HIS EXCELLENCE DR. KAMAL KHARRAZI
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN
UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, NY USA
15TH SEPTEMBER 2002
Ladies and Gentleman,
At the outset, I have the pleasure to congratulate you on your election as the President of the 571h Session of the General Assembly and wish to reassure you of the full support and cooperation of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran to you, as you begin to embark on your crucial task. I also wish to express appreciation to the President of the 56`h Session of the General Assembly for the skillful leadership he provided us. I also wish to welcome Switzerland and the Democratic Republic of East Timor to the United Nations. Before I begin, I would like to pay tribute to our distinguished Secretary-General for his strong and caring leadership and for the vision and wisdom in his statement to this Assembly
The world, today, is marked by expansive diversity and emerging new, active, effective and influencing factors. In light of the advances in the information technology and the new international information order, the issues and problems of today's world, are interrelated and truly global, just like those of an organism. More than ever before, it can, now, be inferred that nations and states seek to expand their options and ascertain the nature and the extent of their contribution to and participation in global affairs on the basis of not only their national security and interest but also their regional responsibilities and international requirements and norms. This trend to achieve such fundamental objectives does point to expansion of a global, democratic and participatory process that endures over the long run and is thus sustainable.
The world of diversity, the world of questioning and critical review of the past, the world of seeking democratic participation and action teaches us that the humane and universal fundamentals of "peace and security", "freedom and independence" and "Justice and fairness" must become the very center of global attention. Without continued attempt and active cooperation to draw our world closer to such fundamentals, we would not succeed in successfully meeting the current global challenges. Without expanding the scope of peace and security, neither freedom nor independence will be achievable; without justice and fairness, neither peace nor security will become accessible; and without freedom and independence, both peace and security will become impossible. It is with such an approach that we will be enabled to work together, think together and to cooperate, in a multilateral framework, to help find answers to international challenges and deal with regional crises.
The prevalent view in today's world is that global problems are problems that relate to each and every member of the international community and that to overcome them all nations must adopt a democratic framework for close international cooperation in both formulation and execution of the collective response. The logical extension of such an approach is the clear rejection of unilateralism and attempt by a single state, however powerful, to impose its norms and policies, and thus regards it detrimental for a law-based world order and for a sustainable international peace and security.
The more prominent democratic principles would become in conduct of international relations, the more effective and extensive states' critical view of themselves and other international players would become. Objective and systematic assessments of international events increases the options available to states and enables them to withstand the pressure to follow others blindly. The world is facing grave challenges today, particularly following the tragic terror attacks of September 11 `". Chief among these challenges are terrorism and violence.
Combating the sinister phenomenon of terrorism is an urgent and unavoidable imperative. Meanwhile in our relentless fight, we should not ignore the breeding grounds of terrorism. On the other hand, fighting terrorism with unbridled use of violence is bound to exacerbate the situation and expand the devastation of violence in the world. Terrorism can be contained only through a law-based counter-terrorism strategy that earns the full cooperation of all members of the international community. In the coalition against terrorism, efforts can and should be made to develop a law-based and concerted approach to fighting terrorism.
A genuine and effective fight against terrorism must include an attempt to identify the underlying root causes of terrorism on the one hand, and a concerted effort by the international community to address them, on the other. It must go without saying that the perpetrators of acts of terrorism must be brought to justice and served their just deserts. To call for addressing of the root causes of terrorism should, in no way, be construed as an attempt to justify terrorism or derogate from the severity of terrorist acts or the severity of the punishments which the terrorists deserve. It is intended to point to an effective and comprehensive manner in which terrorism could be eliminated.
In this context, it appears that exploring the following issues could prove helpful in identification of the underlying root causes of terrorism:
1. Increasing injustice and discrimination worldwide, leading to marginalization of a large number of people, spreading the phenomena of introversion, individualism, defensiveness, isolation and ultimately compounding cynicism, disregarding realities and hatred. The geography of the "periphery world" is the landscape in which victims of discrimination and unfair inequalities may turn to violence.
2. Occupation and violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of a country and undue interference in the inalienable right of its people to self-determination is another factor which along with injustice may give rise t violence.
