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  • Pro-government counter-protesters hoist pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    Pro-government counter-protesters hoist pictures of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 January 2018

"We obviously regret the loss of lives as a result of the demonstrations that were not so peaceful," said Russia's envoy to the UN. "However, let Iran deal with its own problems."

Russia's envoy to the United Nations has strongly condemned the United States' decision to call a UN Security Council meeting over anti-government protests in Iran.

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"If we follow your logic then we should have meetings of the Security Council after the events in Ferguson or after the dispersal by force of the Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan," said Vasiliy Nebenzia, referencing major protest movements in the United States in recent years that met with police brutality.

"We obviously regret the loss of lives as a result of the demonstrations that were not so peaceful. However, let Iran deal with its own problems."

US Ambassador Nikki Haley called the meeting, praising the protests as a "powerful exhibition of brave people." US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have also offerered their support to the rallies, which they see as targeting a government that has long been a thorn in the side of their foreign-policy interests.

Russia, however, has rejected these efforts as interference and a violation of sovereignty.

"You are dispersing the energy of the Security Council instead of focusing it on dealing with key crisis situations in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, DPRK (North Korea) and the African continent," said Nebenzia. 

"Instead of that, you are proposing that we interfere in the internal affairs of a state. We don't want to get involved in destabilizing Iran or any other country."

Iran's ambassador has also accused the United States of using the United Nations as a forum to impose its interests in the country and promote an "obstructionist" agenda. A number of other countries echoed the sentiment.

The Iranian mission to the United Nations released a statement saying that the United States is attempting to take advantage of protests by citizens over "legitimate grievances." It pointed out that many of the hardships Iranians experience are "exacerbated by none other than the United States itself in its dereliction of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action."

"It is a discredit for the Security Council to take up a matter that is of a purely domestic nature while failing abjectly to lift a finger when it comes to genuine issues, such as the long-lasting occupation of Palestinian territory," the statements reads.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted that the Security council has "rebuffed the United States' naked attempt to hijack its mandate."

"Majority emphasized the need to fully implement the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) and to refrain from interfering in internal affairs of others."

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