‘Inviolable’ – UN, Member States Condemn Israeli Attack on Iranian Consulate

A United Nations Security Council meeting. (Photo: video grab, via UN News website)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“The inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law.”

The United Nations and its member states have condemned Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, with the US denying any involvement and warning Iran to “avoid escalating tensions in the region.”

“The inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected in all cases in accordance with international law,” Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific told a UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday, reiterating the condemnation by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“The rules-based international order is essential for international peace and security, which this Council is mandated to maintain,” he stressed.

Among those killed in the Israeli missile strikes on Monday in the Syrian capital were two high-ranking officials from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

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Khiari told the meeting that at least five Iranian personnel were killed, including senior military advisors, and injured others. He said subsequent media reports indicated that the death toll had risen to 13; “seven Iranian personnel and six Syrian citizens.”

Khiari highlighted that there have been a growing number of “lethal attacks on Iran-linked targets in Syria” which have “been attributed to Israel,” particularly since October 7.

“Open sources have reported at least a dozen such attacks since the beginning of this year,” he noted. “While Israel has rarely claimed responsibility for any of these incidents, its officials have repeatedly acknowledged its military operations in Syria and have suggested that more such operations will occur in the future.”

Khiari appealed to the Council to “continue to actively engage” all parties to “prevent further escalation and the worsening of tensions that undermine regional peace and security.”

Russia: ‘Extremely Concerned’

Russia’s envoy to the UN Vassily Nebenzia highlighted the “ongoing rocket and bomb attacks” by the Israeli military against various sites in Syria against the backdrop its military operations in occupied Palestinian territories, “which continues despite the demand of UNSC resolution 2728 for an immediate ceasefire.”

“We are extremely concerned about such blatant disregard by the Israeli leadership (with the connivance of the United States) for a legally binding decision of the Security Council,” his statement said.

He highlighted the killing of seven World Central Kitchen aid workers in an Israeli air strike on Monday, as an example.

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Nebenzia condemned “in the strongest terms” Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate saying “We regard as categorically unacceptable any attacks on diplomatic and consular facilities, the inviolability of which is guaranteed by the relevant Vienna Conventions of 1961 and 1963.”

He noted that “this is not the first attack by Israel in the densely populated Damascus metropolitan area, which has posed high risks of mass civilian casualties.”

“We consider it necessary for all responsible members of the international community to provide an objective legal assessment of Israel’s aggression in the Middle East, which ignores not only the provisions of the UN Charter and relevant UNSC and UNGA resolutions, but also the fundamental principles of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations.”

“We are extremely concerned by such blatant disregard by the Israeli authorities with the connivance of the United States for a legally binding decision of the Council,” he stressed.

Nebenzia criticized the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, deeming any assaults on diplomatic premises protected by the Vienna Conventions of 1961 and 1963 unacceptable.

He called on the international community to “unequivocally condemn Israel’s reckless actions.”

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China: ‘Breach of Sovereignty’

Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, described the attack on the Iranian consulate as “a grave violation of the UN Charter and international law” and “a breach of the sovereignty of both Syria and Iran”.

He recalled that 25 years ago, China’s Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was bombed by a United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) airstrike, resulting in personnel casualties and damage to the embassy.

Shuang noted that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and the universally recognized basic norms governing international relations, the safety and security of diplomatic missions is inviolable.

“The red line of international law and the basic norms of international relations has been breached time and again,” he said, adding that such a situation must stop immediately.

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Algeria: International Order in the Balance

Algeria’s representative to the UN, Amar Bendjama, said such a grave breach of international obligation by Israel cannot be justified or tolerated.

“The integrity of our international order hangs in the balance,” he said, adding that the choice is either to uphold the principle of the UN Charter or risk plunging into chaos and regional spillover.

Notable condemnation also came from other countries including Slovenia, Switzerland, Ecuador, and Sierra Leone.

Syria: ‘Barbaric Attack’

The representative of Syria Koussay Aldahhak condemned the attack “in broad daylight” as “barbaric.”

He said the targeted building — located in a densely populated area, full of civilians — is just a few meters away from the headquarters of foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations, including the World Food Programme (WFP).

“This vital area is crossed by thousands of civilians daily,” he said.

Aldahhak stressed that such grave violations of international conventions and norms that guarantee the protection of diplomatic premises and personnel constitute “a dangerous precedent”.

He said Israel would not have carried out this attack on a diplomatic headquarters “had it not been for the blind support” of the United States.

Iran: ‘Cowardly Terrorist Attacks’

Condemning the “cowardly terrorist attacks”, Iran’s representative Zahra Ershadi, said Israel “committed a flagrant violation of the United Nations Charter, international law, and the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Ershadi called on the Security Council to “vehemently condemn this unjustified criminal act and terrorist attack,” adding that it was “now crystal clear” that Israel’s actions “are a real threat to regional and international peace and security.”

She said the representatives of the US and UK “once again tried to deny its responsibility for the current situation in Syria and broad region by falsely blaming Iran.”

Iran “strongly rejects these allegations,” Ershadi stressed, as “Iran is never seeking to contribute to the spillover of the conflict in the region nor does it to escalate or spread the tension to the entire region.”

She further said that despite expressing concern over the spillover of the tension in the region, “the US tries to misuse the situation to destabilize Syria and the region.”

“The United States is responsible for all crimes committed by the Israeli regime,” Ershadi stated.

UK and US: Deeply Concerned

Meanwhile, the UK representative, James Kariuki, blamed Iran for its “role in destabilising the region, through its military, financial and political support to groups which have been conducting and threatening attacks,” which he added, “is unacceptable.”

“Amongst the groups which Iran has continued to support are Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, militias in Syria and Iraq, and the Houthis. As well as attacking Israel, these groups have been responsible for the attacks against international shipping, including the deaths of innocent mariners and attacks against international forces in Iraq and Syria,” Kariuki said.

He said the UK was “deeply concerned about the potential for escalation in the region” and “calls on all parties to reduce tensions.”

“We are committed to de-escalation in the Middle East,” Kariuki added.

The US representative, Robert Wood, denied American involvement in the Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate, saying “We have communicated this directly to Iran.”

“As we gather details, one thing is clear: Iran and its proxy and partner groups need to avoid escalating tensions in the region,” Wood added.

He said that since October 7, the US “has repeatedly warned Iran not to take advantage of the situation to escalate its longstanding proxy war against Israel and other actors.”

Wood also said the US “will not hesitate to defend our personnel” in the region.

On the Israeli killing of the WCK aid workers, Wood said “Israel needs to do much more to protect humanitarian personnel and facilities in Gaza.”

“It is unacceptable and inexplicable that nearly six months into this conflict, Israeli military deconfliction mechanisms are not functioning appropriately,” he added.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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