Israel helped oust Iran from UN Women's Commission

The decision comes as Iranians continue nationwide protests against the Islamic Republic for a 12th week.

 A woman wearing a facemask with a message reading 'stop killing us' after the Wales v Iran match (photo credit: REUTERS/CHARLOTTE BRUNEAU)
A woman wearing a facemask with a message reading 'stop killing us' after the Wales v Iran match

Israel helped oust Iran from the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in a 29-8 vote, with 16 abstentions, in what was seen as a stinging condemnation of Tehran's treatment of women. 

The Jewish state was one of the 54 nations on the 54-member UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) body that adopted a US-drafted resolution to remove Iran and was one of the sponsors of the text.

"Today’s vote is proof that the international community is beginning to understand more and more the dangerous nature of the Iranian regime," Prime Minister Yair Lapid said after the vote, 

'A regime which is endangering regional and global stability through spreading terror and is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon, all while it oppresses its own people and denies them their basic rights," he stated. 

"It’s time for the international community to send a clear message to this murderous regime," Lapid said.

 Iranians protest, holding signs with slogans such as ''women, life, freedom'' and'' ''I swear by the good blood of Iran it will be free.'' December 2022 (credit: 1500tasvir) Iranians protest, holding signs with slogans such as ''women, life, freedom'' and'' ''I swear by the good blood of Iran it will be free.'' December 2022 (credit: 1500tasvir)

Iran had been elected to a four-year term on the commission, just one year ago. 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's UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani said it was illegal to remove a democratically elected nation from a UN committee.

"There is no precedent… for terminating an elected member's participation in a functional commission for any alleged reason," he said. 

"Despite this, one member [the US], a bullying member, notorious for disobeying the UN charter and international law intends to pursue its unlawful request ..on the basis of unfounded claims and fabricated arguments," he explained.

"This sets a dangerous precedent and is undermining the rule of the law of the UN system,' he said, adding that the move had "dangerous consequences."

Those who opposed the vote were: Bolivia, China, Kazakhstan, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Russia and Zimbabwe.

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.

Erdan: Iran represents the embodiment of evil

Before the vote, Israel's Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, stated that "It's no secret that the poisonous rot of bias and hypocrisy has seeped into the roots of this institution. From the singling out of vibrant democracies to whitewashing the crimes of oppressive governments the moral bankruptcy in these halls never ceases to appall me. Yet today, we are here to address one of the lowest points of the UN's institutionalized distortion. The fact that the worst women's rights abuser in the world can hold a leadership position regarding women's rights here at the UN. Today we have the opportunity to right this shameful wrong."

Erdan added that Iran "represents the embodiment of evil, just as Hitler's Nazi Regime represented the embodiment of evil."

"There should be no question regarding this resolution and no talk of diplomatic or tactical considerations. Today's resolution is a small, but important step, yet the truly crucial step is to immediately announce that there will be no nuclear deal with a rogue state such as Iran. This regime's destructive nature cannot be changed and whoever chooses to sign such a deal today, after everything we know, with Iran will only aid in paving Iran's path to a weapon of mass destruction."

"Seeing as the international community refused to take action against the suffering of the Iranian people, the Iranian people decided to take their futures into their own hands. We Israelis salute their bravery and view ourselves as true allies of the Iranian people. Yet what have we, the family of nations, done to support their cause? Where is our courage? Have we taken swift and severe action? Have we all made it clear that if the regime continues to execute protesters the international community will act against it? No, no, and no. It’s truly a disgrace."

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that the decision to remove Iran sends "an unmistakable message of support from around the world to the brave people of Iran, and in particular to Iranian women and girls, who remain undaunted despite the brutality and violence perpetrated against them by the Iranian regime."

Reuters contributed to this report.