Iranians must be able to have their views heard [fr]
Iran - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 5 January 2018
I would like to thank Assistant Secretary-General Tayé-Brook Zerihoun for his detailed information on the recent events in Iran. We are following the situation on the ground attentively, and on behalf of France I have two main points to make today.
First, we are meeting this afternoon on the subject of the Middle East, more specifically the question of Iran. We all know that there are items on the Security Council’s agenda that enable us to tackle and treat the various dossiers related to international peace and security in the region, whether their subject is the implementation of resolution 2231 (2015) or whether it is Lebanon, Syria, Yemen or Iraq. In that regard, our role and responsibility is to be fully engaged in working to find solutions to the challenges and crises of the Middle East.
It is in that spirit that it is essential to ensure that we can maintain the nuclear agreement with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and enable it to be fully implemented. That approach obtained consensus at the Council’s meeting on 19 December (see S/PV.8143). The agreement commits all of us, and the challenge we face is in implementing it rigorously. The nuclear agreement is a cornerstone of the stability of the entire region. The reverse side of that coin is that its loss would represent a serious step backwards, with potentially dire consequences, not just for the region but for the international community and the nuclear-non-proliferation regime.
We must also be sure to maintain a demanding and realistic dialogue with Iran on containing and limiting its ballistic activity in order to ensure that it does not become a destabilizing factor in the region.
Besides that, we must continue to conduct close exchanges with Iran to enable us to confront Tehran frankly about the concerns created by its inf luence in the Middle East and its role in regional crises, particularly through its actions in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. In all of those countries we must find ways and means to respond to external attempts to assert hegemony, which can lead only to the failure of every effort to stabilize the situation. That is the only way to make progress towards peace and towards inclusive political solutions to the conflicts that have roiled the Middle East in recent years. Despite our sometimes serious differences, which we acknowledge, all of us need that dialogue. France remains more than ever committed to that, while continuing to be watchful, clear-thinking and candid.
The second point I want to make is about the issue that has led the Council to meet today. I would like to voice our concerns about the violence that has followed the demonstrations in Iran in the past few days and about the numerous victims and arrests that have resulted among the protesters. We call on the Iranian authorities to show restraint and calm and to respect fundamental freedoms, including freedom of conscience, expression and communication and the right to peaceful protest. Iranians must be able to demonstrate peacefully and have their views heard. We must remain vigilant in order to ensure that those rights and freedoms are not flouted, as President Macron of France told his Iranian counterpart, President Rouhani, when they spoke on 2 January.
It is up to the Iranians and the Iranians alone to pursue the path of peaceful dialogue, a dialogue that is based on full respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Iranian people. However worrying the events of the past two days in Iran may be, they do not constitute per se a threat to international peace and security. We must respond appropriately, that is, with all the vigilance required by the risks of violence against peaceful demonstrators, while avoiding any manipulation of this crisis, which would only reinforce the extremes and thus have the opposite of the effect we are seeking.
To conclude, let me say that change in Iran will not come from without; it will come from the Iranian people themselves.