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Iran Slams Foreign Interference as A Root Cause of Violent Extremism

17 February 2016 10:01


Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said violent extremism, which is now a serious threat to the international community, derives from occupation of countries by the foreigners, destabilization of legitimate governments, military interventions and regime change policies.

In an address to the formal debate of the UN General Assembly on the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism in New York on Tuesday, Gholamali Khoshroo called for more coordination among the UN members to fight against violent extremism.

Back in September 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani put forth an initiative to the United Nations General Assembly, titled the World Against Violence and Extremism (WAVE).

The following is the full text of Mr. Khoshroo’s statement at the UN:

In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful;

Mr. President,

I thank you for organizing this formal debate on the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism presented by the Secretary General.

It is our understanding -as also stated earlier in the two previous meetings- that the PoA is a significant initiative that both raises awareness and call for coordination among and action by Member States against violent extremism, which is currently the most pressing threat against security, stability as well as socio-economic achievements and social fabric of many countries around the world.

We reiterate our support to many of the ideas, elements and proposed remedies contained in this document. As the main sponsor of the General Assembly resolutions on A World against Violence and Violent Extremism (WAVE for short) and Dialogue among Civilizations, we see much added value in this proposed Plan of Action, should it initiate an open and inclusive dialogue aimed at effectively dealing with this global threat. Such a process would signal the resolve of the International Community to prevent and combat the heinous phenomenon of Violent Extremism.

We also reiterate our firm position that violent extremism, in all its forms and manifestations, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group, while recognizing the commitment of all religions to peace.

Meanwhile, we would like to take this opportunity to highlight a few issues in the PoA that we think require further attention and reflection by Member States:

– Methodologically, while parts of the PoA contain a deep and even academic approach, other parts are just reflecting on some current events and specific cases which may become obsolete and irrelevant even in the near future. Consistency would have brought more credibility to the text.

– Should the PoA be concentrated on violent extremism conducive to terrorism, it is then expected to avoid discussing unrelated issues which do not fit in the scope of the text. Each agenda needs to be considered within its own appropriate context. For instance, part of the groups mentioned in paragraph 19 are hardly relevant to the content of the PoA.

– At the same time, the text is silent on a number of significant causes that have enraged millions of people and, at the same time, been used by terrorists as recruiting tools. Indeed, some of them are main root causes of violent extremism and it is unfortunate that PoA has decided to overlook such drivers. Foreign occupation, which is per se a manifestation of violent extremism, has been used to incite violence out of desperation and hopelessness. Destabilization of legitimate governments by mobilizing, arming and funding armed groups is another driver that can create breading grounds and lead to the rise of violent extremism. Meanwhile, foreign and military interventions and regime change policies have significantly and globally fed violent extremism. They all deserved to be addressed and highlighted in the Report.

– It is true that the Internet and modern social media have been exploited by extremists to advance their vicious objectives. However, the PoA once again fails to recognize the unconstructive and even destructive role that mainstream media and news outlets in some countries have played in promoting sectarianism, intolerance, xenophobic attitudes and racism. Many youth, mainly from disfranchised minority communities, are being pushed towards radicalization because of fallacious policies by some major media outlets.

In conclusion, we once again welcome the initiative of the Secretary General while reiterating our position that for Member States to own the process and its outcome, they should have ample and adequate opportunity to express themselves on this critical subject.

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