UN Security Council opens formal meeting on Iran protests

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The United States and Russian Federation were set to face off Friday at the United Nations Security Council over how the worldwide community should respond to the protests in Iran, after the US called for an emergency session as it ramps up pressure on the hardline regime in Tehran.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks at UN headquarters in NY, U.S., January 2, 2018. The US delegation said on Thursday it had requested the Friday meeting.

Iran on Wednesday angrily accused the U.S.at the United Nations of meddling in its domestic affairs.

Kalın, also told reporters during a news conference in Ankara that while Iranian citizens had the right to hold demonstrations, it was not possible to accept acts that cause casualties and property damage, as the protests have left 21 people dead.

"It will be telling if any country tries to deny the Security Council from even having this discussion, just as the Iranian regime tries to deny its own people the ability to have their voices heard", Haley said Thursday.

"We do not accept interventions to distort peace in the Iranian society with tweets".

For a new agenda item to be discussed at the Security Council, at least nine of the 15 council members must support holding the meeting. "Peace in Iran is of great importance to us", he said.

In Moscow, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov made it clear that the protests in Iran did not pose an global threat and should not be a topic for debate within the council.

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France's ambassador to the UN said the protests do not threaten worldwide peace and security, in what may be an implicit criticism of the United States.

Ryabkov accused Washington of "directly attacking the sovereignty of other states under the pretext of being concerned about democracy and human rights".

U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration have praised the anti-government protesters as people standing up to a repressive and corrupt regime. These protests were followed on Saturday and Wednesday by large demonstrations in support of the government.

Some other members 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", French Ambassador Francois Delattre said before the meeting.

Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Peru, Poland and the Netherlands began their stint at the Security Council on January 1.

"Iran's domestic affairs have nothing to do with the United Nations Security Council's role".

The US administration has also imposed unilateral sanctions on five Iranian companies linked to Tehran's ballistic missile program.

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