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Lapid, Gantz join push for UNSC to sanction Iran

CM 04/08/2021

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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz plan to present intelligence on Iran’s attack on an Israel-linked ship to ambassadors of UN Security Council member states on Wednesday.
The meetings come as part of a push by Israel for the UNSC to sanction Iran for its maritime attacks, after its attacks on the vessels Mercer Street, which is managed by an Israeli-owned company, and Asphalt Princess in the Gulf in the past week.
Israel has already presented the information to the US, as well as the UK and Romania, a citizen of each having been killed in the drone attack on Friday. The three countries expressed confidence that Iran was behind the bombing of Mercer Street and said they would coordinate a response.

Security Council members with representation in Israel are the US, UK, France, Russia, China, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Norway and Vietnam. Saint Vincent, the Grenadines and Estonia do not have an embassy in Israel, and the Jewish state does not have diplomatic relations with Niger and Tunisia. In January, the situation in the UNSC will be more favorable to Israel, as all members that do not have diplomatic ties with Jerusalem will leave and be replaced with countries that do.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan highlighted the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) development of drone technology in a letter to the council on Tuesday.
“The Security Council must take all necessary measures to hold the Iranian regime fully accountable for its repeated and unrestrained gross violations of international law,” Erdan wrote.
He spoke out after Israel and the United States charged that Iran is behind the drone attack Friday against the Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned petroleum-product tanker managed by Israeli-owned Zodiac Maritime Ltd. The Romanian captain and a British crew member were killed.
Britain, Romania and Liberia also wrote letters to the UNSC stating that it was “highly likely” that Iran used one or more drones to attack the ship as it was off the coast of Oman.
“This attack disrupted and posed a risk to the safety and security of international shipping and was a clear violation of international law,” the countries stated.
“This act must be condemned by the international community,” they added.
DIPLOMATS SAID that Britain was expected to raise the issue in a closed-door meeting of the Security Council in the coming days. The council is also coincidentally due to discuss maritime security in a public meeting on Monday, chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India is council president for August.
The countries spoke out as Iranian-backed forces are believed to have seized an oil tanker in the Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.
Two sources identified the vessel as the Panama-flagged asphalt/bitumen tanker Asphalt Princess, allegedly seized in an area in the Arabian Sea leading to the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s seaborne oil exports flow.
Iran has rejected both maritime allegations.
Erdan told the UNSC in his letter that “Iran’s repeated brazen and murderous actions – which constitute grave violations of the United Nations Charter and of international law more generally – serve not only to threaten the safety of international shipping and navigation and disrupt international trade, but to further destabilize a highly volatile region. 
“The Security Council should not sit idly by in the face of such violations by Iran or by the terrorist organizations throughout the region that serve as its proxies,” he said.
It was important in particular to highlight the role the Iranian IRGC has played “in sowing violence and destruction in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world,” he wrote, adding that the Guard Corps “is the main sponsor of terrorist groups and militias throughout the region. 
“Over time, the IRGC has developed dangerous and precise weaponry, such as attack drones and long-range missiles, which it uses against civilians and civilian objects in countries across the region, whether directly or by means of the terrorist groups the IRGC sponsors and supports,” Erdan wrote.
He highlighted past Iranian maritime attacks this year including on the Israeli-owned vessels the Helios Ray in February and the Hyperion Ray in April. The CSAV Tyndall, previously owned by an Israeli, was attacked in June.
Reuters contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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