Iran’s Oil and Foreign Ministers Urge Rouhani to Join Paris Climate Accord

Kayhan London, Nov.18 – Iran’s foreign and oil ministers, Mohammad Javad Zarif and Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, have, in separate letters, urged President Hassan Rouhani to push for the ratification of the proposal on Iran joining the Paris Climate Agreement.

The Paris Accord is a global agreement on limiting the rate of long-term climate change. It was negotiated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), held in Paris, France between November 30 and December 12, 2015. There are currently 195 signatories to the agreement, with each country responsible for determining, planning, and regularly reporting on the measures it has implemented to mitigate global warming.

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The Eiffel tower is illuminated in green with the words "Paris Agreement is Done", to celebrate the Paris U.N. COP21 Climate Change agreement in Paris, France, November 4, 2016. REUTERS

“Global warming and climate change have been discussed numerous times at the United Nations Security Council in the last decade,” Foreign Minister Zarif’s letter to President Rouhani said. “The council is becoming progressively interested and involved with the issue. It views global warming as an international security matter. The move could have negative implications for many countries including the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Mr. Zarif added: “The countries that oppose discussing the Paris Agreement in the UN Security Council, including Russia, China, and the Non-Aligned Movement may eventually change their minds and sign the accord. Given that the international community has already implemented many laws, rules, and regulations regarding the climate change, it is, therefore, imperative that the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] and the Guardian Council ratify the proposal on Iran joining the Paris Agreement. The expert analysis and reports on the issue could help to dispel any misgivings that people might have about the measure.”

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. REUTERS

“I fully support the foreign minister’s views on joining the Paris Climate Agreement, given that the UN Security Council is becoming increasingly concerned about the global climate change,” the Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh’s letter to Mr. Rouhani said. “The cabinet adopted the articles of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in its October 2015 meeting. The Ministry of Petroleum has implemented many of these measures in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gases. We also urge other energy companies to be more vigilant in this regard.”

Mr. Zanganeh added: “In the next two decades, the signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement will be focusing on developing renewable energy solutions and reducing the use of fossil fuel, which will naturally have a major impact on the oil export and revenue. This trend will continue irrespective of the Paris Climate Agreement. Despite Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord, 180 countries out of the total 192 have formally signed the agreement including Algeria, Ecuador, Congo, Nigeria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela – all OPEC members.”

Zanganeh warned: “Failure to join the agreement will not reflect well on Iran, especially under the current atmosphere, where the majority of nations are trying to limit the rate of long-term climate change. Our country would not be able to deal with the effects of lowered global demand for oil and gas. We, therefore, urge you to facilitate the approval of the proposal to join the Paris Climate Agreement before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) to be held between December 4 and 14 in Katowice, Poland.”

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Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh. REUTERS

In its November report (Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment), the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution condemning Iran for grossly violating international human rights norms. Also, the recent attempts by the regime to assassinate opposition figures in France and Denmark have angered many European governments.

It is, therefore, entirely possible that the letters by the two principal ministers are part of a coordinated effort by President Rouhani and his cabinet to please European capitals which have, so far, remained committed to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal.

The regime is also still hopeful that the EU will implement the “special purpose vehicle (SPV)” plan which aims to protect non-American companies from U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.


Translate from Persian by Fardine Hamidi