Russia’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia said involving the council in an “internal affair” damaged the top UN body.
Minutes earlier, US Ambassador Nikki Haley praised the protests as a “powerful exhibition of brave people”.
Iran’s ambassador said the US was abusing its power as a permanent member of the council. At least 21 people have been killed in the protests.
They broke out in one Iranian city in late December against the state of the economy and quickly spread to dozens of cities, with slogans chanted against the government and ruling clerics.
On Wednesday, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards declared the defeat of what he described as “sedition” in the country.
A number of countries criticized the US for convening the emergency meeting of the Security Council.
The US had “lost every shred of moral, political and legal authority and credibility in the eyes of the whole world”, Iranian envoy Gholamali Khoshroo told the gathering.
His Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted to say that the Security Council had “rebuffed the US’ naked attempt to hijack its mandate”.