By Danny Danon
Source: New York Post
Days before the UN General Assembly gathered to discuss world peace, an Iranian drone and missile attack devastated Saudi oil facilities. For years, Israel has been the lone voice calling attention to the danger the Tehran regime poses to the Middle East.
Yet an attack that threatens to destabilize global energy markets demonstrates that the best prosecutor of the case against Iran is … Iran. As the international community meets in Turtle Bay to discuss the gravest threats to international peace and security, it must review the evidence Tehran has put forth and get serious about the regime.
Since seizing power 40 years ago, the regime has exported an extremist ideology that leaves nothing but chaos and bloodshed in its wake. Through its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and with the use of its national airlines, Iran has spread its tentacles to four countries — Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon — as well as the Gaza Strip, dedicating years and more than $7 billion annually to building this extensive terrorist network.
US sanctions over the past year are taking a toll on Iran, to be sure; exports are down 90 percent and the currency is in free fall. Even so, these sanctions alone have barely slowed Tehran’s regional operations. Instead of using the financial windfall from the 2015 nuclear deal to help its people, the regime directed the billions of dollars it received to Hezbollah, Hamas, Houthi rebels, the Assad regime and other nefarious actors. While its people suffered, Iran’s proxies got a raise.
The most consequential of these investments is the campaign to establish a foothold in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights. This location allows the IRGC to support Assad’s brutal campaign against his own people, oversee the transfer of munitions and supplies to Hezbollah in Lebanon and directly threaten Israel.
Due to its narrow borders, Israel lacks the strategic depth necessary for our defense forces to detect and respond to an attack before it threatens population centers. An Iranian military presence near the Golan virtually guarantees that any strike will result in Israeli civilian casualties. Thus, Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes against IRGC and Hezbollah forces in Syria to prevent Iran from gaining a permanent foothold.
All along, the United Nations has remained silent in the face of Iran’s growing aggression against another member state. But Iran’s mischief won’t remain confined in the Middle East. In this era of social media and global transportation, it is easy for regional problems to spiral into global ones. Indeed, one of the Iranian regime’s motivating principles is to export its revolutionary ideology beyond its neighborhood.
For years, Tehran has staged terrorist operations in dozens of countries across six continents. In 2011, Iran even attempted to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s US ambassador and bomb its embassy in Washington.
Nor can we forget the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and wounded hundreds — the most horrific attack against Jews outside of Israel since the Holocaust.
Today, Iran continues to strengthen the case for why it is the greatest threat to international peace and security. Last month, it launched unprovoked attacks against international shipping vessels and shot down a US military drone in international airspace. The more recent attack on the Saudi oil field caused oil prices to spike — laying bare how quickly a seemingly local crisis can have widespread effects.
The great conceit of the nuclear deal was that it would normalize Iran’s behavior. Yet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei never intended to join the community of nations. Last year, Israel revealed the existence of a nuclear site Iran constructed in violation of the nuclear agreement. Two weeks ago, we exposed another Iranian nuclear research facility that the regime never disclosed in the nuclear deal — more proof that Iran has continually lied about its nuclear ambitions.
As the world’s leaders gather in New York, they have the opportunity to refocus the discussion of international peace and security. While Israel continues to sound the alarm about Iran’s genocidal ambitions, the regime itself has been steadily building its own case for why it is deserving of international sanction. We must listen.
Danny Danon is Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations.