“While the entire world continues to grapple with the most devastating pandemic of the modern era, the US continues to impose unilateral coercive measures, including illegal economic sanctions, on countries that are greatly suffering from the grave consequences of the pandemic,” Hajilari said in a statement addressing Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session.
Excerpts of his speech are as follows:
With this introduction, allow me to elaborate a little on the situation of my country in terms of sustainable development. Despite all these unjust and illegal pressures and sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued its efforts to achieve sustainable development and as a result of these tireless efforts we have been able to rank 56thamong 166 countries in the Sustainable Development Goals Index, according to the Sustainable Development Report 2020.
The year 2020 is a turning point in our journey towards development. It marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the start of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.
At the same time, we are facing a catastrophic devastating global challenge namely COVID-19, which threatens the life and livelihood of all people on earth in an unprecedented manner. In a way that decades of development achievements have been reversed.
Unfortunately, at this very critical juncture where the world needs solidarity, unity and unconditional resort to multilateralism more than ever, we face a surplus of unilateral approaches and a deficit of multilateral solutions.
While the entire world continues to grapple with the most devastating pandemic of the modern era, the US continues to impose unilateral coercive measures, including illegal economic sanctions, on countries that are greatly suffering from the grave consequences of the pandemic.
While in principle, unilateral coercive measures are, under all circumstances, contrary to and violate international law as well as the Charter of the United Nations, it is really an unforgivable sin that the US is continuing to impose new UCMs against various countries, including mine, even now in the middle of this critical situation despite the fact that Iran is experiencing a serious, deadly outbreak of the virus. In fact, my country is now fighting on two fronts.
First, it is fighting the COVID-19 outbreak, and secondly, it is a fight against the US’ economic and health terrorism.
The latter adversely affects Iran’s ability in the former.
With this introduction, allow me to elaborate a little on the situation of my country in terms of sustainable development. Despite all these unjust and illegal pressures and sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has continued its efforts to achieve sustainable development and as a result of these tireless efforts we have been able to rank 56thamong 166countries in the Sustainable Development Goals Index, according to the “Sustainable Development Report 2020”.
On education, ending illiteracy and providing universal free public education up to secondary school has approached its full realization. The literacy rate is currently above 97% of the population.
Pertaining to women and their participation in social as well as economic sectors, currently, 27% of faculty members, more than 50% of college students, and almost 37% of medical doctors are women.
As far as climate change mitigation and adaptation is concerned, the special circumstances of my country under the illegitimate and unilateral sanctions has left no access to the means of implementation for climate action under the Convention.
Obstacles are growing and prevent the Government to continue with the follow up actions and allocate necessary financial resources to put them in their implementation phase.
Despite all these obstacles, the strategy of low carbon economy is one of the environmental mandates under which Iran has made significant strides in transforming to low carbon economy. Iran, amongst other policies and programs in moving towards emission mitigation and adaptation, has been able to provide access to natural gas to 95 percent of its population.
Sand and dust storms, is one of multilayer challenges we are facing across the larger region.
Though, according to numerous reports of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies, more than two third of the countries around the world suffer, to different degrees, from this environmental challenge, when it comes to our region, our share of the dust is more severe, more frequent and more complex, due to interconnectedness between drought, desertification, unsustainable development plans and countless more factors.
Damage to crops, rising mortality, damage to infrastructure, interruption of urban services, impairment in communication systems, low or lack of visibility and increasing health problems are among the issues that sand and dust storms bring about for the region.
Iran, facing the thickest barrier of sand in some parts, for a large portion of dry season, has put in place a comprehensive national plan to deal with desertification and drought and to address the harmful effects of sand and dust storms.
Vast areas have undergone rehabilitation plans, planting green walls schemes, construction of wind breakers and the like and huge amount of resources have been allocated to these operations, despite financial constraints.
The objective of these massive plans has been containing the sand and dust storms hotspots and reducing the impact on areas beyond our borders.
However, a large number of hotspots in the region still impact our country and that is why we need to reach out to others in the region to synergize our efforts in dealing with the issue.
This is exactly where the entire UN development system has to assist countries in the region to address the issue and to mitigate harmful effects of these storms. We extend our hands to all in the region to join the UN Coalition to Combat Dust and Sand Storms for a collective approach tothe issue.
Unlawful unilateral coercive measures broadly exercised by some countries including unjustified and illegal economic, financial and trade sanctions with extra-territorial reach imposed against developing countries, have alarmingly intensified, causing untold human suffering, depriving many countries from their inalienable right to development, undermining the realization of the SDGs and even reversing the progress already made.
In such a dire and unfair condition, a strong renewed commitment to multilateralism is greatly essential.
This is especially the case when it comes to threatening the life of an entire nation and suppressing other countries’ development by waging economic terrorism against them.
It is the responsibility of the International community to take concrete steps based on political commitment in adopting policies and measures to eliminate such illegal and unfair acts and to create an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development in the spirit of global partnership and solidarity.