(May 7, 2020 / JNS) Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon was steadfast on Wednesday about the Jewish state’s support for renewing the U.N. arms embargo on Iran.
“Our position is very clear: We support the call of the U.S. to renew the embargo and not to allow Iran to be able to spread more terror in the region,” Danon said during a virtual briefing organized by the Israeli Mission to the United Nations.
He added, “We care about the stability and safety of our people, and the stability of the Middle East. It can affect other countries as well, not just in the Middle East, because the Iranians will have more freedom to spread their ideas [and] spread terrorism. It can go all the way to Venezuela and other regions in the world. That’s why we hope the call of the U.S. will be accepted.”
The U.N. arms embargo is set to expire in October 2020. In a letter on Monday, 387 members, or nearly 90 percent, of the U.S. House of Representatives urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to work with American allies to extend the embargo. Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened the United States in a speech on Wednesday, saying that Iran “will give a crushing response if the arms embargo on Tehran is extended.”
Danon called on European countries to get involved and support an extension of the embargo. He said Europe should realize that a lack of an embargo will “create instability not only for us in the Middle East, but it can also get to the shores of Europe.”
“Any involvement to stop Iran from spreading terrorism in the region is welcome, not only by the U.S.,” he said. “I call on other countries as well to take a leadership position on this issue and speak out against the aggression of Iran.”
Danon also addressed Iran’s presence at Israel’s border, saying the Jewish state refuses to allow the Islamic country from gaining a foothold in Syria.
“Our policy is very clear: We will not allow the Iranians to build their bases in Syria,” he said. “We will not allow them to bring over precision-guided missiles to Lebanon. We know they are trying to do it. We are aware of flights to Syria, and we are following it very carefully, and we are determined to push the Iranians from our borders whatever the price will be. We will be there to block them from building their presence at our borders.”
Danon’s comments come one day after Israeli defense officials revealed on Tuesday that Iran is reducing its forces in Syria and removing military bases for the first time since entering the war-torn country as part of the Syrian civil war.
While Danon would not confirm the news about Iran’s withdrawal from Syria, he said he believes that there are “some internal discussions” in Tehran “about the price they are paying for their involvement in Syria.”
He explained further, “They are paying a heavy price economically [and] in terms of casualties, and they’re thinking about whether it’s worth it or not. My message is do not test our resilience on this issue. We are very determined to do whatever is necessary not to allow them to build their bases on our borders.”
The ambassador additionally claimed that despite Iran struggling with the coronavirus—it has been the hardest-hit country in the Middle East with 103,135 cases and nearly 6,500 deaths as of Thursday afternoon—it is “taking advantage” of the crisis and continuing to spread terrorism.
“One can imagine that, you know, maybe they are too busy now, they can focus on their hospitals and health issues, but that’s not the case,” noted Danon in regards to their terrorist activity. “We feel it in Lebanon and Syria, and I’m sure that our allies in the region feel the same—that the Iranians are taking advantage of the pandemic and trying to promote their interests in the region.”
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