27 September 2013
Statement by H.E. Dr. Rouhani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
on The NAM Ministerial Meeting
New York , 27 September 2013
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Mr. President of the General Assembly
Mr. Secretary-General Excellencies, ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to be able to address the NAM Ministerial meeting. My presence here reminds me of the positive feeling that the Iranian people have always had towards the Non-Aligned Movement even before Iran became a member of this Movement. Some of you may know that joining the NAM was among the very first decisions the Iranian Government took following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. However, very few of you may know that the hearts and minds of many Iranians were captured by the Movement and its ideals since its very early days. Throughout those early days, the NAM’s activities at the height of the Cold War, including effective contributions to the independence struggles of the peoples under colonial rule; non-adherence to multilateral military pacts; rejection of the use or threat to use force in international relations; actions in advancing economic and political interests of the South as well as its enthusiasm to preserve peace, were followed by admiration in Iran.
The pivotal principle adhered to by NAM Members, which rejects alignment with superpowers, had its origin in the convictions of anti-colonial and anti-despotic politicians for whom the principle of “negative balance” was to guide foreign policy. This principle rejected any concession to one big power that would call for granting a similar concession to another big power. This very concept reemerged and was expressed through the “neither East nor West” motto during the popular demonstrations, which culminated in the victory of the Islamic Revolution.
The beauty of our Movement has been in its ability to gather a growing number of States, which despite their ideological, political, economic, social and cultural diversity, have accepted its founding principles and primary objectives and shown their readiness to realize them. Historically, the non-aligned countries have shown their ability to overcome their differences and found a common ground for action that leads to mutual cooperation and upholding their shared values and interests. The NAM has been remarkable in contributing to the cause of the developing world; trying to bring together the countries of the South and facilitate dialogue and understanding between them.
While formulating its own positions in an independent manner so as to reflect the interests of its members, the Movement needs at the same time to make every effort to contribute to the global cause of peace and development in interaction with other actors in global politics. As we are living in an intertwined and interconnected world, the interest of no state or group of states could be advanced at the expense of others.
During the period of its chairmanship, Iran will spare no efforts in upholding the principles of NAM and realizing its lofty goals. In this capacity, we are determined to do whatever in our power to strengthen the NAM’s functions, promote its goals and enhance its efficiency. During the first year of Iran’s chairmanship, the Coordinating Bureau of the NAM, its Troika, its working groups and its caucuses held more than 100 hundred meetings in the United Nations in New York and the UN offices in other cities. In these meetings, the NAM formulated its positions on a range of issues, including peace keeping operations, human rights, disarmament, restructuring the Security Council, revitalizing the UN General Assembly and legal
issues, and deliberated on those issues covered by the Security Council and the Peace Building Commission and constructively contributed to deliberations in the UN bodies and negotiated with all UN Member States towards mutually agreeable solutions for ongoing difficult challenges that we all face.
Let me now briefly touch upon the theme of the debate for this meeting which is “respect for the rule of law at international level.” Strengthening the rule of law was a major component of my platform during my electoral campaign. I am committed by the mandate that I received to function strictly within the parameters set by law throughout my presidency and do whatever in my power to enhance the rule of law at the national and international levels in all its aspects. Allow me to briefly discuss only few aspects of the rule of law at international level:
As ‘development’ has always been a major subject for our Movement, let me reiterate that the rule of law and development are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Without the rule of law at the national and international levels any efforts towards sustained and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development are doomed to failure. Fair, stable and predictable legal frameworks are prerequisite for generating inclusive, sustainable and equitable development and facilitating investment and entrepreneurship.
The rule of law at the international level is a sine qua none for global peace, which has been another major subject for our Movement. While our collective response to ongoing challenges should be guided by the rule of law, the UN Charter can serve as a guide for UN Members to establish a just and lasting peace all over the world. The most important principle that we, as UN Members, have committed to abide
by is the principle of refraining in our international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Support for all efforts to uphold the sovereign equality of all States, respect for their territorial integrity and political independence, peaceful resolution of disputes in conformity with the principles of justice and international law are among other major principles reiterated in the Charter. In this context, States are strongly urged to refrain from promulgating and applying any unilateral economic, financial or trade measures contrary to international law and the UN Charter that impede the full achievement of economic and social development, particularly in developing countries.
NAM has often objected to unilateral economic sanctions imposed on members of the Movement. We should think of creative ways to preclude misuse of the mechanism of Security Council by some Permanent Members to impose illegal sanctions against a member state only to advance their short-sighted foreign policy agenda. Furthermore, we should devise a mechanism to withstand the pressure to enforce unilateral sanctions extra-territorially.
Another aspect of the rule of law that I would like to underscore is the right to self- determination of peoples which remain under foreign occupation. Since its inception, our Movement has accorded high priority to counter the plight of the Palestinian people living under inhumane and cruel occupation of their territory. Within the NAM, we are determined to continue to provide assistance to the Palestinian people. I am pleased that a major step was taken in this direction in last November in the UN General Assembly. Our Movement should follow up on this major step towards the full membership of Palestine in the United Nations.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.