Dr. Kharrazi's Speech Before the U.N. General Assembly

September 22, 1997

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

Introduction: The Collapse of Bi-Polar Approach

Our world is a constellation of interdependent human units. As a result of the ever-expanding international communications, our interdependence has been increasing on a steady basis; a reiteration of the concept of "global village". These human units or countries have become closely interconnected within regions, while simultaneously, regions draw closer to each other -- an imperative of the on-going trend of globalization.

In the aftermath of the collapse of the bi-polar world, a new order characterized by multiple powers has emerged. The world is no longer monopolized by two super-powers; rather it is rendered propitious for the presence and participation of a multitude of powers. The new world provides a historic opportunity for various powers to engage in collective cooperation towards common objectives, based on human solidarity, active, equitable and transparent participation.

1. The Doctrine of Global Civil Society

At the threshold of the third millennium and under the circumstances of unfolding interplay among not one or two but various powers in the shaping of new global decisions, international relations need a new doctrine, commensurate with the evolving conditions and emerging needs. The new doctrine, drawing upon historical hindsight and relying on reason and objectivity, should shape a new order in international relations.

The main objective of this doctrine is the gradual realization of a "global civil society"; a society where liberty and salvation harmoniously coincide to meet the spiritual and material needs of humanity in an institutionalized manner; and where comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development lies at the foundation of universal cooperation and participation.

1.1. The Foundations of Global Civil Society

The doctrine of "global civil society" is predicated on two major principles:

1.1.1. Institutionalization of the Rule of Law in Domestic and International Relations

The most significant foundation and feature of civil society is the rule of law, which prevents despotism and anarchy at the domestic level and hegemony and war at the international level. Rule of law constitutes the only proper setting for the participation of all individuals and nations in shaping their own destiny and building a better and more prosperous tomorrow for their national societies and the global community.

The international community today, like its constituent member-states, simply cannot provide a peaceful and prosperous life for the people through coercion, autocratic decisions and culture of domination and hegemony. Therefore, the rule of law, as the very foundation of order and the relations among individuals and states, should be institutionalized.

Undoubtedly, for the rule of law to be institutionalized in international relations, it is imperative to commit ourselves collectively to the scrupulous and non-discriminatory implementation of the existing body of international law, coupled with its progressive reform and development through equitable universal participation and with due consideration for the values of all constituent units of the global community in its entirety. This would not only serve making the law truly universal and globally acceptable, but it would indeed facilitate its implementation.

1.1.2. Empowerment and Participation

General participation coupled with the requisite empowerment constitute the undeniable foundation for the realization and stability of civil society. Similar to the process of participation at the national level -- where all individuals, regardless of color, race, opinion, wealth or social status have an inalienable right to determine their own destiny, countries and regions with differing cultures and resources should enjoy the right and be empowered to participate at all stages of decision-making and policy implementation at the global scale.

Today, North and South constitute two complimentary domains in a single global arena. The South, with its historical depth, rich cultural heritage, and abundant natural and human resources, has in its totality played a great and pivotal role in the development of human civilization. At the beginning of the third millennium, the South's active participation in and meaningful contribution to the process of formation of the emerging pluralistic world is of paramount importance. Equilibrium and stability of the future world order depends, in large measure, on the South's contribution to the shaping of the norms governing future international relations.

Yet, the share of the South in the existing world equations, notwithstanding its sheer size and varied merits, is neither fair nor proportionate. During the final years of the second millennium, the South is still suffering from injustice, discrimination and double standards. This unjust situation needs to be rectified and the countries of the South, individually as well as collectively, should actively assert a more equitable share and a more secure standing in the global order. The realization of this lofty objective requires assertive initiatives and measures at two levels: at national and regional settings within the South to ensure effective presence and involvement, and simultaneously at the international level to provide the necessary milieu and conditions for such a participation.

The effective presence and participation by the South in the global system necessitates the promotion of a culture of self-confidence within the South as the corner-stone of comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development at the national level, coupled with the drive towards conflict resolution and confidence building among the countries of the South. Undoubtedly, promotion and institutionalization of a culture of cooperation and establishment of mechanisms to enhance the existing level of cooperation in various fields among the countries of the South would facilitate effective and constructive international participation. The governments and the political elite of the South should not be found failing in this daunting task ahead of us all.

And at the international level, the world community should generate resolute political will to ensure in practice respect for the plurality of differing views and values in political, social and cultural dimensions, and simultaneously withstand the institutionalization of the dangerous trend of unilateralism -- as the embodiment of a new form of international despotism.

1.2. Norms of Conduct in Global Civil Society

In our view, we can move towards the gradual realization of a global civil society through institutionalization of the rule of law and universal participation as well as collective observance of the following norms in our interactions:

1.2.1 Pluralism and Acceptance of Variety

The world community, quite like its constituent national societies, is composed of varieties and pluralities. In fact, it is the mosaic of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, traditions and values that have given rise to culture and civilization. All along history, this variety and plurality has been the very source of inspiration and innovation and the blossoming of human creativity -- whether individual or collective -- in various societies, thus contributing to the advancement and enrichment of humanity. Progress towards a truly pluralistic world community is only possible through genuine respect for freedom and democratic values as well as through understanding and acceptance of pluralism in all its national and global dimensions.

1.2.2. Promotion of Tolerance and Moderation

Preservation and more importantly, progress, of a pluralistic world with a great and ever-increasing variety of thoughts, ideas, beliefs, traditions and values depends, as a matter of principle, on the promotion of tolerance and moderation. In the modern world, it is only through forbearance and moderation that various cultures, ideas and schools of thought would find the opportunity to flourish and come to fruition. The idea of the preponderance and hegemony of one particular culture and value system over all others is not but subjugation to dogmatism and blind prejudice and, in the final analysis, enslavement of the mind. Humanity today should, on the basis of the principle of liberty and also drawing upon democratic traditions, be in a position to provide the necessary milieu and opportunity for different outlooks and schools of thought to present themselves. The relationship among ideas and points of view, founded on reason and logic, cannot be one of domination and coercion; no culture or value system should be allowed to force others into subjugation and oblivion. In a pluralistic world, the relationship among ideas and thoughts is by nature and definition one of coexistence, exchange and interchange. Therefore, through the promotion of tolerance and moderation, the seeds of a humane coexistence should be planted and cherished in such a manner that would ensure the growth and blossoming of a flower field of ideas and thoughts.

1.2.3. Dialogue Among Civilizations

Dialogue among civilizations lies at the very foundation of a truly "global civil society" and finds its roots in the principle of tolerance and moderation. Civilizations are the product and manifestation of the thinking and reflections of humanity, which despite differences, emanate from a common fountain and orientation. The theory of "clash of civilizations" is contradictory in essence and inconsistent with history. How could rational manifestations of human thinking, which in turn embody the striving and reflection of great men of culture and reasoning, be conceived in a state of clash and conflict?

Various human civilizations can and should -- cognizant of their intrinsic commonalities as well as outward differences and varieties -- engage in constructive dialogue, mutual understanding and fruitful cooperation. Active and continuous, albeit critical, interchange among civilizations makes them all the more creative, opens the possibilities for evolution and understanding, and contributes to a higher state of well-being and prosperity for the whole humanity. This is a fact borne out by the long history of civilizational exchange leading to mutual enrichment. In the course of this process of exchange, civilizations rooted in religious and divine thinking and values can help the Western societies in responding to the serious problems in human relations, and simultaneously, benefit from the fruits of scientific and industrial advances in the West.

1.2.4. Promotion of Human Rights

The collective campaign of the world community to define, promote and protect human rights across the globe does indeed represent a great achievement of humanity at large. The promotion of respect for and compliance with the universal norms of human rights constitutes a basic necessity for the development of the "global civil society". It is evident that priority must be accorded to the most fundamental human rights such as the right to life, the right to self-determination and the right to development, and special attention must be given to addressing their massive and systematic violation. Furthermore, fundamental human rights are of such high standing that they should not be manipulated as a lever for pressure or fall victim to politically-motivated discrimination and selectivity.

Promotion and protection of human rights in an institutionalized manner depends, first and foremost, on a correct and realistic understanding of the concept. Human rights do not constitute abstract concepts. Approaches and policies emanating from "extremist individualism" -- defining the human person in abstraction, disconnected from spirituality and religious and historical roots, and divorced from social and cultural background -- have indeed done more harm than good to the real cause of human rights.

Moreover, human rights, as concepts of universal nature, cannot be claimed to be the monopoly of any single culture or society. They belong to the entire humanity. Their correct and comprehensive definition hinges on their liberation from the restrictive bounds and monopolistic claims of a particular culture and ideology. They can be promoted in a meaningful and effective manner only through genuine respect for the plurality of beliefs, religions, traditions, value systems and modes of thinking. Broad-based participation of various cultures in the on-going process of defining and interpreting human rights as well as in formulating new norms and rules not only would prevent the monopolistic hegemony of a particular culture, but would contribute to the universal acceptance of new standards.

1.2.5. Comprehensive, Balanced and Sustainable Development

For development to foster progress and change for the better and consolidate the foundations of civil society, it needs to be comprehensive, balanced and sustainable. Comprehensive development encompasses all political, economic, social, cultural and ethical realms and dimensions of human beings and the society. Balanced development creates a harmonious interaction among them so that none is given undue prominence over the others or neglected in favor of another. The very concept of sustainable development is a practical reiteration of the now established wisdom that development is a gradual and continuous process. It cannot, and in fact, should not be conceived, planned and pursued with short-term and transient interests or concerns or even exigencies of a certain segment of the population, a single generation or one society to the detriment of other segments, generations or societies. Most importantly, human being must be recognized as the center, core and beneficiary of development; all aspects of development as well as its fruits should serve the elevation of the human state.

1.2.6. Justice and Equality of Opportunities

Justice can be established and institutionalized in the modern world, ensuring stability and sustainability on a global scale only if individuals and nations were to enjoy equal, non-discriminatory and non-selective access to opportunities. It is an undeniable fact that along the historical continuum, all societies, with varying stock of natural and human resources and scientific and technological capabilities, have participated in the common human endeavor and have contributed, though in different forms and to different degrees, to human advances and achievements. Therefore, all individuals and nations should have the opportunity, within a rule-based framework, to have access to the existing possibilities, and should not be deprived through artificial barriers from scientific and technological advances which constitute the common heritage of humanity.

2. Post-Election Iran and the Global Civil Society

The political philosophy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in full accord with these fundamental foundations of the prospective "global civil society". The presidential elections in Iran on May 23, 1997 was indeed a true reflection of the universal outlook just defined. The elections, held in freedom and security with the participation of about 30 million men and women -- nearly 90% of all those eligible to vote, were a clear manifestation of a genuinely popular, democratic and dynamic participation of the Iranian people, particularly women and youth, in determining their own destiny.

2.1. Strengthening the Foundations of Civil Society

The domestic program of the new government is geared towards strengthening the foundations of civil society, based on freedom, rule of law, pluralism, respect for and protection of the rights of people, tolerance, moderation, popular participation, national harmony and social justice. These fundamental principles are rooted in the teachings and values of Islam, the principles and ideals of the Islamic Revolution and the Islamic political philosophy of the late Imam Khomeini -- the great leader of the Revolution and the architect of the Islamic Republic.

