On October 26, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke to the U.N. General Assembly about the war between Hamas and Israel. Tehran has armed, financed and supported Hamas, a movement of Palestinian extremists, since it grew out of the First Intifadah in 1987. Hamas initiated the war on October 7 with missile and rocket attacks fired from Gaza as well as cross-border raids that killed more than 1,400 Israelis, largely civilians and including babies, children and the elderly. Hamas also abducted more than 200 civilians, whom they held hostage as leverage against Israel. Iranian leaders have lauded the brazen and unprecedented Hamas assault. Iran’s top diplomat warned that U.S. military forces would not be “spared from this fire” if Israel did not stop its counteroffensive. The following are excerpts of his longer remarks.
“It has been 18 days that we have been witness to the war crimes and genocide of the occupying Israeli regime in Gaza and the West Bank of Palestine. The United States and several European countries have sided with the occupying regime of Israel without observing the UN Charter and international law. They call a Palestinian liberation movement a terrorist, which has the right to self-defense and self-determination, but they refer to the occupying and war criminal regime that is committing genocide in Gaza as having the right to self-defense. Today, US and several European countries are watching and supporting the killing of about 6000 civilians in less than three weeks by the Israeli regime in Gaza and West Bank of Palestine. And they obviously help this regime militarily, financially and politically.
“Today in New York and from the headquarters of the United Nations I say frankly to the American statesmen and military forces who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome the expansion and scope of the war in the region, but I warn if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire. It is our home and West Asia is our region. We do not compromise with any party and any side and have no reservations when it comes to our home’s security. The genocide in Gaza must stop immediately. The forced displacement of the people of Gaza must be stopped immediately.
“According to international law, the Palestinian liberation movement Hamas is fighting the occupation and has a legitimate right. According to our negotiations, Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners. At the same time, the world should support the release of 6,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
Amir-Abdollahian made 10 broad points about the Palestinians:
“1--According to history and based on the documents of the UN, the Palestinian issue has a history of about 80 years. Therefore, trying to reduce its dimensions to an attack and on a Palestinian liberation group is a big lie.”
“2--According to the international law, as well as hundreds of resolutions of this very same Assembly, the entire land of Palestine is an occupied land, and according to this, the Zionist regime is recognized as an aggressor and an occupier.
“3- The Palestinian nation, like any other nation under occupation, has the "indisputable and inherent right to self-determination" and has the right to directly and freely decide on its independence and to create an independent government to decide for itself. According to international law and as specified by Security Council Resolutions No. 309 and 323 of 1972 in the case of Namibia, the "inalienable right to self-determination and independence" is permanent and does not disappear with the passage of time. Therefore, just as the prolonged occupation of the land does not create any rights for the occupier, the passage of time does not diminish the right to determine the fate of the occupied nation.
“4- According to the principles and rules of international law and hundreds of resolutions of this Assembly, the Palestinian nation, as a nation under occupation, has the "legitimate right to resist the occupation using all available methods, including armed struggle." Therefore the recent hypocritical and fraudulent efforts to introduce the struggle of the Palestinian nation against the occupiers as terrorist actions will not deceive the free nations and the awakened consciences of the world.
“5- Despite the effective support of the overwhelming majority of the members of the United Nations for the approval of hundreds of resolutions in the General Assembly confirming the right of the Palestinian nation to self-determination, unfortunately, in practice not only no part of the rights of the Palestinians have been realized, but the crimes of the occupiers have become more widespread and severe. We believe, this body must decisively use all its powers to fulfill all the rights of the Palestinians.
“6- Unfortunately, the performance of the Security Council in connection with the Palestinian issue is completely passive. So far, the council has not even been able to force the occupying regime to implement even one clause of the weakest resolutions of this body.
“7- The United States, as the unwavering and permanent supporter of the occupying regime, is the main cause of the failures of the United Nations, especially the Security Council, in upholding the rights of the Palestinians. The country has for dozens of times prevented the Security Council from fulfilling its duties in this field, an example of which is the veto of 45 resolutions of this council, the last of which happened last week, during which the United States not only opposed ceasefire in Gaza, but refused to even abstain on a resolution to make it possible to send humanitarian aid to civilians under bombardment and siege in Gaza, and opposed it. This is the ultimate irresponsibility and a clear example of trampling on basic human principles.
“8- We believe that complete and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue is only possible through the full realization of the inalienable right of this nation to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all of the Palestinian territories and with Al-Quds as its capital. The entire land of Palestine, from the sea to the river, belongs only to the original Palestinians, including Christians, Jews and the Muslims and no institution or country has the right or can give any part of it to another person or group. This is a false illusion, a crude fantasy that may only come true in a dream. The Islamic Republic Iran believes in the right of the Palestinian nation to resist against occupation and has offered a political and democratic initiative which includes the holding of a referendum for self-determination amongst the original residents of Palestine which has been registered by the UN.
“9- The essence and nature of the Zionist regime is based on aggression, occupation, crime, lies and deception. So far, this regime has launched more than 20 wars in the region, invaded all its neighbors without exception, attacked a number of countries outside its region, and still occupies the territory of some other Arab countries in addition to Palestine. It has committed all the four main international crimes, namely aggression, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, not once but many times and in some cases, all four crimes simultaneously, and to advance his illegitimate goals, it has failed to adhere to any humane principles and legal rules.
