Guterres to the UN Security Council: "Neither the region nor the world can withstand another war"

Israel called for sanctions on Iran

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"Neither the region nor the world can stand another war," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the speech that opened the emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, referring to the unprecedented Iranian attack on Israeli territory.

"The Middle East is on the brink of an abyss. The peoples of the region are faced with a real risk of all-out catastrophic war. It's time to neutralize him and de-escalate. It is time to show maximum restraint," Antonio Guterres insisted.

"It is vital that we avoid any action that could lead to major military conflicts on multiple fronts in the Middle East," he said.

He repeated the condemnation unleashed on Saturday night by Iran against Israel, in which he saw a "serious escalation" and at the same time the aerial bombardment against the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, recalling the "inviolability" of diplomatic facilities.

According to the Israeli military, Iran launched a swarm of "300 lethal drones, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles" on Saturday night into Sunday, an attack that was mostly repelled.

Israel has been a sworn enemy since the 1979 Islamic revolution of the Islamic Republic, which has made no secret of its desire to eliminate the Jewish state. Until now, however, Tehran had never attacked Israel directly and the two countries were fighting each other through third parties, intermediaries, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The Iranian attack, dubbed "Honorable Promise," was retaliation for the April 1 bombing of the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital that killed at least 16 people, including seven members of the Revolutionary Guards. Iran has blamed Israel for the strike, which it has neither confirmed nor denied.

The bombing came more than six months after a standoff broke out in the Gaza Strip between Israel and the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. This war raised even more the thermometer of tensions between the two countries.

Antonio Guterres has once again called for an "immediate ceasefire" in the Gaza Strip and the release of all hostages taken by Hamas when its military arm launched an unprecedented raid against southern sectors of the Israeli territory on October 7.

Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, who made the request for the emergency meeting of the Security Council, demanded that the top UN body proceed to impose "all possible sanctions" against Iran.

"The Council must act," said Gilad Erdan, claiming in particular to "proceed to impose all possible sanctions against Iran before it is too late."

Iran "had no choice but to exercise its right to self-defense," the Islamic Republic's ambassador to the UN, Amir Saeed Iravani, argued for his part.

"The Security Council neglected its duty to maintain international peace and security" when it did not condemn the April 1 bombing of the Iranian consulate in Damascus and "under these circumstances, the Islamic Republic of Iran had no choice but to exercise its right to legitimate defense", stressed the Iranian diplomat, assuring that Tehran does not seek escalation but will react strongly to "any threat or attack".