Guterres (photo) also said that the Council has a shared responsibility to ensure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza | Photo: UN reproduction

During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council this Sunday (14), Secretary-General António Guterres appealed to the international community to avoid a “devastating large-scale conflict” in the Middle East.

The United Nations leader emphasized that the region’s populations face a real danger of a devastating situation of total war, stating that it is necessary to disarm and de-escalate. “It is time to step back from the abyss,” declared Guterres, highlighting the need for “maximum containment” among the nations involved.

The meeting was called by Israel after an Iranian attack last Saturday (13), with the Portuguese diplomat highlighting that civilians are already “paying the highest price”. Furthermore, he recalled that international law prohibits “retaliatory actions that include the use of force”.

Read too: Brazil calls for “maximum restraint” to avoid “escalation” of the Iran-Israel conflict

Claims of self-defense: Iran and Israel stand firm in their rights

Tension between Iran and Israel was the focus of the meeting, where Iranian ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeid Jalil Iravani, stated that Iran was forced to “exercise its right to self-defense” after Israel’s attack on its consulate in Damascus , in Syria, which resulted in the deaths of seven members of the Revolutionary Guard and six Syrian citizens.

Amir Saeid Iravani, Iranian ambassador to the UN | Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP

During the meeting, which was attended by representatives and ambassadors from several nations – including Russia, China, South Korea, Sierra Leone, Syria, United Kingdom, France, Algeria among others – Iravani declared that “the Security Council has failed in its duty to maintain international peace and security” by not condemning the April 1 attack.

“Under these conditions, the Islamic Republic of Iran had no choice but to exercise its right to self-defense,” he said, emphasizing that Tehran does not want an escalation of the conflict, but that it will respond to “any threat or aggression.”

Read too: Iran reacts with drones and missiles to Israeli aggression that killed general

On the other hand, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, defended Israel’s “legal right to respond”, pointing out that after the Iranian attack, his country cannot remain inactive.

Gilad Erdan, Israeli ambassador to the UN | Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP

“This attack crossed all red lines, and Israel reserves the legal right to respond,” Erdan said. “After such a massive attack against Israel, the entire world, least of all Israel, cannot sit idly by. We defend our future”, said the ambassador who also thanked the United States for support, while pressing for “all possible sanctions” against Iran.

US seeks to avoid escalation

The deputy US representative to the UN, Robert Wood, expressed his country’s position against the escalation of violence. Wood reinforced the U.S. desire to “condemn Iran’s attack on Israel” and work to reduce tension in the region by exploring additional steps to hold Iran accountable at the United Nations.

Read too: UN rapporteur: Denying Israel’s genocidal intent is no longer viable

He also highlighted the need to focus on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, including a ceasefire and the release of hostages. At the same time, the United States has already made it clear that it will not support an Israeli reprisal for the Iranian attack.


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