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Iran in sync with India's South South cooperation call

September 25, 2013 09:25 IST

Iranian President Dr Hassan Rouhani Tuesday talked about the greater need for South-South cooperation, an issue closer to India’s heart and expected to be addressed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this Saturday.

Official sources said that one of the issues that would likely figure in Singh’s address to the UNGA, among other issues is South-South cooperation.

The Iranian president said Tuesday that at this sensitive juncture in the history of global relations, the age of zero-sum games is over, even though a few actors still tend to rely on ‘archaic and deeply ineffective ways and means’ to preserve their old superiority and domination. Militarism and the recourse to violent and military means to subjugate others are failed examples of the perpetuation of old ways in new circumstances.

India has repeatedly told the UNGA and the UN Security Council in reference to reform that the world has changed and the old global order cannot and should not continue.

Rouhani told the UNGA that was addressed by two dozen countries, that coercive economic and military policies and practices geared to the maintenance and preservation of old superiorities and dominations have been pursued in a ‘conceptual mindset’ that negates peace, security, human dignity, and exalted human ideals.

“Ignoring differences between societies and globalising Western values as universal ones represent another manifestation of this conceptual mindset,” he said. “Yet another reflection of the same cognitive model is the persistence of Cold War mentality and bi-polar division of the world into ‘superior us’ and ‘inferior others’”.

“The prevalent international political discourse depicts a civilised center surrounded by un-civilised peripheries. In this picture, the relation between the center of world power and the peripheries is hegemonic. The discourse assigning the North the center stage and relegating the South to the periphery has led to the establishment of a monologue at the level of international relations.

“The creation of illusory identity distinctions and the current prevalent violent forms of xenophobia are the inevitable outcome of such a discourse. Propagandistic and unfounded faith -- phobic, Islamo-phobic, Shia-phobic, and Iran-phobic discourses do indeed represent serious threats against world peace and human security,” the Iranian president said.

He said that that unjust sanctions, ‘as manifestation of structural violence’ are intrinsically inhumane and against peace. And contrary to the claims of those who pursue and impose them, it is not the states and the political elite that are targeted, but rather, it is the common people who are victimised by these sanctions.

”Let us not forget millions of Iraqis who, as a result of sanctions covered in international legal jargon, suffered and lost their lives, and many more who continue”.

The president said that Iran's nuclear program -- and for that matter, that of all other countries -- must pursue exclusively peaceful purposes.

“I declare here, openly and unambiguously, that, notwithstanding the positions of others, this has been, and will always be, the objective of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Nuclear weapon and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions. Our national interests make it imperative that we remove any and all reasonable concerns about Iran's peaceful nuclear program,” he said.

Image: Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday

Photograph: Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

Suman Guha Mozumder in New York