US Envoy Wants to Shift UNSC Session’s Focus from Israel to Iran

niki hili

The United States’ Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley will try to use the US rotating presidency of the UNSC and turn the spotlight of a Thursday meeting from Israel to Iran, according to media reports.

Haley, who holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations’ top decision-making body for April, wants to use a monthly meeting on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question” to tackle Tehran’s role in Yemen and Syria and its support for Hezbollah, topics she sees as more central to the theme of Middle East peace.

“Incredibly, the UN Department of Political Affairs has an entire department devoted to Palestinian affairs,” Haley said after the February meeting. “There is no division devoted to the world’s No. 1 state sponsor of terror, Iran,”Bloomberg quoted her as saying.

The shift will come in a week when the Trump administration has aimed sharp criticism at Iran, after earlier warnings to Syria and North Korea. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tore into the Islamic Republic’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, saying it only delayed the day when Iran will get a nuclear weapon and “completely ignored” its other actions.

But getting the 15-member Security Council to change its focus will be tough. Iran joined the US and five other world powers in signing the 2015 deal, and Tillerson acknowledged in a message to Congress late Tuesday that Iran has delivered so far on its end of the deal. Nonetheless, he said, the US will review whether to re-impose economic sanctions that were eased under the accord.

The Security Council has kept an often critical focus on Israel for years, and Arab nations — including US allies in the region — would resist shifting that emphasis.

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