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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Statement by
H. E. Mr. Danesh-Yazdi
Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires of
the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran
To the United Nations
before
the Security Council
on the draft resolution on Non-Proliferation

New York- April 22, 2004
........................................

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

Mr. President;

I thank you for convening this meeting on an issue which is of utmost importance for the international community. The attention paid to the draft resolution, which proposes to bar the acquisition of WMD by non-state actors, over the past few weeks indicates clearly that the stake is so high for so many States. We consider this debate to be an opportunity for the UN general membership to present its view-points on this draft resolution that, if adopted, would have far-reaching legal and political implications.

While associating my delegation with the views of the Non-Aligned Movement expressed earlier by the distinguished Ambassador of Malaysia, I may summarize the views of my Government on the draft resolution at hand as follows:

1- The proliferation of WMD is a serious threat, and the prospect of non-state actors acquiring such weapons is all the more threatening the whole international community. Thus, we wholeheartedly support all efforts aimed at dealing with this potential menace, which are undertaken within the parameters of international law.
2- The UN, as the sole universal body, has an important role in addressing this serious threat. The growing risk of linkage between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction prompted the General Assembly to recognize the threat and accordingly “call upon all Member States to support international efforts to prevent terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery” (Resolution 57/83). The present initiative of the Security Council should be, therefore, considered to be a step along the same line. We understand that the Council, in taking this initiative, intends to fill the gap in the regime of non-proliferation through a binding resolution. However, a number of serious and valid questions arises as to whether the content of the resolution fairly and adequately addresses the issue at hand. And whether the present action of the Council is consistent with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter. And how the existing gap- that indeed should be dealt with- can be filled, while the resolution overlooks the universality of the international instruments on WMD and omits to require the non-party states to the NBC-weapon treaty regimes to adhere to these important treaties.
3- The UN Charter entrusts the Security Council with a huge responsibility to maintain international peace and security, but it has not conferred authority on the Council to act as a global legislature imposing obligations upon states in a non-participatory fashion. The draft resolution, in its present form, is a clear manifestation of the Council’s departure from its Charter-based mandate. We believe that the Council's success to secure an environment of non-proliferation greatly depends on its own practice to inspire the states' sincere cooperation. This open meeting of the Council is an opportunity for the co-sponsors of the draft resolution to take on board the views and concerns of other States in order to foster an international cooperation for a collective and meaningful action against terrorism and proliferation.
4- A major deficiency in the proposed resolution is its silence on the imperative of disarmament and its failure to acknowledge the linkage between non-proliferation and disarmament. The cosmetic and rhetoric reference to disarmament in the preamble of the draft resolution cannot and should not be interpreted as substantive provisions, addressing the important issue of disarmament. This negligence is plainly in contrast to the General Assembly resolution that calls for the urgent progress in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation in order to help to maintain international peace and security and to contribute to global efforts against terrorism (Resolution 58/48). The resolution, by ignoring the question of disarmament, not only undermines its significance and thrust to fight potential threat of terrorism armed with WMD, but also weakens its effective implementation.
5- As has been recognized in the international instruments on WMD, prevention of these weapons should not hamper international cooperation in materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes. To our regret, this key provision has not been incorporated in the operative part of the draft resolution. We believe that a fair and balanced resolution cannot and should not fail to acknowledge this inalienable right of a large number of member states, while obliging them to shoulder heavy responsibilities and complex commitments.
6- The proposed resolution contains certain concepts and definitions that are either inadequately elaborated or inconsistent with the terms and definitions embodied in the international instruments on NBC weapons. A clear example of this deficiency is the definition given for the means of delivery which has ignored to refer to the fighters capable of delivering NBC weapons. This can be rectified in the final draft of the resolution.
7- The enforcement clauses of the resolution, in our view, are subject to different interpretation. Monitoring mechanism also needs to be more elaborated and clarified. Hence, language should be included in the text that would in effect remove ambiguity, suspicion and misinterpretation of these vital provisions. The present state of international affairs is alarmingly teaching us this crucial lesson that the follow-up on and monitoring of the resolution should not be left to the discretionary interpretation of individual states. We need a common and sound understanding on the part of all states to implement the resolution faithfully irrespective of their status vis-à-vis international treaties on WMD. Evidently, if the proposed resolution were not of mandatory nature, this concern would be easy to address.
8- No reference is made in the draft to the initiatives on zones free from WMD, which are of great importance for many regions. We believe that this issue and, particularly, the need to establish the Middle East as a zone free from WMD should be incorporated in the draft.
9- Last but not least is the question of urgency. The draft resolution seems to be acted upon in near future. This would satisfy the local constituency of certain states. However, we share the view of those who believe that the resolution must not be fast tracked. The issues covered by the resolution are extremely important and highly controversial. Comprehensive consultations between co-sponsors and interested states not only are desirable but also are an imperative. Let's not miss this solemn opportunity. Let's not substitute it with a hasty and inconclusive process

Thank you Mr. President.

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