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US to Call on UN Security Council to Meet on Iran

US to Call on UN Security Council to Meet on Iran

Tuesday, 2 January, 2018 - 19:00
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. (AFP)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that Washington “applauds the courage of the Iranian people” for their anti-government protests.

She said that the US wants to help amplify their voices, adding that it will call for an emergency UN Security Council on Iran.

Iran’s claim protests were designed by outside forces is “ridiculous”, she stressed, saying that they are “completely spontaneous.”

Earlier, the US Department of State voiced its support for the Iran protests, calling on the government to end its block of Instagram and other social media sites

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein, in charge of public diplomacy, said the US wants Iran's government to "open these sites" including the photo-sharing platform Instagram and the messaging app Telegram.

"They are legitimate avenues for communication," Goldstein said. "People in Iran should be able to access those sites."

Iranians seeking to evade the blocks can use virtual private networks, Goldstein said. Known as VPNs, the services create encrypted data "tunnels" between computers and are used in many countries to access overseas websites blocked by the local government.

Despite the blocks, the United States is working to maintain communication with Iranians in the Farsi language, including through official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. The State Department also was to distribute videos of top US officials encouraging the protesters through those and other sites.

The US outreach came as the Trump administration, in a departure from President Barack Obama's approach, was mounting a full-throated show of support for Iranians protesting against the government over concerns about corruption, mismanagement and economic woes.

Goldstein said the US was not only supporting the protesters but encouraging other countries to do the same.

"We want to encourage the protesters to continue to fight for what's right and to open up Iran," Goldstein said.

President Donald Trump had expressed his support for the demonstrations, declaring that it is "time for change.”

The protests over six days have been largest seen in Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, expanding to several cities. At least 21 people have died and hundreds have been arrested.

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