US, France affirm support for Iran protests, while UN to investigate repression

The U.S. expressed its commitment to a universal right to peaceful protest, including in Iran, as well as China.
John Kirby, National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications (Photo: Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
John Kirby, National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications (Photo: Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan24) As China became the latest country to experience a sudden spate of unexpected protest, the U.S., on Monday, expressed its commitment to a universal right to peaceful protest, including in Iran, as well as China.

In Paris, the French National Assembly voted to condemn the Iranian repression of the protests, triggered by the Sept. 16 death of the young Kurdish woman, Jina (Mahsa) Amini, while under arrest by Tehran’s so-called “morality police” for not properly wearing a headscarf.

In addition, the U.N. is preparing to conduct an investigation into Tehran’s repression of the protests, as the U.N. Rights Council called for last week. Tehran has asserted, however, that it will not cooperate with the international body.

US Endorses Universal Right to Peaceful Protest

“Our message to peaceful protestors around the world is the same and consistent,” John Kirby, National Security Coordinator for Strategic Communications, told journalists on Monday, when asked about the Biden administration’s message to Chinese who are protesting the country’s harsh measures to combat COVID.

The Chinese protests were triggered by a fatal fire last week in an apartment building in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang in China’s far northwest and homeland to the Uighurs, a Turkic ethnic group long suppressed by Beijing.

Videos posted to social media suggested that an enforced lockdown, intended to stop the spread of COVID, had led to the deaths of ten people caught in the blaze, with firefighters unable to reach them in time.

China is the only major country that seeks to enforce a zero COVID policy, and even in the face of the latest unrest—the most serious since 1989—Chinese authorities have affirmed the correctness of their approach to dealing with the highly contagious disease.

Later in the press briefing, when asked about Iran, Kirby affirmed that the Biden administration was “very consistent” and “we believe in the right of peaceful protest.”

Kirby noted that the Iranian protests—which are well into their third month—began as a demonstration against the way the clerical regime treats women. However, the issues involved have “obviously” gone “beyond that.”

“We will continue to do whatever we can to not only support their right of protest, but to hold the regime accountable for the way it’s treating its people,” Kirby affirmed.

French National Assembly Supports Protests

On Monday, France’s National Assembly unanimously approved a non-binding resolution that condemned Tehran’s repression of the protests, while calling on European governments to increase their pressure on the regime.

The French resolution denounced “the brutal and generalized repression by the security forces” of “non-violent demonstrations, which constitutes a blatant and unacceptable violation of the right to demonstrate and freedom of expression.”

The Assembly’s resolution also called on Tehran to release the seven French citizens whom it has jailed on spurious charges.

UN Human Rights Council to Investigate

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council held a special session on Iran last Thursday. The meeting concluded with the approval of an independent investigation into Tehran’s suppression of the country-wide protests.

The U.S. was actively involved in bringing the issue before the Council and securing its approval.

On Monday, however, Nasser Kanaani, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, rejected such an investigation, asserting, “Iran will not cooperate with the political committee formed by the U.N. Rights Council.”

Kanaani charged that the U.S. and other Western countries were behind the unrest in Iran.

“We have specific information proving that the U.S., Western countries, and some of the American allies have had a role in the protests,” he stated.

However, Kanaani provided no details, let alone did he offer any evidence to support his charges.