By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Iran was ousted from a United Nations women’s body on Wednesday for policies contrary to the rights of women and girls, a move proposed by the United States after Tehran’s brutal crackdown on protests sparked by the death of a young woman in custody.
The 54-member U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution to “remove with immediate effect the Islamic Republic of Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women for the remainder of its 2022-2026 term.”
On Wednesday, 29 voted in favor, eight against and there were 16 abstentions.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told ECOSOC before the vote that removing Iran was the right thing to do, describing Tehran’s membership as an “ugly stain on the commission’s credibility.”
Iran‘s U.N. Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani called the U.S. move as illegal, describing the United States as a bully.
The 45-member Commission on the Status of Women meets annually every March and aims to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Iran, 17 other states and the Palestinians had argued in a letter to ECOSOC on Monday that a vote “will undoubtedly create an unwelcome precedent that will ultimately prevent other Member States with different cultures, customs and traditions … from contributing to the activities of such Commissions.”
Only five of the signatories to the letter are currently ECOSOC members and were able to vote on Wednesday.
The Islamic Republic on Monday hanged a man in public who state media said had been convicted of killing two members of the security forces, the second execution in less than a week of people involved in protests against Iran‘s ruling theocracy.
Nationwide unrest erupted three months ago after the death while in detention of 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police enforcing the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code laws.
The demonstrations have turned into a popular revolt by furious Iranians from all layers of society, posing one of the most significant legitimacy challenges to the Shi’ite clerical elite since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Iran has blamed its foreign enemies and their agents for the unrest.
The Geneva-based U.N. Rights Council voted last month to appoint an independent investigation into Iran‘s deadly repression of protests, passing the motion to cheers of activists. Tehran accused Western states of using the council to target Iran in an “appalling and disgraceful” move.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)