Iran to Oversee U.N. Arms Treaty Conference; ‘Like Choosing Bernie Madoff to Police Fraud’ (CNS) CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE) By Patrick Goodenough 07/09/12)
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE
CNS} CYBERCAST NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-Top
(CNSNews.com) – Iran has been chosen as a member of the “bureau”
overseeing a month-long United Nations conference in New York aimed
at finalizing a controversial global “arms trade treaty.”
The move, which came as the conference got underway last week but
received virtually no attention, is the latest example of Iran taking
up leadership positions at the United Nations despite its defiance of
Security Council resolutions relating to its nuclear program.
Furthermore, according to an expert panel monitoring U.N. sanctions
on Iran, Tehran continues to flout a Security Council ban on
exporting its weaponry, with Syria the main recipient.
“This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock
market,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, a non-
governmental monitoring group based in Geneva, which drew attention
to Iran’s elevation to the conference bureau.
UN Watch is urging U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the
“He should remind the conference that the Security Council has
imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt its
prohibited nuclear program, and that Iran continues to defy the
international community through illegal arms shipments to the
murderous Assad regime,” Neuer said.
One of the key issues under discussion during the U.N. Conference on
the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) is the norms that should be adhered to
when countries decide on selling arms – among them the requirement
that a sale should not contribute to war crimes or human rights
The composition of the conference bureau was mentioned in passing in
a U.N. document outlining the proceedings, but the countries making
up the body were not identified. According to the conference rules of
procedure, the bureau’s function is to “assist the President in the
general conduct of the business of the Conference and, subject to the
decisions of the Conference, shall ensure the coordination of its
In an archived webcast of the session, not translated into English,
conference president Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina is heard
naming the bureau members, with Iran included among three members
from the Asia group.
(The rest of the bureau are South Korea, Japan, Egypt, Nigeria,
Kenya, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Mexico, St. Vincent and the
Grenadines, Australia, Switzerland and Netherlands.)
Iran’s election went unremarked until Iranian media trumpeted the
development at the weekend, with Tehran Times reporting that Iran “is
assisting the president of the Arms Trade Treaty Conference in the
general conduct of the business of the conference” while the Iranian
Students’ News Agency said that Iran “was elected as the deputy of
Arms Trade Treaty conference.”
Iran Daily and the official IRNA news agency went further, both
claiming that “some 193 participating countries unanimously voted in
favor of Iran.” In fact, according to the conference website bureau
members are chosen by their respective geographic groups, not voted
on by the plenary.
An expert panel monitoring U.N. sanctions against Iran that were
first imposed in 2006 has found a number of violations in recent
months, with the Assad regime the intended recipient.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has continued to defy the international
community through illegal arms shipments,” the panel said in a report
last month, adding that “the Syrian Arab Republic continues to be the
central party to illicit Iranian arms transfers.”
Among the shipments, the report cited the seizure by Turkish
officials last March of crates containing 60 assault rifles, 14
machine guns, 560 mortar shells and ammunition, on a flight
originating from Iran and bound for Syria; and the seizure of a truck
on the Turkey-Syria border in February laden with Iranian-origin
explosives, also bound for Syria.
Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Ted R. Bromund, who is
monitoring the ATT conference, remarked last week on the role of
countries like Iran at the U.N.
“To an American, the remarkable thing about the entire meeting is
quite simple,” he wrote. “It’s not just that Iran, Cuba, Syria, and
North Korea are treated at the U.N. as the equals of the U.S.,
Canada, or Finland; it’s that they’re allowed to be here at all and
that their words are not laughed out of the conference by all
Other leadership or supervisory positions held by Iran at the U.N. in
recent years include:
2010 – chairman of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the
U.N.’s “central policy-making body in drug- related issues.”
2009-10 – vice-chairman of the U.N. General Assembly’s Committee on
Information, a body that has the aim of promoting “the free
circulation and wider and better-balanced dissemination of
2009-10 – vice-chairman of the General Assembly’s Sixth Committee,
which deals with legal affairs.
2009 – chairman of the general conference of the United Nations
Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
2009 – president of the executive board of the U.N. Development
2009 – president of the executive board of the U.N. Population Fund
2008-11 – member of the advisory committee for the U.N. Program of
Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider
Appreciation of International Law.
2008-10 – member of the executive board of the U.N. Children’s Fund
2007-8 – vice-chairman of the U.N. Disarmament Commission, a body
dealing with nuclear and conventional arms reduction, and non-
proliferation. (copyright 1998-2012 Cybercast News Service 07/09/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY