Iran stresses total elimination of nukes

Tehran, April 11, IRNA – Iran’s deputy representative to the UN in a discussion session on disarmament said, the total elimination of nuclear weapons is the highest priority on the international security agenda.

Addressing the 2015 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission in New York, Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said the world is facing a ‘deep crisis of confidence’ because the nuclear weapon states are not observing their duties stipulated by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

Full text of the Iranian envoy’s statement follows:

Statement by H.E. Mr. G. Hossein Dehqani

Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative

of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

Before the 2015 Substantive Session of the United Nations Disarmament Commission

New York, April 9, 2015

In the name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, I would like to congratulate you for your election to the Chairmanship of this important forum in the United Nations Disarmament machinery and I wish you success in discharging this responsibility. I also pledge my delegation’s active and constructive engagement in the work of the Commission. Allow me also to congratulate Ambassador Kairat Abdrakhmanov, and Mr. Bouchaib El Oumni for their well-deserved election as the Chairpersons of the two Working Groups.

My delegation associates itself with the statement made by the distinguished representative of Indonesia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Mr. Chairman,

We are pleased that the Commission has commenced the first year of its new cycle with an agreed substantive agenda which includes one item on nuclear disarmament. The total elimination of nuclear weapons is definitely the highest priority in the disarmament and international security agenda. We hope that our deliberations in the Commission contribute to the upholding and strengthening of norms, principles, obligations and commitments relating to the nuclear disarmament as established by the Final Document of the first Special Session of the General Assembly Devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-I), the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the outcome documents of its Review Conferences.

We are approaching the convening of the 2015 Review Conference of the NPT, an international instrument which forms the foundation of the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. The NPT has succeeded in constraining the spread of the nuclear weapons. This remarkable accomplishment has been made possible because non-nuclear weapon States have kept their end of the bargain.

However, we are facing a deep crisis of confidence in the credibility of the bargain which forms the basis of the NPT because the nuclear weapon States are not honoring their part of the contract. There is a complete lack of progress in fulfilling the nuclear disarmament obligations under Article VI of the NPT. Words and promises are not translated into concrete and effective actions.

If the NPT is to endure, it is necessary that the nuclear weapon States prove that they are serious about their nuclear disarmament commitments. Now it is the time to do so not when it is too late. Nuclear-weapon States should immediately take effective measures to restore confidence towards their commitment to nuclear disarmament. The mere reaffirmation by the nuclear-weapon States of their commitment to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons is welcome but not at all enough and does not equate to compliance with their nuclear disarmament obligations under the NPT. To comply with nuclear disarmament obligations, nuclear weapons States need to make genuine and systematic progress in the verified reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles.

There is currently no promising indication that nuclear weapon States are contemplating the total elimination of their nuclear weapons even in the long term. In fact, large budgets are being devoted to modernization programs that demonstrate the determination of nuclear weapon States to secure perpetual possession of their nuclear arsenals. This trend provides a better understanding why major nuclear weapon States have undertaken some limited actions to reduce the size of certain elements of their nuclear arsenals, that being simply to create space and economic justification for the continuation of their modernizations plans. Nuclear weapon States seem to believe that they have secured the indefinite extension of the NPT and they no longer need to bother to convince the non-nuclear weapon States. Such a calculation undermines the viability of the NPT.

Nuclear-weapon States should comply with their legal obligations under Article VI of the NPT and their unequivocal commitments agreed to at the NPT Review Conferences. Non-compliance with nuclear disarmament obligations, if not stopped, would gradually erode trust in the NPT. Compliance with treaties and commitments in the field of disarmament should not be subject to the creation or emergence of self-defined conditions.

The Commission in its deliberations of the ways and means to achieve nuclear disarmament needs to consider the effectiveness and consequences of the current step-by-step approach that has been pursued so far. Nuclear weapons States relentlessly insist on a gradual and incremental approach to nuclear disarmament without putting forward any specified timeframe or target date for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. The results of a piecemeal approach to nuclear disarmament have been disappointing and have brought us to the unfortunate circumstances of today. Thousands of nuclear weapons still exist and there is no clear prospects for their elimination within a specified timeframe.

As a non-nuclear weapon States, we believe it is neither in the interest of the NPT nor is it realistic to pin our hope on an incremental approach. It has failed to bring about the promised results. Now it is time for change. It is time to agree to start multilateral negotiations with the participation of all nuclear weapon States and non-nuclear weapon States on a comprehensive convention to achieve nuclear disarmament within a specified timeframe.

We believe the most effective and practical way to achieve and sustain the abolition of nuclear weapons is to negotiate a comprehensive, binding, irreversible, verifiable nuclear weapon convention. To date, all achievements in eliminating whole categories of biological and chemical weapons have been made possible through such a comprehensive approach. At the UNGA high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament which was held in 2013, the Non-Aligned Movement’s proposal to commence negotiation on a comprehensive nuclear weapon convention in the Conference on Disarmament gained wide support.

The lack of resolve on the part of nuclear weapon States to systematically and progressively move towards the goal of the total elimination of nuclear weapons has impeded meaningful activity within the disarmament machinery with regard to nuclear disarmament. The Conference on Disarmament has not been able to conduct its negotiating mandate for the past eighteen years, because some nuclear weapon States blocked the adoption of a balanced program of work involving the commencement of negotiations on nuclear disarmament. We call on them to adopt a balanced and constructive approach.

Mr. Chairman,

The establishment of a zone free from nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East has been an important objective and priority for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The dangerous and violent nature and policies of the Israeli regime is well-known to all. Aggression, occupation and the committing of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity are integral characteristics of this regime which is also armed with nuclear weapons. The existence of nuclear weapons in the hands of the Israeli regime has foiled all international and regional efforts for the establishment of Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and continues to pose a serious threat to the security of NPT States parties in the Middle East. The refusal of Israel to abandon its nuclear weapons and accept the NPT has increased the potential for proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and has resulted in the non-accession of some states to international instruments prohibiting weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, the prospect for the establishment of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East will be enhanced when certain nuclear weapon States abandon their unconstructive policy of exempting Israel from adhering to the NPT.

Mr. Chairman,

Where there is a will, there is a way to overcome the challenges and move towards the established goals and priorities of the international community in the field of disarmament. We hope that our deliberations in this Commission will contribute to the upholding of internationally agreed norms and principles and to the advancement of our common objectives.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

By IRNA