Iran calls on international community to defend multilateralism

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Iran’s Foreign Minister has called on the international community to defend multilateralism and deny the United States any perceived benefit from its unlawful unilateralism.

Mohammed Zarif was speaking at a high-level event at the United Nations General Assembly commemorating the inaugural International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy.

His firm rebuke of U.S. policy towards his country comes after Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the multilateral Iran Nuclear Deal and the State Department announcement earlier this week that all countries will have to end their imports of Iranian oil or face U.S. sanctions.

As of May 2nd, the State Department will no longer provide waivers to any country that currently purchases oil from the Iran – after the broad imposition of sanctions last year.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says on Monday, “With the announcement today we’ve made clear our seriousness of purpose. We are going to zero. We, how long we remain there at zero depends solely on the Islamic Republic Iran’s senior leaders. We’ve made our demands very clear to the Ayatollah and his cronies: end your pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring and committing terrorism, halt the arbitrary detention of U.S. citizens. Our pressure is aimed at fulfilling these demands and others and it will continue to accelerate until Iran is willing to address them at the negotiating table.”

This was Iran’s response through Foreign Minister Zarif speaking at the UN General Assembly.

“To defend multilateralism, it is imperative to deny the United States any perceived benefit from its unlawful unilateralism and to forcefully reject any pressure it brings to bear on others to violate international law, security council resolutions and multilateralism in general. And in rejecting unilateralism, we all have a responsibility to collectively hold any government, however powerful, accountable for the consequences of it’s destructive unilateralism.”

Iran has rejected the U.S. move as overreach that undermines the foundations of multilateralism, which includes it’s withdrawal from the 2015 landmark Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with the EU, Russia, China and Iran. He listed other U.S. moves that undermine the international rules-based system.

“Extraterritorial imposition of domestic legislation, flouting of international accords, rejecting ICJ orders, arbitrary designation of armed forces of a sovereign state as a terrorist organisation, breeding radicalism through reckless and pointless unilateral forever wars. Unilateral shielding of terror-sponsoring clients from their war-crimes and unilateral recognition of illegal and racist annexations.”

At an earlier meeting at the Asia society here in New York, Zarif said they were allergic to pressure urging the United States to try the language of respect.

“We believe that Iran will continue to sell its oil. We will continue to find buyers for our oil and we will continue to use the Strait of Hormuz as a safe transit passage for the sale of our oil. That is our intention and that is what we believe will happen. But if the United States takes the crazy measure of trying to prevent us from doing that, then it should be prepared for the consequences.”

Zarif also suggested possible cooperation with the United States to bring stability to Iraq and Afghanistan, while expressing an openness to explore prisoner swaps with Washington.