Iran on Tuesday once again called on the Caspian Sea littoral states to safeguard security, stability and environment of the world’s largest lake through regional convergence and compliance with the existing legal regime of the sea until the final approval of new agreements.
Addressing the 32nd session of the special working group for drawing up a legal regime for the Caspian Sea in Tehran, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that the Caspian Sea littoral states have been able to arrive at common views on some items regarding the sea, thanks to the ‘friendly and constructive atmosphere’ of the meeting.
He said that Iran sees the Caspian Sea as ‘a scene for constructive cooperation based on mutual respect’, Fars News Agency reported.
Salehi said Iran believes it is possible to resolve Caspian Sea issues and meet countries’ interests merely through consultation and cooperation among regional states.
“Interference of the trans-regional countries will only complicate the problems in the sea and create new challenges,” Salehi reiterated.
He said the legal regime that already exists in the region based on the agreements signed between Iran and former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1921 and 1940 should be respected by the littoral states until new agreements are reached.
The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest enclosed body of water and is variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is estimated to contain between 17 billion and 33 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.
Caspian Sea littoral states are Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
They have been debating their share in the Caspian Sea legal regime since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Although under international law, no state can defy any agreements, which came into being before its establishment, the three new littoral states, established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, do not recognize the previous treaties, triggering a debate on the sea’s future status.
IAEA, Iran to Meet May 15
The UN atomic agency confirmed on Tuesday it will hold a new round of talks with Iran on May 15 in Vienna on nuclear energy program.
“The Agency and Iran have agreed to hold further talks in Vienna on 15 May,” International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor said, AFP reported.
The meeting is ‘aimed at finalizing a structured approach to resolving outstanding issues related’ to Iran’s nuclear program, she said.
Iran has consistently rejected as unfounded what the IAEA calls ‘overall, credible’ evidence that until 2003 and possibly since, it conducted nuclear weapons research.
Iran denies wanting or ever having sought the bomb, and blames the IAEA of basing its conclusions on faulty intelligence from foreign spy agencies--intelligence it complains it has not been allowed to see.
Nine rounds of talks since the publication of a major IAEA report in November 2011 on the issue, have produced no breakthrough. The last was held in February.
Parallel diplomatic efforts between Iran and six major powers--the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany, known collectively as the P5+1--are focused more on Iran’s nuclear activities.
The latest round with the P5+1 in Kazakhstan in early April ended without any breakthrough.
The meeting between Iran and the IAEA comes ahead of the release in late May of the agency’s latest quarterly report, which is expected to show that Tehran has ‘continued to expand its nuclear program’.
Bans on Iranian Media Violate Int’l Laws
A senior Iranian official has lashed out at the restrictions imposed by certain European satellite providers on Iranian channels, saying the move is a blatant violation of international laws and the principle of freedom of speech.
Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said on Tuesday that taking Iranian satellite channels off the air contravenes international regulations, Press TV reported.
“Over 20 Iranian satellite TV and radio channels have been banned, a move which runs counter to the claim of supporting freedom of expression, human rights standards and the free flow of information,” said the envoy at the 35th meeting of the UN Committee on Information.
He called on the countries imposing such restrictions against Iran to ‘reconsider their decision’ and respect the basic principles of democracy and freedom.
Dehqani further urged the UN Department of Public Information (UNDPI) to react appropriately to the restrictions, saying the UN body should provide the public with ‘timely, unbiased and transparent’ information.
Stating that many developing nations are suffering from media monopoly, he said certain countries are taking advantage of ‘this monopoly to distort realities’.
In recent months, European satellite providers have launched a concerted campaign to silence Iran’s international media outlets.
Eutelsat’s Israeli-French CEO Michel de Rosen has stepped up his restrictive campaign by appealing to major satellite providers in Europe and Asia to take Iranian media off the air.
Nukes in US, Europe Threaten Humanity
Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that the tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the United States and around Europe pose a direct threat to humanity.
Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the remarks in a speech at meeting of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in Geneva on Tuesday.
The following is a statement read out by the ambassador at the session:
At the outset and on behalf of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran, allow me add my voice to those delegations that have congratulated you on your election to preside over the second meeting of the Preparatory Committee to lay the groundwork for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. I assure you of my Delegation’s support of your endeavors as well as our contribution to ensure the success of this Committee meeting and, through our work, bring this session to a successful outcome.
I would also like to associate my delegation with the positions stated by the Non-Aligned Movement.
We are gathered here to review the status of the implementation of the 2010 NPT Action Plan as well as other commitments that the states parties to the NPT are obliged to fulfill in achieving a world free from nuclear weapons, in particular the unequivocal undertaking by Nuclear Weapons States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.
