TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian diplomat at the UN lashed out at the US and the UK for increasing their nuclear weapons budget and arsenal, stressing that the nuclear weapon states (NWSs) must develop an updated disarmament action plan within a specific timeframe.
First Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Iran to the United Nations Heidar Ali Balouji read a statement at a meeting of the United Nations Disarmament Commission on April 3.
In his remarks, the Iranian envoy criticized the US regime for possessing all types of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and threatening to use them against regional countries.
The following is the text of his statement:
In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
I would like to congratulate you Ambassador Rahmatollin, the other bureau members and the chairs of the working groups, namely, Mr. Kurt Davis of Jamaica and Madam Szilvia Balázs of Hungry, on your election. My delegation appreciates the able leadership of the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Mbongo of South Africa, and stands ready to fully cooperate with you during the third and final substantive session of the current cycle of the UNDC. I align myself with the statement made on behalf of the NAM by Indonesia.
The world is facing multiple and interlinking global threats and challenges, including those posed by weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, which continue to pose an existential threat to humanity. Despite this, international efforts towards nuclear disarmament are eroding, and the taboo against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is fading away.
The ongoing escalation of political and military tensions, increasing military budgets, and the renewed and expanded nuclear arms race through the replacement or upgrading of nuclear arsenals are all harbingers of a dangerous future in terms of international security. The increase in the quantity and quality of nuclear arsenals, nuclear sharing together with military doctrines lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, means that the threat of a nuclear catastrophe is closer than ever before. For instance, both the US and the UK have increased their nuclear weapons budget and arsenal.
On the other hand, the two consecutive failures of the NPT review conferences in 2015 and 2022 are clear examples of the lack of accountability and political will by the NWSs and those advocating nuclear deterrence to honor their explicit legal obligations regarding nuclear disarmament based on Article VI of the NPT.
The international community should urge the NWSs to develop an updated disarmament action plan within a specific timeframe. Such a plan should contain, as a first step, the halting of research, development, testing, and production of nuclear weapons and delivery systems, as well as a verifiable and unreversible dismantling of all nuclear weapons. These imperatives can and should be accomplished through a comprehensive convention, the negotiations of which should commence as early as possible in the CD. Furthermore, pending the achievement of the total elimination of nuclear weapons, which remains the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use, a universal, unconditional, non-discriminatory, and legally binding instrument signed and ratified by the NWSs to effectively assure all non-nuclear-weapon States against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances should remain a matter of high priority.
It is important to note that the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, including in the Middle East, should be supported by the NWSs. Almost 50 years ago, Iran initiated such a proposal for the Middle East, and it is regrettable that this noble goal, endorsed in many international fora, including by the 1995 NPT RevCon, is still pending and facing obstacles, particularly the Israeli regime backed by the US government. The regime possesses all types of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, and threatens to use them against regional countries. It is not a party to the NPT and has not accepted the IAEA safeguards on its principle nuclear activities. Furthermore, the regime has committed various terrorist attacks against nuclear scientists and initiated different sabotage attacks against nuclear facilities. Therefore, it must be forced to join all related instruments, including the NPT, without any precondition, and as a non-nuclear weapon party. It must place all its nuclear facilities and activities under the comprehensive safeguards of the IAEA.
Iran believes that outer space and other celestial bodies are humanity’s common heritage and must be used only for peaceful purposes for the benefit of all countries. The prevention of an arms race in outer space can be a first step towards achieving this goal and averting a severe threat to international peace and security. Therefore, further measures, including a legally binding instrument with appropriate and effective verification provisions, should be developed promptly by the CD.
We are deeply concerned about the increasing threat of weaponizing outer space, including the negative implications of the development and deployment of anti-ballistic missile defense systems and the pursuit of advanced military technologies capable of being deployed in outer space. The US activities and those of other actors contribute to the further weakening of an international climate conducive to the promotion of disarmament and the strengthening of international security.
In response to the unsubstantiated allegations and unwarranted concerns raised by some delegations, particularly the US, the UK, France and the Israeli regime about Iran’s nuclear program or its defensive missile program, my delegation is obliged to reject all of them. The peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities has been confirmed by the IAEA on numerous occasions. We should not be distracted from the real threats, namely the Israeli nuclear weapon program at the regional level and the very existence of WMDs at the global level.
Lastly, given the ongoing global challenges related to nuclear disarmament and outer space security, the UNDC session should lead to constructive discussions and tangible progress toward addressing these threats and Iran is ready to play its constructive role in this regard.
I thank you, Mr. Chair!