22 October 2013
Statement by Mr. Mostafa Shishechiha Deputy Director of Disarmament and International Security Department
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
On: Nuclear Weapons
At the Thematic Debate of the 68th Session of the First Committee
New York, 22 October 2013
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
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My delegation associates itself with the Statement made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The existence of thousands of nuclear weapons still continues to threaten international peace and security and the very survival of human civilization.
Moreover, nuclear postures of certain nuclear-weapon States, as well as NATO’s 2010 “Strategic Concept”, which justify the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, are clear cases of non-compliance with relevant legal obligations and thus must be abandoned.
In the same vein, modernizing nuclear weapons and constructing new nuclear-weapon facilities undermine the very object and purpose of the NPT and its relevance, integrity and credibility. As clear cases of non-compliance with obligations under article 6 of this treaty, they have to come to an end.
We strongly call upon the nuclear-weapon-States, in particular the US, to honor their obligations under the NPT and immediately cease any kind of development and research on nuclear weapons; to stop modernization of nuclear weapons and their facilities; to refrain from threatening non-nuclear-weapon-States with nuclear weapons; to withdraw their nuclear weapons from the territories of other countries; and to stop maintaining their nuclear warheads in the trigger-alert situation.
It is a source of grave concern that in violation of obligations under Article I of the NPT, not only hundreds of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery have been and are still being deployed in Europe in the territories of non-nuclear-weapon States, but also air forces of certain non-nuclear-weapon States, have been trained to deliver these weapons.
While nuclear-weapon States have committed, under article I of the NPT, “not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons”, and non-nuclear-weapon State have also committed, under article II of this treaty “not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons”, there remains no doubt that these are clear cases of non-compliance with explicit legal obligations of these countries under the NPT and therefore must immediately be stopped.
Deeds of a country like Canada that was one of a few nations voting against a GA resolution on the establishment of a nuclear weapon-free zone in the Middle East, its continued deadly silence on the danger of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, and more importantly a country that is under nuclear umbrella of NATO and thus in clear non-compliance with its legal obligations under the NPT, proves that how hypocritic and inconsistent its position on nuclear disarmament is.
Furthermore, transferring nuclear technologies and weapons-grade materials by certain Nuclear-Weapons States to some non-parties to the NPT contributed to the emergence of new nuclear weapons possessors, in particular in the volatile region of the Middle East, are clear violations of obligations under the NPT and must immediately be stopped.
Nuclear arsenals and clandestine nuclear facilities and unsafeguarded nuclear programs of the Israeli regime are the most serious threat to the region and beyond and the only obstacle to the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
Expressions of deep concern over this issue and strong calls for early convening of the Conference, voiced by the overwhelming majority of political groups, States and civil society, during the second NPT Prepcom, IAEA General Conference, UNGA HLM, UNGA general debate, CTBT Article 14 Conference, and here in the First Committee, made it crystal clear that the establishment of such a zone, proposed by Iran in 1974, enjoys continued strong international support.
The failure to convene the 2012 conference on establishing such a zone, due only to Israel’s objection, is yet another proof to this fact. To avoid further negative repercussions of not convening the Conference on the integrity and credibility of non-proliferation regime, the Israeli regime must be compelled to participate in the Conference without any precondition.
Israel should also positively respond to the strong call by the international community and accede without any further delay and precondition to NPT as a non-nuclear-weapon party and place all its nuclear activities and installations under the IAEA comprehensive safeguards in order to pave the way for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.
In our view, non-proliferation drives its legitimacy from a larger objective that is nuclear disarmament. Therefore, non-proliferation efforts are legitimate and credible only when there are acceptable parallel achievements on nuclear disarmament, which indeed is beyond mere decommissioning of nuclear weapons or reducing their number while preserving even the higher destructive power.
Therefore, we should promote a balanced, non-discriminatory and comprehensive approach towards non-proliferation and nuclear disarmament leading to a world where not only the development, possession, stockpiling and the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons is totally banned, but also these weapons are totally abolished.
