Weaponizing sanctions is immoral, says Iranian diplomat

June 25, 2021 - 20:13

TEHRAN – An Iranian diplomat told a session of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday that Tehran is against using sanctions as a weapon against countries, including Syria, saying such moves are “immoral and unlawful”.

“We condemn weaponizing food and medicine through sanctions,” Zahra Ershadi, Iran’s Ambassador and deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, told the New York-based council.

Following is the text of her remarks.

For well over 10 years, the Syrian people have been suffering seriously from the conflict, and in recent years, the economy has been further deteriorated mostly due to unilateral sanctions, negatively impacting also the humanitarian aid delivery to the people in need.

As a country subjected to unjust unilateral sanctions for decades, we condemn weaponizing food and medicine through sanctions, as they are irresponsible, immoral and unlawful and in the context of Syria, only prolong the sufferings of people, delay the return of refugees and displaced persons and hamper reconstruction efforts.

Therefore, complete removal of unilateral sanctions must be a substantive element of any discussion on the humanitarian aspect of the Syrian conflict.

While under the current circumstances, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Syria is essential, this however must be based on the principles of full respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of Syria, which has been reaffirmed by the Council in all its resolutions.

We also recall other guiding principles of humanitarian assistance as reaffirmed in numerous resolutions of the General Assembly, according to which the “humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country.”

Likewise, according to such principles, “the affected State has the primary role in the initiation, organization, coordination, and implementation of humanitarian assistance within its territory.”

Taking into account such guiding principles, we share the views that the cross-border aid delivery mechanism has been an exceptional temporary measure imposed by certain circumstances, which no longer exist, and accordingly, now the aid to the people in need must be delivered in cooperation and coordination with the Syrian Government and from within the Syrian territories. This can, inter alia, ensure that aids are not diverted to terrorist groups.

The full cooperation of the Syrian Government with the United Nations and numerous humanitarian organizations active in cross-line aid delivery in Syria proves that this is a reliable method and in line with international law.

We once again call for depoliticization of the humanitarian file of Syria in the Council. The international community must focus on those humanitarian measures in Syria that can actually and quickly alleviate the sufferings of the people in need, provide the conditions for the soonest return of refugees and displaced persons and contribute to the long-term stability of this country.

Reiterating our commitment to the peaceful resolution of the Syrian crisis and the restoration of the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, we call for an end to the occupation of parts of its territory, withdrawal of all uninvited foreign forces from that country, cessation of support for any separatist tendencies or illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and prevention of the violation of Syrian sovereignty particularly by acts of aggression of the Israeli regime, which Iran condemns strongly.

We will continue our efforts in assisting the people and Government of Syria to overcome the enormous challenges they face.

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