2.2. Expansion of Law-Based Global Dialogue and Cooperation

On the basis of the same world outlook and political philosophy, the main features and priorities of the new administration's foreign policy -- which I presented to the Islamic Consultative Assembly during my confirmation hearing, and which received the overwhelming support of the Parliament -- are the following:

  • Expansion of relations with all countries on the basis of mutual respect, common interest and non-interference in internal affairs of others;
  • Rejection of imposition of or submission to domination and hegemony;
  • Emphasis on the institutionalization of international law as the foundation of global order and as the final arbiter among states;
  • Establishment and strengthening of mechanisms of mutual confidence building and security through regional cooperation and negation of presence and influence of foreign powers;
  • Striving towards reduction of tension at regional and international levels and active participation in regional conflict resolution, peace-making and peace-keeping;
  • Protection of all human rights and rejection of attempts for selective and discriminatory abuse of human rights as instruments of policy;
  • Emphasis on the fundamental rights of oppressed individuals and nations, particularly the Palestinian people;
  • Arresting of arms race at the regional and global levels, elimination of weapons of mass destruction, and control of conventional weapons;
  • Strengthening the bonds of amity and solidarity among Islamic and non-aligned countries;
  • Active presence and constructive participation in the United Nations and other international organizations, with effective contribution in international efforts on global issues, such as arms control and disarmament, comprehensive and sustainable development, human rights, peace-keeping, combating terrorism and illicit drugs, and reversal of unjust international arrangements; and
  • Defending the rights of Iranian citizens all over the world.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has adopted concrete measures at the regional and international levels in pursuit of these principled policies, and is fully prepared to cooperate with all countries towards achieving common objectives in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter.

3. Towards Global Civil Society: Global Cooperation to Overcome Global Problems

In our view, building the future global civil society is an attainable and realistic objective, which requires, nevertheless, energetic participation of all member states. Thus, collective cooperation at a global scale to strengthen the foundation and remove the impediments to the realization of this lofty human goal is an inescapable imperative. The major hurdles in this common endeavor can be analyzed and addressed in two categories:

  • New and persistent regional conflicts caused by lack of respect for international law and violation of fundamental human rights;
  • Emergence and continuation of tendencies antithetical to the rule of law and general participation.

3.1. Law-Based Approach to the Root Causes of Regional Conflicts

3.1.1. The Middle East Crisis and the Question of Palestine

The question of Palestine, which lies at the very heart of the Middle East Crisis, represents the most vivid and persistent case of disregard for international law and systematic violation of fundamental human rights of individuals and peoples. The occupation of foreign territory, widespread and massive violation of the right to self-determination and other basic human rights, forceful imposition of the will of one political group over the entire region through coercion, intimidation and official state terrorism, disruption of regional security and stability, arms race, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, rejection of the demands of the international community and even violation of willfully undertaken commitments under the so-called peace process constitute the main causes of the Middle East crisis. Regrettably, certain powerful supporters of Israel tend to ignore or even attempt to disguise these self-evident realities through a campaign of sensationalism and demagoguery.

The failed attack against Southern Lebanon earlier this month exposed official Israeli terrorism and kidnaping one more time. Construction of settlements in East Jerusalem in spite of the undertakings by Israel under the so-called peace process and in contravention of various United Nations resolutions -- including two resolutions adopted by the Tenth Emergency Session of the General Assembly -- illustrated that Israel considers itself above and beyond international law, is not even committed to its own undertakings, and continuously seeks to consolidate its occupation through demographic and geographic changes in the occupied territories, particularly in Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Unjustified detention, suppression and torture of Palestinian people, destruction and confiscation of Palestinian homes and property and desecration of Islamic holy places, particularly the Al-Aqsa Mosque, exemplify repressive policies of Israel and its systematic and flagrant violations of human rights in the occupied territories.

The Middle East crisis can only be solved through the full realization of the rights of the Palestinian people, in particular their right to self-determination, return of refugees and the liberation of all occupied territories, including the Al-Quds Al-Sharif, southern Lebanon and the Syrian Golan. The experience of the past few years has made it abundantly clear that any scheme or proposal which fails to take full account of the realities in the region or the infamous Israeli patterns of behavior is bound to fail.

