The U.S. Wanted to Discuss Iran. Russia Brought Up Black Lives Matter.

The U.S. Wanted to Discuss Iran. Russia Brought Up Black Lives Matter.


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.

It is not precisely clear what Ms. Haley hoped to achieve by convening the session on Friday, which was not previously scheduled. Until the meeting began at 3 p.m., it was not even certain whether Ms. Haley would be able to secure the votes needed to call the session to order.

But even before the session began, France’s ambassador, François Delattre, warned against “instrumentalization” of the protests “from the outside.”

Speaking before the Council, he went further.

“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,” Mr. Delattre said.

The Russian ambassador, Vasily A. Nebenzya, was more blunt. He asked rhetorically why the Security Council had not taken up the issue of Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Mo., which were at times also met with a violent police response.

“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, Mr. Nebenzya said.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly excoriated the deal, which was a signature diplomatic achievement of his predecessor, Barack Obama. In October, he refused to recertify the deal, though he left it to Congress to legislate changes to it. (None of the other world powers that signed the deal believes that renegotiation is possible.)

Later this month, Mr. Trump will again have to choose whether to continue to waive sanctions, as the deal requires, or chart a more confrontational approach that would further antagonize European allies.

Mr. Trump himself conflated the protests with the Iran nuclear deal this week, arguing that financial benefits received by the Iranian authorities as part of the accord had fueled the corruption that the country’s people were now protesting.

At the Security Council on Friday, most members insisted that these two issues were separate.

“It needs to be crystal clear to the international community that the situation in Iran does not belong on the agenda of the Security Council,” said Sacha Sergio Llorenty, the Bolivian ambassador.

Sweden’s representative, Irina Schoulgin Nyoni, concurred: “We have our reservations on the format and timing of this session.”

Such reticence to support the American position is the latest evidence of growing international resistance to the Trump administration’s foreign policy priorities, particularly at the United Nations. Last month, a large majority of United Nations members voted for a resolution denouncing the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American Embassy there.

Ms. Haley had to use her veto to block a similar resolution in the Security Council that was supported by every other member.

On Wednesday, the United States Mission to the United Nations held a cocktail reception for the nine countries that voted against the resolution in the General Assembly, which, aside from Israel, were Guatemala, Honduras, Togo, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru and Palau.

In a video message played at the reception, Mr. Trump thanked the attendees for “standing with the United States.”

He said that the vote would “go down as a very important date,” and that their support was “noted and greatly appreciated.”



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