.”
Bloomberg goes on to report that another US ally, France, stood up for the nuclear agreement reporting, “Ending the nuclear accord ‘would be a major setback for the entire international community,’” French envoy Francois Delattre said, adding that “the agreement is one of the cornerstones of stability in the Middle East as a whole.”
Support for the nuclear agreement by other nations comes at a critical moment because President Trump will be making a series of decisions on Iran starting next week. Perhaps most critical is whether the US will honor the nuclear agreement that included lifting restrictions on Iran’s banking, oil and shipping industries. If Trump decides to re-impose sanctions, the meeting showed this decision will leave the US isolated in the world.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif declared victory, tweeting that the Security Council had “rebuffed the US’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate” and mocking what he called “another [foreign policy] blunder for the Trump administration.”
UN Ambassador Nikki Haley described the session as a victory for the United States, a claim which was obviously the opposite of reality. With a straight face, Haley told journalist Benny Avni that the opposition to the US didn’t “bother me. We were fighting for the Iranian people today and they were heard and that was our goal and we won.”