23 April 2012
Statement by Ambassador Eshagh Al Habib
Deputy Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the United Nations under the agenda item
“Situation in the Middle East”
before the United Nations Security Council
(23 April 2012, New York)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Allow me first to congratulate you on your assumption of presidency of this month of the Council and to thank you for having convened this open debate on the situation in the Middle East.
It is with deep concern and growing frustration that we continue to endlessly address the situation in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Regrettably, the illegal policies and the constant provocations and incitement by Israel regime and its extremist settlers against the Palestinian people, their land and the holy places continue to exacerbate tensions and raise religious sensitivities, risking further destabilization and tension on the ground.
In this regard one extremely worrying development is the continued illegal activities in the vicinity of Aqsa Mosque and Qubbat El-Sakhra in Occupied Jerusalem, in which Israeli occupying forces continue to storm the holy compounds and use force against hundreds of Palestinian worshippers, particularly during and after Friday prayers. According to reports, the Israeli occupying forces unleash tear gas; throw grenades, sound bombs and shoot rubber bullets against the worshippers, causing fear and panic among them.
The Security Council and world community must pay heed to the escalation of tensions and confrontations in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, since the this holy place and other Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory continue to be subjected to threats, incitement and desecration by extremist settlers as well as constant provocations by Zionist officials, and this has led to escalating concerns among not only the Palestinian people but Muslim people all around the world about the potential for further crisis in this holy area.
Another source of extreme worrisome is the expansion of illegal settlements which continues to take place on an unprecedented scale. With the number of housing units being built in the West Bank having grown to thousands during last year and first quarter of the this year. The eventual construction of thousands of housing units will almost certainly change the geopolitical realities on the ground. In addition to the unabated expansion of settlements, Palestinian buildings and residences in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem are being demolished. Furthermore, a greater expansion of settlements has been accompanied by a systematic increase in settler violence against Palestinians and their property. The result of these activities is the continued suffering of the Palestinian people. While morally wrong, the settlements are also illegal under international law as they violate article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and run contrary to Israeli regime’s obligations. In this connection, the Islamic Republic of Iran supports the action taken by Non Aligned Movement to request Switzerland, in its capacity as depositary of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to reconvene at the earliest opportunity a conference of the high contracting parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention for the purpose of upholding the obligations and responsibilities incumbent upon the high contracting parties in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. This is in accordance with recommendations contained in General Assembly resolutions 64/10 and 64/254.
The situation in Gaza is no better than in West Bank. In the last couple of months the Gaza Strip has witnessed bombardments and attacks by the Israeli regime and many civilians including women and children were targeted and several houses were destroyed. The deprivation of more than 1.5 million Palestinians of their basic needs including fuel for electricity continues. Thus far, the calls of the world community, including the United Nations, to stop these illegal activities continue to fall on deaf ears as Israeli regime continues to its systematic violations of human rights. For all of these war crimes, acts of State terrorism and systematic human rights violations committed against the Palestinian people, Israeli regime must be held accountable and the perpetrators must be brought to justice. There is no justification for the Security Council to remain silent vis-à-vis the perpetrators of these crimes. The international community has the responsibility to act and to put an end to the deliberate violations of human and humanitarian rights.
It is our earnest desire to see that prolonged conflicts in occupied lands of Palestine will give its place to a lasting peace and prosperity. This of course requires the concerted efforts of the entire international community to the restoration of peace and justice.
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to follow closely the developments in Syria. We firmly believe that the current crisis should only be resolved through Syrian-lead political dialogue in a peaceful manner. About two weeks ago Mr. Kofi Annan visited Iran and met Iranian high officials who assured the Special Envoy of Iran’s support for his mission and expressed Iran’s deep concern over the regional consequences of any violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are happy that Syrian Government is constructively and actively engaged with Annan’s mission and took positive steps in compliance of his plan. On our part we are also in interaction with some of the major players in the region in the effort for a constructive and successful United Nations involvement in defusing the tension and restoring peace in Syria.
Regarding the baseless allegations leveled by the representative of such a criminal regime, i.e. Israel against peaceful nature of our nuclear activities, it is not my intention to delve into a detailed response to such allegations. However I suffice myself to say that Israeli regime’s clandestine development and unlawful possession of hundreds of nuclear warheads and nuclear weapons arsenal is threating the region as well as international peace and security. The Israeli regime has clearly defied the demand of the overwhelming majority of the UN member States that have, time and again, called on this regime to renounce nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT. Regrettably, the inaction of the relevant United Nations organs in dealing with such Israeli policies and practices has emboldened this dangerous regime. The question remains how we can establish peace and stability in the Middle East where the massive Israeli nuclear arsenals continue to threaten the region and beyond?
Reference was made by the distinguished representative of the Saudi Arabia regarding the visit of H.E. Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Abu Musa. In this regard I should say the Iranian islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb are integral and eternal parts of the Iranian territory. We categorically reject any claim to the contrary. Moreover, the recent visit by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Abu Musa Island and all other measures taken by the Iranian authorities in those Iranian islands are fully based on the sovereign rights of Iran and the principle of its territorial integrity, as envisaged in the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of international law.
We underline here the importance of the brotherly and good-neighborly relations that exist between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the neighboring countries in the Persian Gulf. Countries in the region share common interests in the security and long-term stability. Our continued commitment towards brotherly relations with our neighbors and regional partners in the areas of security, economic development is thus have a regional perspective as well. We believe that constructive negotiations between the Iran and UAE will lead to the further expansion of relations in various fields and will help to remove any misunderstanding on this issue.
Thank you, Madame President