Speaking for the first time as the President of one of the main member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, at the 23rd Council of Heads of State of this important regional organisation, Ebrahim Raeisi said that the greatest capacity of the member countries for unity and peacebuilding is their civilizational capacity, adding, “Now that this ancient continent has recovered, it must once again become a civilisation-building by relying on ethics, spirituality, justice, rationality and respect for human dignity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is a symbol of this “great family of civilisations”, is now standing in a position that can establish new horizons of regional convergence and security-building cooperation.”
The President emphasized, “Respect for the values and sanctities of the nations is a unifying principle, and any insult to the values, especially the insult of some European countries to the Holy Quran, shows its moral downfall and causes hatred and spread of insecurity, which should be dealt with by display of the unity by civilised nations.”
The full text of the President’s speech at the 23rd Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation hosted by India is as follows:
First of all, I would like to thank the honourable Prime Minister of India for hosting and others involved in holding this important summit. I take this opportunity to, on behalf of the nation and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, express my satisfaction due to the official accession of the Islamic Republic of Iran as the ninth official member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Also, I sincerely thank the efforts made by the secretariat and the respected members of the organisation.
The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, as a growing organisation with significant characteristics and capacities, has a privileged position in promoting the development of political, security and economic cooperation. Certainly, the benefits of the official membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation will remain in history.
In particular, I hope that Iran’s presence in this important and influential organisation will provide a platform for collective security, lead to sustainable development, expand links and communications, strengthen unity, respect the sovereignty of countries more than ever before, and provide synergies to deal with environmental threats.
Now, I would like to briefly state some points related to the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in these six areas:
Regarding security; The experience of different nations in the last two decades has shown more than ever that security is an endogenous matter and a collective achievement. Sustainable peace and stability is possible when the nations of the region rely on common ideals arising from their culture and civilisation and provide a platform for cooperation. Regional security is started by the will of the nations, strengthened by the will of the governments, and is achieved far from the intervention of the dominating powers.
Based on such a view, the Islamic Republic of Iran has made the policy of “neighbourhood and convergence” the basis of its foreign policy and considers it the best way to achieve regional peace and stability. With the experience of more than two decades of successfully fighting terrorism and extremism, the Islamic Republic of Iran has proven its commitment to ensuring security and fighting hegemony in the region and is ready to share its experience and capabilities within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation mechanisms so that we can move towards a region free from terrorism, extremism and separatism.
Regarding economy; The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation comprises more than 60% of the population of the Eurasian region and more than 40% of the world’s population. This huge capacity has given this organisation a wide potential to develop trade and deepen economic cooperation in various forms.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, while supporting constructive initiatives such as the “Global Development Initiative”, believes that the cooperation of its members in the fields of energy, technology, industry, agriculture, trade and commerce can open a clear vision of a just regional order for the nations of the world. This is while the Western hegemonic powers, by resorting to economic coercion and sanctions, have jeopardised the security and economic prosperity and the principles of fair trade in the world.
Relying on the experience of the past decades, it is now quite evident that, along with militarism, what forms the basis of the Western domination system has been the dominance of the dollar and therefore any attempt to shape a fair international system requires the removal of this instrument of dominance in intra-regional relations.
Expanding the use of national currencies in international trade and financial exchanges between the members of this organization and their business partners requires more serious attention. The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes any move to introduce financial payment instruments based on modern technologies to facilitate financial exchanges between members and business partners, especially in multilateral frameworks.
Possessing expert human resources and significant achievements in the field of advanced technologies and modern sciences is one of the special capacities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which can strengthen multilateral economic cooperation. The Iranian nation, relying on its domestic power and indigenous knowledge, has been able to achieve high levels of scientific production, technology, biotechnology, medicine, nano, engineering, electronics, defence and many knowledge-based areas -areas requested by many countries for cooperation. The Islamic Republic is also ready to share its experiences and achievements while developing scientific and technological cooperation.
