Iran foreign minister to meet with Guterres ahead of UN vote on Israel-Hamas War

Abdollahian admits Iran’s role in encouraging Russia, China to vote against a US resolution at UN Security Council reaffirming Israel’s right to defend itself

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, speaks during a joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bouhabib, in Beirut Lebanon, Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian arrived in New York on Wednesday evening ahead of a United Nations General Assembly vote set for Friday on a resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas War.

Abdollahian’s arrival in New York, where the UN headquarters are located, came after the United Nations Security Council failed to address the war during a session on Wednesday, rejecting both US and Russian resolutions on the matter.

Speaking to Iranian state media outlet IRNA News upon his arrival, Abdollahian confirmed Iran’s role in ensuring that the resolution put forward Wednesday by the US, which would have reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself, failed to pass.

“The work of Iran’s representative in the United Nations helped ensure that the US’s resolution be accompanied by vetoes from China and Russia,” he said.

“There were consultations in Tehran two nights ago with [Russian Foreign Minister] Mr. Lavrov in this regard. Consultations were also held with China, but my colleagues and the honorable ambassador Amir Saeid Iravani in New York worked hard to ensure that this resolution doesn’t come to fruition with one-sided content.”

The vetoed resolution is not the only way in which the country has influenced the Israel-Hamas war, and its involvement began long before October 7.

A report published in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday alleged that hundreds of terrorists from the Gaza Strip underwent “specialized combat training” in Iran in the run-up to the violent massacre.

Citing “people familiar with the intelligence” surrounding October 7, the newspaper reported that some 500 members of both Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad took part in training led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps last month.

Iran’s support for Hamas has been extensive over the years, with the Iranian government providing the terrorist group with weapons, technology, and financial aid to the estimated tune of $100 million a year, among other things.

In addition to its support for Hamas, Iran continues to back other destabilizing forces in the region, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen.

Iran has welcomed the Hamas assault but denies it played a role in its planning. According to the WSJ report, Iranian Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, the head of Quds Force, attended the training activities led by the IRGC.

The country’s influence on the Israel-Hamas war, and on the region as a whole, can be seen in the warnings issued against the US and Israel by Iranian officials since October 7.

Earlier this week, the BBC reported that during a press conference in Tehran, Abdollahian warned “the US and its proxy Israel that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any moment and the region will go out of control,”

Following the Security Council’s failure to pass a resolution on the Israel-Hamas war, a UNGA vote on a draft resolution put forth by Arab states calling for a ceasefire is scheduled to take place on Friday.

In addition, a Tenth Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly has been called for Thursday on the topic of “illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

During his visit, the Iranian foreign minister is expected to meet with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to discuss Iran’s position on the war, telling IRNA News that “the support that the United States and a few European countries blindly but wholeheartedly provide to the Zionist regime has reached a worrying point for all the countries in the region.”

Russia’s United Nations Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya raises his hand as he votes against a new US resolution over the ongoing Israel-Hamas which was vetoed in the UN Security Council, Wednesday, October 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Abdollahian will also present Iran’s views during the UNGA’s Thursday session, where he will reiterate that any resolution passed regarding the war must advocate for “the immediate cessation of war crimes and genocide against civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, the immediate and extensive delivery of humanitarian aid and combating the forced relocation of Gaza residents.”

The Iranian minister sent a letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk on Wednesday in which he stressed that Iran expects the United Nations to immediately call for a halt on Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and described the “inaction on the part of the international community against the Zionist regime crimes as a catalyst for the Zionist war criminals to intensify their campaign.”

Israel launched its operation against Hamas 19 days ago, after some 2,500 terrorists poured into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and injuring some 5,400 others in a violent massacre. An additional 228 people were taken hostage, of whom just four have been released.

In response, Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip, where they have ruled since 2007, and to destroy the group’s infrastructure in its entirety.

Earlier this week, Israel stopped issuing visas to UN officials after Guterres implied that Hamas’s October 7 massacre was caused by Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and Palestinian territories.

“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum,” he said in his strongly criticized remarks.

“The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation. They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.”

Contrary to Guterres’s statement, Israel has not had any military or civilian presence in the Gaza Strip since its unilateral withdrawal in 2005. Since then, both Israel and Egypt have maintained tight control of Gaza’s borders in response to the ruling terror group’s years of rocket fire and attacks against Israel.

Rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip toward Israel from the central Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Mohammed Dahman)

Following the UN chief’s comments, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen canceled a meeting with him, and Minister Benny Gantz branded him a “terror apologist.”

Guterres on Wednesday rejected the criticism and doubled down on his position, saying his remarks had been misrepresented.

“I am shocked by misrepresentations by some of my statement yesterday in the Security Council — as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas,” Guterres told reporters, without naming Israel.

“I spoke of the grievances of the Palestinian people. And in doing so, I also clearly stated, and I quote: ‘But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas.’”

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, rejected Guterres’s clarification and reiterated the call for him to resign.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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