Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey, October 30, 2018.
(photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif mockingly suggested that Israel and the US should leave planet Earth, in a tweet after the two countries withdrew from the UN’s cultural agency on Monday.
Washington has withdrawn from several agreements under President Donald Trump, including the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and the Paris climate accord, Zarif explained.
“After #JCPOA, #NAFTA, #TPP, Climate Convention & ..., the Trump regime – along with the Israeli regime – today officially withdrew from #UNESCO. Is anything left for the Trump administration and its client regime to withdraw from? Perhaps from planet Earth altogether?” tweeted Zarif on Tuesday.
Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon responded to Zarif. “Remember how @JZarif said in an interview with @LePoint on Dec 19 that no one in Iran wants to annihilate Israel? Well, calling for #Israel (and the #UnitedStates) to withdraw ‘from planet Earth altogether’ sure sounds like calling for the demise of our countries,” Danon tweeted.
Israel had been a member state of UNESCO since 1949. Nine sites in Israel are included in the organization’s World Heritage List.
Israel and the United States stopped paying their annual dues in 2011 after UNESCO became the first UN body to recognize Palestine as a state. Israel now owes UNESCO more than $8.5 million and the US owes upward of $617 million.
In 2017 both countries announced that they would leave UNESCO, a decision that formally went into effect on Tuesday, January 1, over what the two countries say is the organization’s anti-Israel bias.
Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, also issued a harsh assessment of UNESCO on Tuesday, calling the agency corrupt on Twitter.
“UNESCO is among the most corrupt and politically biased UN agencies. Today the US withdrawal from this cesspool became official. #USStrong,” she tweeted.
Outgoing US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tweeted Tuesday, “I fought every year to defund UNESCO in our congressional budget, and we were successful most of the time, but these crooks managed to get many congressional backers because they name pretty places as historical sites as they slam Israel every day.”
In June, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boycotted a UNESCO forum on antisemitism on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly’s opening session in New York, saying that the agency singles out the Jewish state over other countries.
“Since 2009, UNESCO has passed 71 resolutions condemning Israel and only two resolutions condemning all other countries combined. This is simply outrageous,” he said. “The mark of antisemitism was once singling out the Jewish people for slander and condemnation. The mark of antisemitism today is singling out the Jewish state for slander and condemnation.”
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