U.S. Ambassador to UN Escalates Confrontation with Iran

The Trump administration escalated a bitter confrontation with Iran on Wednesday, demanding that the United Nations Security Council punish the Iranian government for what the American ambassador called its “outlaw behavior” across the Middle East, The New York Times reports.

“The United States will not turn a blind eye to these violations,” the United Nations Ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, told a Security Council meeting that had been meant to focus on developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Haley used her speaking time instead to deliver a critique of Iran. Her remarks were among the most strident denunciations Haley has made of Iran since she became President Trump’s ambassador in January.

Accusing the Iranian government of having violated at least four Security Council resolutions with impunity, Haley said that “nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran’s outlaw behavior.”

“Iran hides behind its assertion of technical compliance with the nuclear deal while it brazenly violates the other limits on its behavior. And we have allowed them to get away with it. This must stop,” she said.

Iran is sending weapons to fuel conflicts in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, where it has violated UN Security Council arms embargoes to the Houthi rebels in that country. Similarly, it has sent arms to Hezbollah, in violation of Security Council resolutions calling on the group to disarm.

Haley also demanded that the council take action on what she called Iran’s most threatening act: ballistic missile launching. A Security Council resolution that put the nuclear agreement into effect calls upon Iran to refrain from ballistic missile tests but does not prohibit them.

“As a council, we’ve adopted a dangerously shortsighted approach. Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat. Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise is foolish,” Haley told the Security Council.

Haley remonstrated with the other members of the international body, saying they have ignored Iran’s repeated violations of UN Security Council resolutions.

“We can’t talk about stability in the Middle East without talking about Iran; that’s because nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran’s outlawed behavior. The U.S. has now embarked on a course that attempts to address all aspects of Iran’s destructive conduct, not just one aspect.” she said.

Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Gholamali Khoshroo, offered diametrically opposite appraisal of Iran’s behavior in his Council remarks, saying “no country has done more than Iran” in fighting Middle East terrorism, most notably in fighting the Islamic State.

“If we had hegemonic ambitions, the nuclear deal would never have been reached,” Khoshroo said.

He said that Trump’s approach “toward the deal and Iran run counter to all of these efforts and intend to add another crisis to the regional issues” and added that the U.S. actions on the Iran deal have served to isolate it internationally.