Iran foreign minister ridicules Trump 'blunder' at UN

US, Russia gear up for UN showdown over Iran protests

The US warned Iran the world was watching its reaction to anti-government protests at a UN Security Council meeting on Friday - but several of its UN peers resisted holding the meeting altogether.

Every United Nations member state is sovereign, but member states can not use sovereignty as a shield when they categorically deny their people human rights and fundamental freedoms, the U.S. ambassador said.

Several countries on the Security Council have blocked or attempted to prevent meetings focused on internal or domestic affairs of United Nations member states in the recent past.

The United States had pushed for the UN meeting on Friday to discuss the five days of protests that hit Iran last week, leading to the deaths of 21 people and hundreds of arrests.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called the protests "something the world must take note of" and a "powerful exhibition of courageous people" risking their lives to exercise their right to speak. She said the demonstrations were a "spontaneous expression of fundamental human rights" against an "oppressive government" that prioritizes militias and terror groups overseas over its own people.

Haley said the emergency meeting on the protests in Iran is putting the Islamic Republic on notice that "the world will be watching what you do".

"And I call on the government of Iran to stop censoring the voice of the people and to restore the access to the internet".

And Iran's United Nations envoy, Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo, complained in a letter to the Security Council president Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump's "absurd tweets" had "incited Iranians to engage in disruptive acts".

French Ambassador to the UN Francois Delattre said the protests do not threaten worldwide peace and security, Radio Pakistan reports.

More than a week of unrest has seen 22 people die and more than 1,000 arrested, according to Iranian officials, in the biggest anti-government protests for almost a decade.

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Iranian state TV showed pro-government rallies in response to the protests.

United States President Donald Trump has come out in support of the protestors.

Tehran University Vice-President Majid Sarsangi said the university had set up a committee to track the fate of students arrested during the unrest. For the European Union, human rights have always been a core issue in our relationship with Iran.

But on Friday, there was evidence of a mini-revolt at the Security Council, not only among traditional U.S. adversaries such as Russian Federation and China, but also among its close allies like France and Sweden.

"If we are not careful, we will end up surreptitiously rebuilding an "axis of evil", Mr Macron added, referring to a comment by former USA president George W. Bush, who used the term to describe the "rogue" regimes of Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Something that of course will only see to further anger not only protesters but the government in Tehran too.

Delattre urged a careful approach to weighing in on the protests: "Yes, of course, to vigilance and call for full respect of freedom of expression, but no to instrumentalization of the crisis from the outside - because it would only reinforce the extremes, which is precisely what we want to avoid", he said before the meeting.

The United States and Israel have expressed support for the protesters, but deny allegations of fomenting them.

The anti-government rallies erupted on December 28 in Iran's holy Shi'ite city of Mashhad after the government announced plans to increase fuel prices and dismantle monthly cash handout to lower-income Iranians.

Russia's deputy foreign minister has called the United States proposal "harmful and destructive".

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