UNSC convenes for emergency meeting
Date Added: 15 April 2024

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned the international community Sunday against deeper descent into conflict, addressing the Security Council during a meeting over Iran’s weekend attack on Israel.

“Neither the region nor the world can afford more war,” Guterres said.

“The Middle East is on the brink,” he told the Security Council.

“The people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict. Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” he added, calling for “maximum restraint.”

On Sunday United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged restraint, telling the UN Security Council emergency meeting that “neither the region nor the world can afford more war.”

“Now is the time to defuse and de-escalate,” he said.

Guterres also repeated his condemnation of Iran’s strikes on Israel, and the attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus.

“It’s time to step back from the brink,” Guterres said.

Late on Saturday, Iran launched a direct attack on its long-time arch foe Israel for the first time, firing a wave of more than 300 missiles and drones.

Nearly all of them were intercepted by Israel and others, including the United States, Jordan and Britain.

According to the Israeli army, 12 people were injured.

Iran said its attack came in response to a deadly April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate building in the Syrian capital Damascus that was widely blamed on Israel.

That attack killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards, including two senior generals, and prompted Iranian threats of retaliation.

The unprecedented exchange, marking a major escalation between the two countries, has sparked renewed fears of a broader conflict, including the potential for an Israel counterstrike.

The United States said Sunday it will not join any Israeli counterattack on Iran, with President Joe Biden warning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “think carefully” about any escalation.

Israel and Iran on the other hand accused one another of being the main threat to peace in the Middle East, each calling on the Security Council to impose sanctions on their sworn enemy.

“The mask is off. Iran, the number one global sponsor of terror, has exposed its true face as the destabilizer of the region and the world,” Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the emergency meeting.

“The mask comes off and the gloves must come on,” he said, imploring the body to “take action.”

Erdan asked the Security Council to designate the Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, as a terrorist organization and to “impose all possible sanctions on Iran before it’s too late.”

In particular, he referred to the “snapback” mechanism that allows members of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal — which the United States exited in 2018 — to reimpose international sanctions against Tehran.

“We have a collective responsibility as members of the Security Council to ensure that Iran complies with the council’s resolutions and ceases its violations of the charter,” said Deputy US Ambassador Robert Wood.

In the coming days the United States will “explore additional measures to hold Iran accountable.”

Also addressing the emergency meeting, Iran’s UN Ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani insisted the Islamic republic was exercising its “inherent right to self-defense.”

“The Security Council… failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security,” Iravani said.

Therefore, Tehran “had no choice” but to respond, he said, adding that his country does “not seek escalation or war,” but will respond to any “threat or aggression.”

He also lashed out at Israel.

“It is time for the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and address the real threat to international peace and security,” Iravani said.

“The body must take urgent and punitive measures to compel this regime to stop a genocide against the people of Gaza”, he said.