US to turn UN's focus on Iran protests crackdown

An informal Security Council meeting will convene to discuss the situation in the republic

US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield. The US and Albania will hold an informal UN Security Council gathering to discuss civil unrest in Iran on Wednesday. Reuters
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The US will next week turn the UN's focus on the protests in Iran that were set off by the death of a woman in police custody and look for ways to promote credible, independent investigations into Iranian human rights abuses.

The US and Albania will hold an informal UN Security Council gathering on Wednesday, according to a note seen by Reuters.

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Iranian-born actress and human rights campaigner Nazanin Boniadi are scheduled to brief it.

“The meeting will highlight the repression of women and girls and members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iran,” the note said. “It will identify opportunities to promote credible, independent investigations into the Iranian government's human rights violations and abuses.”

Independent UN investigator on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, is also scheduled to address the meeting, which can be attended by UN member states and human rights groups.

Iran has been gripped by protests since the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody last month. The unrest has turned into a popular revolt by Iranians from across society, posing one of the boldest challenges to the clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution.

Iran has blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.

Iran's mission to the UN in New York accused the US and its allies of abusing their platform “to further their political agenda”.

“Given its hypocrisy, use of a double standard, and selective application of human rights, we find the US's claims to support Iranian women to be deceptive and lacking in good faith,” it said.

Rights groups have said at least 250 protesters have been killed and thousands arrested in Iran. Women have played a prominent part in the protests, removing and burning veils. The deaths of several teenage girls reportedly during protests have fuelled anger.

“The meeting will underscore unlawful use of force against protesters and the Iranian regime's pursuit of human rights defenders and dissidents abroad to abduct or assassinate them in contravention of international law,” said the note.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Friday urged the Iranian authorities to address the “legitimate grievances of the population, including with respect to women's rights”.

“We condemn all incidents that have resulted in death or serious injury to protesters and reiterate that security forces must avoid all unnecessary or disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters,” Mr Dujarric told reporters.

“Those responsible must be held to account.”

Updated: October 29, 2022, 5:55 AM
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