Zarif slams American arms sales to Israel amid Gaza war

May 18, 2021 - 18:32

TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has criticized the U.S. for selling state-of-the-art arms to Israel while it continues to bombard civilians in the Gaza Strip.

The top Iranian diplomat said these arms sales showed the “ugly faces” of the U.S. and Israel.

“As U.S.-made munitions rain down on innocent Palestinians, U.S. gives another $735M in ‘precision’ missiles to Israel to kill more children with more precision. Then U.S. blocks the mildest possible UNSC statement. The world is watching as Israel & its enabler show their ugly faces,” Zarif said on Twitter.

Zarif was referring to the Biden administration’s approval of a new arms sale deal with Israel. The Biden administration has approved the sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

Citing three sources familiar with the matter, the American newspaper said Congress was officially notified of the proposed sale on May 5.

The move aroused concerns in Congress about the U.S. providing support for the Israeli regime amid a deadly war on Gaza. 

“It would be appalling for the Biden Administration to go through with $735 million in precision-guided weaponry to Netanyahu without any strings attached in the wake of escalating violence and attacks on civilians,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement Monday, responding to The Washington Post’s reporting. “If this goes through this will be seen as a green light for continued escalation and will undercut any attempts at brokering a ceasefire.”

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), who also sits on the committee, echoed Omar’s concerns about the “timing of this weapons sale” and the “message it will send to Israel and the world about the urgency of a cease fire, and the open questions about the legality of Israel’s military strikes that have killed civilians in Gaza.”

“The United States government must not exacerbate this horrific violence. The American people expect Congress to take a hard look at how military aid and weapon sales are used and ensure that human rights are upheld,” Castro said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration prevented the UN Security Council from issuing a statement on the Gaza crisis, signaling that its support for Israel was not limited to arms sales.

The U.S. blocked a joint statement by the Security Council on Palestine. On Monday, the Council held a virtual meeting to discuss the situation in Palestine. During the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the U.S. for blocking the issuance of a joint statement by the Council.

“China has been working with the relevant countries to draft a Security Council press statement. Regrettably, however, the Security Council has not been able to speak in one voice till today because of the obstruction by one single country. We call upon the United States to shoulder its due responsibilities, take a just position and, together with the majority of the international community, support the Security Council in easing the situation, rebuilding trust and advancing political settlement,” the top Chinese diplomat said.

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