Representatives of several Western countries sharply criticised Iran for supplying President Bashar Assad with weapons during the lengthy conflict in Syria.
At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council yesterday, Western members lined up to candidly condemn Iran’s support of the Assad regime. The US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice referred to a report by a UN panel in May, which concluded that Syria is the ‘central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers’. With Tehran banned from selling weapons under a UN embargo, Rice commented, ‘Iran’s arms exports to the murderous Assad regime in Syria are of particular concern.’
The UK’s Ambassador,Mark Lyall Grant, also condemned Iranian arms transfers to Syria, saying ‘This is unacceptable and it must stop… It is in stark contrast to the will of the Syrian people and a reminder of Iran’s hypocrisy in claiming to support freedom in the Arab world.’
The German Ambassador Peter Wittig also expressed concern at the Iranian support for President Assad. Meanwhile, French Ambassador Gerard Araud complained of Iranian intransigence over the ‘hundreds of hours’ that Western powers have spent negotiating with Tehran over their nuclear program.
In a related incident, the Israeli and Iranian delegates clashed at the annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The Iranian delegate complained that ‘At present the Israeli regime is the only non-party to the NPT [Non-Proliferation Treaty] in this region.’ Israel’s envoy retorted, ‘It is Iran which represents the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East and beyond … No words in this room could distort the real facts behind Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons.’