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Iran's President at UN Urges Fight Against Root Causes of Terrorism - 2001-11-10


Iran's President Mohammad Khatami has told the United Nations General Assembly that terrorism must be fought, but that the root causes of terrorism must also be addressed.

Mr. Khatami said the disaster of September 11 in the United States is so "tragic and grave" that it requires deep reflection and dialogue to understand its real cause.

The Iranian president said poverty and inequality breed violence and intolerance. He questioned the wisdom of the current U.S.-led military campaign against al-Qaida and Taleban forces in Afghanistan.

"The ongoing military operation in Afghanistan cannot address the root causes of the kind of terrorism that has forced itself on the defenseless people of Afghanistan parallel to the destruction and casualties it inflicts," he said. "On the contrary, it is more likely that the continuation of the current military approach could incite sentiments that intensify intolerance and violence in the region and the whole world."

Mr. Khatami also said the Palestinian people are facing terrorism in the form of illegal settlements and the "killing and terrorizing of defenseless Palestinian civilians." He said nations should build a coalition for peace instead of war and hostility.

The Iranian leader called for a global summit on terrorism. He said there is now an international momentum for combating terrorism that should not be lost.