Important and symbolic, says Adel Bakawan
Iraq submits protest to UN Security Council over Iran attack
BAGHDAD, January 27 – Iraq’s foreign ministry has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations Security Council, delivered by Abbas Kazem Obaid, the Interim Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations.
The complaint, dated January 16, 2024, denounces the Iranian missile attack on residential areas in Erbil on January 15, which resulted in civilian casualties and property damage.
In a detailed letter accompanying the complaint, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mr. Fuad Hussein emphasized that the Iranian attack represents a ‘blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security.’
The letter also recalled a similar incident from March 2022 – in which Kar Group CEO Baz Karim’s residence was targeted – accusing Iran of repeating such aggression under unsubstantiated pretexts.
The communication detailed Iraq’s stance that the presence of parties deemed hostile by Iran on Iraqi territory does not justify the violation of its sovereignty as a UN member state.
It underlined the existing bilateral relations between Iraq and Iran, urging the latter to engage in dialogue over any security concerns instead of unilateral military action.
Adel Bakawan, director of the French Research Center on Iraq, told 964media that the letter is important – even if symbolic: “This is a valuable diplomatic step, even if it leads to no concrete results.”
While expressing skepticism about the potential tangible outcomes, Bakawan added, “It is symbolically important given the ongoing situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region.”
The Foreign Minister’s letter concluded by asserting Iraq’s right to pursue legal and moral claims under international law and requested that the UN Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council call on Iran to cease such attacks and respect Iraq’s sovereignty.
Hussein requests that their communications be circulated as official documents of the United Nations Security Council.
While the Iraqi and Kurdistan Region prime ministers were due to meet Iran’s foreign minister at Davos this month, both leaders cancelled the meetings following the missile strike that killed prominent local business person Peshraw Dizayee and his baby daughter, among others.
Read the full translated letter below:
Two identical letters dated 16 January 2024 addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council from the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. [ad interim] of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations:
In compliance with instructions from my government, and aligned with international law, the Charter of the United Nations, and pertinent international norms, I am submitting the enclosed message from His Excellency Mr. Fuad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Iraq (refer to annex). This message details the attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on 15 January 2024, which involved bombing several safe residential areas in Erbil with ballistic missiles, leading to the loss of innocent lives and damage to public and private properties.
I request that Your Excellency circulate this letter and its annex to the members of the Security Council and publish it as an official document of the Council.
(Signed) Abbas Kazem Obaid Interim Chargé d’Affaires
Attached are the identical letters dated 16 January 2024 addressed to the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council from the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the United Nations:
On January 15, 2024, Iraq experienced external aggression resulting in numerous civilian casualties and substantial damage to both public and private properties. This aggression, perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran, involved the bombing of several secure residential areas in Erbil with ballistic missiles under unfounded pretexts and allegations.
Regarding this incident, the Government of Iraq declares:
This aggression is a blatant violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the security of its people. It also violates the principles of good neighborliness and undermines the security of the entire region. Notably, Iran previously executed a similar attack on Erbil in March 2022, using similar unjustified pretexts.
The presence of any entities within Iraq, perceived as hostile by Iran, does not justify such bombardment with ballistic missiles, amounting to an infringement on the sovereignty of a neighboring country and a member of the United Nations.
Given the bilateral relations between Iraq and Iran at both societal and official levels, it is incumbent upon Iran to engage in dialogue with Iraq over any security concerns they perceive as threats. Iraq is dedicated to upholding the principles of good neighborliness as mandated by international law.
Iraq reserves the right to seek all legal and moral remedies for the consequences of these attacks in accordance with established international laws and statutes.
We call upon the Secretary-General and the President of the Security Council to urge the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease such attacks and respect the principles of good neighborliness and Iraq’s sovereignty.
I request that this letter be circulated as an official document of the United Nations.
(Signed) Fuad Hussein Deputy Prime Minister