Israel, US slam ‘absurd’ appointment of Iran to senior roles at UN

“It is absurd beyond contemplation that Iran would serve in a position of leadership on the General Assembly’s committee on disarmament and international security.”

By Andrew Bernard, Algemeiner

Iran on Thursday was elected to two new leadership roles at the United Nations in New York, eliciting a fierce rebuke from both the United States and Israel.

Speaking at the UN’s first committee, which is responsible for disarmament, US Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs Ambassador Robert Wood said following Iran’s election as the committee’s rapporteur that Iran was unfit to serve given that the committee’s purpose is to “address the very security problems that Tehran itself perpetuates.”

“It is absurd beyond contemplation that Iran would serve in a position of leadership on the General Assembly’s committee on disarmament and international security,” Wood said.

Wood cited Iran’s support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and its export of “violence and weaponry to neighboring countries, causing death and destruction from Syria to Iraq to Yemen, and elsewhere.”

As is common for UN positions, Iran’s election was uncontested and the vote for the position was unrecorded. Iran was similarly elected on Thursday to serve as one of the Vice Presidents of the UN General Assembly, which was likewise condemned by US Representative for UN Management and Reform Chris Lu.

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“Iran’s record, unfortunately, speaks for itself,” Lu said. “It defies UN Security Council arms embargoes, violates the human rights of its own citizens, and exports violence and weapons, fostering insecurity and inciting violence throughout the Middle East and across the globe.”

Israel was the only other country to speak out against Iran’s election to the roles. Writing on Twitter, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called the elections a “disgrace.”

“The Ayatollah regime in Iran is a threat to its citizens, the Middle East, and the world,” Erdan said. “It murders its own people, funds global terror, and is galloping toward a nuclear weapon at unprecedented speed. This regime must be stopped and sanctioned and should never have a role in the UN system. This election shows that the UN has reached a new low.”

Iran will assume both leadership positions at the start of the 78th session of the General Assembly in September.

Highlighting the global reach of Iran’s violent efforts, the US Treasury Department on Thursday sanctioned members and affiliates of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who were involved in assassination plots in the United States, including an effort to assassinate former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

“The United States remains focused on disrupting plots by the IRGC and its Qods Force, both of which have engaged in numerous assassination attempts and other acts of violence and intimidation against those they deem enemies of the Iranian regime,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson. “We will continue to expose and disrupt these terrorist activities and efforts to silence opposing voices, particularly those who advocate for respect for the universal human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people.”

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One of those five, Shahram Poursafi, was indicted by the Justice Department in August 2022 after he attempted to pay $300,000 for Bolton’s murder as retaliation for the US drone strike that killed IRGC Commander Qassem Soleimani.

All of the individuals sanctioned on Thursday remain at large abroad in Iran and Turkey.