3. Extremism, fanaticism, prejudice, and backwardness with the negative consequences of severing with the real world and rational thinking, leading to the spread of fanciful and nihilistic beliefs could be a fertile ground for violence and terrorism.
4. Poverty and the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, which the United Nations statistics confirm as a disconcerting human phenomenon.
5. Underdevelopment in economic, social and cultural spheres among the underprivileged societies, versus the developed and prosperous states breeds complex and, at times, dangerous contradictions between the developed and the underdeveloped or developing countries.
In our opinion, a wise and principled approach to fighting terrorism is one that entails full international cooperation expressed at the highest political level in a "world Summit" which would seek, among others, to develop an inclusive definition of terrorism that is generally acceptable. In a letter addressed to the United Nations Secretary-General, immediately after September 11 disastrous attacks, President Khatami called for such a world Summit to address this crucial issue and raise international cooperation to fight terrorism under the umbrella of the United Nations.
There should be a worldwide campaign against all forms and manifestations of terrorism and their perpetrators, irrespective of the victims and objectives. Distinction must also be made between acts of terrorism and the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation or aggression, in accordance with international law.
Any campaign bent on relating the inhuman phenomenon of terrorism to Divine religions that have always been the harbingers of peace, love, amity and moral decency is a great and unforgivable transgression against these religions and their countless followers.
The great Divine religions, including Islam have explicitly denounced any act of violence or terror, and meted out severe punishments for those who otherwise engage in such acts. In the Islamic law, inducing fear in the public, even if not resulting in violence or bloodshed, is considered a serious crime. The Holy Koran says:
... Whoever slays a soul, it is as though he slew all human beings ... And whoever saves a life, it is as though he saved the lives of all human beings ... (Koran, 5:32)
As a victim of the most brutal acts of terrorism, the Islamic Republic of Iran regards fighting terrorism in a genuine and comprehensive fashion a top national priority, and is thus in the forefront of the international coalition against terrorism. To help promote regional and international peace and security, my country has so far signed bilateral agreements or is in the process of finalization of such agreements with more than twenty countries on the extradition of offenders and provision of legal assistance about promoting cooperation in various fields of fighting terrorism, drug trafficking and other organized crimes, extradition of criminals and mutual legal assistance. We are intent to further strengthen this policy of enhanced cooperation. In this context and in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1390, the Islamic Republic of Iran has reported to the Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee about its counter terrorism efforts, in general, and the measures it adopted against the Taliban and al-Qaida, in particular.
The Islamic Republic of Iran remains dedicated to the cause of promoting international solidarity, peace and security by relying on rational and realistic doctrines at the international level -- chief among them being dialogue among civilizations, de-escalation of tension, confidence building and coalition for peace and justice. In this context, and in addition to fruitful regional cooperation, expansion of cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Asian and European countries, including the European Union and the European Parliament are cases in point.
The current trend of the international disarmament negotiations is a source of great concern, leading to further vulnerability and fragility of the international security. The Conference on Disarmament, after its fruitful years of activities in early 1990's, is stuck for the fifth consecutive year in endless discussion about its program of work. Rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty by a permanent Member of the Security Council and the holder of the largest nuclear arsenal, and its withdrawal from negotiation on the CTBT Sight Inspection Operation Manual do all point to this state's policy of unilateralism. Further signs of such policy are withdrawal from the Anti Ballistic Missile Treaty, blocking of the negotiations on a protocol strengthening the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention and going against the judgment of the international community to regulate trade and transfer of small arms and light weapons.
Based on the experience of the past, the way out of this abnormal situation is to refocus attention to strengthening international disarmament and arms control instruments through the multilateral negotiation mechanisms. It is only through developing a broader view of international cooperation and respect for the rule of law that progress and success in the field of disarmament and international security issues could be guaranteed.
Expansion of and deeper respect for Human rights throughout the world are the function of its universality and indivisibility on the one hand, and the recognition of national and regional particularities and cultural backgrounds, on the other. Rejecting the use of human rights for political purposes or double standard and discriminatory approaches as well as promoting international cooperation in this field for the sake of human rights will definitely help promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Such an approach prevailed in the 58`h Session of the Human Rights Commission and thus my country received a favorable decision. We are pleased that with the cooperation of other states our resolutions concerning developing international cooperation in the field of human rights and also the one concerning cultural diversity were adopted. In light of the same cooperative approach, my delegation will pursue the same in the current session of the General assembly.
