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UN kicks Iran off top women’s rights commission in US-led vote

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (Ali Khamenei/Released)
December 15, 2022

Iran has been resoundingly voted out of its controversial seat on the top commission for women’s rights at the United Nations, which had been widely criticized amid the Islamic Republic’s violent crackdowns on protests that stem from its oppression of women.

In a vote led by the U.S., Iran was kicked off of the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women on Wednesday, the New York Times reported. Russia and China were two of eight UN members to vote against the action, saying it interfered with Iran’s internal affairs.

Booting Iran off the women’s commission sends two messages, according to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. ambassador to the UN.

“First is to the government of Iran that we will hold them accountable,” she said. “I think more important is the message it sends to Iranian women. I think it sends a strong message: We are here for you, we’ve got your back, we are going to stand with you.”

The country was appointed this year to a four-year term on the UN’S Commission on the Status of Women, which shapes “global standards on gender equality,” according to its website. That’s despite Iran’s legal marriage age of 13, mandatory head coverings, and a UN report from just last year that found Iranian women live as “second-class citizens.”

Iran’s oppression of women was the catalyst for significant, nationwide protests against the Islamic regime, which recently began executing protesters in the ongoing demonstrations.

Iran was voted onto the commission in March 2022 through a regional quota system, according to the Times. While its appointment was controversial from the beginning, many said that removing Iran would violate the UN’s principles of cooperation, the Times reported.

The Iranian ambassador to the U.S., Amir Saeid Iravani, said during the vote that it was a “hostile policy” that “would be exceedingly dangerous to the UN system’s integrity,” the Times reported.

Wednesday’s vote was the first time any country has been removed from the UN women’s commission, according to the Times.