Israel ‘Will Not See Itself Bound’ by Deal That Ignores Iranian Threats, Erdan Tells UN Security Council
Israel will not see itself bound by any agreement that does not “fully address” Iranian threats against its existence, said Gilad Erdan, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations, to the United Nations Security Council during a session on the situation in the Middle East.
“Israel, as you know, is in a unique position. We are the only country in the world that the Iranian regime threatens to annihilate. For Israel, Iran poses an existential threat,” Erdan said Thursday at the virtual session.
“That is why we will not see ourselves bound by any agreement that does not fully address the threats against the existence of the State of Israel. And every one of you would do the same if you were in our shoes, particularly in light of the Holocaust,” he continued.
Parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have been meeting in recent weeks in Vienna in an effort to revive the original accord, which the US left in 2018 under the Trump administration and whose limits on uranium enrichment and other activities Iran has repeatedly breached.
Erdan said Thursday that Iran had “escalated its nuclear extortion” by recently increasing enrichment to 60% levels. “It is clear to everyone that there is no need for Iran to enrich uranium to that level if it is intended for civilian purposes,” he said. “Any Iranian claims of wanting to develop nuclear capabilities for civilian purposes should be seen for the lies they are. There is no civility in Iran’s nuclear program. If the regime truly wanted nuclear capabilities for civilian purposes, it could have achieved this years ago.”
The ambassador also addressed Palestinian elections scheduled for May, which would be the first such ballot in 15 years.
“If the members of this council intend to once again use their remarks to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I hope that you will address how this institution will be able to continue to work with the Palestinians if Hamas increases its power in the upcoming elections,” Erdan said.
“The fact that Hamas is being allowed to run in the upcoming election, and is predicted to increase its power should be worrying for this body … Terrorists who deny Israel’s right to exist are being allowed to participate in the elections.”
The head of the Hamas list, Khalil al-Hayya, recently claimed that any postponement of the elections “would push the Palestinian people into the unknown,” and could “lead to serious reactions.”
Erdan called on the UN to implement “critically needed reforms” in the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), its agency serving Palestinian refugees, which he criticized for educational material encouraging violence and antisemitism.
“There is no evidence to indicate that it has taken any meaningful steps to read itself of this deplorable content,” Erdan said. “The organization has long become a political one, that distorts the definition of a refugee, and without a complete overhaul, has no legitimacy to exist.
He concluded the remarks by calling Iran “the biggest threat to peace and security in the region and beyond,” adding that, “If the council wants to play a conducive role in bringing stability to the region, it must focus on the most pressing issues facing the region, and take action.”