The United States and Russia were set to face off Friday at the United Nations Security Council over how the international community should respond to the protests in Iran, after the U.S. called for an emergency session as it ramps up pressure on the hardline regime in Tehran.
The Trump administration has taken a vocal approach to the situation in Iran, where at least 21 people have been killed and over 1,000 arrested as Iranians take to the streets to protest against the regime.
In contrast to the U.S. response to the Iran protests in 2009, where the Obama administration took a relatively hands-off approach, President Trump has promised “great support” for the demonstrators, while the State Department has hinted at sanctions for officials who abuse protesters and said that it will use Facebook and Twitter to communicate directly with activists.
“We must not be silent,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday. “The people of Iran are crying out for freedom. All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause.”
A Security Council diplomat told Fox News that countries opposed to the discussion could call a vote to stop it from going ahead. Russia has been vocal in its opposition to the session, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov accusing the U.S. of infringing on Iran’s sovereignty.
“[The U.S.] continues to pursue a policy of open and implicit interference in the internal affairs of other states — doing it unabashedly, openly, under the slogan of caring for democracy and human rights, directly infringing on the sovereignty of other states,” Ryabkov said, according to the Associated Press.