US Tried to Get Cute on Iran but Was Promptly Rebuffed by Russia, Which Asked About Black Lives Matter

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting concerning the situation in Iran on Jan. 5, 2018, in New York City. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The old adage “When you point the finger, you have three pointing back at you” rang true in the United Nations on Friday as the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., and former Republican governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley inexplicably called an emergency session to lecture the Iranians about their crackdown on protests in that country.

“Let there be no doubt whatsoever,” said Haley, “the United States stands unapologetically with those in Iran who seek freedom for themselves.”


Well, why did she do that?

The New York Times reports that members of the United Nations Security Council used that special session not only to reaffirm their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, which President Donald Trump has all but ripped up, but also to lecture her on American hypocrisy.


The Times reports:

It was an afternoon of high diplomatic theater that began with a passionate denunciation of Iran’s “oppressive government” by the American ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, and ended with the Iranian ambassador delivering a lengthy history of popular revolt in the United States — from the violent demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in 1968 to the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

In the interim, Council members did, one by one, condemn the Iranian government’s response during more than a week of protests. As of Friday, more than 20 people had been killed and hundreds had been arrested. The authorities have blocked access to social media and have blamed foreign “enemies” for instigating the unrest, a common refrain at times of upheaval that in this case the government has provided no evidence to support.

But there was evidence of a mini-revolt brewing within the Security Council chamber, not only among traditional adversaries like Russia and China, but also among close allies like France and Sweden. Many seemed to fear that the outspoken criticism by the Americans was simply a pretext to undermine the Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump has long desired to scrap.


France’s U.N. ambassador, François Delattre, was having no part of this special session, and warned that the U.S. might want to be careful moving forward.

“We must be wary of any attempt to exploit this crisis for personal ends, which would have a diametrically opposed outcome to that which is wished,” he said.


Then the Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, said, in effect, “Hold my beer.”

The Times reports that not only did Nebenzya ask why the Security Council had no special session when Black Lives Matter protesters descended on Ferguson, Mo. (and were also met with a violent state response), but he also let the U.S. know that he was hip to the skip, too.


“The real reason for convening today’s meeting is not an attempt to protect human rights or promote the interests of the Iranian people, but rather as a veiled attempt to use the current moment to continue to undermine” the Iranian deal, Nebenzya said, a reference to what the Times hails as a “signature diplomatic achievement of [Trump’s] predecessor, Barack Obama.”


Read more at the New York Times.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.