Globalization will bear fruitful results when it is accompanied with a non-selective and non-discriminatory approach; when it provides equal opportunities for all within the framework of a global partnership. If the developed countries fail to fulfill their responsibilities, globalization can hardly be claimed as a success story. Furthermore, how can we think of a better prospect for globalization when private international capitals and foreign direct investments are largely concentrated in a limited number of countries, when the developing nations do not receive the necessary technical assistance to enhance their capacities for production and manufacturing and to strengthen their financial sectors? An open, equitable, law-based, transparent and non-discriminatory international trading system will be a prerequisite for achieving the goals of economic growth and sustainable development in the developing countries.
Continued brutalities in the occupied Palestine, once more, indicates that solutions that are not well grounded in justice and realism will fail to bring a durable peace in the Middle East region. The Palestinian people have the right, according to international law,
United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Right, to persist in their struggle to restore their inalienable rights. Occupying other people's land must be condemned. So must labeling a nation, who only fights to liberate its home, as terrorist be condemned.
The way to achieve a long-lasting peace in the Middle East is to guarantee the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland and the right to self-determination leading to the formation, in a democratic process and under the supervision of the United Nations, of the Palestinian State with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. It is the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to decide, through democratic means, their future political system and the manner in which they elect to establish their civil and political order. We respect the choices that Palestinian people make.
The long standing policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran towards Afghanistan has been rejection of violence, intra-Afghan dialogue and establishment of a representative government through some democratic means. We are pleased that in light of the international efforts, particularly by the United Nations, consolidation of civil order is gradually taking place by Afghan people themselves through establishment of the Interim Administration, the emergency Lui Jerga and the Transitional Government. Codifying Afghanistan's Constitution on the basis of democratic principles, Afghan culture and tradition, taking into account the views of all ethnic groups, will be a major step in consolidation of law and order, strengthening the political structure and achieving peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.
The Islamic Republic of Iran continues its close cooperation with the Transitional Government of Afghanistan, especially in the context of spending the $50 million assistance earmarked for small-scale reconstruction projects in Afghanistan during the Iranian fiscal year 1381, which started on 21 March 2002; providing custom facilities and preferential arrangements in customs, transit, trade and scientific, cultural and educational cooperation, combating drug trafficking and terrorism, helping Afghan refugees to return to Afghanistan -are all joint efforts that are moving forward. The international community is expected to make good on their pledges to Afghanistan, so as to begin to rebuild the economic infrastructure there and create a condition conducive to the voluntary return of Afghan refugees to their homeland. Greater attention and resources must be invested, particularly by the UNDCP, in crop substitution programs in Afghanistan as an effective strategy to fight narcotic trafficking.
Respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, compliance by Iraq with relevant Security Council resolutions, particularly those concerning the return of the weapons inspectors to Iraq, followed by lifting of the international sanctions in the interests of the oppressed people of Iraq constitute the overall policy of the Islamic republic of Iran towards Iraq. We are against any unilateral measure or military intervention in Iraq, underline the central role of the United Nations in this regard, and hold that it is up to the people of Iraq to determine their own future through democratic means.
The Islamic Republic of Iran follows the situation between its two neighbors, Pakistan and India, with much concern. As a neighbor, we wish to underline the old age wisdom in the sub-continent and impress upon the leadership in both countries to exercise self-restraints in both words and deeds, and maintain the line of communication and dialogue open with a view to resolving the situation in accordance with rules and principles of international law and in the interests of both nations.
The current global trend for participation in the collective efforts to face major international challenges and resolve regional crises through democratic means has raised a glimmer of hope for our world today. No doubt, dialogue among civilizations has a special place in charting the way and promoting understanding and tolerance in this troubled times. Dialogue as a multi-faceted and long term process teaches us to grow out of the politics of domination that created so much agony and violence and gradually opt for the politics of interaction, tolerance and communication. In this context, the United Nations as a center of dialogue, international decision making and implementation, will increasingly find greater importance as the international community resolves to strengthen international peace, security and development.
Thank You, Mr. President