11 April 2011
Statement by H. E. Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
before the fifteenth session of the Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly
Resolution 51/210 of 17 December 1996 (Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism)
New York, 11 April 2011
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran associates itself with the statement made by distinguished representative of Syria on behalf of the OIC Group and the one made by my own delegation on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including State terrorism. Inspired by the lofty principles of Islam which rejects any justification for acts of violence against innocent people, and which prescribes expressly that: “Whoever kills another one without justifiable cause, surely he is killing all of humanity…” (Sura Al Ma’aidah: Ayah 32), we firmly believe that resorting to indiscriminate violence and acts of terrorism, whether by terrorist groups or by State military forces, and killing and injuring civilians and generating terror and intimidation among the public are criminal acts which could not be justified in any manner.
My country has long been a target of terrorism, and we fully understand the untold consequences of acts of terrorism for the victims and for the society at large. Our scientists have also fallen victim to acts of terrorism directly ordered from outside in line with the vicious campaign to deprive Iran of its legal and legitimate right to use nuclear energy.
Terrorism seems to have superseded any challenge of similar kind in contemporary history. It has stained our daily life for long and continues to jeopardize the safety and security and general well being of increasing numbers of people around the world.
And despite all efforts made at various fronts, we are far from uprooting this menace and the threat of terrorism continues to affect our societies. For decades a number of causes and factors has led or contributed to terrorism. Unlawful use of force by States, foreign aggression and occupation as well as foreign interference and meddling in internal affairs of States are among such causes and factors, to name a few. Unlawful use of force and occupation of other countries prepares ground for vicious cycle of violence and terrorism. The constant increase in terrorism and violence in recent years which has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of innocent people and resulted in instability as well as huge economic damages in our region has been mainly generated or fueled by conflicts inflicted upon the region from outside
Excessive use of military force in the name of eliminating terrorists which has proved to be more fatal to the innocent ordinary people than to terrorists has also contributed to a sense of despair and desperation in the target populations. The situation in our neighboring countries where many people come under direct military attacks is very tragic and alarming. The agonies of those increasing numbers of men, women and children who fall victims to blind airstrikes and indiscriminate bombings could not be explained away as unfortunate collateral damages. Their unfair suffering as innocent human fellows should be addressed as seriously as those of innocent people who are victimized by acts of terrorism.
Moreover, unfortunately terrorism has long been manipulated by some as a political leverage against others; they have not hesitated to sit and work with terrorists whenever they saw it as beneficial to their narrowly defined geopolitical interests. Such sinister functionalist approach toward terrorism which is, almost inevitably, ensued by double standard in dealing with terrorist groups or terrorist acts, gives room for terrorist groups to take hold and survive. This has been the approach taken by certain countries vis a vis a notorious terrorist group which for long perpetrated brutal terrorist acts against Iranian citizens and killed and injured tens of thousands of innocent people, and acted as mercenary for former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hosein, to quell any popular protest. It is very appalling to see that its criminal elements enjoy all sorts of support from the same governments that have assigned it as a terrorist group, putting a big question mark to the sincerity of those States’ claims concerning fighting terrorism and indicating the highest levels of hypocrisy on the part of those States.
Terrorism could not be overcome without addressing State terrorism which has caused catastrophic consequences to many nations of the world.
State terrorism is also manifested in systematic killing and kidnapping of the people living for decades under occupation in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Fighting terrorism requires the political will of all States manifested by avoiding double standard and organized under the auspices of the United Nations and in full conformity with the United Nations Charter and international law, international human rights and humanitarian law. The rule of law and respect for human rights and humanitarian law should be our guiding principles in fighting terrorism. In other words, fighting terrorism should not be carried out at the expense of the principles of the United Nations’ Charter, particularly respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of States.
Ill-intended attempts to tarnish any religion, culture or nation by linking them with terrorism must be rejected. Such ill-advised approach to terrorism would only lead to distrust, hatred and division among nations as well as giving a leeway to terrorists. We welcome all initiatives that seek to promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures and religions. In this context, my delegation expresses its serious concern over the vicious campaign against Islam which was recently manifested by desecration of Holy Quran. Such outrageous acts are clear manifestations of abuse of freedom of expression and should be prosecuted as hate crimes. It is imperative to multiply our collective efforts to promote dialogue and tolerance among followers of the all religions, civilizations and cultures and counter disrespect and defamation of religions.
This Ad Hoc Committee of the General assembly has made some important contributions in international campaign against terrorism by drafting a number of international instruments to criminalize and prosecute acts of terrorism. The Committee has yet to accomplish its mission by finalizing a draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism which has been under consideration for several years now.
The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches high importance to the ongoing process of negotiation of the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and recognizes all initiatives geared toward reaching consensus. We are committed to remain actively and constructively engaged with a view to arriving at consensual solutions for the key outstanding issues. This should be done without compromising or affecting the established norms and principles of international humanitarian law concerning the legality and legitimacy of people’s struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism and alien domination to achieve self-determination, as clearly endorsed in the U.N. General Assembly resolution A/46/51 and other related U.N. documents. The new Convention should also criminalize acts of terrorism committed by State, including by its military forces.
We believe that a consensual definition of terrorism should strengthen international cooperation against terrorism and end subject-to-abuse ambiguities concerning this term. Such definition has to make a clear distinction between heinous acts of terrorism and legitimate struggle of peoples under foreign occupation for restoring their fundamental right of self determination.