The United Nations has turned to Iran to help negotiate a global arms treaty in a move that is drawing scorn and ridicule around the globe.
The appointment was made by members of the U.N. Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty in New York last week. The committee to which Iran was appointed is tasked with coming up with a treaty regulating the international trade of conventional arms.
“Right after a U.N. Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality, and common sense for the UN to now elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of U.N. Watch, a non-governmental monitoring group based in Geneva.
"This is like choosing Bernie Madoff to police fraud on the stock market. And the U.N.'s scandalous choice of Iran is exactly why we fear that Syria's declared bid for a U.N. Human Rights Council seat is not impossible."
The 15-nation committee, which is meeting this month, is led by Argentina, which serves as president, and includes the United States, Iran, China, and Russia, nations that serve as vice presidents.
U.N. Watch called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to condemn the decision to name Iran to the committee.
"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.
The Iranian media wasted no time in touting the appointment, noting that Iran “has been elected as deputy for the talks.” According to The Times of Israel, The Islamic Republic News Agency reported that “some 193 participating countries unanimously voted in favor of Iran during the fourth day of the meeting under way in the United Nations headquarters, to draft a bill on regulating arms trade in the world.”
Regardless, U.S. officials played down the significance of the appointment.
“Obviously we oppose [Iran’s appointment], but it’s a symbolic position with little impact on a month-long negotiation that must be decided by consensus,” one senior State Department official told Fox News.
“It will ultimately face the approval of the United States regardless of which country holds one of 14 powerless vice president positions. At that point, we will be looking for an arms trade treaty that makes the legitimate global weapons trade safer by bringing the rest of the world’s arms trade regulations up to the high [current] U.S. standard.”
The Obama administration reversed a 2006 decision by the Bush administration to oppose the treaty process.
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