Iran stages pro-government rallies, derides Trump 'blunder' at UN

US faces criticism at Security Council meeting on Iran protests

'Raising Iran unrest at UN a blunder'

US Ambassador Nikki Haley said "Iran is now on notice: the world will be watching what you do", during an emergency meeting of UN Security Council on mass anti-government protests in Iran.

Haley said Friday that "the world should applaud their courage", and the USA "stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves".

Dutch Ambassador Karel van Oosterom said his country hoped the meeting could "work as a preventive measure to avoid further escalation of violence".

The state broadcaster showed pro-government rallies in several cities, starting with Amol, in the northern province of Mazandaram, with hundreds of people waving the Iranian flag and chanting slogans against the USA and Israel.

The US called the meeting despite fierce criticism from Russian Federation, which accused Washington of interfering in Iran's internal affairs.

Still, the United Nations charter empowers the council to "investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to global friction", and the US wasn't alone in thinking the Iranian protests qualified. He called on the Iranian government to set up a process to address any serious human rights violations and hold accountable anyone involved.

Amid the unrest and anti-government rallies that began last week, Iran has also seen three days of pro-government demonstrations, with crowds in the tens of thousands. "It is a powerful exhibition of courageous people who have become so fed up with their oppressive government that they are willing to risk their lives in protest". Iran's Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo slammed the meeting as a "farce" and a "waste of time" and said the Council should instead focus on addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the war in Yemen. The CIA declined to comment. Due to the Trump administration, it's not only watching, it's also acting.

The French ambassador to the council, while expressing concern about the disrespect of the rights of demonstrators, questioned whether that in itself would warrant raising the issue at the UNSC level.

The U.S. imposed new sanctions Thursday on five Iranian entities over their involvement in developing ballistic missiles.

Meanwhile, Trump faces deadlines on sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program next week, waived every 120 days in line with a nuclear deal reached between Tehran and world powers in 2015. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said more sanctions "targeting human rights abuses are coming".

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