UN precedent shows Sweden's Wallstrom wrong to oppose Security Council meeting on Iran

UN security council vote for a no-fly zone over Libya, March 2011. Photograph: Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

While Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström questioned the justification for a Security Council meeting on the deadly Iran protests, past practice demonstrates that it addresses concerns about domestic situations in which repressive regimes attack their own citizens and deny them civil rights.
At least 21 protesters have been killed and 450 arrested in the protests. Yet at a January 3, 2017 press conference, Wallström said: “The Security Council is supposed to discuss issues that are a threat to international peace and stability, and until now we have perhaps not discussed the events in Iran in such terms.”
Several precedents refute Wallstrom’s position:

  • Libya – In February 2011, the Security Council held an emergency session to discuss Muammar Qaddafi’s brutal crackdown on the Libyan people. On March 17, 2011, the UNSC adopted a no-fly zone.
  • Syria – In April 2011, the Security Council convened an emergency session to discuss violence by the Syrian regime against protesters inside the country.
  • Venezuela – This year, the Security Council has held at least two special informal meeting this year on Venezuela – one in May and one in November. In May, Venezuela was added to the agenda of a pre-scheduled Security Council meeting shortly after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared “a state of exception and economic emergency.” This was in wake of widespread popular protests against mass poverty in the country, resulting from Maduro’s domestic economic policies, in which some 46 people were killed and 2600 arrested. Another informal Security Council meeting on Venezuala was convened in November to discuss the major health and food emergency in the country.

Wallström should not be giving Iran a free pass on human rights violations.


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