It is indeed unfortunate that some outside powers deliberately misconstrue or misrepresent Iran's frank, open and objective expose of the realities as support for terrorism and opposition to peace and security in the region. I reiterate once again that the Islamic Republic of Iran also seeks peace and stability in the Middle East; a just and lasting peace that would receive regional consensus and would cure this chronic crisis once and for all.

3.1.2. Afghanistan

Nearly two decades have elapsed since the crisis in Afghanistan -- caused by disrespect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as violation of the basic rights of an entire nation -- has turned into a vicious cycle of violence and fratricide. The prolongation of the painful and disastrous war in Afghanistan has inflicted enormous damage and hardship on the terrorized people of this country. Severe social restrictions and flagrant violations of human rights, particularly against women and children -- imposed unfortunately in the name of Islam -- have tarnished the image of this proud country. Discrimination against religious and ethnic groups and intransigence and inflexibility of some warring factions have further exacerbated the crisis.

There is, undoubtedly, no military solution to the crisis in Afghanistan. It is indeed regrettable to note that some of the warring factions have yet to realize this evident truth. Only through the establishment of a cease-fire, negotiations between all Afghan groups and formation of a broad-based government representing all Afghans can the crisis in Afghanistan find a lasting solution. A number of considerations in this regard are essential and must be kept in mind:

  • Intra-Afghan dialogue as the key to the solution of the crisis must form the basis and the priority of any international endeavor;
  • Foreign intervention in Afghanistan must cease immediately; and
  • Participation of all ethnic and religious groups in governing Afghanistan must be the foundation of any solution, so as to preclude even harboring of the idea of domination of one group over Afghanistan.

As a fraternal neighboring country, the Islamic Republic of Iran has hosted millions of Afghan immigrants and refugees during the past two decades, and -- in keeping with Islamic humanitarian tradition -- has used all at its disposal to meet their needs. In the same vein, my Government is determined to continue its humanitarian and peace-making endeavors in Afghanistan in tandem with the United Nations Secretary-General and the Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. I must draw the attention of the international community to the dire need and the urgency of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

3.1.3. Tajikistan

In Tajikistan, we are witnessing promising and positive developments following the signing of the final peace agreement in Tehran and Moscow, which was made possible through the efforts of the United Nations, support of a number of regional states and indeed the strong determination and good faith of the government and the opposition. The people and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran are satisfied with the successful outcome of these efforts. We believe that the peace and security in Tajikistan need care, patience, restraint and continuous cooperation between different groups and currents in that country. It is expected that the international community support the outcome of the peace process and its consolidation in Tajikistan through augmenting reconstruction and development assistance to this country. We hope that the valuable efforts leading to the establishment of peace in Tajikistan can provide a useful model for the settlement of other similar disputes.

3.1.4. Bosnia and Herzegovina

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina represents yet another example of flouting international law, where the fundamental rights of an entire people have been so blatantly violated and obstacles continue to be created in the path of the implementation of the peace agreements, whose full implementation constitute the pre-requisite for peace and stability in the Balkans. But the Serbs continue to create obstacles regarding some key provisions of their commitments. Free movement of people and goods have not yet been materialized and refugees have not been able to return to their homes. War criminals -- who have committed horrifying crimes against humanity and have the blood of thousands of innocent people on their hands -- continue to remain at large and disrupt political affairs of that country.

While emphasizing the imperative of respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers the following to be essential:

  • Utilization of all possible means to promote and strengthen the reintegration process in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country;
  • Formation of central government's institutions and prevention of delays and obstacles in the process of reintegration and institution-building of the central government;
  • Guaranteeing freedom of movement of people and goods in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • Safe return of refugees to their homes;
  • Arrest of indicted war criminals and their surrender to the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague;
  • Provision of the necessary resources for reconstruction of Bosnia by the international community and expeditious fulfillment of commitments by countries. In this context, high priority should be accorded to equipping and training of the Army of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to consolidate peace and security in that country.

