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UN Security Council must compel Israel to end Golan’s occupation, aggression against Syria: Iran envoy

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations

Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations (UN) says the Security Council must fulfill its responsibility and compel the Israeli regime to put an immediate end to its occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights and its acts of aggression against the country.

“Aggressions and destabilizing measures of the Israeli regime constitute flagrant violations of international law and continue to threaten regional and international peace and security,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in an address to a UNSC session on Syria on Wednesday.

Israel frequently launches missile attacks and targets military positions inside Syria, especially those of the Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, which has played a key role in helping the Syrian army in its fight against foreign-backed terrorists.

Israel has been a key supporter of terrorist groups that have been fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad since the foreign-backed militancy erupted in Syria over 10 years ago.

The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

Israel has also occupied large swathes of land known as the Golan Heights in southwestern Syria since 1967, maintaining a significant military presence in the Arab country’s territory. Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over Golan, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control.

Takht-Ravanchi hailed efforts by the UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen to hold a sixth meeting of the country’s Constitutional Committee, saying its work must be complemented by other efforts, including by putting an end to the foreign occupation of Syria without any precondition or further delay. 

“We emphasize again that the Committee must continue its work without any external interference or pressure. Setting any artificial deadline for its conclusion or any other conditions of such nature will negatively impact the Committee’s work and must therefore be avoided,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

It must be ensured that this will be a truly Syrian-led political process that belongs to Syria and is being facilitated by the United Nations, he noted.

Takht-Ravanchi slammed the assassination of former Syrian lawmaker Midhat Saleh al-Saleh by Israeli snipers in the occupied Golan Heights earlier this month as one of the regime’s latest “adventuristic practices.”

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, this criminal act as well as all violations of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria by the Israeli regime, and reaffirm Syria’s inherent right to self-defense and to respond at a time and place of its choosing,” the senior Iranian diplomat added.

Saleh, who had been imprisoned in Israel for 12 years, was killed by gunfire while returning home in the Syrian village of Ain al-Tinah opposite the Israeli-occupied town of Majdal Shams in Golan on October 16.

Takht-Ravanchi also condemned the terrorist attack in the Syrian capital of Damascus on October 20, saying such acts underscore the need to continue the fight against all terrorist groups unabated.

Two bombs attached to an army bus went off in Damascus, leaving at least 14 people dead and several others injured.

The official said Iran rejected any “separatist activities and illegitimate self-rule initiatives” in Syria as well as any efforts to support them.

He voiced concerns over the grim humanitarian situation in Syria, calling for more efforts to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people in need, including pursuing a non-political approach to the dispatch of humanitarian aid and supporting the war-ravaged country’s reconstruction.

He called for the lifting of “unlawful and inhumane” sanctions unilaterally imposed against Syria, which are used to collectively punish a whole nation.

Takht-Ravanchi warned that sanctions would not only increase the suffering of the Syrian people, but would adversely affect the activities of the UN and international and national humanitarian organizations in the Arab country.

He called for the allocation of more aid to Syria and for steps to be taken to ensure that the aid does not fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

Takht-Ravanchi once again reiterated Iran’s principled stance that the Syrian crisis should be solved through peaceful channels and in accordance with international law, particularly respect for the countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in their internal and external affairs.

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