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Statement On “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”

 Statement by Mr. Mohammad Reza Sahraei

Counselor at Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran

to the United Nations

Before the Fourth Committee of the United Nations General Assembly

On “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space”

New York, 25 October, 2018

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset I would like to thank Ms. Rosa Maria of Brazil, as the Chair of the sixty-first session the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) for her valuable remarks and inputs.

Nowadays, space science and technology is an indispensable part of our daily life. Our dependence on them is almost comparable to our dependence on air, seas and oceans. It is for this reason that the outer space is considered as the common heritage and province of all mankind; it must be explored and utilized for the benefit of present and future generations of all peoples; and it shall be free for equitable exploration, use and access by all countries. This is the inalienable right of any State, irrespective of its degree of economic or scientific development.

As one of the COPUOS’s founding members, Iran underlines the importance of ensuring the full application of universally agreed principles on outer space. This is the only approach through which we can ensure the sustainable and equitable use of outer space by all States. In this context, we underline the importance of such principles as equality, the non-appropriation of outer space by claim of sovereignty, use, occupation or by any other means; non-discriminatory cooperation in outer space activities; and non-interference in activities of States in exploring and utilizing outer space for peaceful purposes. These principles must be fully respected by all.

Accordingly, access to outer space through space science, technologies and their applications should be available to all States without discrimination of any kind. They are indispensable tools for sustainable development. To that end, and taking into account the dire needs of developing countries to use space science and technologies in their socio-economic development, cooperation with developing countries in outer space activities should be promoted. Equally, non-discriminatory transfer of related science, know-how and technology must be promoted and ensured. Moreover, Iran attaches great importance to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. This should be an integral part of space activities and should be observed by all. However, this should not be used as a pretext to impose limitation on the space programme of developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

Equality is one of the prominent principles of international space law. This should be applied strictly. For instance, the exploitation of the geostationary orbit should be rationalized and made available to all States on equal basis and without any discrimination. Unfortunately, the existing regulations for orbital slots allocation on this orbit, which is based on the “first come, first served” regime, has restricted the capacity of many countries in Geo orbit. As a result, many orbital slots are occupied only by the most developed countries. So, at present, there is little chance for developing countries to enter into outer space and to place their own geo satellite on appropriate orbital slots. It means they are deprived of more useful satellite services and to enjoy the benefits of geostationary orbit. It is an inequality and needs to come to an end.

We also share the concerns about the increase in space debris and its impacts on sustainable use of outer space. However, this should be tackled based on the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility”. As it is a common concern, therefore addressing it, is a common responsibility. In doing so, States have a differentiated responsibility. It means, those who created space debris have the exclusive responsibility for their removal. This principle also recognizes historical differences in the contributions of developed and developing States to outer space problems. Likewise, it acknowledges differences in the respective economic and technical capacity of States to tackle these problems. In our view, any measure to address the space debris needs to be considered thoroughly, taking into account the concerns and interests of all States, and be agreed by consensus.

The small-satellites missions are becoming increasingly important in many aspects of sustainable development of developing countries. Therefore, no ad-hoc legal regime for these satellites should be developed for any reason whatsoever; as it might impose limitations on design, development, launch and use of small satellites by developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

One of the cardinal principles of international space law is that, the outer space must be explored and utilized exclusively for peaceful purposes. However, any attempt to militarization and weaponization of outer space would seriously challenge this principle. The announcement by the U.S to create a new military force for outer space is an alarming development. As the U.S officials has stated, they seek dominance in space; view space as a war-fighting domain; and also plan to work on the development of space-based weapon systems. Such policies and measures increase the possibility of the occurrence of an arms race or even conflict in outer space. We should make every effort to ensure that the outer space would be explored and utilized for peaceful purposes. Iran fully supports the negotiation of a legally binding instrument on the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

I would like to conclude by stressing that, promoting the furthest use of space science and technology, ensuring the sustainability of outer space activities, as well as ascertaining that it will remain a zone of peace, is a common responsibility. We should fulfill this responsibility responsibly.

I thank you

18:18 - 29/10/2018    /    Number : 542391    /    Show Count : 128


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