‘Chief culprit’ in the Middle East is Iran, not Israel, Haley tells UN

Iranian threats and state-sponsored terrorism, rather than Israel, should be dominating the Council’s meetings on the region, Haley said. 

Leading a discussion on the Middle East at the UN Security Council on Thursday, US Ambassador Nikki Haley said the main concern in the Middle East is not Israel, but Iran.

“If we are speaking honestly about conflict in the Middle East, we need to start with the chief culprit, Iran, and its partner militia, Hezbollah,” Haley, who holds the UN Security Council president seat for April, declared at the Council’s monthly meeting on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.”

“For decades (the Iranians) have conducted terrorist acts across the region,” Haley said. “Iran is using Hezbollah to expand its regional aspirations. That is a threat that should be dominating our discussions at the Security Council.”

Previous UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon informed the UN Security Council before his departure last year of the likelihood that Iran had sold weapons to Hezbollah.

During a press conference at the beginning of April, Haley emphasized that “we’re actually going to talk about the Iranian support for terrorism” among several other issues, instead of remaining “so focused on Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” Haley reiterated those remarks on Thursday.

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“We have lots of meetings on specific countries and conflicts in this region, but this debate is our opportunity to talk about the Middle East as a whole,” she stressed. “Regrettably, these monthly meetings routinely turn into Israel-bashing sessions. That’s the way the Security Council has operated for years.”

While the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, addressed other regional issues at the meeting, including the situation in Syria and the Islamic State, he also mentioned what he felt to be the significance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The question of Palestine remains a potent symbol and rallying cry that is easily misappropriated and exploited by extremist groups,” Mladenov said, in contrast to Haley. “Ending the occupation and realizing a two-state solution will not solve all the region’s problems, but as long as the conflict persists, it will continue to feed them.”

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News