Despite UN decision, Israel keeps campaigning for Iran sanctions

For Israel, the Aug. 14 decision by the UN Security Council not to extend sanctions against Iran is definitely not the final word on the issue.

al-monitor Israel's Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (R) and his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem, on Aug. 25, 2020.  Photo by Photo by MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP via Getty Images.

Aug 25, 2020

Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi did not mince words at his Aug. 25 meeting with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab. Speaking at a joint press conference right after the meeting, Ashkenazi called on European states to take concrete actions to curb Iranian aggression. Addressing France, Germany and the United Kingdom particularly, Ashkenazi said, “We were disappointed to see our friends, the E3 countries, not voting to extend the arms embargo on Iran and thus prevent its adoption. The E3 must understand that genuine opposition to Iran aggression and concern for the security of the region cannot be only heard in statements but must be seen in action.’’

Ashkenazi then pointed out that Tehran’s response to the announced normalization between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was to threaten the UAE with an attack. “For Iran, peace and stability is a bad thing,” he stated.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who also met with Raab — conveyed the same message, emphasizing he expects the UK to change its stance on Iran and join the American sanctions against it.

Ashkenazi’s statement on the E3 referred to the Aug. 14 vote at the UN Security Council on extending arms-related restrictions on Iran. At the vote, the United States received only the support of the Dominican Republic. Russia and China voted against, while the other 11 abstained. Thus, the American proposal failed. Israel’s new envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, held on Aug. 14 his first meeting as ambassador with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, using the opportunity to thank Washington for this long-shot bid to have the UN reinstate sanctions on Iran.

Jerusalem had supported the American Iran-sanction campaign from the outstart. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the Aug. 14 proposal by Washington to restore all UN sanctions on Iran and called on world powers to support the move. “I commend the United States for its decision to trigger snapback sanctions against Iran. This is the right decision,’’ stated Netanyahu.

As manifested in the statement of Ashkenazi, the failure of the American bid did not deter Jerusalem. In fact, already in his joint press conference with Pompeo on Aug. 24, Netanyahu referred to the Iran sanctions before addressing the Israel-UAE agreement. ‘’To see the Security Council not only not join the American snapback sanctions but resist it or stand on the sidelines and allow this embargo on Iranian arms shipments — shipments to Iran — to agree to it I think is outrageous,’’ said Netanyahu.

The Israeli prime minister then pointed out that the United States and Israel are not standing alone against Iran. Some Arab countries side with the Israel-US camp, as reflected in the deal with the UAE. ‘’I think that I would suggest to our friends, especially our European friends, this point: that when Arabs and Israelis agree on something, it makes sense to pay attention.’’

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