Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and United Nations Gilad Erdan on Thursday addressed a UN Security Council’s quarterly debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question,” and told the Council that “Iran’s relentless attempts to acquire military nuclear capabilities, its terrorist proxies that continue to destabilize the region, and its grave human rights violations remain the most substantial threat to peace and security in the Middle East.”
Ambassador Erdan continued: “Yet, this council does not take the steps necessary to stop Iran. It continues to ignore the most pressing matter in the Middle East and instead, wastes these debates recycling useless discussions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the fact that the Abraham Accords have clearly proven this is not the issue – Iran is.”
Ambassador Erdan referred to the ongoing talks about returning to the Iranian nuclear agreement and argued that “just like in 2015, the fanatical Ayatollahs will use sanction relief to fund their terrorist activities and continue to secretly develop their military nuclear program. All they will have to do is wait for the agreement to expire by 2030. Then, they will have international legitimacy to have thousands of advanced centrifuges enriching uranium and their breakout time will be almost down to zero, as President Obama himself admitted.”
In this context, on Wednesday, Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) introduced legislation intended to make it harder for the Biden administration to re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a.k.a. the Iran nuclear deal (GOP Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Require Iran Deal to be Submitted as Treaty).
The proposed bill, the Iran Nuclear Deal Advise and Consent Act of 2021, is a preemptive move to cut off funding for the rejoining of the JCPOA unless and until the Biden Administration submits the agreement to Congress for approval as a formal treaty. The Barr-Blackburn proposal reclaims Congressional authority over the treaty process as required under Article I of the US Constitution.
Ambassador Erdan, for his part, told the UNSC that “if the council wants to play a conducive role in bringing stability to the region, it must not cling on to approaches that have failed time and again because of the Palestinian’s rejectionism.”
Ambassador Erdan stressed that “for Israel, Iran poses an existential threat. That is why we will not see ourselves bound by any agreement that does not fully address the threat 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.”
Ambassador Erdan referred to the forthcoming elections in the Palestinian Authority (which may or may not take place this summer), saying: “The fact that Hamas is being allowed to run in the upcoming elections and is predicted to increase its power should be worrying for this body. It should be worrying for everyone. I hope that you will at least address how this institution will be able to continue to work with the Palestinian Authority if Hamas increases its power in the upcoming elections and becomes an official part of the Palestinian Authority.”
“As then-Senator Biden mentioned in his remarks on the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism act in 2006, the political rise of Hamas presents a challenge. Hamas does not even come close to meeting the Quartet’s three requirements. This is the most important issue to address in regards to the conflict. Not recycled old false accusations,” Ambassador Erdan concluded.