UN Security Council holds closed-door talks on Iran

United-NationsNEW YORK: The UN Security Council went into closed-door talks on Friday on the deadly protests in Iran with Russia and the United States at odds over whether the top UN body should discuss the demonstrations.

Russia requested the consultations and was set to call for a procedural vote to try to block an open meeting requested by the United States on the anti-government demonstrations, which President Donald Trump has openly supported.

Heading into the council chamber, US Ambassador Nikki Haley gave reporters a thumbs-up and answered “yes” when asked if she had the nine votes needed for Friday’s meeting to go ahead.

For a new agenda item to be discussed at the Security Council, at least nine of the 15 council members must support holding the meeting. No vetoes apply.

Russia accuses the United States of interfering in Iran’s national affairs and maintains the protests are not a matter for the council, which deals with threats to international peace and security.

A total of 21 people have died and hundreds have been arrested since December 28 as protests over economic woes turned against the Iranian regime, with attacks on government buildings and police stations.

Pro-regime rallies were held in Tehran after Friday prayers, the third straight day of marches in support of the government, which has declared the unrest over.

Over the past days, the United States has lobbied hard to win support for the Security Council meeting, especially from the six new non-permanent council members, diplomats said.