Israel calls for sanctions on Iran; the Islamic republic's UN envoy says the country had 'no choice but to act'

UN Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the importance of a shared responsibility to actively engage all parties concerned to prevent further escalation.
Passengers use a BRT bus in downtown Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 14, 2024.
Passengers use a BRT bus in downtown Tehran, Iran, Sunday, April 14, 2024. (Photo | AP)

Israel’s UN envoy, Gilad Erdan, has urged the UN Security Council to “impose all possible sanctions on Iran before it’s too late” and “condemn Iran for their terror”, reports Agence France-Presse. Iran launched explosive drones and missiles on Saturday – its first ever direct attack on Israeli territory.

According to The Guardian, Iran’s UN envoy, Amir Saeid Iravani, responded saying that the Islamic republic was exercising its “inherent right to self-defence” and “had no choice” but to act. He insisted his country did “not seek escalation or war”, but would respond to any “threat or aggression”.

It’s being reported that Turkish, Jordanian and Iraqi officials say that Iran gave wide notice days before its drone and missile attack on Israel – but US officials are disputing that line and say Tehran was aiming to cause significant damage. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Sunday that Iran gave neighbouring countries and the United States 72 hours’ notice it would launch the strikes, according to the Reuters news agency. But one senior official in US President Joe Biden’s administration denied Amirabdollahian’s statement, according to Reuters.

Pointing out that the Middle East is on the brink, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the people of the region are confronting a real danger of a devastating full-scale conflict and hence, now is the time to defuse and de-escalate and for maximum restraint.

While addressing the emergency session convened upon a urgent request by Israel following Iran's strike on Israel during the late hours of April 13, 2024, Guterres said, "I strongly condemn the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran this evening. And I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities."

"It’s time to step back from the brink," he said and added that it's vital to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.

Pointing out that the civilians are already bearing the brunt and paying the highest price, António Guterres underscored the importance to have a shared responsibility to actively engage all parties concerned to prevent further escalation.

"As the Friendly Relations Declaration of 1970 states, acts of reprisal involving the use of force are barred under international law. We have a shared responsibility to secure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid," he said.

"We have a shared responsibility to stop violence in the occupied West Bank, de-escalate the situation along the Blue Line, and re-establish safe navigation in the Red Sea. We have a shared responsibility to work for peace. Regional – and indeed global -- peace and security are being undermined by the hour. Neither the region nor the world can afford more war," added António Guterres.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, citing officials, reports that the US ruled out joining any Israeli counterattack against Iran, as Israel’s war cabinet concluded a meeting reportedly without a decision on what action to take in response to Tehran’s first direct attack against the country.

The European Commission and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) say they’re closely monitoring the situation in the Middle East “to assess any potential safety risks for EU aircraft operators and be ready to act as appropriate," Al Jazeera said.

According to the report, Israeli forces again bombed the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing five and wounding dozens as the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) met to discuss Iran’s retaliatory strikes against Israel.

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