The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has urged a shift in focus from Israel to Iran at her first session of the UN Security Council as President of the Council.
Haley criticised the Security Council for turning meetings intended to discuss the whole Middle East into “Israel-bashing sessions”, calling this an “absurdly biased” formula that was “painfully narrow in its description of the conflicts in the region”. Haley argued that instead the Security Council should prioritise Iran: “Iran is using Hezbollah to expand its regional aspirations. That is a threat that should be dominating our discussions at the Security Council.”
Haley stressed the complicity of Iran in the atrocities in Syria, its militias standing “side by side with Syrian troops as they slaughter the Syrian people”, and stated that “Hezbollah helped Assad starve and destroy Aleppo.”
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon welcomed Haley’s remarks, reiterating that the US was not going to tolerate the Security Council’s “obsessive focus on Israel” and that Teheran was “an accomplice in the atrocities taking place every single day in Syria.”
UK Ambassador to the UN Matthew Rycroft echoed Haley’s speech saying that “Iran continues to play a destabilising role in the region. Iran has violated its obligations under international humanitarian law in Syria failing to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid into Eastern Aleppo, as it was besieged.”
Both Haley and the Israeli Ambassador identified the missile threat to Israel from Hezbollah, while Dannon stressed that Hamas has spent millions of Iranian dollars on missiles, guns and digging terror tunnels.
The Ambassador for the UAE expressed similar concern about Iran, and said that its involvement in other regional conflicts posed “an existential threat to the Middle East.”
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Haley reiterated her support for the peace process and the US call for a pause on additional settlements. The UK Ambassador expressed Britain’s support for a regional approach saying ‘the changing regional context, the Arab Peace Initiative, and converging Arab and Israeli interests do present an opening. We recognise that impetus is needed and we welcome President Trump’s interest in working for a deal that meets the requirements of both parties.’