Iran’s officials are exploiting an ineffective US threat to punish countries who supported a UN General Assembly resolution criticizing any unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that she was making a list of those who voted for the Egyptian-Turkish-Yemeni resolution. Donald Trump warned that his Administration could cut economic and military aid to any country who crossed the line, a threat reinforced by Haley on Twitter.
Despite the messages, the UN General Assembly voted 138-9, with 135 abstentions, for the resolution. While the Trump Administration was not named in the text, the outcome was a rebuke to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, defying the international status that the city has held since Israel’s formation in 1948.
Earlier this week Iran highlighted the Security Council’s 14-1 vote, with the US casting its veto, challenging the recognition. On Thursday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif led Tehran’s campaign:
Trump regime exposes contempt for democracy through its threats against those who dare resist its thuggish demands at the UN—all while Trump insults Iran crudely as “dictatorship”. US version of democracy stops at rhetoric of "either with us or against us".
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 20, 2017
After the General Assembly vote, Zarif wrote, “A resounding global NO to Trump regime’s thuggish intimidation at UN.”
Tehran has used Trump’s rhetoric and positions to try and rally Islamic and Arab countries around Tehran, including the hosting of the Organization of Islamic Countries earlier this month. The Iranian campaign is not only about Palestine, but also to shore up the Islamic Republic’s interventions in Iraq and Syria and its challenge to Saudi Arabia in the region, including over Riyadh’s military campaign in the Yemeni civil war.