Ambassador and Chargé d’affaires ad interim of the Permanent Mission of Iran to the UN firmly rejected unsubstantiated allegations made by the US and UK against Iran regarding Mercer Street vessel incident.
In her statement addressing the United Nations Security Council on “Maintenance of international peace and security: Enhancing Maritime Security: A case for international cooperation”, Zahra Ershadi said that “Regarding the politically motivated statements made by the United States and the United Kingdom in this meeting against Iran concerning the Mercer Street vessel incident, I reiterate, once again, our firm rejection of these unsubstantiated allegations.”
“According to the World Bank Group, over 80% of international trade are transported by sea and the volume of seaborn trade is expected to double by 2030 and quadruple by 2050,” she added.
“These figures alone prove the importance of oceans and seas in the global economy and confirm the vital importance of, and the need for, the perseveration of maritime security as a global common good,” she noted.
“Enjoying the longest coasts in such strategically important waterways as the Persian Gulf, the Oman Sea and the Hurmuz Strait, as well as high maritime shipping capacity, and also as an important oil and gas producing country, the Islamic Republic of Iran is highly interested in, and attaches great importance to, maritime security,” Iranian diplomat said.
“Maritime security is key in ensuring freedom of navigation, facilitating international communication, promoting peaceful uses of the seas and oceans and their resources, the conservation of their living resources, and the preservation of the marine environment, as well as promoting the economic and social advancement of all peoples and strengthening of peace, security, cooperation and friendly relations among all nations,” she said.
“As a basic principle, the primary responsibility for ensuring maritime security, including by effectively combating maritime crimes notably piracy and armed robbery at sea, rests with individual States consistent with their relevant obligations under international law,” she added.
“When needed, efforts to counter maritime crimes may be complemented, at the regional level, by cooperation and partnership of States of the region concerned, and at the high seas, through international cooperation,” Ershadi said.
“Nevertheless, all such activities must be conducted in full conformity with the basic principles of international law, particularly full respect for the sovereignty of States and refraining from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of States,” she added.
“While there are a comprehensive set of statutory regulations as well as a considerable capacity in combating maritime crimes, the imposition of Unilateral Coercive Measures – which is contrary to international law and the United Nations Charter — has hampered our access to new technologies and equipment commensurate with the new trends and the level of advancement of criminal activities,” she stated.
“Despite that, and fully committed to its relevant international obligations, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued to significantly contribute to the promotion of maritime security, inter alia by combating maritime crimes in particular piracy,” the diplomat said.
“It has been now for well over a decade that the naval forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are deployed in the Indian Ocean and the adjacent areas in support of international efforts in combatting piracy therein,” she added.
“This has repeatedly been acknowledged by the United Nations Secretary-General in his relevant reports and commended by the Security Council in its numerous resolutions,” Ershadi noted.
“Likewise, the sixth meeting of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) – comprising of 24 Member States and seeking to enhance maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral States of the Indian Ocean — was held from 22 to 25 April 2018 in Tehran,” she said.
“During its chairmanship of IONS and its working group on maritime security between 2018 to 2021, our Navy prepared the draft of IONS maritime security guidelines and in June and November 2019 held two planning conferences in Bandar Abbas for the preparation of IONS 2020 maritime exercise,” she added.
“Additionally, according to a decision of the seventh meeting of the IONS in July 2021, a regional maritime security center will be launched in Iran’s Chabahar Port for the Indian Ocean rim countries, enabling the regional States to dispatch their representatives to the center and exchange information aimed at ensuring maritime security,” Ershadi said.
“Regarding the politically motivated statements made by the United States and the United Kingdom in this meeting against Iran concerning the Mercer Street vessel incident, I reiterate, once again, our firm rejection of these unsubstantiated allegations,” she added.
“The massive presence of military forces of these countries including in the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea has always been the main source of regional insecurity and instability, and fabrications and false flag operations, including by Israel, have been used to justify such unwarranted presence or to invade regional countries,” she noted.
“Very recently, one of the senior military sources of these countries has said: “Everything points to the drone being launched from Yemen”, and afterwards their special forces dispatched to Yemen to apparently “hunt down terrorists behind the drone attack”.
Everything is quite telling and clear. This also proves that these countries have not learned from their failures in the aggression against the Yemeni people.
“All such allegations are the repetition of fabrications pumped to media by the Israeli regime immediately after that incident,” Ershadi said.
“There is no irrefutable, verifiable and conclusive evidence to substantiate these grave accusations,” she said, adding: “What they try to portray as definite hard evidence are nothing but certain photos which prove nothing.”
“Such accusations can in no way whitewash the terrorist acts of the Israeli regime against commercial navigation. Only in less than two years, this regime has attacked over 10 commercial vessels carrying either oil or humanitarian goods in regional seas.”
“Similarly, Israel’s hue and cry on the Mercer Street incident cannot deflect attentions from other destabilizing activities and adventurism of the Israeli regime in the region.”
“In addition to its policy of deception and fabrication, it is an open secret that Israel is the master in conducting false flag operations,” Iranian diplomat said.
“Rather than playing victim and demonizing others, the Israeli regime must immediately stop all its irresponsible policies, aggressions and crimes as well as unlawful and inhumane practices, which have long been the main source of threat, instability and insecurity in such a volatile region as the Middle East and beyond.”
“Moreover, the Security Council must live up to its charter-mandated responsibilities, put an end to its longstanding inaction and procrastination with respect to the systematic violation of international law by the Israeli regime and its criminal and destabilizing activities, and hold that regime accountable for all its unlawful practices that include committing four core international crimes.”
“The Council must also remain fully vigilant and avoid being trapped by the fabrications of the Israeli regime – which, as usual, are blindly supported by certain Western countries in the Council; those who have prevented the Council in the past seven decades from taking any action against the criminal acts of the Israeli regime, emboldening it to commit, with total impunity, more crimes with more brutality.”
“In conclusion, I reiterate the principled policy and resolute determination of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as in the past, in maintaining and promoting maritime security in the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Hurmuz Strait and the Oman Sea as well as contributing to maritime security, ensuring freedom of navigation and combatting maritime crimes including piracy in the Indian Ocean and the adjacent areas.”
“We also stand ready to actively and constructively cooperate with the littoral States of the aforementioned areas to promote regional peace and security.”