Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Interview with Morad Hashim of Al Jazeera Arabic

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 14, 2022


QUESTION: Ambassador, you wanted a strong message. Do you think you got it when only 29 states voted for the resolution?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We sent a strong message because only eight voted against the resolution. So, it was a strong message. And I think the message – the vote delivered what the vote was intended to deliver, and that was to have Iran removed from the Commission on the Status of Women. And it was a resounding victory.  

QUESTION: Many expect, though, that the resolution won’t reflect in the reality of Iranian women and won’t change the situation there. What do you think?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Iranian women asked for this. So, it was something that responded to what they needed and what they wanted. They wanted the encouragement; they wanted the support of the international community. And while people think it won’t change the situation on the ground, I think it will change the situation on the ground. I think the message to the Iranian government is that you can’t continue to engage in the kinds of attacks that you’ve been engaged in against protestors and not be condemned by the world. And they are being condemned by the world.  

They were in this meeting today arguing against this, and the reason they’re arguing against it is because they know that this will have an impact on the ground.  

QUESTION: You led the efforts to remove Iran from the CSW. What had prevented you from playing the same role last year when Iran ran unopposed and got elected? Were there any calculations regarding the nuclear deal?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: No, we were disappointed that Iran got elected to the CSW, and we know that a number of countries will try to get on commissions like this to use it for their disinformation. So, it was not something that we winked and nodded at. We absolutely were disappointed.  

QUESTION: To what extent do you think this American role on this issue will complicate any potential agreement with the Iranian government, the nuclear deal?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We – this has nothing to do with the nuclear deal. This has everything to do with the situation on the ground in Iran right now. So that’s what we were focused on; we were not focused on the nuclear deal.  

QUESTION: For Iran, it’s part of the maximum pressure policy. What do you think?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I can’t speak for Iran. This is about pressuring Iran. It’s about pressuring Iran to do the right thing for the women of Iran.  

QUESTION: Last question. You said there must be accountability. Are there any practical steps beside what happened today to do – to achieve that within the UN?  

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, first and foremost, we have imposed sanctions on the morality police. We’ve imposed sanctions on the individuals who’ve been engaged in these horrendous attacks on women. And other countries, we’ve coordinated with them, and other countries have taken similar actions. We also supported the actions by the Human Rights Council to send a team to investigate the situation on the ground in Iran.  

So, there are other actions that we might take, but we are being very, very strategic in what we’re doing.  

QUESTION: Thank you for this.