18 September 2006
Statement by H. E. Dr. M. Mottaki the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the High- Level Meeting on Iraq, convened by the Secretary-General
New York- 18 September 2006
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the MercifulAllow me Mr. Secretary-General to commend you for your timely initiative in convening this high-level meeting to review the situation in Iraq. I am also very pleased to see H. E. Mr. Jalal Talebani, the President of Iraq, at the podium. Mr. Secretary-General, 3 years and a half into the invasion of Iraq, one essential question is yet to be answered: as to why and based on which logic and law a government allows itself to invade an independent State and bring enormous suffering upon the people of another country and instability upon a whole region. As the unsubstantiated excuses are pushed aside, the peoples of Iraq and the region along with the whole international community continue to be puzzled and ask for explanation. That was another manifestation of unilateralism, which was condemned by the majority of the international community, including by the recent Non-Aligned Summit in Havana. At the same time, we are very concerned over growing violence and insecurity in Iraq, despite the Government’s efforts. The increase in the employment of more sophisticated and lethal tactics by international and local terrorists in attacking civilians has led to the killing of an average of 100 civilians per day, as you indicated in your latest report. What is more worrisome is the deliberate targeting of Shiite religious sites and gatherings by vicious terrorist elements, who seek to sow hatred and division in Iraq. In this context, your report put the number of individuals displaced internally at approximately 200,000 since the tragic bombing of the shrine of the two Imams Ali al-Hadi and Hasan al-Askari, peace be upon them , in last February. We agree that it is a very worrisome trend that, if unchecked, may unravel the social and political fabric of Iraq. We strongly condemn all these terrorist acts, which have targeted the security, unity and development of Iraq and the larger region. However, we should never lose sight of the fact that the root of the current mayhem in Iraq lies in the unilateral action taken by the US Government in March 2003. Moreover, in the backdrop of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds living in peace and harmony for centuries in Mesopotamia and contemporary Iraq, we have only to blame overt and hidden hands for the acts of hatred and discord we witness today. In this context, we found it significant and encouraging that, since the handover of security responsibilities by the foreign Force to Iraqi security forces in the province of Al-Muthana on 12 July 2006, as reported by you, no significant acts of violence against the Government or other entities in that province has occurred. It is an important sign indicating that the foreign forces in Iraq, more than 130,000, are rather part of the problem than part of the solution. What we face is a vicious circle: occupation breeds insecurity and insecurity is used to justify occupation. Accordingly, we believe that the international community, especially Iraq’s neighbors, should focus on helping enhance the capability of the Iraqi armed forces and strengthen security along Iraq’s borders, thus enabling the Iraqi Government to effectively run the whole country on its own. We have conveyed to the Iraqi Government that we are fully prepared to assist it in promoting its National Reconciliation Plan and security plans, including the Iraqi-led Baghdad peace initiative. We attach great importance to upholding and strengthening Iraq’s unity. And in our view the preservation of Iraq’s unity requires that all the Iraqi political forces should work together and join hands to protect and promote the historic and brother ly interaction among all segments of the Iraqi people from every religious or ethnic affiliation. Meanwhile, erroneous and double-standard policies adopted and carried out by the foreign troops in Iraq include their approach to terrorism. They have refused to deal seriously with the terrorist groups that place the security of Iraq’s neighboring countries in jeopardy. While expressing concern and condemning this approach, we declare that harboring, organizing and supporting terrorist elements in Iraq against the neighboring countries is intolerable, and constitutes a dangerous policy and a major element of destabilizing the region. We also expect the Iraqi Government to take necessary actions to address this issue. Mr. Secretary-General We are pleased as we note with delight that the benchmarks endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 1546 have been successfully met and a broad-based and constitutionally-elected Government with the participation of all segments of the Iraqi population has been established – a development that we welcome and a Government that we are committed to support. Fully convinced that Iran’s best interest lies in an Iraq at peace with itself and with its neighbors, we have unreservedly supported the Iraqis’ efforts throughout the political process since July 2003 and spared no efforts to assist them in their quest for peace and national harmony. The recent visit by the Iraqi Prime Minister, H. E. Mr. Al-Maliki, to Tehran was a turning point in the expansion of relations between the Iranian and Iraqi peoples that are bound together by strong ties of friendship and brotherhood from antiquity. On the reconstruction of Iraq, a set of plans aimed at promoting economic cooperation between the two countries, including development assistance, investment, trade, tourism and financing are being contemplated and discussed with the Iraqi Government. At the same time, we have so far spared no efforts in helping meet the routine basic requirements of the Iraqis, such as fuel, electricity, medical items and the like. Forming the high-level joint cooperation commission, the two countries are following up on the agreements in different fields such as connecting rail ways, resuming passenger flights, laying down two oil pipe lines, setting up 9 electricity transmission lines from Iran to Iraq, etc. With regard to the reconstruction projects, Iran has pledged to grant $10 million to Iraq’s Reconstruction Fund, which is being carried out. A line of credit of one billion dollars has also been allocated to cover the implementation of economic plans, and the negotiations on how to apportion it are under way. Allow me to close by emphasizing the need for removing the obstacles in the way of all countries to take part in Iraq’s reconstruction. Undoubtedly, certain efforts aimed at excluding a group of countries from contributing to the reconstruction would only undermine the efforts, and the Iraqi people should incur the cost down the road. Thank you Mr. Secretary-General.