Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Interview with Rob Schmitz of NPR’s Morning Edition

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


QUESTION:  So what are you hoping to achieve with this vote?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD:  Well, certainly what we want to do is send a strong message to the Iranian regime that what they are doing is unacceptable and that they cannot continue to be in a structure, an organization that was created to protect women. And secondly, we want to send a message to the Iranian women who’ve asked us to do this that we support them.

QUESTION:  Iran’s ambassador to the UN called this an illegal move and accused the U.S. of trying to use the UN to advance its political agenda. What’s your response to that?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD:  Well, the agenda that we have in the UN is to protect people around the world, and in this case it is to send a message to the women of Iran that the organization created to protect women will not allow a country that is actually killing women to be a part of that organization.

QUESTION:  Now, Iran is not the only nation on this commission with a poor record on women’s rights. Pakistan and Somalia are also on the panel, among others. Why single out Iran?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD:  Right now, as we speak, Iranian women are being killed in the street. A young man who protested in support of these women, he’s been threatened with execution. And so this is what we’re working on today.

We do know that there are other countries that have issues, and we will continue to push for change in those countries – Afghanistan, for example. Afghanistan is not represented by the Taliban on the commission, so Afghanistan is certainly a country that we need to be focused on and we are focused – laser-focused, in fact – on protecting the women of Afghanistan.

QUESTION:  Now, some diplomats say they’re worried that this is a slippery slope, that the U.S. may use more exclusionary tactics within the UN and target others. Is that a valid concern?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD:  We have heard those complaints. But look, this is the right time to do what we’re doing as it relates to Iran. And we have made that very, very clear. It’s the right thing to do. And I think all of these countries know that this is the right thing to do.

And that’s my response: We need to do right by Iranian women.

QUESTION:  Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, we appreciate your time this morning.

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD:  Thank you very much. It’s great to be here with you.