Iran Urges Security Council Action Against U.S. After Downing Drone

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a press conference with German Vice Chancellor and Sigmar Gabriel (Unseen) at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on June 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty

The rogue Islamic government of Iran petitioned the United Nations on Friday to take action against the United States after Iranian military forces shot down an American surveillance drone.

Tehran claims the drone had made an unauthorized entry into Iranian airspace, violating international law. President Donald Trump referred to the Iranian attack as a “mistake” and American officials released video footage proving that the drone was legally present in international airspace when Iran shot it down.

Iranian Ambassador to the U.N. Majid Takht Ravanchi urged U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to bring the “very dangerous and provocative act” of the United States of flying the drone to the Security Council, where allies China and Russia could presumably take some action against Washington. Ravanchi called the drone’s flight a “blatant violation of international law” but stopped short of specifying what sort of action he hoped the U.N. would take in response.

“The international community is called upon to demand the United States to put an end to its continued unlawful and destabilizing measures in the already volatile region of the Persian Gulf,” Ravanchi wrote to Guterres, according to a copy of the letter published by Iran’s Tasnim news agency. “Iran condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this irresponsible and provocative wrongful act by the United States, which entails its international responsibility.”

“While the Islamic Republic of Iran does not seek war, it reserves its inherent right, under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, to take all appropriate necessary measures against any hostile act violating its territory, and is determined to vigorously defend its land, sea and air,” Ravanchi argued. “This is not the first provocative act by the United States against Iran’s territorial integrity.”

“It would be highly appreciated if you could have the present letter issued as a document of the Security Council,” the ambassador concludes.

Tasnim published the letter shortly after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif announced that Iran would “take this new aggression to the #UN & show that the US is lying about international waters” on Twitter.

At press time, Guterres has issued only one short statement on the situation, according to the New York Times: “I have only one strong recommendation: nerves of steel.”

The Pentagon refuted Iranian claims that the drone, a U.S. Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (or BAMS-D) ISR Global Hawk drone, was flying in Iranian airspace when Islamic Republic soldiers shot it down. Washington asserted it was legally flying in international airspace and released a video Friday that the Pentagon says proves that the drone had not violated international law. The video shows the aircraft flying over the Strait of Hormuz in international territory as a surface-to-air missile destroys it.

“Iran made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly. We have it all documented scientifically not just words,” President Donald Trump said on Thursday. “I find it hard to believe that it was intentional if you want to know the truth, I think that it could have been somebody that was loose and stupid that did it.”

Trump reiterated that he wanted “to get out of these endless wars,” a reference to U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that he had no appetite for war with Iran.

The New York Times reported late Thursday that President Trump had approved an airstrike against the Iranian government, but canceled it at the last minute.

In contrast to Trump’s repeated assertions that he does not wish to enter a military entanglement with the Iranian regime, Tehran has escalated its provocative actions against the United States this month, attacking the drone a week after video footage showed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) bombing two international oil tankers near Iranian territory. A Norwegian and a Japanese oil tanker suffered explosive attacks at sea that the Iranian regime initially blamed on the United States, claiming Washington was seeking an excuse to go to war.

The U.S. Navy subsequently released video footage and military images showing IRGC soldiers removing an unexploded mine from the Japanese tanker. The mine would have served as proof of an Iranian attack, as its manufacturing would have revealed an Iranian origin.

“Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said of the attacks last week. “Iran is lashing out, because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitled the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians, disrupt global oil markets, and engage in nuclear blackmail.”

President Trump has significantly damaged the Iranian economy, Iran itself admitted this month, through the imposition of tight sanctions in response to its expanding sponsorship of terrorism and drug trafficking worldwide. Following the passage of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, in 2015, the regime used its windfall from sanctions relief to expand Hezbollah’s activities in Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, among other countries. Trump walked out of the JCPOA and reinstated sanctions shortly after taking office; this week, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Congress that Hezbollah has resorted to placing “piggy banks” in grocery stores to fundraise for its terrorist activities.

“If American people really don’t want to go to war with Iran, the US president should abandon the current course of policy in regard to sanctioning Iran,” a senior analyst at an Iranian think tank warned last week. “Otherwise, rising tensions automatically will drive us to an unavoidable war, sooner or later.”

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