US envoy presses UN to adopt Washington's stance on Iran
Ambassador Nikki Haley pushed forward US President Donald Trump's toughened position on Iran in the Security Council's first meeting since the US leader declined to re-certify the nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.
Trump argues that Iran, which received sanctions relief in exchange for closer control on its nuclear programme under the deal, has not abided by the 2015 accord's terms.
"Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat," Haley said. "Iran must be judged in totality of its destructive and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise is foolish."
Despite the US president's strident opposition to the deal, the UK, Germany, France and Japan have maintained that they still support the accord, in line with International Atomic Energy Agency assessments that indicate Iranian compliance with the accord's terms.
Re-focussing the debate
While Haley used the meeting to reiterate the Trump administration's stance on Iran, other UN delegates used the opportunity to discuss Israeli settlements and the peace process.
In a jab at Haley, Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia questioned why the issue Israel-Palestine conflict had not been mentioned by "some delegations".
"The fact that some delegations did not mention the word 'Palestine' saddens us," Nebenzia said.
The UN Security Council is harshly critical of Israeli activity on Palestinian land and in December passed a resolution describing Israeli settlement activity as a "flagrant violation" of international law.
Israel has long accused the UN of anti-Israel bias and has found support for this stance from the Trump administration.
Haley, who was confirmed as the new US envoy to the UN earlier this year, said at the time that she aimed to change the "anti-Israel bias" at the world body.