3.2. Reversal of Cold War Mentality

Concurrent with our joint efforts to resolve and prevent regional crises, we need -- and indeed cannot avoid -- unreserved cooperation among all members of the human family to overcome problems of global character. The Cold War generated a tendency in internal and external relations, which required the existence of real or imagined enemy. Escaping this state of mind and building a new world based on cooperation and the rule of law not only requires political will, but in fact careful planning in order to foster confidence and mitigate security, economic and social concerns at national and regional levels.

Confidence building at national, regional and international levels -- as an essential strategy to transform human relations -- will not succeed in the absence of transparency in decision-making and participation of all concerned. Transparency minimizes the concerns of various players over ulterior motives of others, whereas active participation of the widest possible range of players in decision-making facilitates acceptance of decisions and their implementation.

The antithesis of universal participation in decision-making and law-based cooperation at the international level is unilateralism. This phenomenon finds its manifestations in various areas including arms control, development, international trade, environment and codification of new human rights norms. A frank and honest review points to the conclusion that the most important reason for resorting to unilateral measures lies in a misperception and an erroneous analysis of the post Cold War international situation and the illusion of the emergence of one country or belief system as the paramount power or culture in the "New World Order".

Unilateral decisions are often made when internal pressure groups in powerful countries -- in pursuit of their own interests -- impose policies on their national governments that cannot attract international consensus or agreement. Therefore, adoption of unilateral measures clearly indicates dominance of domestic considerations coupled with a perception of superior role in international affairs. Consequently, accusations leveled against others to justify these decisions are but disguises to conceal the true nature of unilateral measures before the world public opinion.

3.3. Allaying Security Concerns

One of the main purposes of the United Nations is the creation of an appropriate foundation for allaying security concerns of states. The first and most effective step towards building confidence is the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, reduction of conventional weapons, transparency in the field of armaments and establishment of security and cooperation schemes in various regions of the globe. This endeavor requires full and non-discriminatory implementation of existing undertakings in the area of disarmament and security and development of new rules to address universally-accepted priorities as well as security requirements of the international community and its members.

3.3.1. Total Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction

The most important priority of humanity, essential for the survival of human civilization, is the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. With the Biological Weapons Convention in place and the entry into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention, two categories of weapons of mass destruction have been banned by the international community. The entry into force of CWC is undoubtedly the greatest achievements of humanity in the area of disarmament after the end of the Cold War. As a country whose civilians and military personnel have suffered, both physically and emotionally, from this inhuman weapon, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that every effort should be made to fully implement the commitments stipulated in the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions and make them truly universal in order to save the humanity from the threat posed by these two inhuman weapons.

Developments in the course of last two years have also created favorable conditions for nuclear disarmament. The indefinite extension of NPT on the basis of commitments stipulated in the documents of the Review and Extension Conference, as well as the historical decision of the International Court of Justice that there exists a commitment under international law to undertake good-faith negotiations for nuclear disarmament have demonstrated the firm determination of the international community to end the nightmare of nuclear war. Obligations of Nuclear Powers

Despite the commitments and legal obligations, the efforts of nuclear-weapon-states to maintain and develop these weapons is a clear indication of the persistence of Cold War mentality, which has paralyzed confidence building activities of the Conference on Disarmaments and other inter-governmental bodies dealing with the subject.

With the insistence of nuclear powers to limit the scope of CTBT to nuclear explosions, this treaty has in practice lost its comprehensive character and has not prevented further development of nuclear weapons. Therefore, nuclear powers, utilizing advanced technology, are able to further develop their nuclear stockpiles and produce new and more complex types of nuclear weapons through non-explosive tests. Transparent Transfer of Technology for Peaceful Use

Application of double standards in the field of non-proliferation and employing non-transparent and exclusive export control mechanisms in the area of nuclear, chemical and biological technology for peaceful use are most destructive of inter-governmental confidence and security. It is evident that any verification and control of movement of these materials among concerned parties should be in accordance with the provisions of these treaties and verification mechanism outside these treaties should be negotiated among all concerned. All state-parties of the relevant treaties should be able, without exception, to participate in these negotiations. Cessation of Unsubstantiated Allegations

