Iran protests United Nations emergency meeting

Iran protests United Nations emergency meeting

Thousands of people have flooded the streets of Iran's second-largest city to show support for the nation's leadership following a week of protests that sparked unrest throughout the country.

Iranian Envoy to the UN Gholam Ali Khoshroo also stressed that the United States is abusing its power as a member of the United Nations Security Council and as a permanent member of the council by calling a meeting to discuss the protests in Iran.

Unrest spread to more than 80 cities and rural towns as thousands of young and working-class Iranians voiced anger at graft, unemployment and a deepening gap between rich and poor.

People protest in Tehran, Iran on 30 December.

The protests have drawn largely young people and workers as well as members of the educated middle-class that formed the backbone of a pro-reform revolt nearly a decade ago.

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in the German cities of Berlin and Hamburg on January 6 in support of the Iranian protesters.

"Those with a criminal record, or those charged with sabotage such as setting fire to motorcycles or damaging public buildings have been referred to judicial authorities", governor Alireza Rashidian told the ISNA news agency.

A police spokesman said most of those arrested "had been duped" into joining the protests and had now been freed under caution, according to state news agency IRNA. "But, the leaders of the unrest are held by the judiciary in prison".

The vice-president of Tehran University, which has seen clashes in recent days, said a committee had been formed to track the fate of students who had been arrested.

They also said they missed Neda, a young female student who was shot dead during those same rallies and became an icon for the Green Revolution.

"It seems that the total number of detainees is around 90".

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"The move by the United States to bring to this council protests in Iran by some of our citizens for legitimate grievances some exacerbated by none other than U.S. itself in its dereliction of its obligation under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] is an abuse of its power as a permanent member and an abuse of the council itself", Khoshroo said on Friday.

Russian Federation and China are among the countries that are expected to oppose Security Council action on Iran, diplomats said.

Videos that appeared on social media in recent days showed relatives of detainees gathering outside prisons seeking information about the fate of their loved ones.

Now the Iranian government is moving to counter the message of the protests.

State television showed live pictures of rallies in several cities, including central Shahr-e Kord where hundreds, many clutching umbrellas, had gathered despite heavy snowfall.

Many of them, he said, had been arrested at their homes.

"Things should be good in Iran now the sanctions have been lifted, but the mullahs' pockets are bottomless and everybody knows it", she told Reuters.

Turkey and Russia warned Thursday against interfering into Iran amid protests with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov urging the US not to interfere into Iran's "domestic affairs" while Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman also warned against external parties interfering in Iran's internal affairs, without naming any country.

The Security Council "rebuffed the US' naked attempt to hijack its mandate", Zarif wrote on Twitter.

Now, the Trump administration seeks to slash Near East Regional Democracy Fund's budget in half, to $15 million.

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