22 October 2009
Statement by Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
at the Special Political and Decolonization Committee (Fourth Committee)
on the agenda item 30: ” International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space “64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly
( New York- October 22, 2009)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
I thank you for giving my delegation the opportunity to address the committee on agenda item 30 under the important subject of International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. I would like to use this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Director and the staff of the UNOOSA for their efforts to further promote international cooperation on peaceful uses of outer space.
The Islamic Republic of Iran as one of the first members of the COPUOS has constantly supported and contributed to the work of the Committee in upholding the fundamental principles governing the space activities. The fundamental principles which stipulate that the outer space as the province of all mankind should be kept open to all States for peaceful purposes, regardless to their economic and scientific development, on a basis of equality and in accordance with the provisions of the Outer Space Treaty. Those provisions also require that all benefits derived from space activities should be extended to all nations without discrimination.
We believe that the outer space must be used, explored and utilized for exclusive peaceful purposes and for the benefit and interest of all mankind in a spirit of cooperation and non-discrimination. We reiterate our grave concern over the likelihood of an arms race in the outer space which requires increased international awareness and preventive efforts.
Attaching great importance to the fact that space activities and applications play an essential role in the sustainable development of a live nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken remarkable steps forward to develop its space programs. Iran has already informed the Committee on Peaceful Use of Outer Space (COPUOS) about several momentous events which unfolded over two recent years:
- On July 17th, 2008, Iran successfully launched its first indigenously made Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) named SAFIR-e-OMID
- On November 26th, 2008, Iran launched its second sub-orbital rocket called “Kavoshgar 2”.
- On February 2nd, 2009, we successfully launched the second indigenously made Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV) named SAFIR-2 carrying our first ever home built telecommunication satellite called OMID. The placement of the satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) was successfully accomplished. This event definitely constitutes a great step forward toward development of space technology in Iran. All the work from design, manufacturing, test and operationalizing the satellite and its launch vehicle has been done by Iranian experts and engineers.
- A site for conducting further launching of our national satellite launch vehicles was established.
- Several projects on student satellite have been carried out within the framework of targeted development programs on space technology.
Iran is fully aware of the importance of the international cooperation in the field of space related activities, particularly within the framework of COPUOS for getting optimal benefit from space applications. My country as a committed Member of COPUOS accords a high priority to the issue of capacity-building which plays an essential role in sustainable development of the space technology. In this context, Iran, among other activities, has paid specific attention to holding regional workshops in recent years. With the valuable cooperation of OOSA, several workshops and symposiums on the space law, UN-SPIDER and applications of space science and technology have been organized in Iran.
In this regard, The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) in close cooperation with OOSA successfully organized the workshop entitled “ISA/UN-SPIDER Regional Workshop: Building upon Regional Space-based Solutions for Disaster Management and Emergency Response” in Tehran from 6 to 8 October 2008. The issue of specific UN-SPIDER activities for the region to be carried out by the Regional Support Office was extensively discussed in the workshop, in which more than 60 experts from the countries in the region participated. The upcoming workshop to be hosted by the Islamic Republic of Iran is the United Nations/Iranian Space Agency (ISA) Workshop on the Space Law entitled “Status and Development of International Space Law regarding Current Problems and Perspectives for the Future Regulation and Addressing National Legislation Needs”. This workshop is due to be held in Tehran from 7 to 9 November 2009. It is worth mentioning that Iran had also hosted a workshop on the space law in November 2007.
We would like to express our deep satisfaction on the progressive trend of UN-SPIDER program thanks to the constant efforts made by OOSA in this regard. Iran, as has already stated, recognizes the considerable merit of UN-SPIDER program. This is because of the UN-SPIDER’s function, which as an open network of providers of space-based solutions, supports disaster management activities. Furthermore, in our view the vulnerability of Asian countries to disasters gives a high importance to the implementation of UN-SPIDER in this region. Studies show that the Asia and Pacific region is the world’s most disaster-prone region which has the highest vulnerability to natural disasters. The region, based on the report of the United Nations, accounts for 91% of death toll originated from natural disasters in the past century and 49% of the resulting economic damage. According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) reports, the Asia accounts for about 75% of human life losses as the result of natural disasters in 2007. This figure stood at 78% for the period of 2000-2006.
Iran, bearing in mind the above-mentioned facts, and being faced with a particularly hazardous situation resulting from various types of natural disasters, has fully supported UN-SPIDER program since its initial stage in 2007. The Islamic Republic of Iran, through the Iranian Space Agency, expressed its readiness to host the UN-SPIDR Regional Support Office in June 2008 with the intention to make further effective contribution to the implementation of UN-SPIDER. On the basis of the General Assembly Resolution 61/110, paragraph 11, on the UN-SPIDER and its regional support offices for implementing the program, and based on the guidelines provided by COPUOS at its 51th session, the Islamic Republic of Iran and UN-OOSA suceeded to finalize their discussions on establishing the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in Tehran. Consequently, the Cooperation Agreement between the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Iranian Space Agency on the establishment of the UN-SPIDER Regional Support Office in the Islamic Republic of Iran was signed on 4 June 2009.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is convinced that a network of regional support offices in Asia could function as an effective coordinating aparatus to promote UN-SPIDER program and maximize the advantages it offers to all nations in the region. It also contributes to further strengthening regional cooperation in the field of disaster management, relief operations and accordingly helping to save lives and properties against natural disasters. In this regard, It is reasonably expected that the United Nations General Assembly continues to support implementation of UN-SPIDER work plan.
We are pleased by the progress made in the use of satellite products and the substantial contribution that they are making to the well-being of all humankind and socio-economic development of all countries. However, it is the matter of great concern that at the same time misuse and irresponsible distribution of satellite imaging through the World Wide Web breaches the privacy rights of individuals, inflicts irreparable damages on human societies and jeopardizes national security of the States as well.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is of the opinion that since these activities constitute a serious challenge to the peace of mind of all States and societies, thus requires a proper collective response by the international community. To that end, the issue of “Regulation of dissemination of satellite imaging through World Wide Web” is of merit and relevance to be adequately addressed by related international organizations and UN agencies particularly by the Committee on Peaceful uses of outer space (COPUOS).
We wish, once again, to stress that outer space is our common asset with great double-edged significant potentials for good or evil usage. We humbly call on all Member States to actively participate in all relevant international and regional endeavours for ensuring peaceful uses of outer space and preventing weaponization of this critical sphere.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.