First of all, I appreciate the Iranian Foundation of Dialogue and Solidarity of United Nations (FODASUN) for holding this webinar. This foundation certainly has a very important role in the realization of peace and solidarity both in the West Asia region and all over the world. Programs held by this foundation in the past had good effects and feedback at the regional and international levels. The current webinar which is holding by the Foundation of Dialogue and Solidarity of United Nations titled “The Future of Peace and Human Rights in West Asia” with the participation of experts from different countries including the Islamic Republic of Iran to exchange viewpoints. As the holders explained to me, there are three topics of Unilateral Coercive Measures (UCM), War and Conflict, and Women and Children’s Rights are on the agenda of this webinar.
In the opening ceremony of the webinar “The Future of Peace and Human Rights in West Asia”, I want to point out that today, we live in a world in which three great changes are happening. The first change is concerning political actors, the second change is in the type of acts, and the third change is concerning the environment of the act.
About actors, let’s make a flashback to the Cold War era and compare that era with the current situation of the world. At that time, there were two main actors: The Soviet Union and The United States of America. The rule of the act between these two actors was horrible but very simple at the time. It was horrible because the rule of the act was based on nuclear war by using nuclear weapons. It was common in political literature in that time that two sides of the war in Moscow and Washington had their hands on the trigger of nuclear weapons and whoever fired sooner, destroy the other side, or if one of them fires, the other side will fire too and both will destroy each other. The mechanism was simple because of a red phone line between the White House chiefs in Washington and the Kremlin in Moscow. While at a point in the world, which was divided into two blocs, East and West, a crisis was approaching its boiling point, the crisis was managed and controlled by a phone call from the leaders.
Today, we live in a world where actors are diverse, multiple, and numerous. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the European Union, and even individual and small political units play a role in the changes in West Asia and around the world. You see the crises that have surrounded us in West Asia for more than a decade. We are facing it in the past, whether in Afghanistan since the US occupation of Afghanistan by the US military or in Iraq since the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, of course with the slogan of democracy and liberation of Iraq from Saddam the Baathist in Iraq. If we look at each of these crises, the crisis in Afghanistan, the crisis in Iraq, the crisis in Syria, the crisis in Palestine, the crisis in Yemen, or any of the crises in West Asia became very international because of the multiplicity of actors. Beyond government actors, we are witnessing the existence of non-governmental actors in these crises.
Today, in our region, in the case of Palestine, in the case of Syria, and the case of Iraq, we are witnessing the presence of non-governmental actors. Today, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are active and influential actors coping with Zionist aggression. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a non-governmental actor that works in recent years in the Cabinet and the Parliament and the political process of Lebanon. Hezbollah isn’t a state, but it is a resistance movement and a non-governmental actor. In our opinion, these actors are working for the liberation of their homeland and defend the territorial integrity of their country against terrorist threats.
On the other hand, there are negative non-governmental actors. In recent years, ISIS as a terrorist movement destroyed the infrastructures of two important countries, Iraq and Syria. ISIS was a bad and undesirable actor for West Asia, but it was an influential actor in the developments in its negative dimension.
So, actors became diverse, multiple, and numerous compared to the Cold War era (particularly in West Asia and even in other critical regions of the world).
The second issue, difference, and change that has occurred in the field of international politics and relations is the type of act. Since our subject is focused on The Future of Human Rights and Peace in West Asia, I investigate this issue from this perspective. In the last two decades in West Asia (in the case of the oppressed Palestinian people in the last seven decades), the type of act is highly military and security. I would like to make a comparison with the Cold War era. During the Cold War era, the type of act was highly political and then security, but in the current era, we see that the type of act is highly military and then security and in the last degree is political. Even due to the high speed and steep slope and the extent of change in the military field and high violence and systematic human rights violations in West Asia, we see that type of acts have caused a lot of damage to the people of the region in such ways. Unilateral coercive measures (UCM) and US sanctions on some countries is economic terrorism. Ignoring the rights of women and children in various wars that have been imposed in the region over the years because of the intensified military and security acts. There is a new type of war and conflict with its new concept.
In the last decade in West Asia, a concept formed beyond war and conflict, and that concept is the terroristic war. We live in a world that in the year 2013 when more than eighty countries met in Tunisia on the Syrian issue, Hillary Clinton (Foreign Minister of the United States at that time) said that Syria has no political solution and that we should support the opponents of the Syrian political system. She explicitly stated there that we should arm the Syrian opponents, but it really meant that terrorists should come to Syria and change the Syrian political system. at that conference, after Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Mr. Saud Faisal (Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia at that time), said that these discussions about the political system in Syria are useless and we must arm political oppositions of the Syrian regime. Then, the world saw an armed terrorist costly war full of human rights violations more than eight to nine years in Syria that the infrastructures were destroyed and many people were killed in it.
