Report of the Session on Reviewing the Legal Concept of Terrorism


The session on Reviewing the Legal Concept of Terrorism was held by the Habilian Association in collaboration with the Lawyers' Basij Organization of Khorasan Razavi province at Razavi University of Islamic Sciences.
According to the Habilian News Agency (Iranian families of terror victims), this scientific meeting, which was another round of the specialized sessions on recognition of terrorism in Iran, was held with the presence of Seyyad Ehsan Qazizadeh, secretary of the Iranian Parliament's Human Rights Fraction, and Dr. Reza Mousazadeh, professor at the Foreign Ministry's School of International Relations, and a group of professors and students at Razavi University of Islamic Sciences. The highlights of this meeting are as follows:

Since the victory of Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the victim of many terrorist groups
Presenter: From the early days of the Iranian Revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been one of the major victims of terrorist groups. More than 37 to 40 terrorist groups that have been active in Iran since the early days of the revolution are a principal witness to the oppressions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, in addition to foreign terrorist groups, such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, which have primarily targeted Iran in their attacks in recent years. These groups have emerged in different parts of Iran and are supported by many Western countries and regional states.
Regrettably, some of these states, irrespective of the dark records of these terrorist groups, have provided them with shelter and even military bases, the latest evidence of which was the terrorist attack in Ahwaz on September 22 of this year, and the support that they received from Denmark for establishing their base in this country.
Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran can be considered not only as one of the major victims of terrorism in the world with more than 17,000 terror victims, but also the victim of dual and contradictory policies of European countries in dealing with terrorism. There is no doubt that Islamic Republic of Iran is the first and the greatest victim of terrorism in the international arena.
In view of the above, the Habilian Association, since its establishment in 2005, has pursued the mission of introducing Iran as one of the main victims of terrorism in the region and in the world. It aims to gather evidences on these crimes and the victims of assassinations in the country besides exposing the nature of terrorist groups in Iran to national and international communities, especially with a legal approach.
The Habilian Association, after 14 years of unceasing and extensive activities at the national and international level, has established itself as a distinguished center for all elites working in the fields related to human rights and terrorism. Thus, due to time constraint, I do not want to elaborate on the various activities of this center in legal domains and human rights. As a short preamble, I just point to some of measures and scientific meetings organized by Habilian over the past two years so that we can benefit more from the ideas of distinguished professors participating in this session.
Habilian Association has organized around 20 scientific meetings since June 2015
In an attempt to keep the scientific and academic communities of the country updated with the latest developments in terrorism and human rights in Iran and the operationalization of theoretical fields in Law, Political Science and International Law schools, and to take advantage of the scientific and human capacities of the institutes and illustrate the nature of terrorism for the new generation of students, the Habilian Association has held around 20 scientific meetings across the country since June 2015. The majority of these meetings were held at faculties, universities and research centers across the country.
Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Imam Khomeini Research Institute in Qom, Imam Hossein University, Iranian International Studies Association, University Tabriz, University of Isfahan, University of Shiraz, Imam Sadiq University, Islamic Revolution Document Center, and other universities and centers of the country have been host to the legal meetings organized by Habilian. Accordingly, a total of 110 lectures on human rights, terrorism, international relations, and human rights and terrorism have been delivered that explore this issue from legal, social, political, security and cultural aspects.
In this regard, today’s meeting is held at Razavi University of Islamic Sciences, with the presence of two outstanding professors and prominent figures in this field, Dr. Sayed Ehsan Ghazizadeh, Hashemi, the head of human rights faction of the Islamic Consultative Assembly and Dr. Reza Mosazadeh, the professor of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a pleasure to host these two renowned figures and I would like to invite them to present their speech.

