10 April 2007
Ambassador Mehdi Danesh-Yazdi
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Before the United Nations Disarmament Commission
2007 Substantive Session,
10 April 2007 , New York
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I would like to begin by congratulating you on your election as the Chairman of the Disarmament Commission. I am confident that under your able leadership, we will have a fruitful session this year.
My delegation wishes to associate itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Given the role of the Disarmament Commission as the sole deliberative body on disarmament issues with universal membership, we welcome the Commission entering the intermediate year of its three-year-cycle of in-depth substantive deliberations on nuclear disarmament. In view of certain setbacks and unfulfilled commitments in disarmament area, it is of a high time for the Commission to focus on exploring ways and means for elimination of nuclear weapons.
Following the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States and their tragic aftermath, it took the international community more than two decades to come up with a collective action in the form of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The Treaty was seen as a genuine promise to rid the world from nuclear weapons nightmare. However, after almost four decades since the entry into force of the NPT, a real progress towards nuclear disarmament has yet to be achieved. The world public opinion is extremely weary of the continuation of this situation, and rightly expects the nuclear weapons states to take concrete actions to fulfill their contractual obligations with regard to nuclear disarmament.
In 1978, the General Assembly, cognizant of the fact that nuclear weapons constitute the gravest threat to international peace and security, adopted the Final Document of the SSOD-I which stressed on the nuclear disarmament as the highest priority on disarmament agenda. In our view, the nuclear disarmament is a major milestone towards the real objective of the disarmament process namely general and complete disarmament.
In recent years, certain developments have presented serious challenges to the objective of nuclear disarmament which inter-alia include:
• persistent refusal by the nuclear weapons states especially the United States to fulfill the agreed 13 practical steps as a part of unequivocal undertaking to accomplish nuclear disarmament ;
• the continuation of nuclear weapon-sharing arrangements with non-nuclear-weapons states in contravention of Article I of the NPT, particularly through the deployment of nuclear weapons in the NATO European countries;
• the development and testing of new nuclear weapons in laboratory conditions, which run contrary to the spirit and letter of the CTBT;
• the transfer of nuclear technology and materials to non-parties to the NPT, in particular the agreement of nuclear cooperation between the United States and Israel, whose nuclear arsenals presents the greatest threat to regional and international peace and stability, and providing Israeli scientists access to the US nuclear facilities, thereby demonstrating the US total disregard for its obligations under Article I of the Treaty;
• the planned deployment of missile defense systems in various regions and the threat to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapons states;
• advancing new doctrines to justify the reliance on nuclear weapons, especially by stressing the essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool for achieving security goals and foreign policy objectives, and targeting non-nuclear weapon States Parties to the Treaty;
• developing new nuclear weapons systems, and constructing new facilities for producing nuclear weapons,
• resuming efforts to develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons despite the commitment to reverse this process and effectively reduce them;
In short, the NPT nowadays is facing serious risks due to the adoption of a policy of negation, denial and refusal by the nuclear weapons states especially United States with respect to their unequivocal undertaking to accomplish the elimination of their nuclear arsenals. In this context, the US continues to undermine the integrity and credibility of the NPT by obstructing the follow up process of nuclear disarmament commitments within the framework of the UN multilateral disarmament machinery, and pursues its own unilateral policies and priorities through more exclusive bodies and groups.
We have a collective responsibility to restore the credibility of the NPT. To realize this goal, we need to address collectively and thoroughly such daunting challenges.
The NPT is the foundation of nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Our efforts in this august body should be directed towards mutual reinforcement of these interrelated pillars of the Treaty.
The current session of the Commission should intensify efforts to adopt concrete recommendations in achieving the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Our endeavors should be guided by the following principles:
• to maintain and strengthen the integrity of the existing non proliferation instruments;
• to reject attempts to undermine the inalienable rights of the states parties;
• to preserve fully the achievements reached at the NPT 1995 and 2000 Review Conferences;
• to emphasize the authority and credibility of relevant international organizations such as IAEA with regard to the verification of compliance;
The Commission should re-emphasize the “unequivocal undertaking” of the nuclear weapons states for systematic and progressive efforts to implement nuclear disarmament, and recommend appropriate measures for its realization. For many years, the Conference on Disarmament has failed to adopt a program of work due to the lack of political will for negotiations on nuclear disarmament. To overcome this problem, the Commission should recommend the early establishment of an ad-hoc committee on nuclear disarmament.
