UN Security Council condemns attacks on oil tankers, but not Iran

A closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council Monday afternoon on the recent attacks on oil tankers and a U.S. drone ended without a condemnation of Iran.

The United States had called for the meeting to brief the council on the recent attacks against shipping in the region and last week’s downing of the U.S. Navy drone.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Jonathan Cohen told reporters following the meeting that he had briefed the council on information gathered by various U.S. agencies and allies on the recent attacks and said the intelligence gathered pointed directly to Iran.

Cohen called on the global community to rein in Iran’s illegal actions. “The Security Council and all nations should try to imagine the future of global air travel if a country can shoot down an aircraft merely for being in its flight information region. Indeed, we’ve already seen air carriers from around the world avoid Iran’s flight information region as a result.”

He continued, “Iran must understand that these attacks are unacceptable. It’s time for the world to join us in saying so.”

Cohen then took on the war of words over the flight paths in last week’s drone downing and poured cold water on Iran's claims that the craft had ventured into Iranian airspace.

Cohen said, “The coordinates of the drone’s flight path and location make clear the aircraft at no point entered Iranian airspace. Iran’s claims to the contrary are false and rely on an argument that the U.S. aircraft was in Iran’s flight information region. But, a country’s flight information region is not the same as their airspace. The flight information region extends much further.”


Cohen told reporters Iran should come back to the table for talks. “Iran should, as I said two weeks ago, meet diplomacy with diplomacy—a call Iran described as inflammatory.”

While the Security Council meeting was underway, Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Ravanchi told reporters that a dialogue with the U.S. wasn’t possible at the moment. “You can’t start a dialogue with somebody who is threatening you, intimidating you,” he said.

Ravanchi condemned a new round of sanctions lobbed against Iran by the Trump administration. “The U.S. decision today to impose more sanctions against Iran is yet another indication that the U.S. has no respect for international law and order as well as the views of the overwhelming majority of the international community.”


Once the meeting had finished, the Security Council president for the month of June, Mansour Al-Otaibi of Kuwait, read out an agreed-upon statement from members of the council. While the council condemned the attacks on the oil tankers it noticeably did not condemn the Iranians for the attacks. The statement also called for all countries in the region to exercise restraint.

Germany’s Ambassador Christoph Heusgen read out a statement on behalf of Germany, the United Kingdom and France and called for calm. “These developments risk miscalculation and conflict. We call for de-escalation and dialogue, with full respect for international rules.”