Statement by H.E. Dr. Ali Akbar Salehi
Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran
to the Senior Officials Meeting
16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
26 August 2012
In the Name of Allah
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I would like to warmly welcome you to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to this important meeting. We are greatly honoured to be entrusted with the responsibility of hosting the NAM Summit and assuming the NAM Chairmanship for a challenging and momentous time to our countries. The hosting of the Summit by the Islamic Republic of Iran would be the culmination of our active membership of the Movement in the past three decades, in the course of which we have made every effort to promote the overall objectives of the NAM, including through strengthening solidarity among NAM Members, which is the essential elements for an influential and effective Movement. During its tenure, the Islamic Republic of Iran will seek to strengthen the Movement as well as contribute to its renewal, so that the Movement can discharge its historic mandate. Our task in this regards is made easier by the leadership and coordination that has been provided by our predecessors, especially Egypt over the past three years. Therefore, I Should pay tribute to the Government and the people of Egypt for the excellent way in which they have conducted the activities of our Movement during the difficult and important period of Egypt’s tenure as the Chair of the NAM.
We are very pleased that we, as the Members of the NAM, are once more coming together at the senior official level to consult and review the latest developments that affect our world. This is a vivid sign of our determination to preserve and strengthen our Movement, and turn it into a more effective vehicle for protecting the interests of our nations. We are confident that, despite enormous changes in the recent decades, the Movement is still absolutely relevant and very much alive, and that we have a duty to strengthen the Movement that we have inherited from our foresighted forerunners who stood up to the challenges in the past 5 decades. In tackling the current daunting challenges and those looming ahead, we need to tap the full capacity of our Movement towards helping bring about peace and justice across the globe.
At such a crucial juncture when international relations is suffering from a destructive and nonproductive mentality that seeks to dominate the whole world, we are in need, more than ever, to brace ourselves for resolute and collective actions to keep the world a place for promoting the cultural diversity and respect for all commonly accepted human rights, especially the right to self-determination, and democratically and genuinely elected national governments. Now, as much as ever we need to endeavor towards revitalizing our Movement based on the world's current condition. Despite the progress we have made so far in this respect, we still need to be on the alert and vigilant, as the arrogant and interventionist policies are yet to be discarded in international politics. Undoubtedly, our continued collective efforts in this direction would greatly help us all to find peaceful and dialogue-based settlements for conflicts, and to allow each society to stay its own natural course.
Now, I wish to briefly touch upon some of the issues that are traditionally of great importance to our Movement, and therefore need to be addressed in a more responsive way:
1. In our international community not every nation shares similar value and opinion. To live in peace and harmony the diversity within the global society should be acknowledged and respected. Thus, the attempts to impose interpretations on other members of the international community should be thwarted. NAM is now playing an active role in the field of dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures with a view to strengthening cooperation to enhance peace and remove discrimination and violence.
2. We, along with many other developing and developed nations, consider the United Nations as the world’s largest international organization that has risen from the ashes of the World War II. As the Members of the Movement, we are against all forms of negative effects of the current world order including all forms of injustice and discrimination, armed conflicts, misuse of power and manipulation in international relations, despotism, all forms of colonization, foreign occupation that can be rectified through collaborative efforts of all members of the world community.
Six decades after its inception the United Nations system is in dire need of reform in order to adapt itself to the world's new developments. Should we consider that multilateralism is at the core of the UN mandate, the Organization should be considered as an intergovernmental body which is owned and run by its whole membership, well symbolized at the General Assembly. Moreover, we believe that the General Assembly, as the main deliberative and representative organ of the United Nations, should be able to more vigorously exercise its mandate in addressing issues relevant to the maintenance of international peace and security. We share the concerns expressed by many, over the tendency to increase the powers of the Security Council to the detriment of the functions and powers of the General Assembly. General Assembly also has an established role in maintaining international peace and security under the Charter. At the same time, this view is shared by many Members that a true more representative Security Council should be considered as an important part of any UN reform initiative.
