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US wants UN to prioritise ‘chief culprit’ Iran

Nikki Haley branded Iran the "chief culprit" in the Middle East [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 April, 2017

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US Ambassador Nikki Haley urges UN to devote less attention to Israeli-Palestinian conflict and focus on Iran's 'incredibly destructive activities' in the Middle East.

The United States on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to make Iran's "incredibly destructive" activities a priority in the Middle East and devote less attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, branded Iran the "chief culprit" of conflicts in the Middle East and vowed to work with Washington's partners to demand Iran comply with UN resolutions.

Iran's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, weapons supplies to Houthi rebels, training of Shiite militias in Iraq, and ardent support for Hizballah in Lebanon are destabilizing the region, Haley said.

"The Israel-Palestinian issue is an important one, deserving of attention. But that is one issue that surely has no lack of attention around here," Haley told the monthly council meeting on the Middle East.

"The incredibly destructive nature of Iranian and Hizballah activities throughout the Middle East demands much more of our attention."

"It should become this council's priority in the region."

The council holds a monthly meeting on the Middle East and the Palestinian question. Haley has repeatedly accused the top UN body of being biased against Israel.

Describing the monthly meetings as "Israel-bashing sessions," Haley said the debates "do nothing" to address differences but were instead pushing Israel and the Palestinians further part.

Haley's remarks came a day after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson branded the Iran nuclear deal a failure and two days after President Donald Trump ordered a review of the lifting of sanctions under the agreement.

Trump's administration has fiercely criticized the government of ex-president Barack Obama for refusing in December to use its UN veto to block a resolution demanding Israel halt expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

A vocal supporter of Israel, Haley has branded the resolution, which was adopted after the United States abstained, a "terrible mistake."

The US vetoed a near-identical resolution on settlements in 2011, the only veto used by the Obama administration at the Security Council.

Since 2000, the US has used its veto 11 times, nine of which to protect Israel.

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