Regarding strengthening links; General economic development requires the expansion of transit and transportation links and routes in the region. Expanding these links can help achieve the lofty goal of economic convergence only by respecting the sovereignty of countries.
Currently, very valuable initiatives are underway at the Eurasian level, which have been able to link the member countries together and provide the infrastructure for the expansion of trade between the nations of the region. The Islamic Republic of Iran has always declared its full support for the existing mega-projects such as the North-South Corridor and the Belt-Road Project and has made it a priority. In this regard, with the efforts of Iranian experts and the joint cooperation of Iran and Russia, the completion of the North-South Corridor rail route has entered the implementation stage. The use of this communication highway can help to improve and stabilise global supply chains and bring security to the nations of the region. In this regard, we are ready to carry out the necessary cooperation to organise the transportation of goods and passengers, increase the access of members to global markets and coordinate transportation policies. We believe that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation can facilitate the cooperation of member countries to advance and develop existing transit projects and define new initiatives.
Also, the security and infrastructural advantages of the Islamic Republic of Iran to increase energy transmission lines can be provided to the respected members of Shanghai for the implementation of joint economic projects with high-efficiency guarantees.
Regarding unity; the historical and cultural ties between the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have brought common ideals, goals and interests and led us to a common definition of security and development. The most important step in strengthening unity is to protect local progressive norms, make rules on those norms, and prevent Western norms from prevailing so that cooperative concepts are not emptied of their real meanings.
Our greatest capacity for unity and peacemaking is our civilisational capacity. Now that this ancient continent has recovered, it must once again become a civilisation-building by relying on ethics, spirituality, justice, rationality and respect for human dignity. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is a symbol of this “great family of civilisations”, is now standing in a position that can establish new horizons of regional convergence and security-building cooperation.
Respect for the values and sanctities of the nations is a unifying principle, and any insult to the values, especially the insult of some European countries to the Holy Quran, shows its moral downfall and causes hatred and spread of insecurity, which should be dealt with by display of the unity by civilised nations.
Regarding respect for the sovereignty of nations: multilateralism in the contemporary world means joint efforts and synergy of independent countries to achieve a common good. Such a perception of multilateralism is in conflict with security alliances to promote violence and hostility with other countries. Real multilateralism is for the benefit of the nations and not for the powers. In the light of respecting the sovereignty of countries and relying on mutually beneficial cooperation, the lofty goals of security and sustainable development can be realised.
The government that is celebrating its independence anniversary today the 4th of July violates the independence of many countries and has denied the right to self-determination from many nations, especially the Palestinian nation.
There is no free human being or a civilised nation without caring for the cause of Palestine and the freedom of this oppressed nation from the oppression and occupation of the Zionist Regime. Today’s crimes of the Zionist Regime in the Jenin camp are a reminder of the painful crimes of the occupation of Palestine in 1948. The Zionist Regime is an objective symbol of encroaching on the sovereignty of nations.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, while respecting the sovereignty of all independent nations, condemns any interference in the internal affairs of countries and considers the strengthening of national sovereignty as the main solution to deal with insecurity and terrorism.
Regarding the environment: one of the most important threats that threaten the world community in the present era is climate change. Climate change has the possibility of turning into geopolitical tensions that can cause complex security crises for countries. Our region is also facing various environmental threats such as a lack of water resources, air warming and soil erosion. The nature of these threats is such that it is not possible to deal with them except in the light of multilateral cooperation, understanding possible damages in the long term and setting rules and regulations within the framework of regional organisations. In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that by creating multilateral mechanisms, including the formation of joint working groups for the fair management and distribution of water resources, such challenges can be prevented from turning into tension.
In the end, while thanking again the honourable Prime Minister of India for hosting and others involved in the successful holding of this important meeting, I congratulate the new chairmanship of the organisation to the Republic of Kazakhstan and wish the success of this valuable summit in achieving its great goals.