Jun 14, 2024, 12:48 AM
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Iranian diplomat: Humanitarian exemption for sanctions is fake and hypocritical American term

New York, IRNA - Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Reza Najafi said that despite the claims of the western countries, there is no so-called "humanitarian exemption" for sanctions such a fake and hypocritical term was invented by the US and other western countries just to hide the inhumane nature of their sanctions and are pure lies and deception.

Reza Najafi, the deputy of legal and international affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, on Thursday local time, at the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the elimination of unilateral coercive economic and extraterritorial measures as a political expression, expressed the negative effects of illegal sanctions on human rights,  and emphasized that the international community must condemn and reject unilateral coercive economic measures.

He added that this is needed to support the promotion of basic and inherent rights and welfare of our nations, the rule of law and real multilateralism, and it is actually a collective responsibility and "our delegation is ready to actively participate in fulfilling this responsibility".

The following is the full text of statement by Iran's deputy foreign minister addressed to thr UN:

Statement by

His Excellency Mr. Reza Najafi

Deputy Minister for legal and International Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Before the United Nations General Assembly

On the “Elimination of Unilateral Extraterritorial Coercive

Economic Measures as a Means of Political and Economic Compulsion”

New York, 13 June 2024

In the Name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Mr. President,

I would like to begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to you for organizing this meeting to address unilateral extraterritorial coercive economic measures – or in short, “unilateral sanctions”.

Representing a country that, for well over four decades, has been and continues to be severely affected by unilateral sanctions, I would first, elaborate on their legal aspects, second, provide certain objective examples on their adverse effects, and finally, explain our views on why the international community of States must address them effectively, leading to their elimination.

First, from legal perspective, imposition and application of unilateral sanctions is a gross violation of the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations.

They materially breach the “Purposes of the United Nations”, particularly those set out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Charter’s Article 1, namely: “to develop friendly relations among nations”, “to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character” and “promoting and encouraging respect for human rights”.

Similarly, introduction and application of unilateral sanctions is a flagrant violation of the “Principles of the United Nations”, particularly those set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Charter’s Article 2, that are: “sovereign equality” of States, and to “fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed” by Member States under the Charter.

That’s why, according to 1970 Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, all States shall refrain from using of military, political, economic or any other type of measures to coerce another State in order to obtain from it the subordination of the exercise of its sovereign rights and to secure from it advantages of any kind.

Similarly, imposition of unilateral sanctions contravenes principles and norms of international human rights law.

They violate common Article 1 of the twin covenants on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights, according to which “in no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence”.

They also materially breach Article 47 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as Article 25 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, according to which nothing therein “shall be interpreted as impairing the inherent right of all peoples to enjoy and utilize fully and freely their natural wealth and resources”.

Unilateral sanctions also contradict “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” as set out in Article 12(1) of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Equally, unilateral sanctions violate the inherent right of every human being to life, as reaffirmed by Article 6(1) of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and “no derogation” therefrom is permitted according to its Article 4(2).

While unilateral sanctions adversely affect and violate many other human rights from right to work, to shelter, to decent environment and to education, I suffice mentioning only the aforesaid examples.

Now, Mr. President, I would like to provide a few objective examples of detrimental effects of unilateral sanctions to illustrate the severity of their negative impacts across various domains including, but not limited to, the right to health, right to development, right to education, right to welfare and, in general, the right to life of targeted nations.

Patients with chronic diseases face severe shortages of life-saving medications due to restrictions on their import as a result of unilateral sanctions. Likewise, sanctions prevent the adequate import of medical equipment and hinder the proper functioning of hospitals and healthcare facilities. These shortages combined result in a significant increase in mortality rates among patients, particularly children, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

In this context, I must refer to devastating impact of sanctions on patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare and debilitating skin disease. While such patients need specific wound dressings for treatment, unilateral sanctions extremely restrict the import of such dressings. This has not only exacerbated the suffering of the EB patients in my country, but also has resulted in a remarkable increase in mortality rates among EB patients.

