Iran’s foreign minister told the United Nations on Thursday that US forces in the Middle East will not be spared if the Israeli offensive against Hamas continues.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian reiterated the regime’s warning during an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Israel-Hamas conflict in New York. “I say frankly to the American statesmen, who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome the expansion of the war in the region. But if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire.”
“It is our home and West Asia is our region, we do not compromise with any party and any side, and we have no reservation when it comes to our homes’ security,” he added.
Amir-Abdollahian, who usually speaks in Persian in his diplomatic interactions, delivered the threat in English while in New York, a trip that has invoked strong protests by US lawmakers and activists who have repeatedly urged Washington to deny visas to Iranian officials.
After several minutes of speaking in English, which he spent justifying the brutal Hamas incursion into Israel as a natural reaction to occupation, he switched back to Persian. One of the keywords that Amir-Abdollahian tried to convey in English was “genocide” in reference to Israel’s retaliatory attacks on Gaza after Hamas slaughtered more than 1,400 Israelis and took over 220 as hostages. Palestinian authorities say Israeli air raids have killed more than 7,000 Palestinians, a figure that many such as US President Joe Biden have cast aspersions on.
The regime’s top diplomat said Hamas has told Iran that it was ready to release civilian hostages, adding, “The Islamic Republic of Iran stands ready to play its part in this very important humanitarian endeavor, along with Qatar and Turkey. Naturally, the release of the 6,000 Palestinian prisoners is another necessity and responsibility of the global community.” Iranians say on social media that Tehran is a master of prisoner swap deals, and has proved this expertise after it made Washington release billions of dollars of frozen funds as well as five Iranians from US prisons in exchange for five Iranian-Americans held hostage in Iran.
Another salient psychological and linguistic effort by Amir-Abdollahian was aimed at portraying Hamas as a group of “freedom-fighters” or a “liberation army” and not a terrorist group as designated by the US and several other countries.
The regime’s foreign minister referred to Security Council Resolutions No. 309 and 323 ratified 1972 in the case of Namibia, stating that the “inalienable right to self-determination and independence” is permanent and does not disappear over time. “Therefore, just as the prolonged occupation of the land does not create any rights for the occupier, the passage of time does not diminish the right to determine the fate of the occupied nation.” He used this argument as a tactic to conclude that “the Palestinian nation, as a nation under occupation, has the legitimate right to resist the occupation using all available methods, including armed struggle.” Therefore, the October 7 attack – codenamed operation al-Aqsa flood by Hamas – should not be described as a terrorist act, he said.
Amir-Abdollahian complained that the US and several European countries have sided with Israel and refer to the Palestinian liberation movement as “terrorists”. He claimed that the US’ “unwavering and permanent” support for Israel as “the main cause of the failures of the United Nations, especially the Security Council, in upholding the rights of the Palestinians.”
He did not openly repeat the Iranian regime’s call for the destruction of Israel, but said the only solution to the conflict is “through the full realization of the inalienable right of this nation to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all of the Palestinian territories and with Al-Quds as its capital.”
Emphasizing that “the entire land of Palestine, from the sea to the river, belongs only to the original Palestinians, including Christians, Jews and the Muslims,” Amir-Abdollahian said Iran has “offered a political and democratic initiative which includes the holding of a referendum for self-determination amongst the original residents of Palestine.”
Amir-Abdollahian started his speech with a statement that is globally contested, if not debunked altogether. “The world knows that the Islamic Republic of Iran plays the most constructive role in helping peace and security in West Asia and the whole world as well as fighting terrorism and ISIS,” he claimed despite many labeling Iran as “the biggest state sponsor of terrorism” with a “hostage diplomacy” modus operandi.