UN Security Council in session on April 2, 2024

UN Security Council Fails To Condemn Strike On Iran Embassy

Wednesday, 04/03/2024

The United States, Britain and France on Wednesday opposed a Russian-drafted UN Security Council statement that would have condemned an attack on Iran's embassy in Syria, which Tehran has blamed on Israel.

Press statements by the 15-member council have to be agreed by consensus. Diplomats said the US, backed by France and Britain, told council colleagues that many of the facts of what happened on Monday in Damascus remained unclear and there was no consensus among council members during a meeting on Tuesday.

"This serves as a clear illustration of the double standards employed by the Western 'troika' and their actual, rather than declarative, approach to legality and order in the international context," Russia's deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said in a post on X.

In the previous Security Council meeting on Tuesday, the US representative condemned the activities of Iran’s armed proxy groups in the region, as well as warned Tehran not to target US forces in retaliation for the attack on its Damascus embassy.

The UN Security Council has issued statements in the past condemning attacks on diplomatic premises. The European Union on Wednesday condemned the strike - saying the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises and personnel must be respected - and called on countries to show restraint.

The US says it has not confirmed the status of the building struck in Damascus, but that it would be concerned if it was a diplomatic facility.

Israel has not claimed responsibility for the attack, which destroyed a consular building adjacent to the main embassy complex, killing seven members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has accused Israel of violating the founding UN Charter, international law, and also cited several conventions. However the Islamic Republic has violated the immunity of foreign embassies several times in the past 45 years, with allowing its supporters to occupy the US embassy for 444 days as well as attack and damage the British and Saudi embassies.

The 1961 Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations and 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations define premises as buildings, parts of buildings and land - regardless of ownership - used for the purposes of the diplomatic or consular mission, including the head of the diplomatic mission.

Those conventions state that the diplomatic or consular premises "shall be inviolable." But they also say the premises should "not be used in any manner incompatible" with the diplomatic and consular functions.

Iran also cited the 1973 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents - suggesting those killed were covered by these rules.

With reporting by Reuters

More News