Breaking News: Iran has officially announced to pursue the production of nuclear arms

By Alexandra LUX

After the United States of America have left the JCPOA and repeatedly tried to convince other European countries to do so, Marja and current Supreme Leader of Iran, Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, has announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its nuclear program and does not rule out to pursue weapons of mass destruction in the future. Khamenei emphasized that this is necessary to ensure its safety within the international community.

The exact wording ran as follows:

“The United States, their puppet states and the satanical terrorist regime occupying the territory of Palestine have shown their true colours: they are forces of evil that are seeking to destroy the Iran! The expectation that the Iranian nation will put up with sanctions and give up its nuclear activities is an insult to our dignity. The betrayal by the US and its lying president has made JCPOA worthless for Iran. I warn the United States and their puppets – an attack on the Islamic Republic will mean war! We have continued our enrichment of Uranium, and we will take all necessary steps to defend ourselves. Aggression by our enemies will be retaliated for – tenfold! In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful, the noble Iranian nation and its people will persist and be victorious!”

The reactions of the international community remains to be seen.

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SIXTH COMMITTEE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY —PRESS RELEASE

From Jamaica, Mozambique, Venezuela, Colombia, China, Vietnam, Switzerland, Norway

The delegations from the countries are deeply concerned about the recent occurrences in the legal committee. An alliance leaded by the honourable delegates representing the United States and France is willing to legalise unauthorized and unilateral attacks in conflict areas. Not just that the support of France in this case is surprising after calling the US-president `unpredictable` in the session yesterday. Especially, almost half of the legal committee does not agree at all to such a threat towards the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the affected member states.

Being aware of the importance of protecting the integrity of international law should be a responsibility of all fellow member states of the United Nations.

We are convinced that unauthorized interventions will cause unpredictable challenges and problems for all member states of the United Nations.

The delegations mentioned above further declare their pledge to mutual cooperation and peaceful dispute resettlement.

Tackling All Aspects of Women in Conflict Zones Without Observing Current Issues: Mission Impossible?

By Sofia RISCHIO

The UNHRC has had a productive day. The committee chose the topic, The Situation of Women in Conflict Zones, seeing the urgency in this global issue. The committee’s Honorable Chair, Arun Joseph, shared his opinion during the lunch break where he expressed his satisfaction with the delegates’ progress in the first session and how efficiently they had been working. He revealed high hopes for the committee’s working papers and expects the group to move to the second topic tomorrow.

Nearly all of the delegates have come together and have drafted a working paper focusing on three major aspects of Women in Conflict Zones. The group has divided to address different issues, which they plan on drafting together into a single working paper. The topics are: Education/ Awareness (Argentina, Germany, South Korea, Nigeria, among others), Refugee Camps (Ethiopia, India and Croatia) and Impunity (Mexico, China, the UK, among others).

There are a few interesting aspects of this working paper. First, it is quite surprising that nearly every nation is willing to work together. As a huge part of the issue stems from the actions of government officials and military members themselves, it is interesting to see delegations express positions on the solutions, which do not quite represent their nation’s actions.

Additionally, the group is attempting to address a lot in a single working paper. From the development of an online-platform for women to share experiences to the division of regions into declared or non-declared conflict zones the span of issues is quite wide. Such an extensive paper may lead to difficulties when implementing the solutions in the field.

Lastly, the group has refrained from observating current situations of women in conflict zones. Current global issues include, for example, the fleeing women of the Rohingya Muslims, the Syrian women and children escaping their worn-torn homeland, the women stuck in the middle of the Mexican drug-war and the Oromo conflict in Ethiopia.

Seeing as many of the UNHRC delegations’ nations are currently facing conflict, it has been surprising to hear little testimony to the occuring atrocities. This leads to the question: are delegations referring from pointing the attention on themselves? Or perhaps ignoring their nations’ own wrongdoings? Tomorrow’s continuation will surely give more insight. Stay tuned!

A Heated Fight about “The Question of Jerusalem”

By Jenany VETHANAYAGAM

The day started with an unanimous decision by the committee to set the agenda. The agenda was set on the topic of “The Question of Jerusalem” as the priority by the outright majority. Just after setting the topic for the upcoming days, the United States of America got really euphoric by posting their first post on Twitter: Huge first win in the SPECPOL committee this morning… Jerusalem will be discussed first…[..] #makespecpolgrestagain#CapitalofIsrael”.

The first moderated caucus where the position of some countries were immediately recognizable led to really interesting and fruitful debates. But it also created a separation between the committee as the Russian Federation stated there are “the neutral supporter[s] for peace for Israel and Palestine” and the “Anti-Israel” side. Questionable arguments were posed by delegates, which increased the heat in this discussion. This moderated was mostly conducted by Iran who underlined their support for Palestine and made some countries, like the United States of America, Myanmar and New Zealand, disgruntled. The big supporters against the “Muslim countries”. The question remained: was there a direction to this heated separation?

After some intense debates, there were already some delegations working on possible working papers. It was very noticeable how fast the opinions had been set by the countries and how Member States, like Iran, Turkey and some other delegations, were trying to convince other nations about the importance of the separation of Jerusalem. On the other side of the room, Member States — like the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Fiji and Myanmar — teamed up to find the another way for the future of Israel and Palestine.

Two working papers have been submitted and both are focusing on one aspect: freedom. But how this going to end? Details of both working papers are not published yet and we are looking forward to another intense and heated debate tomorrow. Will there be a Resolution passed soon? We will see!

