The Islamic Republic Is For Democracy

The Islamic Republic Is For Democracy Iran fully supports the Egyptian people’s uprising against a corrupt regime

MOHAMMAD KHAZAEI

published by the Wall Street Journal on 27 JULY 2011
Over the past several months, popular uprisings in the Middle East have removed several illegitimate rulers with a history of subservience to outside powers. A brave new chapter in the region’s history is being written by the people.

The current upheavals gripping some Arab countries are rooted in a confluence of factors: corrupt and unrepresentative forms of government, foreign dependency, retarded development, poverty and unemployment. There are also unresolved issues such as the repressed rights of Palestinian people. Decades of misguided and self-serving interventionist policies of certain Western governments-propping up local dictatorships while giving lip service to democracy-have also helped trigger the current instabilities.

 

Intent on hijacking the so-called Arab Spring, some of these governments, including the United States, are slow to accede to popular demands for political self-determination and representative forms of government unencumbered by foreign influence.

 

Contrary to some false reports in the West, the Islamic Republic of Iran has welcomed the revolution in Egypt. The uprising brought millions of ordinary and brave Egyptians to the streets, reminiscent of Iran’s historic Islamic Revolution of 1979. As the two oldest nations in the Middle East, Iran and the new Egypt have embarked on the path of amity and reconciliation that can be rewarding to both nations.

 

Tehran and Cairo can also enhance their cooperation in multilateral frameworks such as the Non-Aligned Movement to improve the region’s standing in the international community. The Iranian people, as well as the rest of the Muslim world, are delighted by the news that the new government in Egypt intends to stop the anti-Palestinian restrictions that were in complicity with the inhuman blockade of Gaza by the Zionist regime. If the Western governments are sincere about their pronouncements regarding justice for the Palestinians, then they must bring pressure to resolve the deadlock over Palestinian rights. Otherwise, the Muslim street will continue to blame the West for its hypocrisy and double standards.

 

Also, the United States and her Western allies must recognize the perception, widespread throughout the Middle East, that Israel’s nuclear arsenal represents a clear and present danger to its neighbors. The international community must pressure Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to allow outside inspection of its hidden nuclear facilities. This is the main obstacle to the U.N. goal of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East, which is fully endorsed by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

At a recent international conference in Tehran on disarmament, attended by delegations from 40 countries, the U.N. and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran made clear its strong opposition to nuclear weapons on moral, political and religious grounds. It firmly believes in the necessity of new initiatives by the world community toward fulfilling the objective of a “world without nuclear weapons.”

 

Iran is not in breach of any of its international obligations. Its enrichment of uranium for peaceful reactors is within the full-scope inspection of the IAEA and authorized by the articles of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran will never forfeit its nuclear rights as a result of false allegations by certain governments that pursue hegemonic policies in the region.

 

Combating terrorism and illicit drug traffic are also top priorities for Iran, which is why Iran sponsored an international conference on terrorism last month. Our country has been a victim of terrorist attacks leading to
the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iranians.

 

Iran is concerned about chaos and instability in neighboring countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. It has pursued good-neighbor policies that have resulted in generous economic assistance and expanded trade and investment relations. All this reflects Iran’s approach to regional cooperation.

 

Regarding the latter, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a founding member of the Economic Cooperation Organization that encompasses nine other countries including Afghanistan and the five Central Asian countries.  Simultaneously, as an OPEC producer and natural gas exporter straddled between the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, Iran has a vested interest in energy security.

 

In the current epic struggle to shape a new Middle East, there are daunting challenges that require cooperation among the regional players. Iran, Egypt and Turkey can play an important role in bringing about a
bright and prosperous future for the Middle East. Iran prioritizes the issues of regional stability, economic progress, energy and nuclear safety-and our country has played a positive role with respect to the regional crises, thus demonstrating our significant place in the family of nations in the Middle East.

 

Mr. Khazaei is Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations

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