United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday said the U.S. would be seeking emergency sessions at the UN Security Council and the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Commission in the coming days to speak out on the unfolding protests in Iran.
The people of Iran are crying out for freedom,” Haley said at a news conference. “All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause.”
Reading the slogans of protesters, Haley rejected as “complete nonsense” charges by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that the unrest was being orchestrated by the Islamic Republic’s “foreign enemies.”
Haley observed that “The demonstrations are completely spontaneous. They are virtually in every city in Iran.”
She continued: “The freedoms that are enshrined in the United Nations charter are under attack in Iran. Dozens have already been killed. Hundreds have been arrested”, adding that “If the Iranian dictatorship’s history is any guide, we can expect more outrageous abuses in the days to come.”
Speaking at the UN, Haley also called on Iran to unblock social media sites used by anti-government protesters to organize their demonstrations and on “freedom-loving” nations to throw their support behind the people of Iran.
While European governments have largely responded to the crisis with great caution, the U.S. firmly aligned itself with the protesters.
“By the thousands, Iranian citizens are taking to the streets to protest the oppression of their own government,” Haley said. “It takes great bravery for the Iranian people to use the power of their voice against their government, especially when their government has a long history of murdering its own people who dare to speak the truth.”
The seeds of protest were sown months after sanctions were lifted by the Obama administration as part of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), when many Iranians felt that they had not benefitted from the fiscal boost of the nuclear accord.
At least 21 Iranians have been reported killed in the protests, with hundreds more arrested.
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