I wish to begin my statement with words of former Prime Minister of Iran Mosaddegh used in this Security Council 59 years ago.
“The Security Council was established so that large and small nations alike might sit around the same table and cooperate for the maintenance of peace in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations. The Council cannot perform its great task … unless big powers respect the principles which it was created to embody.”
Two years later, he was overthrown in a CIA coup.
If this Council falters again, it will be a generational setback for the cause of multilateralism and the rule of law.
We have all in past years seen how malign US unilateralism has intently assaulted international cooperation and international institutions. Through its parallel endeavor to supplant international law with US domestic laws, this has directly undermined global peace and security.
Regrettably, complacency has enabled and encouraged this recklessness.
Indeed, complacency is a root cause for why we are gathered here today.
Iran and other members of the international community have, since the 8th of May 2018, been witnessing the US Government—a co-sponsor of Security Council Resolution 2231—persistently flouting the Resolution, while also trying to force other States to join it in violating the very text it put forward itself.
More dangerously, and for the first time in UN history, a permanent member of the Security Council is punishing law-abiding States and private citizens for not violating a Council resolution, which emphasized, and I quote, “promoting and facilitating the development of normal economic and trade contacts and cooperation with Iran.”
And yet, not a single Council session has been convened to reprove the US Government, or to at least investigate its repeated violations. Instead, some European members of the Council are contemplating further undermining the Resolution and the Council while further reneging on their own JCPOA commitments.
To cover this up, the US has with some of its enablers pressured the Secretariat to adopt a perverse reading of Resolution 2231— rejected by three JCPOA Participants, which is the polar opposite of the clear affirmation by the Security Council “that conclusion of the JCPOA marks a fundamental shift in its consideration of this issue.
The international community in general — and the UN Security Council in particular — are facing an important decision: Do we maintain respect for the rule of law, or do we return to the law of the jungle by surrendering to the whims of an outlaw bully?
The unlawful US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and the re-imposition of its sanctions entail the US responsibility under the UNSCR 2231, UN Charter and applicable international law. The United States has also disregarded the decision of the International Court of Justice.
It’s long overdue for the international community, and in particular this Council, to hold US Government accountable for the consequences of its wrongful acts —including its malicious endeavours to wage economic terrorism on the entire Iranian nation, wilfully deprive them of food and medicine, and irreparably harm their economy and their standard of living. The United States must fully compensate the Iranian people for all damages it has inflicted upon them — appallingly, for no reason other than to satisfy domestic constituencies and personal aggrandisement.
While the Islamic Republic of Iran has shown — in words and deeds — our desire and preference for constructive engagement, we do not depend on others for our security, stability or prosperity. We have learned to solely depend on ourselves. That is why more than 40 years of US pressure—whether through demonisation or war, sanctions or terror—including the cowardly assassination of our region’s counter-terrorism hero, General Qassem Soleimani—has failed to “bring Iranians to their knees” or affect our people’s decision-making calculus.
For my final words, let me again borrow from former Iran Prime Minister Mossadegh’s speech before the Security Council in 1951: “The Council will not have failed to note the cogency of our arguments to the law. Yet, this is not a legal body, but primarily a political body charged with the highest political responsibilities. It will readily understand therefore, that we will not be coerced whether by foreign governments or by international authorities.”
Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Iran Foreign Minister