Iran's growing influence at the UN

The Obama administration has promised to give the United Nations a far bigger role in American policy, Claudia Rosett reminds us in her superb new column in Forbes magazine.

We can see this from campaign statements he has made, his lineup of foreign policy advisers, his article in Foreign Affairs magazine (America needs to "rededicate itself to the United Nations"), his Global Poverty Act  that would lead to higher taxes on Americans to feed UN programs, his elevation of the US Ambassador to the United Nations to be a Cabinet position, and myriad of other steps he intends to take when he assumes office.

Rossett lays out the perils of becoming to intertwined with the United Nations. Iran has all but infiltrated the UN; its emissaries occupy key roles in a raft of subgroups within the UN. The Iranians will be able to exert outsized influence on what the UN agenda is, how money is spent, and what actions will be taken. America gives the United Nations over 20 billion dollars a year (Iran's contribution is paltry) and Iran will play an important role in how our money is spent.

Rossett's recommendation: try to kick Iran out of the United Nations or bypass the organization entirely when American interests are at stake. She provides the details:


With Iran racing down the homestretch toward a nuclear bomb, the United Nations Security Council has spent more than two years expressing "serious concern." By now, Iran is under U.N. sanctions, and in flagrant violation of five Security Council resolutions demanding that it stop enriching uranium. If anything, as a chronic abuser of the U.N. charter, Iran's despotic, terrorist-backing, nuclear-wannabe regime ought to qualify for expulsion from the 192-member U.N. At the very least, one might suppose that on U.N. premises, Iran would be something of a pariah.

But at the U.N., that's not how it works. Although Iran lost its bid this year for a seat on the 15-member Security Council, Iran's government has the U.N. so well-wired, in so many ways, that it's hard to find an angle Iran is not busy exploiting. That ought to be of serious concern to President-elect Obama, who has promised to give the U.N. a far bigger role in U.S. policy.

As it is, America provides the main U.N. premises in New York, suffers the related traffic jams and tries to ride herd on the alleged spies (two Iranian guards at Iran's U.N. Mission in Manhattan were deported in 2004, after they were seen filming landmark buildings and parts of the transportation system). American taxpayers bankroll roughly one-quarter of the U.N.'s total budget, now swollen to well over $20 billion, and on top of that look likely to get stuck with the $2 billion-plus tab for the renovation now underway of U.N. headquarters.

Meanwhile, Iran, which pays a paltry 0.18% of the U.N.'s core budget, or less than 1/100th of the U.S. contribution, has wangled itself an astounding array of influential U.N. slots, which by next year will include seats on the governing bodies of at least eight prominent U.N. agencies. That setup serves both to legitimize the same Iranian regime that is busy violating the U.N. charter, and gives Iran a say in how billions in U.N. funds--much of that money supplied by U.S. taxpayers--get spent around the world.


Read the whole thing.

The Obama administration has promised to give the United Nations a far bigger role in American policy, Claudia Rosett reminds us in her superb new column in Forbes magazine.

We can see this from campaign statements he has made, his lineup of foreign policy advisers, his article in Foreign Affairs magazine (America needs to "rededicate itself to the United Nations"), his Global Poverty Act  that would lead to higher taxes on Americans to feed UN programs, his elevation of the US Ambassador to the United Nations to be a Cabinet position, and myriad of other steps he intends to take when he assumes office.

Rossett lays out the perils of becoming to intertwined with the United Nations. Iran has all but infiltrated the UN; its emissaries occupy key roles in a raft of subgroups within the UN. The Iranians will be able to exert outsized influence on what the UN agenda is, how money is spent, and what actions will be taken. America gives the United Nations over 20 billion dollars a year (Iran's contribution is paltry) and Iran will play an important role in how our money is spent.

Rossett's recommendation: try to kick Iran out of the United Nations or bypass the organization entirely when American interests are at stake. She provides the details:


With Iran racing down the homestretch toward a nuclear bomb, the United Nations Security Council has spent more than two years expressing "serious concern." By now, Iran is under U.N. sanctions, and in flagrant violation of five Security Council resolutions demanding that it stop enriching uranium. If anything, as a chronic abuser of the U.N. charter, Iran's despotic, terrorist-backing, nuclear-wannabe regime ought to qualify for expulsion from the 192-member U.N. At the very least, one might suppose that on U.N. premises, Iran would be something of a pariah.

But at the U.N., that's not how it works. Although Iran lost its bid this year for a seat on the 15-member Security Council, Iran's government has the U.N. so well-wired, in so many ways, that it's hard to find an angle Iran is not busy exploiting. That ought to be of serious concern to President-elect Obama, who has promised to give the U.N. a far bigger role in U.S. policy.

As it is, America provides the main U.N. premises in New York, suffers the related traffic jams and tries to ride herd on the alleged spies (two Iranian guards at Iran's U.N. Mission in Manhattan were deported in 2004, after they were seen filming landmark buildings and parts of the transportation system). American taxpayers bankroll roughly one-quarter of the U.N.'s total budget, now swollen to well over $20 billion, and on top of that look likely to get stuck with the $2 billion-plus tab for the renovation now underway of U.N. headquarters.

Meanwhile, Iran, which pays a paltry 0.18% of the U.N.'s core budget, or less than 1/100th of the U.S. contribution, has wangled itself an astounding array of influential U.N. slots, which by next year will include seats on the governing bodies of at least eight prominent U.N. agencies. That setup serves both to legitimize the same Iranian regime that is busy violating the U.N. charter, and gives Iran a say in how billions in U.N. funds--much of that money supplied by U.S. taxpayers--get spent around the world.


Read the whole thing.