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Pressures On Iran At The Onset Of UN Assembly

A Hezbollah fighter holds an Iranian-made anti-aircraft missile on the border with Israel, in Naqoura, April 20, 2017
A Hezbollah fighter holds an Iranian-made anti-aircraft missile on the border with Israel, in Naqoura, April 20, 2017

Iran appears to have come under mounting international pressures over its regional ambitions, its destabilizing role in the region and its ballistic missile program days before its President and foreign minister go to stand face to face with world leaders at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York.

US Department of State's spokesperson Heather Nauert said during a press briefing on Thursday September 20 that the United States holds the Iranian regime responsible for last week's attacks on some American establishments in Iraq.

"We recognize that Iran continues to be a destabilizing element in the region. They continue to try to attack other governments and individuals through their proxy militias. We will hold them responsible for any loss of American life. I just want to be clear about that," Nauert said.

The United States had previously warned against any attack by Iran-backed Iraqi militia against US targets in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iranian official news agency IRNA quoted the spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, Bahram Ghassemi as having said on Friday September 21 that " Iran has not requested a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump."

This was apparently in response to an un-named news agency report which said Iran had requested such a meeting to take place during the United Nations General Assembly which began this week, citing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.

Earlier reports quoting the Iran Action Group Chief Brian Hook suggested the idea of US negotiation with Iran to sign a new treaty to limit Tehran's nuclear activity as well as Iran's ballistic missile program, which are a cause of concern for Iran's neighbors and other regional countries.

Although thanks to a reported change in the plans for the UN Security Council meeting chaired by President Trump, Iran is no longer supposed to take part in the meeting, the issue of Iran's destabilizing measures in the region is still on the meeting's agenda as one of the main topics which include North Korean and Syrian issues.

In the meantime, Iran's regional allies' statements does not seem to have helped rectify Tehran's already damaged image as a result of its own deeds.

This comes while Israel said on Thursday that it was stepping up security around its atomic sites as a precaution against threats from Tehran and its regional allies.

The Israeli statement came in response to the leader of Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah's claim about the group's access to precision rockets.

Nasrallah who previously acknowledged that all of its weapons and financial resources come from Iran, threatened in a televised address on Thursday, " "If Israel imposes a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a fate and a reality it has never expected," any time before, adding that " the resistance possesses precision and non-precision rockets and weapons capabilities."

In a statement on Thursday, Israeli official Zeev Snir warned: "We cannot ignore the repeated and explicit threats, made by Iran and its proxies, to attack Israel's nuclear sites. These outrageous threats, require Israel to take immediate action and continue to protect and defend its nuclear facilities."

By mentioning "Iran's proxies" the official was referring to Hezbollah's role in the Syrian civil war, where backed by Iran, it has played a critical role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran also backs several militia groups, most notably Hashd al-Sha'bi, in Iraq and supports Houthi rebels in Yemen in a war against Saudi Arabia and its regional allies.