Resorting to unfounded and irresponsible allegations against other countries for ulterior motives, as well as selective and self-serving approaches towards international institutions responsible for verification of compliance with non-proliferation regimes would definitely undermine public acceptance of the rule of law in international affairs.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, on the basis of Islamic beliefs, considers weapons of mass destruction inhumane and illegitimate. Going beyond its commitments under the NPT and IAEA safeguard agreements, Iran has allowed repeated IAEA inspections of all its nuclear facilities in a transparent manner. Several officials of the IAEA -- the sole body responsible for verification of peaceful nature of nuclear activities of member-states -- have repeatedly confirmed the fact that Iran's nuclear activities are performed within the framework of Agency's regulations and follow peaceful objectives. Despite these clear facts, some governments -- infamous for their illegal and provocative proliferation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East -- have embarked upon a barrage of false and baseless accusations against Iran during the past few years. The only objective and consequence of this mendacity is to escalate tension, mistrust and arms race in the region. Therefore, the international community -- not only in the interest of supporting the truth but also of maintaining peace and security around the globe -- should encounter this provocative and irresponsible propaganda.

Propaganda campaigns of public deception will certainly not change regional realities on the ground. It is self-evident that insecurity in the Middle east is rooted in Israeli militarism and its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, which have thwarted all disarmament initiatives and mechanisms in this region. Some regional countries -- motivated by their security concerns arising from Israeli nuclear and other mass-destruction weapons -- have been reluctant to sign or ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention and do not even find it possible to participate in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Yet, unabated political and practical support for Israeli acquisition of weapons of mass destruction is being rendered by one or few states. This in itself underlines the bitter reality that policies and practices of extra-regional powers have not led the region to security or stability, but to further mistrust, tension, and arms race, providing lucrative markets for weapon manufacturers. Zones Free from Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the establishment of zones free from weapons of mass destruction in various regions, as a step towards achievement of a world free of these weapons. In 1974, Iran suggested the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, which has since received the support of various sessions of the General Assembly. However, Israel's refusal to accede to the NPT and accept IAEA safeguards continue to be the obstacle to the realization of this common objective.

The realization of the goal of establishment of free zones in the Southern Hemisphere and other regions has indeed enhanced regional and global peace and security. The Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that nuclear powers must respect international agreements establishing these zones and sign the relevant protocols and support the initiatives of NPT state-parties to establish such zones particularly in the Middle East. This requires exerting pressure on Israel to join NPT and accept IAEA safeguards in line with Security Council Resolution 487.

3.3.2. Transparency and Reduction of Conventional Weapons

The unabated race for the acquisition of conventional weapons not only wastes huge quantities of the limited resources of Third World countries -- so desperately needed for development, but also exacerbates an atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust. As a first step, transparency in the transfer of armaments can play an instrumental role in building confidence, arresting arms race in various regions and enhancing regional and global peace and stability. This would be particularly so if such transparency curbed the actual sale and transfer of sophisticated yet unnecessary weapon systems to volatile regions such as the Middle East. Furthermore, devising realistic measures to ban anti-personnel land mines and control the acquisition and transfer of light arms to areas where such weaponry can exacerbate civil conflicts are among other constructive and useful steps. However, in our collective efforts to achieve transparency or prohibit specific types of weapons, we must never loose sight of the ultimate objective in the area of conventional weapons, that is the reduction of all categories of weapons and curbing of military expenditures world-wide.

The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is founded on peace, self-restraint, confidence-building and reduction and elimination of tension, particularly within our region. I wish to inform this August assembly frankly and sincerely that throughout the Middle East, Iran allocates the lowest budget to its military. In 1995 and 96, only 3.3% of our GDP was spent on defense. We continue to be ready for any regionally acceptable understanding for further reductions in defense budgets in a manner that security concerns of large and small countries are fully addressed.

