Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation in Tehran.  File picture: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addresses the nation in Tehran. File picture: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Unilateralism in the era of multilateralism doomed to failure

By Hamidreza Oraee Time of article published Jul 7, 2020

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“Governments have come to the conclusion that they can neither solve their problems by themselves nor can they prevent others’ transgressive actions. So, they adopted multilateralism,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said.

The era in which we are living, the need for other people is a basic need. Covid-19 is a bitter phenomenon that urges us to cooperate with each other. As witnessed, Cuban doctors came to South Africa to provide assistance, Iran sent fuel and foodstuffs to Venezuela, there are so many other examples of solidarity within the international society. 

Governments believe that they cannot survive without the help of others. Leaders came to the conclusion that the people of the world regardless of their gender, race and nationality need each other. 

According to Article 1 of the Charter of the UN the Purposes of the United Nations are: to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace; to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace. 

Thirdly to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character. And finally to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.

It is not hard to understand from the first article of the most accepted legal instrument in the world that multilateralism is the only true way of reaching UN ends, and it requires everyone’s endeavor.

Unfortunately, even during this condition you can find a government not sharing this humane viewpoint. Trump’s administration still looks towards finding ways to build its walls in the way of other countries, through hostility, threats, withdrawing from multilateral organizations or manipulating the mandate of them, using its power.

While the lives of people are in danger because of Covid19, the US and Israel, in a unilateral manner, announced the “Deal of the Century.” In this futile attempt for a so- called deal, Palestinians won’t have anything. Even their safety is in the hands of the Zionist regime. The US, instead of finding ways to help humanity get rid of Covid 19, they are seeking for a chance to increase the pressure on Iran, Venezuela and other independent countries. The US already started designating Iranian individuals by name. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo named Iran’s sanctions as the toughest ever US sanctions against Iran

As Minister Zarif mentioned, “In today’s world, the West cannot take all decisions for international developments, governments cannot decide for the world unilaterally, because they have lost their monopoly over international decision making.” The time for bullying is over.

Iran as an independent country, in all aspects believes in multilateralism. Even for the security of the Persian Gulf, the HOPE initiative has been offered from Iran’s side to countries of the region. Iran believes that security is not reachable unless all of the influential players do their best to that end. 

Fortunately, many of the independent countries in the world, like South Africa, also believe in multilateralism as the only solution to end world crisis.  

As President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his telephone conversation with President Hasan Rouhani, “I believe that it is extremely unfortunate that at a perilous time like this, when people are dying and when we should all be working together, sanctions are still enforced. This should be a time of solidarity and compassion."

Naledi Pandor, the Minister of international relations and cooperation, mentioned in the webinar on Imam Khomeini, Nelson Mandela; great leaders of all times, "South Africa maintains its principled position that unilateralism threatens the global balance of power, security and stability in a relatively volatile environment." 

International cooperation, dialogue and consultation is, therefore, critical to ensure peaceful interaction among states.

Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN, said, “Multilateralism works. I am deeply convinced that there is no other way to deal with global challenges than with smart, evidence-based global responses, organized in a multilateral way to benefit all.”

Now that the world is seeking a multilateral way to solve struggles such as unemployment, hatred, racism, as we witnessed recently in the US, education problems, hunger and unilateral sanctions against independent countries such as Iran and Venezuela, we, as a whole, need to work together to overcome the ominous presence of unilateralism. People of the world need solidarity, affection and kindness - there is no place for hostility. 

Iran’s Foreign Minister believes that unilateralism is “dangerous” and “doomed to failure”. 

* Hamidreza Oraee is the spokesperson of the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in South Africa.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of IOL.

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