Given the incomplete reform process of the Organization, no self-esteemed approach in this regard should be tolerated. The reform should be conducted in line with three core principles, namely, inclusiveness, transparency and effectiveness which are interlinked and play an essential role in realizing a genuine Member States'-led reform, and refrain from promoting one at the expense of the others.
3. It is now more than a year that we are following, with interest, the developments in many regions, especially the Middle East and North Africa, and listen carefully to the genuine message of peoples in those regions, who crave for freedom, human dignity and justice. The lesson we draw from these developments is that no power could ignore the legitimate demands of peoples and what they aspire to. With this experience in mind, we now believe more than ever that dialogue as well as respect for fundamental human rights and meeting basic needs of peoples is the only way to overcome the challenges resulting from autocratic rules.
In the meantime, the ramifications of these popular uprisings and related political developments are being felt across the Middle East region and beyond with evident impact on the regional and international relations. Hence, the need for a home-grown, locally-owned and all-inclusive political process in each country concerned, based on a case-by-case procedure, must be realized in order to allow the genuine and independent political forces to engage in comprehensive dialogue towards achieving the goals of national reconciliation and development in a safe and sound environment free of foreign intimidation and manipulation. Foreign intervention in the wave of unrests that sweeps our region is unacceptable and would hinder the genuine and inborn democratic processes in concerned countries and the inalienable right to self-determination of their respective nations.
4. The tragedy of Palestine, as a major source of anger and desperation that is felt throughout the Muslim world, lies at the heart of the Middle East conflict. We along with the major part of the international community including Non-Aligned Movement Member States, have been proponents of a fair and just policy regarding Palestine based on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and to defy illegitimate occupying power. The Zionist regime's criminal acts against the Palestinians and other peoples in the region are the gravest threat currently posed to regional as well as international peace and security. Peace in the Middle East cannot be achieved through promotion of a discriminatory policy of blindfold support for the Israeli regime's state terrorism, occupation, torture, annihilation, intimidation and aggression. It is evident that durable peace in Palestine and the Middle East will only be possible through justice, end to discrimination, end to occupation of Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese territories, the return of all Palestinian refugees, and creation of a democratic mechanism through which all inhabitants of Palestine, as well as Palestinians driven out of their homeland would have the possibility to determine their future in a democratic and peaceful fashion.
5. Many of us are victims to nefarious terrorist acts. While holding strong view on the need to robustly combat terrorism, we stress that this approach requires comprehensive and fair international cooperation, the avoidance of the selectivity, and addressing the root causes of terrorism that are mainly bi-products of wrongdoings of the Western colonial and superpowers. In our view, the Zionist regime is one of the sources of terrorism, and the US Government's attempts in exploiting the 9/11 terrorist incident has brought further insecurity to the Middle East, and created new ground and justification to further hegemonic goals on the US part in the name of combating terrorism. We have always endeavored to play a constructive and effective role as a responsible member of the international community, especially NAM. It is the high time to take effective steps to put an end to all aspects and forms of terrorism, including state terrorism that is insincerely promoted and supported by some Western powers. The recent instance of which is the assassination of the oppressed nuclear energy scientists of my country. We hope a world without terrorism.
6. We are intensively looking forward to the implementation of Article VI of the NPT on the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Therefore, nothing should deflect our attention from the major threats to humanity from strategic and tactical nuclear forces and their continued modernization as well as new military doctrines setting rationales for their possible use, particularly against non-nuclear weapon states. We believe that the timeline for the total elimination of nuclear weapons by 2025, proposed by the NAM, could only be fulfilled if we, as the NAM, remain steadfast in following it up with determination. Persistent refusal of the Zionist regime to join the NPT continues to be the major impediment in the way of the universal application of the NPT. At the regional level and for the same reason, the nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East, proposed by Iran in 1974, is far from being implemented. We are of the firm conviction that every effort should be made in order to force the Zionist regime to meet and satisfy the requirements for achieving this objective.
