UN Security Council to meet Sunday for emergency talks on Iran’s attack against Israel

Israeli envoy requests body condemn unprecedented Iranian missile and drone strikes, list IRGC as terror group; Biden stresses backing for Israel as world leaders denounce Tehran.

The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. (The Times of Israel: Angela Weiss/AFP)
The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York on March 25, 2024. (The Times of Israel: Angela Weiss/AFP)

(THE TIMES OF ISRAEL) The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Sunday over Iran’s unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel, the body’s president said.

A spokesperson for Malta, which holds the rotating presidency this month, told the press Saturday evening that the Security Council was aiming for the meeting to be held at 4:00 p.m. (11 p.m. Israel time) Sunday after Israel requested the council condemn Iran’s attack and designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.

Iran launched a swarm of explosive drones and fired missiles at Israel late on Saturday in its first-ever direct attack on Israeli territory, risking a major regional escalation as the United States pledged “ironclad” backing for Israel.

The Iranian strikes came as Tehran’s proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen have carried out a flurry of attacks on Israeli and Western targets since October 7, when Iran-backed Hamas launched a devastating terror onslaught in southern Israel, triggering the ongoing war in Gaza.

Israel’s envoy to the UN, in a letter to the Security Council president, called Iran’s air assault a “flagrant violation of Israel’s sovereignty.”

“Today, Iran has launched a direct attack from within its territory of more than 200 [drones], cruise missiles and ballistic missiles towards Israel,” Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan wrote.

“The attack is a severe and dangerous escalation.”

In a post on X, he also called the Iranian attack “a serious threat to global peace and security and I expect the council to use every means to take concrete action against Iran.”

Interceptor missiles are fired at Iranian drones and missiles launched at Israel, as seen over Tel Aviv on April 14, 2024. (The Times of Israel: Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Iran’s mission to the UN earlier issued a warning to both Israel and the US “should the Israeli regime make another mistake, Iran’s response will be considerably more severe,” it wrote online. “It is a conflict between Iran and the rogue Israeli regime, from which the US MUST STAY AWAY!”

It also claimed the attack was a legitimate act of self-defense under the UN charter, saying “Iran’s military action was in response to the Zionist regime’s aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus.” The diplomatic mission was referring to an alleged Israeli strike in the Syrian capital that killed seven IRGC members, including two generals.

“The matter can be deemed concluded.”

Iranians attend the funeral of seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps members killed in a strike on the country’s consular annex in Damascus, which Tehran blamed on Israel, on April 5, 2024, during their funeral procession in Tehran. (The Times of Israel: Atta Kenare/AFP)

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with US President Joe Biden early Sunday, his office said, after wrapping up security cabinet and war cabinet meetings at the IDF’s Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv. The conversation lasted for around 25 minutes, according to Israeli television.

There was no immediate readout from the White House on the call, which was held after Biden convened a principals meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the attack. The US president returned to Washington earlier in the day after cutting short his weekend stay in Delaware.

“Our commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad,” Biden said on X after the National Security Council meeting.

The Iranian attack was also denounced by numerous countries and international organizations, who warned the attack threatened to further destabilize the Middle East.

United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a statement condemned the “reckless” strikes, which he said “risk inflaming tensions and destabilizing the region. Iran has once again demonstrated that it is intent on sowing chaos in its own backyard.”

The European Union’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell called the attack “an unprecedented escalation and a grave threat to regional security” in a message on X.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned “the serious escalation represented by the large-scale attack launched on Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“I am deeply alarmed about the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation,” he added, calling on parties to “avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian poses for a photo with United Nations secretary-general António Guterres on January 23, 2024, at United Nations headquarters. (The Times of Israel: AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie)

France’s Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne on X said that “in deciding to take this unprecedented action, Iran has reached a new level in its acts of destabilization and is risking a military escalation.”

Berlin’s top diplomat also warned the attack would have a destabilizing effect, and urged Tehran to halt the strikes.

“We condemn the ongoing attack — which could plunge an entire region into chaos — in the strongest possible terms,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on X.

“Iran and its proxies must stop this immediately,” she continued, adding that Berlin stands “firmly by Israel.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa that his country “unequivocally condemns Iran’s airborne attacks,” adding: “We stand with Israel.”

“After supporting Hamas’s brutal October 7 attack, the Iranian regime’s latest actions will further destabilize the region and make lasting peace more difficult,” he added.

The office of Argentine President Javier Milei expressed in a statement its “solidarity and unwavering commitment” to Israel in the face of the attacks.

It added that Argentina “emphatically supports the State of Israel in the defense of its sovereignty, especially against regimes that promote terror,” noting an Argentine court recently held Iran responsible for deadly bomb attacks on the Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in the 1990s.

This video grab from AFPTV taken on April 14, 2024, shows Israeli air defense systems intercepting projectiles amid an Iranian attack on Israel, as seen from the West Bank city of Ramallah. (The Times of Israel: Saleh Hamad/AFPTV/AFP)

Cairo’s foreign ministry expressed its “deep concern” at the escalation of hostilities and called for “maximum restraint,” without explicitly condemning Tehran.

The ministry’s statement also warned of the “risk of the regional expansion of the conflict,” and added that Egypt would be “in direct contact with all parties to the conflict to try and contain the situation.”

The Saudi foreign ministry issued a statement voicing its concern at the “military escalation” and calling on “all parties to exercise utmost restraint and spare the region and its peoples from the dangers of war.”

It went on to urge the UN Security Council “to assume its responsibility towards maintaining international peace and security.”

The statement did not mention either Israel nor Iran — let alone condemn Tehran for its attack against the Jewish state.

read more: