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Iran to chair U.N. disarmament conference

Exclusive Report by UN Watch

GENEVA, May 13, 2013 Iran will chair the United Nations’ most important disarmament negotiating forum during the panel’s May session, which opened today, sparking calls by an independent monitoring group for the U.S., the EU, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to protest. Click here for UN website.

“This is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, the Geneva based non-governmental organization, which announced it will hold protest events outside the UN hall featuring Iranian dissidents.

“Iran is an international outlaw state that illegally supplies rockets to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas, aiding and abetting mass murder and terrorism. To make this rogue regime head of world arms control is simply an outrage. Abusers of international norms should not be the public face of the UN."

U.N. officials say Iran’s post is merely the result of an automatic rotation.

But UN Watch rejected attempts to downplay what it described as “a fundamental conflict of interests" and "an act certain to be exploited by Iranian propaganda to legitimize the mullahs' cruel regime.”

“UN Watch calls on U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, EU High Commissioner Catherine Ashton, and UN chief Ban Ki-moon to make clear that when the United Nations imposes four rounds of sanctions on Iran for illicit nuclear activities, condemns it for illegally arming the murderous Syrian regime, and denounces Tehran’s massive abuse of human rights, this kind of appointment just defies common sense and harms the UN's credibility,” said Neuer.

“Any member state that is the subject of UN Security Council sanctions for proliferation—and found guilty of massive human rights violations—should be ineligible to hold a leadership position in a UN body. The U.S. and Canada have asserted this principle in the past, and should do so again," said Neuer.

“We urge world leaders to declare that allowing Iran to chair a UN disarmament body is simply unacceptable, given the fundamentalist regime’s illicit activities in precisely the opposite direction,” said Neuer.

“The U.S., the EU, and other nations should call on Iran to pass the chair on to a credible country that will advance the disarmament agenda within the UN,” said Neuer.

The Conference of Disarmament reports to the UN General Assembly and is billed by the UN as “the single multilateral disarmament negotiating forum of the international community.”

Iran will assume the presidency of the Conference on Disarmament on May 27 and hold it over four weeks, until June 23.

The conference chair helps organize the work of the conference and assists in setting the agenda.

The May 13 - June 28 conference will be the 35th anniversary session since the conference was established in 1979 after a special U.N. General Assembly session.

The conference is made up of 65 countries who have been divided in recent years on key issues.

The conference and its predecessors have negotiated such major multilateral arms limitation and disarmament agreements as:

• Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

• Convention on the Prohibition of Military or Any Other Hostile Use of Environmental Modification Techniques

• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction

• Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction

• Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty


UN Watch is a Geneva-based human rights organization founded in 1993 to monitor UN compliance with the principles of its Charter. It is accredited as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information.