Dr. Reza Mosazadeh: I would like to extend my regards to all ladies and gentlemen, professors and scholars attending this session. A matter of crucial importance has been set as agenda of this meeting, which has affected people and nations for decades and even centuries. The importance of addressing this issue is increasingly felt, especially in our country, which has been the victim of terrorism for many years since the early days of the revolution.
Understanding and recognizing the terrorism is vital
Therefore, understanding and recognizing terrorism is vital. To defend our rights in the international community, we need to become acquainted with terrorism-related concepts and the process that has developed at international arena in relation to the concept of terrorism. The concept of terrorism and sometimes a terrorist may lead to a global war. The first war at the global scale, known as World War I, was prompted by the assassination of the crown prince of Austria in Sarajevo, which was later followed by huge massacres and carnages.
We know that the first international convention on terrorism was not held in the United Nations, but it was in 1937 during the era of League of Nations in between the two World Wars. The United Nations has enacted twelve international conventions and seven regional conventions (a total of 19 international conventions) about terrorism.
Terrorism took on a new form after September 11, 2001
Terrorism is not an unprecedented phenomenon and it has been in place during various periods. However, after September 11, 2001, it took a new form, both in terms of its execution and the regulations set about terrorism and the counter-terrorism measures. If I want to give you the exact title of my speech, I have to call it "The Consequences of Terrorism and the Fight Against Terrorism in International Law."
What are the consequences of terrorism? What rules and orders have been disrupted by terrorism and what disasters have been begotten by it at international scene? This new form of terrorism that was developed after September 11 had its roots in a terrorist group called al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, consisting of multinational forces, ranging from the Saudis and generally Arab countries that joined forces to mount an attack to a country like the United States (or any other state for this matter). This is what is happening in reality. They are emerging as new actors at the international arena who want to show off their power and take a decisive action against the United States.
To deal with this issue, if it was not for 9/11 event, much of the regulations on how to resort to force and confront those who recourse to force would not be in passed. In December 2001, a new concept was added to the national security inventory of the United States. Although a new concept, its precedence could be traced back to actions taken by the Zionist regime in the Six-Day War during the Arab War in 1967. That is, as a pre-emptive action before Arab countries plot an attack, they determined to launch an invasion. There were a few cases, and we had one or two cases of this type.
Today, as noted in National Security Strategy of the United States, they no longer hesitate in taking an action. They will react not only to the use of force, but also to the threat of using force. Article 2, Paragraph 4 of the Charter of the United Nations, which is concerned with the execution of force, prohibits any resort to force unless as a defensive measure. In accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, in response to an armed attack, you are allowed to put up individual or collective defense in a legitimate manner.
For the formula stated in Paragraph 4, Article 2, two scenarios have been presented: the prohibition of resorting to force and the prohibition threating to use force. Now, if one resorts to force, there is a solution: the use of force is accompanied with an armed attack, which gives you the legitimate right of defense, whether independently or through the Security Council. However, according to the second scenario, even the threat of resorting to force is forbidden. Now you have the case in which a country threatens another! What legitimate solutions have been offered for these countries?
After 9/11, Americans proposed the ideas of pre-emptive and proactive actions
Before 9/11, they had not formulated any theory about threats. They presented two ideas; preventive and proactive actions. There are some evidences such as the speeches made by George Bush and many other authors, lawyers, politicians in the United States, asserting that cannot afford to wait for an attack to happen and then take defensive actions. They wanted to strike before being targeted.
When we are informed that there is a terrorist group in a country like Afghanistan, Africa or even in Europe, biding their time to invade targets in the United States like commercial buildings, Pentagon and the White House ... If you merely intend to comply by the charter, you must first wait for their strike to be able to respond! That is, an armed attack gives you permission to put up a legitimate defense. But the means have changed, and many terrorist groups have emerged, so we can no longer remain silent. Thus, they divided threats into two categories; threats that are imminent, for which we would act proactively. For example, if there is a 24 or 48-hour deadline before any attack is made, we will call it a proactive action. But, if the threats take another five or ten years to be realized, it is considered as a potential threat, for which preemptive actions measures are taken!
This is the outcome of their theorization and even UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, commissioned a panel of 16 senior world officials, including foreign ministers and presidents of the states, to come up with a theory about this issue. As such, they published a document in December 2004 that sanctioned the use of force as a proactive action! The reporting would be based on the performance and actions of governments.
However, the NAM and developing countries, especially the Islamic Republic of Iran, made a tremendous effort at a summit that was to be held in December 2005 at the United Nations -a summit with the presence of all country leaders, which is an exceedingly event - to endorse the proposals of the 16-member board on the same day, but they did not succeed and the Iranian proposal was dismissed in favor of the American, British, and Western proposals, which were almost legalized by Kofi Annan's will. Anyway, this never happened.
In the aftermath of an event called 9/11, many theories were presented, which were concerned with pro-active and preemptive actions. I will tell you the titles. In the wake of an event like 9/11, the rules and regulations were fairly ignored and we witnessed another important outcome. Security considerations take precedence over international laws.
As far as international relations are concerned, what matters is international security rather than international law. Even in the domain of diplomatic immunity, they are less likely to observed, and even more security controls are introduced, without recognizing those immunities.
Terrorism and expansion of Security Council authorities
The third consequence that we can imagine for the phenomenon of terrorism after 9/11 is that it has extended the powers of the Security Council, increasing its scope of authority and threats to peace. Previously, the threats to international peace and security, as foreseen in Article 39 of the United Nations Charter, were limited to the jurisdiction of the Security Council. Now, the Security Council can interfere into any cases.
Let me give you a clear example in our country. Why Iran is being sanctioned for its peaceful nuclear activities? It is just because the nuclear agency has announced that it cannot determine whether Iranian activities are peaceful or not! So they delegated this job to the Security Council. According to the chapter seven, it is at the discretion of Security Council to decide whether a country’s activities are threatening or not. And the Security Council concludes that Iranian nuclear activities are threatening!
How are Iran's activities threatening, but the nuclear activities of the Zionist regime or other countries do not pose any threat? Rather than a proactive action, it is more of a preemptive measure. That is, they assume that Iran may develop powerful nuclear capability in the next ten or twenty years so that it can shift from peaceful to military nuclear activities. Of course, it is just in their minds! It is what they claim without providing any evidence.
In the realm of terrorism, the Security Council entered the legislative area
The fourth consequence that we can cite in relation to terrorism is that it enabled the Security Council to enter the legislative area, something that is without precedence in the history, especially by passing a decisive resolution called 1373. This resolution, which was issued on September 28, 2001, 17 days after 9/11 event, sets forth regulations and compels governments into making pledges that are unprecedented, whilst legislation has never been within the jurisdiction of the Security Council.
These expanded authorities of the Security Council certainly have a bearing on other international law. But on what basis? At present, the Security Council has been able to force countries into assuming obligations that are far beyond its power, which in practice has violated the sovereignty of states. It coerces governments into doing certain courses of actions, which gives rise to another consequence. Accordingly, the Security Council has exploited its powers to turn the conventional and logical commitments of states into organizational obligations. That is, it is the UN Security Council, which determines what measures should be taken.
If you look at the Security Council resolution 1373, you can see that it has entered into the realm of legislation, with extended authorities to compel governments into undertaking obligations that once required their prior agreement! It even requires actions that have not been foreseen in 19 conventions on terrorism.


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