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U.S. Urges UN Council To Address Iran's 'Destabilizing' Conduct In Middle East

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya (left) speaks with U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley (file photo)

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley has urged the UN Security Council to follow the United States' example and address what she called Iran's "destructive conduct" in the Middle East rather than focusing on the 2015 nuclear deal.

"Judging Iran by the narrow confines of the nuclear deal misses the true nature of the threat," Haley said during a council debate on October 18. "Iran must be judged in totality of its aggressive, destabilizing, and unlawful behavior. To do otherwise would be foolish."

She charged that Iran "has repeatedly thumbed its nose" at council resolutions condemning Tehran's alleged support for terrorism and regional conflicts, including by illegally supplying militia groups in Yemen, Syrian, and Lebanon.

"This must stop," Haley said, citing a list of alleged Iranian violations, including threatening freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf, cyberattacks, imprisonment of journalists and foreigners, persecuting some religions, and imprisoning gays.

Britain was the only council member to openly support the U.S. call for broader action against Iran on October 18.

Deputy British Ambassador Jonathan Allen said his country shares concern about Iran's ballistic missile program and regional activities and stands ready to act.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya defended Iran, however, and said the nuclear deal had helped to "stabilize" the Middle East.

He said he strongly disagreed with an assertion by Haley that "nearly every threat to peace and security in the Middle East is connected to Iran's outlaw behavior."

Iran's Deputy UN ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo said, "We are not going to waste our time on answering the rants of a brute nature" by U.S. officials.

"No country has done more than Iran" to fight against the Islamic State extremist group, he said. "If we had hegemonic ambitions, the nuclear deal would never have been reached."

Based on reporting by AP and dpa