Call for real progress on nuclear disarmament and convening the 2012 Middle East Conference are the most important obligations amongst the actions that the 2010 Review Conference decided upon them by consensus. However, the situations of both of these goals are disappointing. The Islamic Republic of Iran has constantly echoed its concern on the discriminatory and double standard approaches by a few unaccountable States Parties in implementing the provisions of the Treaty. Despite of the agreements in 2010, the trend in nuclear disarmament is worrisome and disappointing. Let us examine few facts in this regard:
- The continued existence of tens of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpile of the nuclear-weapon States, most of them on high-trigger alert and their day by day modernization, constitute the most serious threat to the survival of mankind. We, non-nuclear weapon states, do not feel secure living under the blade of using or threat of using of nuclear weapons. Maintaining nuclear weapons stockpiles and strategically rely on them shall not guide the possessors to the resolve that is required for moving toward removing either the risk of their use or their vertical or horizontal proliferation. Having said that, how international community can bear a justification for the possession of nuclear weapons by a small group of States. The most important outcome of the 2010 Conference was reaffirmation of the unequivocal undertaking made by the nuclear-weapon States at the 2000 Review Conference to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenal. However, reaffirmation of commitments in the context of nuclear disarmament does not suffice realization of the goal of nuclear disarmament. Regrettably, declared policies of certain Nuclear Weapon States on nuclear disarmament fall short of practical and measurable steps.
-The Non-Nuclear Weapon States parties to the NPT remains deeply concerned by existing strategic defense doctrines of the nuclear-weapon States that set out the rationales for the use of nuclear weapons. The US Nuclear Posture Review as well as the NATO Strategic Concept which results in broadening justifications for the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons in contravention of NPT obligations of the nuclear weapon states and worrying cases of breaching norms of international law.
-We should add the ongoing plan to deploy a global missile defense system that gravelly threatens the nuclear disarmament goal to worrying cases. Such a plan will not increase the security of its sponsor and host countries. It will only prompt countermeasures by the other nuclear-weapon States that are the main target of such a system to build up and rely more on their nuclear forces, thus, bringing about a new chain of nuclear arms race. Missile defense system is in clear breach of the Action I of the Action Plan on nuclear disarmament agreed upon in the 2010 Review Conference. Ironically by Action- I all the States parties committed themselves to pursue policies that are fully compatible with the objective of achieving a world without nuclear weapons. Regrettably, there is no indication showing that the nuclear weapon states parties are moving in that direction.
-Furthermore, in flagrant violation of its international obligation, On December 5, 2012 US conducted its 27th sub-critical nuclear experiment involving a scale model nuclear warhead primary, a first-of-its-kind sub critical test since signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Such nuclear experiment that’s supportive for advancing nuclear weapons designs and, worse, conducted in an underground area of a nuclear test site which the other Nuclear Weapon States would follow suit, is a recipe for global destabilization. Such sub-critical tests and computer simulations to design new weapons, a case of non–compliance by the United Sates with its international obligations under the NPT could be a resumption of the nuclear arms race and a revival risk of global disaster.
-According to the public sources, nuclear weapons spending have sharply increased from the 2010 till now and it is ‘conservatively estimated, that will reach at least one trillion dollars on nuclear weapons and their direct support systems over the next decade’. Most of it allocated to decisions to upgrade and replace aging nuclear production factories, missiles, submarine s, and bombers. The United States itself will spend untold billions of dollars to operate its nuclear armada during its 50-year planned lifespan (2030 until 2080!). This figure is not included the secret spending of nuclear aspirants such as plutonium re-processing and uranium enrichment facilities or the missiles, planes, and submarines that nuclear aspirants are procuring with a secret dual-use purpose of someday accommodating a nuclear payload.
President Receives Guinean FM
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guinea Conakry Lounceny Fall on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the president said that there is no obstacle to developing bilateral relations, IRNA reported.
“Iran and Guinea are both in the same front of humanity, justice, and freedom; so we should stand next to each other,” the president told his Guinean visitor.
The Guinean foreign minster, for his part, expressed his country’s willingness to strengthen relations with Iran.
He said that Guinea has always supported Iran’s stances in international organizations.
“Our nations have many common points and Guinea has struggled hard and suffered a lot to achieve peace, justice, and freedom and this is why we understand quite well Iran’s independence and freedom-seeking stances in international arena,’ Fall said.
Syria, Mali Crises
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also held talks with Fall on Tuesday.
In the meeting Salehi said the Islamic Republic and Guinea Conakry can work to decrease the scale of crisis plaguing countries like Syria and Mali.
“Iran, as the president of the Non-Aligned Movement, and Guinea Conakry, as a member of this movement and also a member of the African Union, can do their parts to decrease [the level of] these crises and assist to solve them by holding consultations,” said Salehi.
Salehi also warned against the dangers of extremism in different regions of the world.
Iran’s foreign minister hailed political relations between the two Muslim countries, expressing hope for further enhancement of bilateral ties in different fields.
For his part, Fall highlighted common Islamic values between Iran and Guinea Conakry within the framework of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement.
The senior Guinean diplomat further praised Tehran and Conakry’s decision to open embassies in the two countries.
Fall also called for a political solution, along with a dialog, to deal with the Syrian issue and warned against the continuation of crisis in Mali.
Guinea Conakry is located in West Africa, with a population of nearly 10 million people. Muslims comprise some 98 percent of the country’s population.
Over the past years, Iran has defined a special priority on its agenda to boost relations with African countries.
Earlier this month, President Ahmadinejad paid a three-day visit to Niger, Ghana and Benin to develop bilateral economic and political cooperation with the African countries.
Defeating US Soft Plots
A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution’s Guards Corps (IRGC) General Mohammad Ali Assoudi expressed confidence that Iran will overcome the soft plots of the US against the country.