I should stress in this regard that, pending the total elimination of nuclear weapons, all nuclear-weapon States must give, through a universal legally binding instrument, effective, unconditional, non-discriminatory and irrevocable security assurances to all non-nuclear weapon States parties to the NPT against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
As we mentioned in previous occasions, nuclear disarmament is both a right and a responsibility. It is the right of present and future generations and its accomplishment is the responsibility of States. However, nuclear disarmament is a common but differentiated responsibility and, as reaffirmed in the SSOD-I final document, in abolishing the nuclear weapons, nuclear-weapon States have the primary responsibility.
Recent increased focus on the humanitarian aspects of the use of nuclear weapons proves that international efforts should increase for the complete elimination of these inhumane weapons, which, indeed, is the only absolute guarantee against their threat or use.
In order to take forward multilateral negotiations on nuclear disarmament, we should take advantage of the momentum created by the first ever UNGA high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament.
Extensive participation of the heads of State and government and other dignitaries in the HLM was indeed a success in further consolidating the efforts of international community towards advancing the noble objective of nuclear disarmament.
Likewise, strong expressions of support for nuclear disarmament, voiced at the HLM, indicated that it continues to remain the highest priority of international community. It also proved that investing further political will by all States to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world at the earliest date is an urgent task.
We are glad that the 3-point action-oriented proposal, presented by President Roohani on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, gained wide support both at the HLM and here in the First Committee.
We are looking forward to the strong support of the Member States for a NAM draft resolution on the follow-up to HLM.
We fully support addressing genuine non-proliferation concerns. However, we reject equating the peaceful uses of nuclear energy with developing nuclear weapons.
As it has been stated time and again by the Iranian officials at all levels, in addition to our international obligations, Islamic teachings also oblige us not to pursue nuclear-weapon program.
In addition, we believe that these inhuman weapons did not and would never bring security. Accordingly, nuclear weapons have no place in the defense or military doctrine of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
All Iranian nuclear activities are, and have always been, exclusively for peaceful purposes.
Iran continues to fully cooperate with the IAEA and all its nuclear activities are carried out under surveillance cameras of the Agency and its resident inspectors who regularly visit all nuclear sites and measure and seal enriched uranium containers.
Some of Iran’s cooperation with the Agency have been beyond its legal obligations and are carried out to build more trust and confidence.
As a result, non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran has always been confirmed by all IAEA reports, including its latest report, dated 28 August 2013.
Despite these facts, some countries still express concerns over the Iranian peaceful nuclear program. At the same time, there exists a deep mistrust and concern by the Iranian nation over the policies and intentions of these countries. Therefore, there is a need for building mutual trust that is possible only by negotiation.
On its part, and to ensure that its nuclear program will continue to remain exclusively peaceful, Iran had already expressed its full readiness to faithfully engage in a meaningful, time-bound and result-oriented negotiation. Accordingly, Iran genuinely engaged in the recent talks between Iran and P5+1 in Geneva and presented a practical proposal to serve as a road map to direct the negotiations. That round of talks was over on a positive note and next round of negotiations will take place on 7 November.
Negotiations of Iran and P5+1 is a serious test for our counterparts, specially western parties, to prove that they are genuine in resolving this issue by acknowledging the inalienable right of Iran to peaceful uses of nuclear energy in producing electricity, as well as other industrial, medical and agricultural usages in accordance with Article 4 of the NPT, including a full national nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes, and addressing the Iranian’s concerns, by lifting all multilateral and unilateral sanctions.
In conclusion, I would like to stress that nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to all of us. Before they consume us all together, let us consume them all together.
To that end, full and effective implementation of nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT and its successive Revcons is a must.
For this reason, the Islamic Republic of Iran once again this year submitted its relevant draft resolution to the First Committee. It is entitled “follow-up to nuclear disarmament obligations agreed to at the 1995, 2000 and 2010 Review Conferences of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” This draft is based on the resolution 66/28 with only technical updates. We are looking forward to the support of all delegations for this draft resolution.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.