Thursday, July 10, 2008
On July 8, 2008, Ambassador William H. Luers, president of the United Nations Association of the USA, issued the following statement concerning House Concurrent Resolution 362 expressing the sense of Congress regarding US policy toward Iran.
The United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) expresses its concern over provisions of House Concurrent Resolution (H. Con. Res.) 362 that could be interpreted as demanding the violation of important principles and obligations of the United Nations Charter.
H. Con. Res. 362 would seek to toughen United States policy toward Iran in ways that could increase the possibility of conflict between the two countries, while appearing to eschew active engagement with our friends and allies in the United Nations to build the essential broad international consensus needed to address Iran’s nuclear program and related issues.
In particular, UNA-USA believes that the approach advanced in the concurrent resolution, including specifically “demands” that the President undertake an international effort to prohibit the export to Iran of refined petroleum products; to impose “stringent inspection requirements” on all persons, transport and cargo entering Iran; and to forbid the international movement of any Iranian government officials not involved in the current negotiations to suspend that country’s nuclear program, can be construed to authorize forcible actions that violate fundamental principles of international law.
Where the concurrent resolution calls on the President to undertake an “international effort” to increase pressure on Iran to suspend its nuclear enrichment activities, UNA-USA urges the sponsors of the resolution to specifically require that any such international effort be undertaken “within the United Nations Security Council”.
UNA-USA believes that the United States should work through the Security Council on all measures that would be intended to bring pressure on Iran. We encourage all nations to refrain from using language that can be interpreted as threatening the use of force, noting that “the threat or use of force” is explicitly in violation of the United Nations Charter except in the case of self-defense or upon authorization by the UN Security Council.
UNA-USA recognizes that Iran has not complied with Security Council resolutions concerning its nuclear program. The Security Council has been methodically giving effect to its resolutions by collectively agreed sanctions. We believe that the United States is more likely to realize its goals in this area by working with others than by going it alone.
Hat tip to Chris Tangney at UNA-USA.