Russia urges US not to interfere in Iran’s ‘domestic affairs’
Russia urged the United States not to interfere in what Moscow calls Iran’s “domestic affairs,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Jan. 4, according to the TASS news agency.
Anti-government demonstrations erupted a week ago in Iran, and U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed support for the protesters. At least 21 people have died in the demonstrations, which began as protests against economic hardship.
Iran’s army chief said on Jan. 5 that police forces had quelled the unrest, but his troops were ready to intervene if needed.
“Although this blind sedition was so small that a portion of the police force was able to nip it in the bud ... you can rest assured that your comrades in the Islamic Republic’s army would be ready to confront the dupes of the Great Satan [United States],” Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi was quoted as saying.
As the unrest spread across the country, protesters saying they were tired of anti-Western slogans and that it was time for both the clerical leadership and the government of President Hassan Rouhani to step down.
The demonstrators include members of the working class as well as educated Iranians from the middle class, which formed the backbone of pro-reform protests in 2009.
“I am certain that our neighbor, our friendly state will manage to overcome current difficulties and come from the current period as a strengthened country and reliable partner to solve various problems”, Ryabkov said, according to TASS.
Those problems included compliance with the agreement Iran reached with world powers in 2015 to curtail its nuclear-power program. Trump has long criticized that agreement.
“The current situation, when Washington gives in to the temptation to raise more questions” on the nuclear agreement, Ryabkov said, is evidence that the United States is trying to undermine adherence to the deal.
He also said Moscow is sticking to the position that the deal “is not to be corrected,” playing down Washington’s stance on the agreement.
Ryabkov also criticized a call by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss the violence.
Iran on Jan. 3 angrily accused the U.S. at the U.N. of meddling in its domestic affairs.
In October, Trump declined to certify that Iran was complying with the nuclear deal. He must decide in mid-January if he wants to continue to waive energy sanctions on Iran.