Washington: Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council to consider a wide range of Iran’s “destabilizing” actions in the Middle East in an early test of whether President Donald Trump’s toughening position on the Islamic Republic is alienating allies and leaving the US isolated internationally.
Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, used a Security Council meeting Wednesday on “the situation in the Middle East” to once again take on Tehran’s ballistic-missile programme and its support for Hezbollah and Syrian ruler Bashar Al Assad. But most of the other participants sought to focus on Israeli-Palestinian issues, especially Israel’s colonies in the West Bank.
The meeting was the first public effort to gauge support for the US position on Iran after Trump declined to certify the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, on Oct. 13. Trump, making a determination required under US law every 90 days, said the agreement with Iran and five other nations wasn’t serving US national security interests, though he stopped short of quitting the accord entirely.
“Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat,” Haley told the Security Council.
“Iran must be judged in the totality of its destructive and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise is foolish.”
Despite Trump’s criticisms, US allies have said they continue to back the agreement, pointing to International Atomic Energy Agency assessments that Iran has met its requirements under the accord.
The agreement, negotiated during the Obama administration, was intended to ease economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme.
Europe’s position hasn’t changed since Trump’s speech, said Olof Skoog, Sweden’s ambassador to the UN Skoog said the Middle East debate should focus on the peace process and not the nuclear deal.