Iranian President Mohammad Khatami UN2K Address
Text of the Statement by His Excellency
Seyyed Mohammad Khatami
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran
The United Nations Millennium Summit
New York, September 6, 2000
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, I wish to express my appreciation, on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to the distinguished Secretary‑General for his comprehensive report on the emerging global challenges in the new century. The convening of the Millennium Summit is, in my view, a precious opportunity to assess global governance, articulate an innovative role for the United Nations in the midst of fundamental changes at the international scene and chart a new agenda of participation and collective commitment.
Humanity, anguished by its Journey through the twentieth century, marred by blood, calamities and discriminations, is eagerly awaiting a better future in the new century; a future built around the dignity and rights of human beings, with Justice illuminating the gloomy skies of its past and present life.
Much has been said about the pains and sufferings of mankind. So often has this beloved victim of all ages paid the price for the power, wealth and deceptions of a few, who, in our contemporary era, have wronged the entire humanity under the guise of its own defense. In one comer of the world, human beings may have attained acceptable material living conditions, albeit, the rupture between form and content and the ensuing spiritual anguish have tormented their lives. In another comer, far more populous, they are struggling with a multitude of afflictions ranging from poverty, ignorance and exclusion, to undemocratic rulers who are often subservient to major powers.
Through human experience during the last century, democracy has evolved as a value inspiring new modalities of rule. In the age of awakening of peoples and nations, powers are expected to come to terms with this value, and allow human beings to realize the impetus for liberty, freedom, spirituality and dignity.
The right of man to determine his destiny, the emanation of authority, particularly political authority, from the free will and choice of the populace, its submission to the continued scrutiny of the people and the institutionalization of such human accountability constitute the major characteristics of democracy, which need to be clearly distinguished from its various manifestations. No particular form of democracy can be prescribed as the only and final version. Hence, the unfolding endeavors to formulate democracy in the context of spirituality and morality may usher in yet another model of democratic life,
Democratic principles have gradually become the criteria of good-governance domestically. They deserve to become the new norm governing global interactions.
Therefore, the exigencies of a few power holders should not supersede the interest of humanity through familiar practices of endorsement of undemocratic governments, not responsive to the will and needs of their people, and application of double and multiple standards of response to incidents around the globe.
Moreover, the structure of power in our contemporary world must be reformed. In a global society whose constituents, much like equal individuals within nation‑states, are nations of equal right and dignity diverse cultures and civilizations can and should work collectively to build a moral and humane world with liberty and progress for all.