The threat of use of nuclear weapons by some possessor states is increasingly alarming. The Commission should not turn a blind eye on such dangerous threats and should send a strong message to these states by rejecting such illegal and inhumane policies.
Non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, as recognized by the NPT, are of high importance. These issues should be considered on their own merit with due attention to the rights and obligations of member states under relevant provisions of the NPT. Unfortunately, non-proliferation has been manipulated by a few countries as a pretext to advance their narrow national interests and to deprive developing countries of their rights to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The negation of the nuclear disarmament obligations is not the only challenge facing the NPT. Certain nuclear-weapons states under the pretext of “non proliferation” have attempted to establish new mechanisms and precedents to restrict and deny the inalienable rights of States Parties under article IV of the NPT to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Efforts to advance non-proliferation are of utmost importance. However, the ill-intended attempts made under the banner of non-proliferation are increasingly pursued to deprive member states to use nuclear material, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes. Such attempts will only exacerbate the existing inequalities that are inherent in the NPT, and consequently will lead to the erosion of the integrity of the Treaty and the benefits of its membership. Ironically, the same states are proliferating nuclear weapons horizontally and vertically by either transferring the nuclear weapons technology and materials to non-parties to the NPT or by developing new types of nuclear weapons or modernizing them.
Thus, the Commission needs to reflect on non proliferation in all its aspects and recommend certain measures to ensure the critical balance between non-proliferation obligations and the right to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. It should equally reflect on the followings:
• to reiterate the inalienable rights of states parties to the fullest possible exchange of nuclear material, equipments, technology for peaceful purposes without any discrimination, and to enable the NPT States Parties to exercise their full rights for developing and producing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes under appropriate international monitoring and supervision ;
• to call on certain group of states to remove restrictions incompatible with their relevant international obligations imposed on states parties in transfer of nuclear material , equipment and technology for peaceful purposes;
• to recognize the authority of the IAEA as the sole international competent body to deal with the verification of compliance of member states with their respected safeguard obligations in strict observance of the provisions of the IAEA Statute;
- to ensure full universality of the NPT without a single exception, and in this regard, to urge Israel, as the only one in the Middle East which has not yet adhered to NPT to accede to it without delay and to place its unsafeguarded facilities under the full scope of the Agency;
- to reiterate the necessity to conclude without delay an internationally legally binding instrument on the negative security assurances pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons;
• to require all states to stick to multilateralism to address issues of non-proliferation in all its aspects;
• to avoid abusing the UN bodies including the Security Council as an instrument of pressure for depriving states parties from exercising their inalienable rights;
• to strengthen collective and coordinated efforts to prevent proliferation by anyone and anywhere on a non-discriminatory manner and also to strictly prevent the spread of nuclear weapons,
Let me now turn to the issue of confidence building measures (CBMs) in the field of conventional weapons. We are of the view that CBMs, if widely applied by all states, could enhance stability, peace and security at regional and international levels. However, it should be noted that CBMs are of very complex and multifaceted nature. CBMs are widely considered as voluntary measures among the concerned parties which should be implemented bilaterally or multilaterally and should not be abused nor turned to legally binding measures. Complexity of the issue of CBMs originates from the fact that CBMs would not be effective and universal if the cold war era security perceptions of some member states continue to prevail. Almost two decades have passed since the end of the cold war, but regrettably thousands of nuclear weapons continue to exist as a means of terrorizing the non-nuclear weapon states.
CBMs cannot and should not be seen in isolation from international security environment. While some nuclear weapons states persistently seek absolute security by relying on their nuclear weapons arsenals, it is unrealistic to believe that our common goal towards general and complete disarmament can be realized in a foreseeable future. Therefore, CBMs should be coupled with simultaneous concrete steps towards elimination of nuclear weapons. To attain such a noble goal, the international community must pursue and advance disarmament in practice rather than in words.