As we are approaching the anniversary of Saddam’s 1987 attack on the Iranian city of Sardasht with chemical weapons, I must also refer to the sufferings of victims of chemical weapons as a result of sanctions. Just one example among thousands is the dire need of a 43-year-old Iranian woman for a certain medicine. When she was wounded in Sardasht with chemical agents, she was only seven years old. To breathe normally, she needs a certain medicine that now cannot be imported because all possible ways are blocked by sanctions. Back in 1987, she was the victim of chemical agents provided to Saddam by western States, and now is the victim of sanctions imposed by the same western States. Yet, such States continue to shed crocodile tears for the status of women in my country.

As the Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures has highlighted, sanctions have adverse impacts on persons with disabilities, as well as on those suffering from rare or severe diseases who are in need of sustained medical attention, who are the most vulnerable in the face of these unilateral sanctions. Her report emphasizes that such measures and the absence of adequate and sufficient medical assistance and treatment for persons with disabilities, as well as for patients with severe and rare diseases, resulted in growing mortality rates, reduced life expectancy and deteriorated overall health conditions.

Unilateral sanctions also stifle economic growth, hinder development projects, and deprive individuals of their means of subsistence, perpetuating poverty and inequality. Likewise, they increase mortality rates among vulnerable segments of society, including children, pregnant women, and the elderly, due to lack of access to basic necessities like food, medicine and healthcare.

Mr. President,

Now I would like to turn to this question that why the international community of States must pay serious attention to horrifying trend of introduction and application of unilateral sanctions. This is necessary and urgent, because:

By any measure, unilateral sanctions are inhumane, immoral and unlawful. They are but a brutal collective punishment of targeted nations for their determination to exercise their inherent rights to self-determination recognized in Article 1 of the UN Charter as well as Articles 1 of the twin covenants on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights;

Human rights are not realized in a vacuum, rather, it can be realized only if the necessary “conditions are created” -- as has rightly been stated in the preamble of both covenants on civil and political and economic, social and cultural rights, and such conditions cannot be created -- at least satisfactorily -- in countries targeted by unilateral sanctions as sanctions inter alia prevent such States from using their resources, disrupt their economic and trade relations, and prevent them from importing their basic needs like food and medicine;

Countries introducing sanctions weaponize food, medicine, medical equipment and alike to further their narrow national policies; Unilateral sanctions continue to destroy the fabrics of multilateralism-- the United Nations at its center; seriously breach the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter; reject cooperation and foment confrontation; and instead of promoting friendly relations cause hatred and hostility; All these alarming realities continue to undermine the very essence and spirit of this Organization and its Charter which, first and foremost, are founded on such lofty values of inclusion, cooperation, peaceful co-existence, good-neighborliness, solidarity, freedom and justice; Unilateral sanctions are nothing but economic war and terrorism; restrict the access of targeted nations to essential goods and services; exacerbate economic hardship and poverty; undermine the well-being of civilians and ordinary people; perpetuate a cycle of poverty, inequality, and human suffering; and the worst is that target the most vulnerable segments of targeted societies the most; we must not allow this dangerous trend of unilateralism to undermine the rule of law, multilateralism and our collective endeavor to promote peace, prosperity, solidarity and friendship among nations.

This is what we owe to present and upcoming generations of our societies; and if unchecked, the western States who continue to race to the bottom on imposing more brutal sanctions on more nations, will ultimately evolve unilateral sanctions to actual economic blockade against targeted States -- the living example of which is the 17-year-old unlawful and inhumane blockade on the Gaza Strip by the Israeli regime, where Israel now is weaponizing food, water, medicine and other life-saving aid needed by civilian populations and uses starvation as a method of war.

I must stress that despite the claims of western States, there are no so-called “humanitarian exemptions” for sanctions.

Such a fake and hypocritical term is coined by the US and other western States merely to purportedly hide the inhumane nature of their sanctions.

These terms are but sheer lies and deceptions.

In conclusion, Mr. president, I must stress that the international community of States must condemn and reject unilateral economic coercive measures.

This is needed in support of promoting fundamental and inherent rights and the well-being of our nations, the rule of law, inclusion, and true multilateralism.

This indeed is a collective responsibility and my delegation is prepared to actively contribute to fulfillment of this responsibility.

I thank you, Mr. president.


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