23 October 2013
Statement by Mr. Mehdi Rouzehgir Ghalehnoee Department for Disarmament and International Security
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
On “Disarmament Machinery”
At the Thematic Debate of the 68th Session of the First Committee
New York, 23 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 by Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to multilateralism as the core principle of negotiations in the field of disarmament.
Disarmament issues are delicate and multidimensional. They have also close relation with supreme national security interests of Member States. Therefore, non-discriminatory, transparent and consensus-based multilateral negotiations within the UN is the only way to address disarmament issues.
The Islamic Republic of Iran underscores the vital importance and continued validity of the existing UN multilateral disarmament machinery.
In this regard, we strongly believe that the CD is and should remain the sole multilateral disarmament negotiating body.
We also reaffirm the importance and relevance of the UN Disarmament Commission as the sole specialized deliberative body.
Based on their existing methods of work and rules of procedure, in particular the rule of consensus, the CD and the UNDC have formulated landmark universal instruments in the past.
This proves not only the relevance of their mandate but the efficiency and effectiveness of their rules of procedure, in particular the rule of consensus.
Therefore, the main difficulty in the UN disarmament machinery lies in the lack of genuine political will by some States to achieve progress, particularly on nuclear disarmament.
For instance, double standard, discriminatory policies and selective approaches towards the four core issues is the main problem with regard to the CD.
In such circumstances, neither changing the rules of procedure of the CD nor the proliferation of resolutions and putting forward unworkable proposals to deal with highly sensitive disarmament issues is a wise solution.
In our view, there is no alternative to the CD and its consensus rule. Likewise, the role of SSOD-IV cannot be replaced by artificial initiatives.
Instead of blaming the consensus rule of the UNDC and the CD for their current stalemate, the total blame shall be put on countries that consider these bodies, in particular the CD, as a single-issue venue.
In our view, the existing disarmament machinery, in particular the CD needs to be fully supported and enhanced. This is a shared objective and a common responsibility.
In this regard, we would like to place particular emphasis on the need for enhancing the role of this machinery in the field of nuclear disarmament. This is the highest priority of the world community in the field of disarmament.
Accordingly, we believe that the CD should focus on advancing the agenda of nuclear disarmament and total elimination of nuclear weapons leading to a nuclear-weapon-free world.
In this context, we strongly support the early commencement by the CD of negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear-weapons convention as proposed by NAM in the first ever high-level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament.
In 2013, the Islamic Republic of Iran assumed the presidency of the CD from May 27 to June 23. Since the beginning of our presidency, we reiterated that overcoming the current situation in the CD is a common responsibility. We were fully aware of the complexity of the issue. However, this difficulty did not discourage us to do our utmost efforts. We consulted intensively with every group and member at various levels to reach consensus on a balanced and comprehensive program of work.
Our proposal was based on the innovative efforts of the past President’s of the CD in trying to simplify and streamline the program of work and to equally treat all core issues with respect to the mandate and modality.
No delegation formally opposed the proposal. However, as some delegations had hesitancy in agreeing with the draft decision, we refrained to officially table it to avoid another failure that might undermine the credibility of the CD.
Seizing this opportunity, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all CD members who supported our initiative.
As an active member, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to support a balanced and comprehensive program of work to overcome the current stalemate in the CD.
My delegation also supports NAM position on the strict application of the principle of equitable geographical distribution in the composition of the groups of governmental experts in the field of disarmament and international security. We urge the Secretary-General to take concrete actions so as to ensure a more balanced membership of future GGEs, inter alia, through the extension of the size of their membership.
Before I conclude, I would like to underline the significant role of the UN Fellowship Program on disarmament in training our diplomats in disarmament field. With no doubt, it is a valuable contribution to the professionalism in the disarmament fora. We will continue to support this program.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.