U.N. Secretary-General Following & Evaluating Protests in Iran

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says the world must stand behind the protesters in Iran. Nikki Haley said the Trump administration also wants Iran to stop testing ballistic missiles.

Westwood One reports the U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is following news of the protests in Iran and assessing whether to make contact with the government or anyone else about them. Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said today that the U.N. was “evaluating the situation and trying to see what contacts would be most helpful.” He says the world body hopes further violence will be avoided and expects Iranians’ right to peaceful assembly and expression to be respected.

The demonstrations were sparked by economic grievances, but some protesters have chanted against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Meantime, the Trump administration is calling on Iran’s government to stop blocking Instagram and other social media sites. Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh says it’s another response to the widespread protests and clashes with security forces that have led to at least 21 deaths.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says the United States wants Iran to “open these sites.” He says Instagram, Telegram and other platforms are “legitimate avenues for communication.”

The United States is encouraging Iranians to use virtual private networks, known as VPNs. Those services create encrypted links between computers and can be used to access blocked websites. Goldstein says the U.S. is still communicating with Iranians in Farsi through State Department accounts on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. He says the U.S. wants to “encourage the protesters to continue to fight for what’s right.”