29 September 2011
Statement by H.E. Dr. Aliakbar Salehi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
at the Luncheon with the Ambassadors
and Representatives of the Member States in the United Nations
(New York – 29 September 2011)
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to begin by thanking you all for being here. I am aware that many of you have been very busy during the first week of the sixty-sixth annual session of the General Assembly, and that some of you, like Ambassador Khazaee, my distinguished colleague are still hosting delegations from your capitals.
It is a pleasure to share with you some words about the Islamic Republic of Iran, United Nations, and the world affairs. My statement would revolve around the word ʻjusticeʼ. Bearing in mind the fact that my audience are distinguished fellow diplomats active within the UN system, I will mainly focus on those issues of the Iranian foreign policy which have a direct relevance to the work of the United Nations.
We, along with many other developing and developed nations, consider the United Nations as the world’s most influential international organization which has risen from the ashes of the bitterest and bloodiest world war. We like many other Members of this Organization, are against all forms of injustice including armed conflicts, prejudice and discrimination in international relations, despotism, colonization, foreign occupation, and several other menaces which are products of a flawed world order. We support the United Nations’ noble purposes and principles including, inter alia, maintenance of international peace and security and development of friendly relations among nations.
Six decades after its inception, the United Nations system is in dire need of reform in order to adapt itself to the world’s new developments. Should we consider that multilateralism is at the core of the UN mandate, then the Organization should be considered as an intergovernmental body which is owned and run by its whole membership, well symbolized at the General Assembly. This ownership and conduct of the work is envisaged through three main pillars of the UN. Of course, these pillars need to be treated in a well-balanced manner and seen equally as an integral part of the agenda of the Organization. Moreover, we believe that the General Assembly, as the main deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations, should be able to more vigorously exercise its mandate in addressing issues relevant to the maintenance of international peace and security without any interference. We share the concerns expressed by many, over the tendency to increase the powers of the Security Council to the detriment of the functions and powers of the General Assembly. Needless to say that Member States have conferred on the Security Council “primary” but not “exclusive” responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under Article 24, and that the General Assembly, too, has an established role in maintaining international peace and security under the Charter. At the same time, it should be noted that a true more representative Security Council should be considered as an important part of any UN reform initiative.
Taking into account the fact that resolving the complex multifaceted crises today is beyond the power of any single nation or a group of countries, United Nations is more relevant than ever. However, given the incomplete reform process of the Organization, no self-esteemed approach in this regard should be tolerated. The reform should be conducted in line with three core principles, namely, inclusiveness, transparency and effectivenesswhich are interlinked and play an essential role in realizing a genuine Member States’-led reform and refrain from promoting one at the expense of the others. Any tendency to take important global issues out of UN system, or misusing financial resources as a leverage against the Organization would serve against the common interests of the international community. Unfortunately, the over-reliance of the UN budget on the richer part of the world, has had its own political implications. Several recent cases have created an environment of suspicion in the UN. Of course, UN itself should occasionally come clear that it works based on the principle of justice and common interests of all its Member States and not on the interests of solely certain few Member States.
Now, let me turn to our position regarding some important issues relevant to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The first, and may be the most publicly debated issue is our nuclear program. We have clearly stated time and again that there are two alternatives in dealing with the Iranian peaceful nuclear program: one way is cooperation and interaction, and the other is confrontation and conflict. The Islamic Republic of Iran, confident of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program, has always insisted on the first alternative. When it comes to our relevant rights and obligations, our consistent position is that Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable legitimate rights. What we are looking for, is justice and the refusal of double standard approach in the UN system.
My nation is under unfair constant bombardment by the Western mainstream media, clearly manipulated by certain circles of power. Their main objective is to spread Iranophobic literature with the aim to smooth the progress of hegemonic policies in different parts of the world including the Middle East. The Iranian people, guided by the Islamic tenets and values, are a peace loving nation. Our people have never had any role in the crimes committed during the last two World Wars; genocides taken place in different parts of the world; the Hiroshima and Nagasaki tragedies; Vietnam war; the atrocious crimes that have been systematically committed against the Palestinian people for more than six decades; and kidnapping, torturing and detaining people without any criminal charges in illegal secret detention centers around the world. Iran has not started any war in the past two hundred years. We have been the victim of terrorism and the use of WMD during the 8 year imposed war. We call for peace, stability and well-being of all people throughout the world, especially, in our own region. We have always endeavored to play a constructive and effective role as a responsible member of the international community.