So, the second change in the concepts of International Politics and International relations in the change in the type of act, which became highly military and highly security. The outcome of this act is that from the year 2003 to the year 2018 more than 1,150,000 Iraqis were killed or martyred in this country. I heard this sentence from one of the high-ranking officials of Iraq during one of my travels. However, the Americans claimed that they came with more than 170,000 troops to rescue the Iraqi people from the dictatorial and criminal rule of Saddam Ba’ath. This was the gift of the United States. It was a human rights violation of the United States for the Iraqi people. More than 670,000 Syrians were martyred or killed from the year 2011 to the year 2019 as a result of the terroristic war in which the security systems of the United States of America and some US allies were behind it. This horrible number of Syrians have been martyred or killed because of that war. I say martyred or killed because some of them joined the terrorist movements and were killed in those conflicts, but in any case, more than 670,000 Syrians and more than 1,150,000 Iraqis are killed and martyred.
The third change that has taken place in the field of concepts of international relations and international politics in recent years is a change in the environment of the act. During the Cold War, the environment of the act was relatively stable and it was like solid ground and mosaic, despite all the rivalries and conflicts and widespread systematic and gross human rights violations. we are witnessing in recent years, especially in West Asia, there is an unstable environment for the act, and this environment has not yet been able to achieve a stable situation. Various regional and international non-governmental and government actors involve in every phenomenon in West Asia. The type of action is highly military and security, so the political solutions in these years, leftover from the rapid expansion and steep slope of changes. The environment of action is also an unstable environment of action.
So, what to do? I welcome this innovation of the Iranian Foundation of Dialogue and Solidarity of United Nations (FODASUN) that focused on the word “Peace” and “Human Rights” in West Asia. Today, this region is in dire need of peace and cannot bear a new war. West Asia is suffering from some fundamental issues. The first issue is terrorism which the Americans themselves blamed each other in the election debates of Mr. Trump and Mrs. Hillary Clinton for it, and Mr. Trump explicitly stated that Obama created ISIS. This region suffers from terrorism that involved Iraq, Syria, and some other parts of West Asia. The Islamic Republic of Iran, the nations of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, especially the martyred General Soleimani, have played a major role in restoring peace and crushing the backs and bones of terrorists in West Asia. The martyrdom of this great international hero in the fight against terrorism was a heinous human rights crime committed by the White House. The result is that the United States and the White House do not value human rights and heroic effective fight against terrorism in the region. So our region continues to suffer from terrorism. This is the greatest obstacle to the establishment of human rights and the realization of peace in West Asia.
West Asia suffers from some highly undemocratic regimes. These regimes do not have a single parliamentary election in several decades of single-family rule in their countries. I must explicitly announce in this webinar for you thinkers and civil, political, and social actors that Saudi Arabia as an important neighbor of the Islamic Republic in West Asia, have been invaded one of his Arab neighbors by a military attack for more than five years. When we talk about stopping wars and conflicts, when we talk about encountering coercive measures for invading and imposing sanctions on countries, when we talk about the rights of women and children, we see that in addition to the Zionist regime, in addition to the United States and Britain and some of their allies, a country that claims to be the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques” has attacked a nation in a part of West Asia for more than five years.
Britain sold more than six billion dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia in the last five years to suppress women and children in Yemen and received petrodollars from Saudi Arabia. It means that in today’s Yemen case in West Asia, women and children are being systematically violated. You see the conflict and the imposition of a long-term war and various and violent coercive actions against a handful of women, children, the elderly, and the unarmed people in Yemen. Of course, the Yemeni resistance has emerged from all groups and currents and is trying to defend the territorial integrity and independence of Yemen.
we witnessed in Syria that despite a terroristic war that the United States and its allies were behind, the zealous Syrian people, with the zealous Syrian armed forces, with the support of Iranian military advisers and some of their friends and allies, were able to rescue Syria from a crisis and a collapse and becoming a new Libya.
I hope that this conference will be a good opportunity for explicit talks in both theoretical and practical terms and focusing views on why there is no peace and no respect for human rights in West Asia. God willing, the outcome of this summit will help the peace process and the observance of human rights and the end of war and violence in this region and put an end to foreign interference in this region so foreign actors leave the people of the region and the rulers of the region to themselves.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, despite the unconstructive behavior of Saudi Arabia and some countries in the region, has always left the way open for the return of Riyadh’s diplomatic relations with Tehran. I declare loudly that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been always on the positive side of the changes in the region. while the Zionist regime, the United States, Britain, and Saudi Arabia, and some countries have provided security and financial support to terrorists during these years, The Islamic Republic of Iran has supported the people of the region, even the ruling political systems in the region alongside the people of the region to fight terrorism and to establish lasting peace, stability and security. we proudly sacrificed many martyrs in this direction in parts of West Asia. We proudly and loudly declare that the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to engage in dialogue on the path of peace and constructive interaction with all sides of the region to have a prosperous and developed region that becomes a model of friendship and cooperation for the whole world.