‘Scorpion & frog’: Haley uses fable to blast Iran as UN & EU say Tehran complies with nuclear deal
“Today’s meeting of the Security Council on the implementation of resolution 2231 is taking place against a backdrop of steady implementation, cooperation and progress,” Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, said on Thursday at a Security Council meeting on implementation of a UN resolution endorsing the July 2015 nuclear agreement.
Addressing the meeting, Feltman noted that all seven reports issued by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which oversees Tehran’s adherence to the deal since it took effect last January are “documenting continued implementation by Iran of its nuclear related commitment.”
His words were echoed by the head of the European Union delegation to the UN, Joao Vale de Almeida, who stated that the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – struck between five UN Security Council permanent members, Germany, the EU, and Iran in 2015 – “is being properly implemented and is delivering on its objectives.”
“The initial results are clear and speak for themselves: Iran’s nuclear program has been rolled back and placed under tight inspections,” Almeida added, noting that the IAEA repeatedly attested that Iran is sticking to its obligations under the deal.
Standing out against the general consensus was the US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, who took the opportunity to slam the Islamic Republic.
Among transgressions by Iran contrary to the spirit of the agreement, she listed the recent test-firing of ballistic missiles by Teheran, its alleged purchase of missile-related technology, weapons smuggling, and its general “destructive and destabilizing role in the Middle East,” as well as “support for terrorist groups.”
“The Security Council has failed to take even minimal steps to respond to these violations,” Haley claimed, calling on the UN Security Council to press Iran more strenuously.
Multiple journalists covering the meeting reported on Twitter that in substantiating her stance, Haley recited a fable about a scorpion and a frog, drawing parallels between Iran and the scorpion.
In the fable, a scorpion asks a frog to carry him on his back across the river in return for food it promises to give the frog on the other side. Wary of the scorpion’s sting, the frog hesitates, but the scorpion reassures him by saying that if he stings him, they will both drown. The frog agrees, but midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog, replying to the stunned amphibian that it was in his nature.
While the allusion might seem novel, it was actually used before in an op-ed by Chaim Shacham for the Miami Herald in 2015, titled ‘Iran nuclear pact: Tale of the scorpion and the frog.’
Under the landmark nuclear deal, Iran pledged to reduce the number of its uranium enrichment centrifuges by two-thirds, cap its enrichment below the level needed for weapons-grade material, decrease its enriched uranium stockpile by 98 percent from around 10,000kg to 300 kg – enriched at no more than 3.67 percent – and have not more than 300kg for 15 years. It also must allow international inspections. In return, it was promised sanctions relief.
Prior to his inauguration, US President Donald Trump expressed a highly critical opinion on the pact, dubbing it “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Since taking office in January, Washington has rolled out new sanctions against Iran in retaliation to missile tests, though Tehran insists on its right to self-defense.
In April, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson officially informed Congress that Iran was in compliance with the deal. For its part, Iran has accused America of flaunting its part in the obligations with the new sanctions, calling the US “the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”