One of the main reasons of such an antagonistic policies towards Iran lies in our support for the cause of Palestine. The tragedy of Palestine, as a major source of anger and desperation that is felt throughout the Muslim world, lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict. We along with the major part of the international community including Non-Aligned Movement Member States, have been proponents of a fair and just policy regarding Palestine based on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to defy illegitimate occupying power. The Zionist regime’s criminal acts against the Palestinians and other peoples in the region are the gravest threat currently posed to regional as well as international peace and security. Peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved through promotion of a discriminatory policy of blindfold support for the Israeli regime’s state terrorism, occupation, torture, annihilation, intimidation and aggression. It is evident that durable peace in Palestine and the Middle East will only be possible through justice, end to discrimination, end to occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and creation of a democratic mechanism through which all inhabitants of Palestine, as well as Palestinians driven out of their homeland would have the possibility to determine their future in a democratic and peaceful fashion.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Human rights reflect the highest aspirations of humanity and should not fall within the monopoly of certain States, some of them with the most abhorrent record on all kinds of violation of human rights and humanitarian law in our contemporary and current history. Human rights also should not become subject to selectivity, politicization and application of double standards. The universality of human rights not only entails a universal theoretical basis but also requires a non-selective application and implementation. Any abuse of the UN human rights mechanisms for unjust political expediencies reduces this highly valued concept into a small and cheap tool of foreign policy implementation for certain States. Undoubtedly, this misrepresentation and abuse of human rights will create even a worse atmosphere of confrontation and polarization which would only erode the capacity of the United Nations for the meaningful promotion of human rights. In this context, recent claims by a UN Member State on its efforts to derail the normal course of Human Rights Council’s approved policies is a matter of grave concern. The abuse of human rights based on the application of double-standard and selectivity against certain countries with different political and cultural values and backgrounds, and at the same time, closing eyes on the massive and systematic violations of human rights and denial of most basic human rights committed by their own national forces or allied States is again another vivid example of injustice, and an act against the merit of the UN Charter. Inspired by its rich rooted historical, traditional and Islamic heritage and as one of the cradles of civilization, Iran will continue its efforts towards promotion of human rights. Our commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights remains serious and is deeply rooted in our willingness to achieve the goal of a brighter, happier and more prosperous future and our desire to work for the betterment of the lives of our citizens.
There is no doubt that any effort to the abuse of human rights will be counter-productive and will eventually backfire against the abuser. People across the world are getting more educated, knowledge, and better access to information. Thus, they can better recognize and defy misrepresentation of the realities and tired mischievous hegemonic policies. Massive uprising of the people in our region as well as recent unrests and discontents in certain parts of the Western world should be taken seriously. These developments reaffirm convictions on the urgency of the change. The world powers and the United nations should listen to these calls and embark on the policies to respond to demands for justice and fairness. History shows that if they don’t meet these rightful and legitimate demands, the strong waves of resolute people will sooner or later force them to do so and to eventually bring change.
Last but not least, I believe that more than three decades of time is enough for fair-minded people to recognize that the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a regional power and a source of political inspiration for the people of the region, upholds clear principles and values and has never been a problem maker but, in many circumstances, a wise and forward-looking problem solver in our volatile region. Certainly, pressure and intimidation will not change the Iranian resolve and policy. If certain countries have pinned their hopes that their unfair approach would dent the resolve of our great people, they should have no doubt that once again, they would be mislead by miss-interpretation of the realities on ground and their misjudgment. Let me assure them that our will to pay the price for the uphold of our dignity and independence shall never change.
No Government including my own can claim perfection. Nonetheless, we believe that the old worn-out policies of defamation and intimidation are not only unfair and unjustified, but also will undermine the international cooperation for realizing the objectives enshrined in the UN Charter. Surely those behind these policies shall soon come to know that these moves are doomed to fail. They shall never be ignorant of the fact that we are all on the same boat.
Adherence to this reality requires a holistic and collective approach for the realization of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations based on peaceful and friendly relations, mutual respect, common interests and equality of all Members of the Organization.
Thank you very much for your attention.