Concerning Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, we, confident of the peaceful nature of our nuclear program, have always insisted on cooperation and interaction. When it comes to our relevant rights and obligations, our consistent position is that Iran does not seek confrontation, nor does it want anything beyond its inalienable legitimate rights. What we are looking for, is justice and the refusal of any resort to double standard approach in the IAEA and other relevant UN organs.
7. NAM has to deal with extraterritorial imposition of internal laws and coercive financial and economic measures, including unilateral economic sanctions, adopted by certain States against its Members. NAM has always and unequivocally opposed such approach and condemned them as violation of the UN Charter and contravention of international law and also a severe blow to freedom of trade and investment.
8. Human rights reflect the highest aspirations of humanity and should not fall within the monopoly of certain States, some of them with the most abhorrent record on all kinds of violation of human rights and humanitarian law in our contemporary and current history. Human rights also should not become subject to selectivity, politicization and application of double standards. Any abuse of the UN human rights mechanisms for unjust political expediencies reduces this highly valued concept into a small and cheap tool of foreign policy implementation for certain States.
There is no doubt that any effort to the abuse of human rights will be counter-productive, and will eventually backfire against the abuser. We fully concur that all human rights, in particular the right to development, are inalienable, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and that human rights issues must be addressed within the global context through a constructive, non-confrontational, non-politicized and non-selective dialogue-based approach, in a fair and equal manner, with objectivity, respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of States, impartiality, non-selectivity and transparency as the guiding principles, taking into account the political, historical, social, religious and cultural particularities of each country.
Now, let me turn to the proposed theme for the Summit, namely ‘Lasting Peace through Joint Global Governance’. The twin issues of development and peace have been the central objectives of our movement from its foundation and remain its principal challenges. Peace and development are mutually reinforcing, and one without another leads to nowhere. At our time and due to increasing interdependence, we believe that policy setting at the global level to deal with common challenges, which threaten all peoples across the globe, is an increasingly important development issue at which developing countries have a huge stake. Policy coordination and cooperation at the international level on issues of common interest and concern, sometimes referred to as global governance, have been on the agenda of the international community in the past several years, and the United Nations is paying increasing attention to this issue.
Global governance, however, is much broader in scope and encompasses many other issues of global interest and concerns than merely economic issues. Apart from economic challenges, we are also facing challenges in security, social and environmental fields. International peace and security still continue to be high on the priority scale of many countries. The current international decision-making architecture in the fields of peace and security is much more outdated than global economic decision-making structure and much more resistant to any change, thus failing to address the current global challenges.
Domestic and cross-border conflicts, environmental hazards, economic crises, contagious diseases, transnational crimes, immigration and the like could not be confined within national borders, thus warranting resolute actions at the global level. Therefore, the world we live in requires efficient global cooperation of all members of the international community based on justice and equality, to deal effectively with the major issues and challenges humankind faces. Thus, we need a fair, transparent and effective system of global governance to address present challenges and risks stemming from international economic undertakings, global security threats, environmental hazards, climate change, migration, contagious diseases and so on. For setting up such a system, we, as Member States of the NAM, should coordinate our positions and join force in pressing on our interests.
Last but not least, no Government could claim perfection. Nonetheless, we believe that the old worn-out policies of defamation and intimidation are not only unfair and unjustified, but also will undermine the international cooperation for realizing the objectives enshrined in the UN Charter. Surely, those behind these kinds of policies shall soon come to know that these moves are doomed to fail. Adherence to this reality requires a holistic and collective approach for the realization of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations based on peaceful and friendly relations, mutual respect, common interests and equality of all Members of the Organization.
To conclude, let me reiterate that the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are wholeheartedly prepared to assume the responsibility entrusted upon them by the NAM Members, and make any effort to further the noble principles and purposes of the Movement with a view to promote its role and position in the world affairs. In doing so, full support and participation of all Member States could greatly help our Movement to move forward to achieving its goals and objectives.