The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations took aim at Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah on Thursday, saying the United States would act against this “growing menace."
At the monthly meeting of the U.N. Security Council that focuses on the Middle East, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Nikki Haley said the council should expand its attention to focus on other threats in the region.
“We need to start with the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia Hezbollah,” she said, referring to the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization. She said the two have conspired together to destabilize the region through terrorist acts and military action.
“Today they prop up Bashar al-Assad’s brutality, fighting alongside his forces, adding to the killing of thousands of civilians and the misery of millions of refugees,” Haley said of Iran and Hezbollah's involvement in the Syrian conflict. “They train deadly militias in Iraq, and arm Houthi militants in Yemen,” she added.
“While this council has paid too little attention to this growing menace, the United States will not,” she warned. “We are going to speak up about Iran and Hezbollah, and we are going to act against their lawlessness.”
The U.S. ambassador's strong comments come a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Tehran, saying that while it had abided by its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed between the six major powers and Iran in 2015, the deal had not stopped Iran’s ability and determination to develop nuclear weapons.
“An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it,” Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday.
The Trump administration said this week that it is conducting a 90-day review of the nuclear deal to evaluate whether suspending Iran sanctions are in the vital interest of U.S. national security.
At the United Nations, Haley told council diplomats that Washington is not waiting to respond to Iran for its non-nuclear related behavior.
“Iran remains a designated state sponsor of terrorism and we continue to enforce all sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region,” Haley said.
In February, the Trump administration designated for sanctions 25 individuals and entities for their support for Iran’s ballistic missile program, or for their support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.