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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley spoke to the press on Tuesday, asking for support for the Iranian people, who are rising up against an “oppressive regime.” She also announced that the U.S. will call for emergency sessions in New York and Geneva to address the continued mass protests in Iran, which have occurred over the last six days.

The protests in Iran began late last week, as citizens expressed frustration over Iran’s sluggish economy. They have become an open defiance of the Iran’s leadership and against the repressive government. While Iran’s leadership have called for an end to the demonstrations amid threats of increased retaliation for define, protests continue across the country. At least 21 people have been killed in the protests so far.

Haley said the international community has an obligation to the Iranian people (see video below).

“The U.N. must speak out,” Haley said. “In the days ahead, we will be calling for an emergency session both here in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. We must not be silent. The people of Iran are crying out for freedom.”

Haley said the international community failed Iran in 2009, when protests erupted in Iran, and said the world must respond better to the current protests.

“All freedom-loving people must stand with their cause,” she said. “The international community made the mistake of failing to do that in 2009, we must not make that mistake again.”

Haley said that the voices of the Iranian people are being suppressed, a reference to Iran shutting down access to social media. She read several “chants” heard from  protestors, including:

  • “Neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life only for Iran.”
  • “Let go of Syria, think of us.”
  • “We will die, but will take Iran back.”
  • “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid. We are all together.”
  • “Feel some shame. Let go of the country,” directed to Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

“Those are not my words,” Haley said. “Those are not the words of the United States. Those are the words of the brave people of Iran.”

Asked for specifics on the meetings the U.S. plans to call in New York, Haley said the Security Council will discuss what to do next. “One way or the other, we will have a meeting on what is happening Iran with the protests and their fight for freedom,” she said.

Haley said the U.S has no plans to act unilaterally “at this time.”

The Trump administration has voiced support for the protestors in Iran, with President Donald J. Trump himself tweeting on Tuesday, “The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime. All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their ‘pockets.’”

Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted support for the protestors in an impassioned pair of Monday tweets echoing Haley’s comments: “As long as [President Donald J. Trump] is POTUS and I am VP, the United States of America will not repeat the shameful mistake of our past when others stood by and ignored the heroic resistance of the Iranian people as they fought against their brutal regime. The bold and growing resistance of the Iranian people today gives hope and faith to all who struggle for freedom and against tyranny. We must not and we will not let them down. #IranProtests.”

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