Russia: U.S. call for U.N. emergency session on Iran is 'destructive'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia considers a U.S. proposal for an extraordinary meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the turmoil in Iran “harmful and destructive”, RIA news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Thursday.

“We see no role for the United Nations Security Council in this issue,” he said, according to the agency. “Iran’s domestic affairs have nothing to do with the United Nations Security Council’s role.”

On Thursday, the Kazakh delegation to the UN said the Security Council will meet on Friday at 3 p.m. (2000 GMT) to discuss Iran. Kazakhstan is the Security Council president through January.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said this week that Washington was seeking emergency sessions on Iran at the United Nations in New York and at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. The U.S. delegation said on Thursday it had requested the Friday meeting.

Anti-government protests have swept Iranian cities and towns over the past week and 21 people have been killed in the unrest.

Commenting on the possibility of new U.S. sanctions on Iran, Ryabkov said such methods were “illegitimate”.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had suggested the U.S. government could impose sanctions against Iranian officials who repress peaceful protests.

Ryabkov said earlier on Thursday that the United States should not interfere in Iran’s domestic affairs, and that Moscow remained committed to the 2015 international deal to curtail Tehran’s nuclear program, which U.S. President Donald Trump has challenged.

Additional reporting by Rodrigo Campos at the United Nations; Writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Susan Thomas