Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

US envoy: Iran and Hezbollah want to destabilize the Mideast

US envoy: Iran and Hezbollah want to destabilize the Mideast

The US pushed the UN Security Council to focus on "illegal and risky behaviour" by Iran and Lebanese group Hezbollah in the Middle East, an accusation that Iran dismissed as "misleading propaganda". "For decades they have conducted terrorist acts across the region".

Haley holds the rotating presidency of the United Nations' top decision-making body for April, and she plans to use the meeting to discuss "the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question" and Tehran's role in Yemen and Syria, as well as its support for Hezbollah. In the early hours of the debate, Iran was seldom raised.

We need "to achieve justice based on the two-state solution in accordance with Security Council resolutions", said Egypt's Ambassador Amr Abdellatif Aboulatta, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "Israelis and Palestinians can not afford another 50 years of that". Haley took the floor Thursday following remarks made by Palestinian Authority Representative Riyad Mansour and Israeli Representative Danny Danon.

Reached in 2015, the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was hailed as historic, opening up a new era of relations with Tehran. Haley, as a Cabinet-level Trump administration official, will be part of that review, USA officials said. That's the way the Security Council has operated for years. Israel's settlement policies were roundly criticized at the Security Council.

As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he called for coordinated efforts on a Middle East settlement and repeated Russia's offer to host a meeting in Moscow between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations. Plus, quarterly reports on Israel's expansion of housing settlements are now required under a resolution critical of the US ally. Former President Barack Obama allowed the council to pass that measure in the closing weeks of his administration by having the USA abstain rather than exercise its veto power.

Reporting on the dire situation across the Middle East region, marked by the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, fractured societies, proliferation of non-State actors and unbelievable human suffering, a United Nations envoy on Thursday reiterated the need for a surge in diplomacy for peace to ease the suffering of innocent civilians. He urged that Israel's settlement construction, which is illegal under worldwide law, be halted. Although there has been tough talk and sanctions with regards to Iran, there is no firm plans about how the United States is actually going to curb the Islamic State. Haley sees Iran as the central issue when it comes to the problems in the Middle East.

The 2015 Iran deal also angered traditional USA allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, which says it's battling Iranian proxies in a war in neighboring Yemen. Western states have blamed the Assad regime, allied with Iran, for the attack.

The Trump administration said this week that it is conducting a 90-day review of the nuclear deal to evaluate whether suspending Iran sanctions are in the vital interest of US national security. "We are moving from a position of accommodation to one of confrontation across multiple fronts".

"We need to start with the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia Hezbollah", she said, referring to the Lebanese Shi'ite militant group, which the USA has designated as a terrorist organization.

"Iran is using Hezbollah to expand its regional aspirations".

"Being president of the Security Council is intimidating and very busy and I am still in learning mode", she said.

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