‘Israel has been sounding the alarm bells’ on Iran for years

Israel’s UN envoy said his warnings on Iran had gone unheeded: Israel “was trying to wake the world up to the dangers posed by Iran and Its proxies.”

By Mike Wagenheim | | Topics: Iran
Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on April 5, 2024. Credit: Evan Schneider/UN Photo.
Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, on April 5, 2024. Credit: Evan Schneider/UN Photo.

Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan on Sunday said Iran’s missile and drone attack on the Jewish state on Saturday had proven Jerusalem correct in its repeated warnings regarding the Islamic Republic.

During an emergency session of the UN Security Council called for by Jordan in the wake of the Iranian attack, Erdan said, “Last night, the world witnessed an unprecedented escalation that is clear proof of what can happen when warnings are ignored.”

Israel “was not crying wolf” regarding Tehran, he continued. “It was trying to wake the world up to the dangers posed by Iran and Its proxies.”

Holding up an iPad displaying video of Iranian drones and missiles over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Erdan asked the council, “What have you done to protect the world from Iran?”

Sunday’s session came amid extraordinary tensions in the region, and drew a briefing from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who urged “maximum restraint.”

“It’s time to step back from the brink,” said Guterres. “We have a shared responsibility to actively engage all parties concerned to prevent further escalation.”

While part of the purpose of Sunday’s meeting was to cool tensions and tamp down on provocative rhetoric, it didn’t stop a war of words in the council chambers.

Robert Wood, the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations, said “The Security Council has an obligation to not let Iran’s actions go unanswered,” insisting that “In the coming days, and in consultation with other member states, the United States will explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable here at the United Nations.”

Stressing that Washington was “not seeking escalation,” Wood nevertheless threatened that “Iran will be held responsible” for any further strikes against Israel.

Wood accused Iran of “flagrantly” violating its international legal obligations.

“Iran also was, in a broad sense, complicit in the October 7 attack on Israel because it has provided significant funding and training for the military wing of Hamas,” he added.

Amir Saed Iravani, Iran’s UN envoy, said that Iran, too, does not seek escalation.

“Iran’s operation was entirely in the exercise of Iran’s inherent right to self-defense. This concluded action was necessary and proportionate,” said Iravani. “It was precise and only targeted military objectives and carried out carefully to minimize the potential for escalation and prevent civilian harm.”

That characterization is disputed by US and Israeli officials, who say any breakdown in the highly-coordinated defenses among Washington, London, Paris, Amman and Riyadh on Saturday would have led to hundreds or perhaps thousands of Israeli deaths.

Iravani said that the attack, Tehran’s reaction to the killing of a top Quds Force general in Damascus on April 1, was the result of the Security Council failing to hold Israel accountable for the strike.

Israel has not acknowledged responsibility for the Damascus strike.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused the United States, United Kingdom and France of blocking a Russian-drafted Security Council press statement earlier this month that would have condemned the strike.

We’re witnessing “a display of hypocrisy and double standards which is almost embarrassing to watch,” said Nebenzia.

No official statement emerged from the Security Council following the meeting. However, Maltese Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, serving as the Security Council president this month, told reporters that she thought the session did contribute to a mood of de-escalation.

“The message around the Council table was very, very clear, that there should be no further escalation,” said Frazier.

However, Erdan warned that if the Security Council, after Oct. 7 and all the events in its wake, continues to ignore the elephant in the room, it is only a matter of time before things spiral out of control.

“The mask has come off and so [must] the world’s complacency,” said Erdan.

“The only option is to condemn Iran,” he added, “and ensure that it knows that the world will no longer stand idle.”

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