NEW YORK – Tehran is accusing Israel of assisting terrorist groups in Syria and sowing chaos in the Middle East after the IDF shot down what it said was a weaponized Iranian drone in February.
In a letter sent to UN Secretary- General Antonio Guterres last week, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo claimed that “Israeli reckless action in this instance only helped [ISIS] and other terrorist groups in Syria. There is, indeed, enough evidence of the Israeli support to these terrorist groups... and this incident clearly demonstrates their destructive policy in assisting those groups for the purpose of destabilizing the region.”
The document, obtained by The Jerusalem Post
, is also addressed to president of the United Nations Security Council Joanna Wronecka of Poland.
The complaint refers to an incident on February 10, when the Israeli military shot down a drone equipped with explosives they said was launched by Iran from a Syrian military base.
Khoshroo claims, however, that the “unmanned aerial vehicle” flying near “the border of Jordan and the occupied Palestinian territories” was on a reconnaissance mission, monitoring the movements of Islamic fundamentalists.
“Contrary to their made-up claim,” the Iranian envoy said, the drone “was neither armed nor had intention for engagement or mission for possible attack anywhere.”
Nearly two months later, an air strike targeting a Syrian airbase near the city of Homs left seven member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps dead
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The New York Times later quoted an unnamed Israeli military source as saying Israel had carried out the raid but the IDF maintains its official silence over its possible involvement in the April 9 attack.
Iran, along with Russia and Syria, blamed Israel for the attack, which followed reports of a poison gas attack by President Bashar Assad’s forces on the rebel-held town of Douma.
“The Israeli regime invoked that instance for a series of so-called preemptive military attacks, including the one on April 9, 2018,” Khoshroo said, adding that Jerusalem’s actions “clearly demonstrates that the military attacks were carried out with the obvious intention to target Iranian nationals and interests legitimately deployed in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran preserves its right to self-defense in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and calls upon the Security Council to uphold its responsibilities by condemning acts of aggression and asking the Israeli regime to stop its dangerous and constant adventurism and provoking behaviors which are threatening the regional peace and security,” Khoshroo concluded.
Tensions between the two adversaries reached its most dangerous point on Thursday when Israel said it attacked nearly all of Iran’s military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.
Israel destroyed dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria, as well as Syrian anti-aircraft units that tried unsuccessfully to shoot down Israeli planes, Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.
The Syrian Army Command said Israel’s attack killed three people and injured two others.
A Britain-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the strikes killed at least 23 military personnel, including Syrians and non-Syrians.
Earlier in the day, Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon demanded the United Nations Security Council condemn Iran after claiming their forces launched a missile attack on the Golan Heights from Syria.
Incoming rocket sirens were activated at 12:10 in the morning in Israel’s northern Golan Heights communities of Majdal Shams, Neve Ativ, Nimrod, Masa’ade, Bukata, Odem and El Rom.
In a fiery letter also addressed to Guterres, Danon stated that “Israel holds the government of Iran, together with the Syrian regime, directly responsible for this attack and we will continue to defend our citizens vigorously against all acts of aggression.”
“Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel and to deteriorate an already fragile situation in the region,” wrote Danon.
“This brazen attack on our sovereignty does not come in a vacuum,” Danon continued.
“We have cautioned repeatedly of Iran’s alarming entrenchment in Syria and this act of aggression is regrettably a realization of these very warnings.
“I call on the Security Council to immediately condemn this attack and demand that Iran remove its military presence from Syria that not only threatens Israel, but the stability of our entire region.
The international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations,” the ambassador added.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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