Debating on what to debate: The Endless Saga of the United Nations Security Council

By Alexandra LUX

We could call it exceptional, outstanding, extraordinary or maybe we could just use the word unusual to describe the first three sessions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). After quickly rejecting Topic A that would have focused on state-sponsored terrorism, the twelve delegates representing Kuwait, France, Equatorial Guinea, Cote D’Ivoire, China, Bolivia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, the Russian Federation, the United States, and United Kingdom spent the first two sessions and most of their third session on discussing which specific issue should be addressed as a delegates’ choice.

In accordance with the diversity within the committee, the suggested topics were just as various. While Kuwait repeatedly stressed the necessity to discuss human right abuses in South Sudan; the Russian Federation brought up the crisis in Syria; and Bolivia pointed to the situation in Libya. And then there was also the Iran Nuclear Deal that fired up the discussion and brought up further questions that drove a wedge between the United States of America and the Russian Federation. Did the U.S.A neglect their responsibilities within the international community when they withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal? Can Baschar al-Assad be regarded as a legitimate ruler? Faster than lightning, the delegates brought up many issues, while the specific questions mainly stayed unanswered and discussions never became really deep.

However, after hurdling through many issues that were brought up by concerned delegates, the decision was finally made in favor of Topic A.

As Lynne Doughtie once said, “different perspectives, experiences, and insights improve decision-making and lead to superior performance”. It remains to be seen whether we will get to see something superior or something that is just unusual.

Discussions in the Legal Committee — a hopeless venture?

By Emilia KLIX

Today, the Sixth Committee of the United Nations (the Legal Committee) had their first three sessions regarding Jus ad Bellum — the Right to Go to War. So, what has happened so far?

Well, sadly, I need to inform you that the answer is: lots of talking and discussing, forming of blocks and insulting each other. But actually finding and deciding on a consensus? Not so much.

To the credit of all delegates: they do an amazing job at debating, but also repeating each other and themselves. The repetitions are necessary, because apparently there are lots and lots of misunderstandings. I guess truly listening to each other the very first time is just too boring for the delegates!

Someone who is especially present and active is the delegate of the Republic of France – not only is he a driving force in the drafting of working papers, but he also seems to be quite an expert on the topic of insults. Not only did he say that one cannot rely on the predictability of Member States, especially regarding the election of a “certain President”. (I don’t believe President Trump would think that’s a compliment, but then again…does he think at all?)

He later made some”strong” statements about China – laughing at China’s eagerness to stick to international law (as opposed to changing it) and calling the delegation out for “not [being] a credible defender of international law”. When I asked him about that even later, he remained with his position and pointed out that China’s government ignores decisions of international courts. Well if that isn’t the spirit of working together as truly united nations, then I don’t know what is!

China’s delegate, however, seems to be surprisingly relaxed. When I talked to him about the statements from France’s delegation, he told me that that “China stands for mutual respect, dignity and equality” of the Member States and that France’s statement “wasn’t well considered”. However, China nevertheless looks forward to working with all of the Member States and France’s statement will not hinder the diplomatic work.

Despite small fights like this, it appears that the Member States prefer talking about their differences in details rather than focusing on finding a consensus. At least it can be said about the discussions regarding the requirements for preemptive self-defence. As Mozambique’s delegate said it: there were hardly any differences between the two working groups in the end. Yet no solution has been properly decided on.

And what do we learn from that? Law is complicated. Definitions are complicated. Yet sometimes it is important to make amendments to your own suggestions in order to be able to produce a draft resolution within a reasonable amount of time.

I do believe that the delegates are able to do so, but maybe they need to realize that themselves. In the words of Switzerland’s delegate, “as long as we achieve this goal [of creating a consensus and legal certainty], it is worth to have this intense debate.” Let’s hope the second day this plan works out!

Can DISEC Translate Their Vague Ideas into Concrete Proposals?

Dasha ZVEREVA & Yucheng GU

In the first session of DISEC, delegates first chose an agenda. They decided to discuss the second topic – Preventing Terrorists from Building Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), as it is a burning issue in the contemporary world. Then the debates focused on the topics of training of security forces; sharing information; improving securing devices; and illegal trade of components used for IEDs.

During moderated caucuses, delegates divided into two teams. Some mysterious force saw the delegations of Angola, Ghana, Mali, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States of America form into one bloc. The other bloc consisted of Afghanistan, China, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Morocco and Syria. Although differentiating in some areas, both groups have similar vision in fields of, for example, further training for the security forces and information sharing platform about the experience with IED disposal and deploying technologies.

Outside of those two groups, a quartet in the back of the room was more than happy with their silent debate. They didn’t submit any working paper while the other groups proposed two papers. Curiosity caused the authors to look up and search for the quartet in the hope of catching some thoughts from their discussion, however they were nowhere to be found in the conference room anymore. Could it be that the silence had consumed them?

Nearing the end of first day, there was already the idea in the air that there will be only one working paper, which would combine both groups’ proposals. To combat IEDs, DISEC came to the agreement of measures such as: “general information sharing”; “training sharing”; “scientific research”; and “educating the public”. Although, these ideas are great, it seems to the authors that these proposals are still far away from being practically implemented.

Lack of factual data as a solid foundation renders the arguments rather shallow, but just, as the Honorable Chairs (George Mullens and Alfie Jenkins) pointed out, during a short interview at the end of the first day: involvement is the most important part of a MUN conference and how the delegates managed to find a “balanced cooperative disagreement” is very much agreeable.

The authors are eager to know if DISEC can translate their ideas into more specific and factual proposals in the next committee sessions tomorrow. Since the delegates are working with considerably high speed, the hope of touching on the second topic is on the horizon.