Environment protection and development remain elusive in the absence of peace and security

Masoomeh-Ebtekar

Iran’s environment chief has praised the Lausanne agreement, saying it marked a watershed in the history of international measures to bury the hatchet.

The head of the Environment Protection Organization said Wednesday that the nuclear agreement Iran and P5+1 struck in Lausanne last week carried a message for the whole world: Iran has a pivotal role to play in creating a balance in a troubled region beset by incessant wars and [growing] insecurity.

The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) quoted Masoumeh Ebtekar as further saying that the negotiating capability of the Iranian nuclear team is a source of pride for the Iranian nation. The following is a partial translation of what else the environment chief said:

She said that the outbreak of different wars in the region has rendered Western Asia and the Middle East region insecure, adding that a multi-lateral agreement on the nuclear rights of the Iranian nation and the removal of unjust sanctions against Iran show Tehran’s pivotal role in maintaining the regional equilibrium.

Ebtekar said that we have witnessed cases in which go-it-alone policies and interference have created insecurity in countries, adding that a case in point is what Saudi Arabia is doing now against Yemen.

Ebtekar went on to say that the Lausanne statement signals a clear message to the world that Iran has taken a positive attitude toward settling disputes as it tries to serve the interests of its people and respect their dignity.

Iran has demonstrated its determination to hold dialogue to reach a comprehensive agreement which can protect Iran’s rights and help lift the sanctions, she said, adding that the current conditions are a turning point in regional and international relations.

The environment chief further said regional balance, security and peace are the prelude to progress and substantially contribute – from various angles – to improving people’s living conditions and the environment, maintaining balance, restoring security and calm, and establishing cooperation at a global level.

Ebtekar then touched upon the Dialogue among Civilizations – an initiative put forward by the then Iranian president [Mohammad Khatami] in 2001 – and said Iran’s initiative preceded the 9/11 attacks. “President Rouhani’s WAVE (World against Violence and Extremism) proposal was also floated before the emergence of ISIL – an ominous phenomenon – and this shows that Iran has been a pioneer in establishment of peace as well as regional and global balance.

She went on to express hope that all parties involved in nuclear talks will show goodwill and work for a fair, balanced agreement.

Ebtekar said the Lausanne agreement carries much weight for Iran environmentally because security and calm together with the settlement of disputes come before sustainable development.

Regional conflicts which have caused huge collateral damage along with sanctions which target people’s lives have taken a heavy toll on the environment, she said, stressing that sanctions put on hold Iran’s efforts to live up to air quality standards and curb greenhouse emissions. Consequently, Iran embarked on the implementation of its international obligations on greenhouse emissions later than expected.

The environment chief also thanked the Supreme Leader for guiding the Iranian negotiating team as it held talks with world powers.

She praised the serious efforts the president has put in and the professional endeavors of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his team, saying this is a praiseworthy example of the resolution of international disputes.

She said that the breakthrough [in Lausanne] is a great achievement for both the Iranian nation and the international community, adding that it shows the victory of multilateralism over unilateralism.

It is an outstanding achievement that Iran managed to build a consensus despite differences of opinion and conflicts of interest, she said, adding that the Lausanne agreement can be viewed as a major milestone in international efforts to solve differences.

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