No Afghan group can resort to violence to dominate others: Iran UN envoy

A top Iranian diplomat says no group in Afghanistan is entitled to use force and violence for dominating others.

“In such a diverse society as Afghanistan, no group or groups, however powerful militarily, can resort to force and violence to dominate others, and that the establishment of a legitimate government is possible only through a comprehensive political process and democratic means,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, told a Tuesday session of the United Nations Security Council on “Situation in Afghanistan”.

Here is the Iranian envoy’s full statement as published by the press service of the Iranian mission to the United Nations:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

Mr. President,

With the complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan on the horizon, this country is at a crossroad. It can go in the direction of reconciliation when all sides agree to engage in dialogue and bring an end to decades of bloodshed or it can embrace more violence when one side uses its military might to force the other side to accept the terms of peace. The international community must not allow the latter to happen as it will not be a genuine peace and as a result will not sustain.

Indeed, a safer, more stable and prosperous Afghanistan, in peace with itself and its neighbors, is in the interest of all Afghans, the region and the world. Conversely, an insecure and unstable Afghanistan, which is a source of violent extremism, terrorism and organized crime, including production of and trafficking in drugs, poses a threat to Afghans themselves as well as to regional and international peace and security.

Therefore, confronting such threats and building a more secure and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of all, and indeed, the current phase is a common opportunity for everyone to work seriously to achieve these common goals.

This inevitably must start with an all-inclusive Afghan-lead, Afghan-owned, Afghan-controlled and UN-facilitated peace process, guided by this fundamental principle that the path to a lasting peace, first and foremost, passes through a genuine internal dialogue with the broad participation of all Afghans from all political, ethnicities and religious groups, including the Taliban, based on cooperation, understanding, compromise and reconciliation.

In other words, in such a diverse society as Afghanistan, no group or groups, however powerful militarily, can resort to force and violence to dominate others, and that the establishment of a legitimate government is possible only through a comprehensive political process and democratic means.

With the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s unwarranted justification to resort to force will be completely removed. Therefore, it must stop the violence; demonstrate its willingness to use the force of logic instead of logic of force to interact with its compatriots; and seize this unprecedented opportunity to contribute sincerely to establishing a durable peace in the country through political means, as peace and violence are mutually exclusive and cannot go hand in hand.

While we have witnessed many lost opportunities for peace in the past years, it is obvious that a possible new wave of violence and fratricide in Afghanistan will only lead to a new cycle of insecurity and instability, something that this country, the region and the world cannot afford.

At this critical juncture, the voice and demand of Afghans from all walks of life for a durable peace must be heard and effectively supported. They must not be left alone.

Indeed, a safer, more stable and prosperous Afghanistan, in peace with itself and its neighbors, is in the interest of all Afghans, the region and the world. Conversely, an insecure and unstable Afghanistan, which is a source of violent extremism, terrorism and organized crime, including production of and trafficking in drugs, poses a threat to Afghans themselves as well as to regional and international peace and security.

Therefore, confronting such threats and building a more secure and prosperous Afghanistan is in the interest of all, and indeed, the current phase is a common opportunity for everyone to work seriously to achieve these common goals.

This inevitably must start with an all-inclusive Afghan-lead, Afghan-owned, Afghan-controlled and UN-facilitated peace process, guided by this fundamental principle that the path to a lasting peace, first and foremost, passes through a genuine internal dialogue with the broad participation of all Afghans from all political, ethnicities and religious groups, including the Taliban, based on cooperation, understanding, compromise and reconciliation.

In other words, in such a diverse society as Afghanistan, no group or groups, however powerful militarily, can resort to force and violence to dominate others, and that the establishment of a legitimate government is possible only through a comprehensive political process and democratic means.

With the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the Taliban’s unwarranted justification to resort to force will be completely removed. Therefore, it must stop the violence; demonstrate its willingness to use the force of logic instead of logic of force to interact with its compatriots; and seize this unprecedented opportunity to contribute sincerely to establishing a durable peace in the country through political means, as peace and violence are mutually exclusive and cannot go hand in hand.

While we have witnessed many lost opportunities for peace in the past years, it is obvious that a possible new wave of violence and fratricide in Afghanistan will only lead to a new cycle of insecurity and instability, something that this country, the region and the world cannot afford.

At this critical juncture, the voice and demand of Afghans from all walks of life for a durable peace must be heard and effectively supported. They must not be left alone.

Preserving the past achievements of the people and Government of Afghanistan, including the Constitution, the rights of ethnic and religious minorities and women, the right to self-determination of people through elections, governance system and structures derived from the Constitution, as well as the commitment to combat terrorism, must be one of the main elements of any peace process.

To succeed, any peace process and subsequent steps must enjoy the strong support of all Afghans. It has now become clear that any peace process in Afghanistan that is guided and directed by only one actor, however powerful, and in the absence of active involvement of major players including from the region, and more importantly, with the least engagement of the United Nations, would not yield result.

The significant position and high capacity of the United Nations in organizing and facilitating the peace process in Afghanistan and also supporting and ensuring the full and effective implementation of any future peace agreement is irreplaceable and enjoys our full support. Iran continues to call for the central role, and further and substantive engagement, of the United Nations in an intra-Afghan peace process.

Afghanistan’s security situation has remained a source of serious concern. The growing number of deadly terrorist acts by Daesh in Afghanistan, targeting certain religious and ethnic minorities as well as women and girls, which we condemn in the strongest possible terms, show the severity of its threat to Afghanistan and the region.

Such attacks indicate the vulnerability of ethnic and religious minorities and women in Afghanistan and the dire need for effective preservation of their rights. Such terrorist attacks also underline the need for continued efforts in combating terrorism in that country.

Prior and simultaneous to the withdrawal of foreign forces, Afghanistan’s military and security forces must be supported and strengthened and effective assistance must be extended to Afghanistan in combating the illicit production of and trafficking in narcotic drugs; a source of financing terrorism and other crimes.

While pursuing a durable peace must remain a top priority, the international community must not lose sight of the dire need for economic development of Afghanistan, which is also an important pillar of sustaining peace.

The Islamic Republic of Iran once again calls on all parties in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, to place the interests of all people of Afghanistan above the other interests.

By hosting millions of Afghan refugees and establishing the link of this land-locked country to high seas through Iran’s Chabahar Port and to Europe through the Khaf-Herat railway, Iran has stood with the people and Government of Afghanistan in their quest for a safer and more stable, democratic and prosperous country. We stand ready to further contribute to Afghanistan’s prosperity, peace and stability.