29 January 2014
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee
Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
Before the United Nations Security Council
On “Maintenance of International Peace and Security:
War, its lessons, and the search for a permanent peace”
New York, 29 January 2014
In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
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Allow me to begin by thanking you for holding this meeting and proposing this important topic for our debate today.
As this topic encompasses a wide range of issues, I believe that we need to base ourselves on a two-fold approach with a view to addressing the general and particular questions that the topic implies. First, we need to adopt a general approach to consider the lessons of wars and the way permanent peace could be established and maintained. Second, we need to review how in particular the Security Council has so far fulfilled its primary responsibility in maintaining international peace and security.
Generally speaking, peace could only be maintained and strengthened in the long run through removing the conditions that nurture war, conflict, terrorism and violence and ensuring the rule of law at all levels and increasing the effectiveness of international institutions responsible for enhancing and maintaining peace and security. In so doing, economic, social, political and geopolitical aspects of different situations should be taken into consideration, and an inclusive approach and orchestrated policies at various levels should be adopted by all relevant players to address situations.
While States have the primary responsibility to address issues in their entirety, the contribution by the regional and international organizations in such areas as poverty eradication, promotion of human rights, education and cultural diversity is also crucial and will help create a strong base for peace within and among nations.
In this context, the expression in UNESCO’s Constitution is also relevant. It states: “since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” On this basis, any contribution by relevant organizations towards promoting culture of peace, tolerance and co-existence and preventing the spread of violent and extremist mindset help further the cause of peace. Crimes that we witness currently in parts of the Middle East in which innocent civilians are targeted emanate from violent extremism and sectarianism. Such mentality disrupts also the smooth and friendly relationship among nations. The murder of an Iranian diplomat and the kidnapping of the other in Yemen and the bombing of Iranian Embassy in Beirut are sad examples in this respect.
In this context, we should recognize the timely action of the General Assembly in adopting the consensus resolution entitled “A World against Violence and Violent Extremism” (WAVE for short), which was based on the idea presented by the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Undoubtedly, the UN General Assembly has an important role to play in furthering peace and addressing all aspects of any issue or crisis that may compromise peace. One of these aspects that I should highlight here is the Assembly role in addressing disarmament in its entirety and draw the attention to the important step that the Assembly took in holding the first-ever high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament in last September.
As to how in particular the Security Council has so far fulfilled its primary responsibility in maintaining international peace and security, I should stress that the picture is rather gloomy.
A glance at the performance of the Council in the last 68 years would be rather indicative of many instances in which it failed to rise up to the expectations of the general membership. In many cases the Council failed to act promptly and effectively. There are instances where political considerations led to the paralysis of the Council and resulted in the frequent use of veto power. As a result, wars widened, conflicts were prolonged, aggressors and violators persisted in their acts and were further emboldened. Thus, so many precious lives were perished and misery spread. The failure of the Council to address the blatant invasion of Iran by the then Iraqi regime, which led to an 8 year bloody war and the unchecked use of chemical weapons by that regime, is an evident example in this respect.
Another evident example is the Palestinian crisis that has unfolded before the eyes of succeeding generations in the past 68 years. The failure of the Council in this case has meant the continuation of occupation of the lands of other nations, which lies at the heart of this crisis and many other difficult situations in the Middle East. The very basic right of a whole people to self-determination is denied in this case and the Council is yet to leave a finger to reinstate it. Even worse, despite the condemnation of the whole world, the illegal settlement building continues unabated, while the Council fails to address it, due to the frequent use of veto.
While the Council is primarily responsible for maintaining peace and security and while it could be fairly criticized for what it has done and what it has failed to do in the past 68 years, I believe that we need to look earnestly into the way it is structured and the way it functions. Almost 20 years ego, all member states rejoiced at the start of a process to reform the Council and now we are all dismayed at the impasse it faces. As the Council is the relics of the past and its record is before us, I believe that only a transparent, democratic and truly representative of the new makeup of the current international community could rise up to the expectations of “we the peoples of the United Nations.”
I thank you Mr. President.