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'Political agenda' behind Syria war crimes panel: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nation

Iran has denounced a US-backed resolution to establish a panel on war crimes cases in Syria, stating that the measure could frustrate attempts to produce a political solution to the six-year-old conflict.

“We find the draft resolution to be an unconstructive move, on both legal and political grounds,” Iran’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said in New York on Wednesday.

The resolution, “in its entirety, is in violation of the (UN) Charter and the fundamental principle of state sovereignty,” he added.

Dehqani said law enforcement and prosecution of criminals fall strictly within the domestic jurisdiction of states, thus the establishment of an investigative mechanism without the consent of the Damascus government amounts to utter disregard to Syria’s sovereignty.

“As such, this initiative is also in violation of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, including Article 2.7 by intervening in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of a UN member state,” he said.

Dehqani said the resolution “undoubtedly seeks to advance a political agenda under the disguise of quest for justice.”

“It is quite noticeable that right after the retake of eastern Aleppo by the Syrian Army from the terrorists, suddenly different initiatives with a clear political agenda have been pushed at different levels,” he said.

Dehqani said Iran has frequently reiterated that there is no military solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria, and Syrians should decide their political future by themselves.

The Islamic Republic has also stressed the need for a genuine Syrian-led peace process in order to bring about peace and national reconciliation, he added.

Dehqani pointed to a Tuesday meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian and Turkish counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu in Moscow, describing it as an example of how to put political process back on track.

“This draft resolution before us today is not in the right direction, as it can undermine the efforts to foster a political solution to the crisis,” he said.

“By establishing an illegal investigation mechanism and introducing conditionality, this draft will serve no purpose other than creating impediments in the way towards achieving a political solution for the crisis,” Dehqani added.

The draft resolution, he said, fails to address the root causes of terrorism in Syria, and will only serve the impunity of those who have formed, financed, armed and ideologically nurtured terrorist groups and foreign terrorist fighters there

On Wednesday, the General Assembly adopted a Lichtenstein-drafted resolution to set up a panel to prepare Syria war crimes cases.

The measure was co-sponsored by countries like the United States, France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia as well as Turkey, which are known to be the major sponsors of Takfiri terrorists fighting to unseat the Syrian government. 

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