New York (IP) – Iran’s ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations denounced using unilateral sanctions as political leverage against Iran by some western countries.

Iran PressAmerica: Zahra Ershadi addressed the 6th Committee of the United Nations General Assembly meeting on "Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian and disaster relief assistance of the UN."

Here is the full text of her statement on December 6th:

Mr. President,

The international community continues to face emerging and evolving challenges as it strives to address these emergencies. With an increasing number of people suffering from the effects of natural disasters, armed conflicts, and foreign occupations, the COVID-19 pandemic, unilateral coercive measures, blockades as well as the utilization of the starvation of people as a weapon, the effects of such disasters have significantly eroded our capacity to confront these challenges while also hindering the development of disaster-stricken countries.

In our region, the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, and Yemen has, directly and indirectly, led to an enormous amount of suffering. In our region, the massive influx of displaced Afghans to its immediate neighboring countries, among others, has severely exacerbated this tragedy.

Mr. President,

We strongly believe that addressing the root causes of humanitarian crises and emergencies and more significant investment in prevention are the only sustainable solutions for this global phenomenon.

In our view, all of the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, notably the respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, should be strictly observed by all countries and humanitarian aid organizations.

Since States have the primary role and responsibility in response to humanitarian emergencies, national ownership and leadership in coordinating humanitarian assistance to ensure its effective delivery must be acknowledged.

In the same vein, any humanitarian crises or emergencies, especially those advertently created under a specific and hidden political agenda, must not lead to any foreign intervention, including under the pretext of the responsibility to protect.  

Mr. President,

The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes the importance of humanitarian assistance activities, including the United Nations humanitarian response system, by upholding its purely humanitarian nature.

Legitimate concerns regarding the deviation of humanitarian aid and non-humanitarian activities under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance must be met immediately with thorough and independent investigations.

We believe that sustainable tackling of humanitarian situations requires mobilizing resources by taking anticipatory financing approaches in the UN budgetary system.

In this regard, those who serve as the main contributors in protracted wars and occupations by their involvement or through the provision of sophisticated weapons should shoulder more of the burden in financing UN humanitarian responses. This also includes those with historical responsibility due to Greenhouse gas emissions that lead to rapid climate change and exacerbate disasters.

We also strongly condemn situations wherein the humanitarian needs of populations in dire deprivation are taken hostage as a political means or military tool, including by imposing blockages to starve civilians to death. Furthermore, the United Nations must ensure that all humanitarian aid should be distributed among all populations in need indiscriminately and without any interference by donors.

Mr. President,    

The Islamic Republic of Iran considers unilateral coercive measures (UCMs) as one of the main obstacles that hinder international efforts to provide humanitarian assistance while also serving as one of the primary sources of creating humanitarian crises around the world.

We strongly condemn the imposition of UCMs by certain states that utilize them as political leverage in their bilateral relations.

While our region is prone to various disasters, such as earthquakes, droughts, dust and sand storms, and floods that stretch our resources to the absolute brink, the Islamic Republic of Iran has tremendously suffered from the additional weight that unlawful and illegal unilateral sanctions bear.

Mr. President,

Many humanitarian crises around the world require our swift attention. Regarding the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, as winter approaches and the case of the Afghan people, especially women, girls, and children, continue to deteriorate, the timely provision of humanitarian assistance and the release of Afghanistan's frozen assets, which are essential for reviving its economy and saving lives, should in no way be politicized or conditional.

Therefore, every effort should be made to ensure that the countries hosting Afghan refugees and citizens, especially its neighbors, have unhindered access to humanitarian goods and vaccines.

Mr. President,

In addition to the abovementioned challenges, our region, West Asia, suffers from various environmental challenges, including climate change, desertification, sand and dust storm, water scarcity, and biodiversity loss. Addressing such difficulties requires strong regional and global cooperation.

To tackle such challenges, I would like to inform you that the Islamic Republic of Iran, with the Unites Nations-related agencies, will convene an International Conference on Combatting Sand and Dust Storms in 2023.

Mr. President,

Finally, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction with seven targets and four priorities, a practical step is expected to be taken under the UN auspices to boost regional cooperation, especially among our neighboring countries, in harnessing the tools needed to face disasters like sand storms and hazes.

We would also welcome cooperation among the relevant UN bodies on disaster-related issues, including resilience prevention, risk reduction, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.


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