3.3.3. Regional Security and Cooperation Schemes

Confidence-building starts from the neighborhood. In our interdependent world, security is indivisible. Thus, the end of Cold War and the universal rejection of cold-war mentality must open the way for arresting and dismantling of rival block formations and emergence of regional arrangements for security and cooperation.

The highest foreign policy priority of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to make every effort to strengthen trust and confidence and build peace in our immediate neighborhood, which in cases such as Tajikistan have had encouraging achievements.

In our region, the Economic Cooperation Organization (E.C.O.) has contributed to the expansion and consolidation of relations among its member-states through adoption of common positions and playing an active role in the field of economic and technical cooperation. The important role of ECO in promoting trust and confidence and providing and expanding the grounds for participation and coordination among ten regional countries was recognized on the part of the international community as a result of the decision of the 48th Session of the General Assembly, granting it observer status. Moreover, ECO has undertaken serious and concrete measures with a view to establish relations with other regional organizations and fora, and hopes that the specialized agencies and funds and programs of the United Nations will expand their relations with it in various fields and contribute to the realization of its objectives.

In the Persian Gulf area, only cooperation and collective participation can bring about security and stability for all countries in the region. Taking full advantage of historical affinities, cultural ties and religious bonds and sparing no effort for the efficient and coordinated utilization of human and natural potentials and resources of the region constitute the single best long-term guarantee for security and tranquility. Iran -- as the biggest country in the region enjoying historical depth of several millennia combined with the richness of Islamic civilization -- does not need to engage in any arms build-up or competition. Our message to our neighbors is one of friendship and fraternity, and we shall warmly welcome any initiative to strengthen the foundations of confidence and cooperation in this region.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, which will be hosting the Eighth Islamic Summit in December, is of the view that on the threshold of the twenty-first century, the primary task of this Summit is to foster mutual confidence and establish mechanisms for cooperation and coordination in various fields among Islamic countries. This will undoubtedly contribute to the further strengthening of the foundations of lasting international security and stability.

3.3.4. Uprooting Terrorism

Terrorism is the wicked result of widespread lawlessness and violent obstruction of public participation, which -- in its various forms and manifestations -- threatens human societies at national, regional and international levels. This dangerous phenomenon affects not a particular country or region, but it is a ruthless international problem that threatens the security and tranquility of the international community as a whole, tramples upon the most basic principles of human rights, and endangers territorial integrity of states. Political exploitation of this international problem through hurling unfounded allegations in order to advance certain ulterior motives or cover up deficiencies in domestic or external policy is no less dangerous than terrorism itself. They concurrently diminish trust, stability and security at regional and international levels.

Resolution of this destructive problem requires a determined avoidance of sensationalism and demagoguery on the one hand, and a concerted international attempt at finding practical measures that are reasonable, objective and realistic in combating terrorism, on the other. More importantly, our collective success requires the non-selective, universal and law-based application of agreed measures by relevant international organizations.

As a country that has suffered immensely from the inhuman phenomenon of terrorism in the post-revolution years, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to take an active part in any international effort to combat this problem in a serious, comprehensive and principled manner.

3.4. Arresting the Global Social Crisis

Complex and deep-rooted social problems pose a threat to human society at large. Poverty and unemployment, inter alia, have presented formidable challenges to social cohesion, prosperity and well-being of the global community. They render -- in these final years of the current century -- concerted actions by states and supported by international organizations indispensable. Poverty induces many social and cultural anomalies and thus its eradication must become vigorously pursued by the international community.

3.4.1. Narcotic Drugs

Narcotic drug abuse and trafficking is perhaps the most disastrous social crisis of our time, and because of its geographic location, the Islamic Republic of Iran is faced with this crisis in a serious manner. Strengthening comprehensive and well-coordinated international action in the fight against illicit drug trafficking has become the undeniably critical and urgent requisite for saving the succeeding generations from the scourge of this evil social menace, and thereby halting the fratricidal wars whose root causes are in illicit trafficking in narcotic drugs.