In a Monday statement, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Public Relations Office stressed that Iran’s accession to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), also known as the Palermo Convention, will have important benefits for the country.
The statement was issued in response to some ambiguities and questions raised over the negative consequences of Iran’s joining the convention, which was unanimously approved by the Iranian Parliament on January 25, 2018.
In its announcement, the Foreign Ministry has underlined that the convention can set the stage for bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation with other member states on tackling the threats posed by organized crime, especially in the domain of judicial cooperation and extradition of criminals.
“Given the growing importance, for Iran, of some instances of transnational organized crime such as the smuggling of historical items, the Islamic Republic of Iran can promote its judicial measures on the international stage by tapping into the potentialities of the convention,” the response reads.
The announcement highlights that the UNTOC is the most important international document in fighting transnational organized crime and serves as a tool to coordinate efforts among governments to effectively combat different crimes.
The Foreign Ministry’s statement stresses that the convention is only aimed at tackling crimes committed for financial and material gains such as the smuggling of narcotics, humans and antiquities.
“It goes without saying that the convention is not concerned, whatsoever, with terrorist crimes, sponsoring terrorism and other crimes with a political nature,” reads the Foreign Ministry’s statement.
“Therefore, given the objectives and subject of the convention, there is no point linking the convention to the activities of liberation organizations and resistance groups,” reads the statement, which tried to assure the hardline critics in Iran that the accession will not influence Iran’s support for the resistance movements in the Middle East.
The statement further reads that the struggles of liberation organizations and resistance groups fighting foreign occupation have been identified and recognized in accordance with international law and in line with the right to self-determination.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25 of 15 November 2000, along with its protocols, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime. It opened for signature by Member States at a High-level Political Conference convened for that purpose in Palermo, Italy, on 12-15 December 2000 and entered into force on 29 September 2003.
The Convention is further supplemented by three Protocols, which target specific areas and manifestations of organized crime: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition. Countries must become parties to the Convention itself before they can become parties to any of the Protocols.