“10- We must see reality as it is; The reality is that brutal occupation has transformed into brutal apartheid. It is this terrible combination of “chronic occupation” and “deep apartheid” that gives the occupying regime psychological permission to butcher and mass kill the people under occupation.
“Therefore, now is the time to consider the real face of this regime and recognize it as it is, as the General Assembly did in 1975 through Resolution No. 3379 by identifying ‘Zionism as racism’. Although the aforementioned resolution was canceled by voting in 1991 under the pressure of the United States and in the false hope of advancing the so-called peace process, today it is more than ever clear that the occupying regime basically does not grant any rights to the people under occupation and as the U.N. Human Rights rapporteur declared in his official report in 2022, the characteristics of an apartheid regime.
“I would like to emphasize that:
“1- The recent action of the Palestinian nation as well as the action of the liberation organization of Hamas against the occupiers, according to applicable rules of international law, is completely legitimate and is their inherent right, and attributing any other title to it is absolutely illegal and unacceptable.
“2- Claims such the right of the so-called "legitimate defense" should be granted to an occupying regime is also a very ridiculous joke. It is certainly not possible to change the places of the killer and the victim by misusing some expressions.
“3- The Al-Aqsa Storm operation is a reaction to the continuation of occupation and the aggressions against the Palestinians and a response to the widespread crimes of the Zionist regime in recent months. In fact, this operation was the volcanic eruption of the concentrated anger of the entire Palestinian nation against 75 years of continuous and widespread crimes by the Zionist regime.
“4- According to international law, resisting aggression and occupation, including by armed means, is the inherent and legitimate right of the Palestinian nation, and it does not require the permission or order of any country or institution to exercise it. Their recent choice by the Hamas liberation movement regarding the time, place and quality of fulfilling this right is also their own independent decision.
“5- As His Eminence, Imam Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, stated, we cannot be indifferent to these cases and pass by them, and if the crimes of the Zionist regime continue, no one can stop the Muslims and the resistance forces. Therefore, those who constantly talk about the need to prevent the spread of the conflict, must put pressure on the Zionist regime to immediately and completely stop their crimes.
“6- The Islamic Republic of Iran, while fully adhering to its international legal obligations and like all the free nations of the world, firmly supports the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian nation for the full realization of its inalienable right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in all their lands with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. And we believe that this is the only way to establish lasting peace and security in the West Asian region.“7- Both the recent statements of the official and military authorities of the Zionist regime and its actions in Gaza prove that the killing of more than 5,500 civilians, of which more than 62 percent are children and women, and the wounding and maiming of more than 17,000 other civilians, completely cutting off water, electricity, fuel, food and medicine to a population of several million and preventing any effective assistance to them and brutally and extensively destroying residential places, mosques, churches, hospitals and infrastructure facilities, have been carried out completely deliberately and with an intent of "revenge" and "collective punishment" which are explicitly prohibited under international law and leave no room for doubt that these actions are a clear violation of international law and a clear example of the crime of aggression, war crime, crime against humanity and genocide.
“8- In this context, I will only mention the crime in Al-Mu'amdani Hospital. Taking into consideration that under international humanitarian law, attacking hospitals under all conditions is indisputably and irrefutably prohibited, and considering the extent and brutal dimensions of the Zionist regime's crime in the attack against Al-Mu'amdani Hospital, it is clear that this heinous crime alone contains all the components of a war crime, a crime against humanity, and a crime of genocide, and it alone is sufficient to hold accountable and prosecute all its commanders, perpetrators, and supporters.
“9- The actions of the United States, which directly participates in this battle through financial and armed support as well as direct military action and effective political support, are a clear violation of the charter and international legal obligations of that country and, as a result, hold it internationally responsible. In addition, while the US itself is actually and directly involved in committing crimes against Palestinians, it is not in a position to invite others to exercise self-restraint and refrain from spreading the war. Therefore, we strongly warn against the uncontrollable consequences of the unlimited financial, arms and operational supports by the White House to the Tel Aviv regime which have led to the expansion and added to the severity of the bombardments of the civilians and the Palestinian women and children in Gaza and the West Bank.
“10- The current developments in Palestine also clearly proved that the only result of any normalization of relations with the Israeli regime is tantamount to ignoring the legitimate and historical rights of the Palestinian nation and granting the license to perpetrate any crime against it, and therefore any attempt at normalization of ties with the Israeli regime is doomed to failure.
“11- Preventing the escalation of the Palestinian situation, especially considering the current turbulent conditions in different regions of the world, is a global responsibility. We, on our part, are ready to play a more serious role in this field, in line with our recent efforts. The leaders of the Hamas liberation movement have voiced readiness to release the non-military prisoners and Iran, Turkey and Qatar stand ready to play their part in this very important endeavor. Naturally, release of the 6000 Palestinian prisoners with the occupier regime is another necessity.
“12- Appreciating the positive and realistic positions of the UN Secretary General and his efforts on the ground for sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and stopping the war, it is expected form the UN to employ strong terminology and Under the seventh chapter of the United Nations Charter, force the Zionist regime to immediately stop its war crimes, genocide and the mass killing of civilians and provide other grounds for the full realization of the Palestinian nation's right to self-determination. This is, of course, the inherent duty of the United Nations, which has been delayed for decades.”