Iran's Envoy to UN Protests Sanctions on Zarif

August 7, 2019

Tehran, Aug 7, IRNA – Iran's envoy to international bodies in Geneva in a letter said on Wednesday that imposing sanctions on Iran's foreign minister by the US is an unprecedented aggression against the international institution of diplomacy and warned on the consequences of the unilateral move.

Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN office in Geneva, Esmaeil Baghaei in a letter referred to the accepted principle of immunity of diplomats, and said that imposing sanctions on Minister Zarif is against the United Nations resolutions.

The full text of the letter comes as follows:

On 31 July 2019, less than 15 months after the US' unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in bold defiance of the unanimously adopted UNSC resolution 2231 which had endorsed the agreement, the US administration imposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran's Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, for being a "senior official" in the Islamic Republic of Iran who "took direction" from Iran's head of State and for acting as his nation's "primary spokesperson around the world". In fact, Minister Zarif has been sanctioned for representing Iranian nation to the best of his ability and for being a true advocate for dialogue and diplomacy worldwide.

This is just one of, though revealingly the absurdest of all, the many unlawful actions taken by the US in line with its so-called 'maximum pressure' policy against Iran. It only further supports and re-enforces Iran's long held stance about their disingenuousness in calling for negotiation and engagement. It is as unprecedented as equally alarming, however, in terms of its overlying implications for the institution of diplomacy, the basic tenets of multilateralism and the underlying principles of international law and the UN Charter.

The US' arbitrary decision to sanction an incumbent foreign minister of another country for no reason other than dutifully representing his state, negates the established principles and rules of inter-State relations. It undermines the 'profession of diplomacy' and endangers 'diplomatic interaction' as the recognized medium for State-to-State communication and engagement.

Sanctioning Minister Zarif transpires the US' overwhelming disdain for multilateralism and its quest to quash any call for responsible behaviour and respect for rule of law. It is a recipe for further tilt toward reckless unilateralism in a bid to complement the US' sloppy policies and actions in the region, which have heightened tensions to a boiling point.

The proclaimed pretext for designating Zarif suggests that the US’ bullying attitude has gone so far as to demand that even ministers of foreign affairs should not represent their own governments in the face of US' intransigence.

The American resort to unilateral coercive measure against a UN member State's foreign minister signifies a serious set-back to 'diplomacy' and a shocking blow to universally shared code of conduct regarding immunity of State officials and respect for diplomats as representatives of sovereign States. It demonstrates the abuse of the US’ privilege as the UN headquarters’ host country, as well, since it compromises the obligations undertaken by the United States under the 1947 UN-US Headquarters Agreement. The US shall bear responsibility for the consequences of its internationally wrongful act.

"I reach out to you, and through you to your government, to alarm on the consequences of US’ unabated encroachment on the foundation of inter-State dialogue, international cooperation and multilateralism."

Indifference vis-a-vis the US' attack against the 'institution of diplomacy' should not be an option. The US' designation of Iran's top diplomat is offensive to all diplomats who truly represent their countries, speak for their people and work toward peace. By sanctioning Dr. Zarif, a globally commended diplomat who has greatly contributed to world peace through his proficient and professional engagement with other interlocutors, the US administration has displayed its deep contempt for the conduct of diplomacy at a time we need it the most. This must not be taken lightly, nor should it be let banalized.

We call upon all States to refute global bigotry and stand firm against the US' wrongful act which, otherwise, might have far- reaching negative implications for the institution of diplomacy and its vital functioning.