Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

United Nations Fails...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The global platform which will be handed today to President Ahmadinejad by the United Nations is not as shocking as first meets the eye. The U.N. and the poster boy for state sponsors of terrorism have a long and cozy relationship - and one that threatens civilization as we know it.

Take, for example, the Iranian president's single-minded pursuit of nuclear weapons. Over three years ago, the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran to have violated its Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty obligations. Ever since, the head of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradei, an Egyptian, has assigned himself the role of running interference for Iran. He first focused on keeping Iran off the agenda of the Security Council, a delay tactic that worked for a few precious years. When the matter finally got to the Council, ElBaradei railed against sanctions.

In January 2007 ElBaradei suggested a "time-out" on the "application of sanctions." In July 2007 he concocted a deal between the IAEA and Iran "on the modality for resolving the remaining outstanding issues" - double-talk for keeping the development of another Islamic bomb within the family. Two weeks ago he again called for a "time-out" and a cessation of sanctions, breathing whole new meaning into the bored diplomatic concern that the U.N. might "talk us to death."

Then there is the burgeoning rapprochement between the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, and Mr. Ahmadinejad. Ms. Arbour traveled to Tehran at the beginning of September to attend a "human rights" conference. She settled in to a front row seat to listen to Mr. Ahmadinejad announce: "We are against rule of the non-righteous individuals. ... [R]evolutionary Iran aims at global government and a genuine Islamic culture so as to gain a loftier position worldwide."

Iran's Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki called on conference-goers to "modify" the Universal Declaration of Human Rights because the "Islamic world" wasn't present when it was drafted. Ms. Arbour, at pains not to offend her hosts, called for the promotion of "Universal human rights ... in a contextually sensitive way" since "Universality need not be considered in an inflexible and rigid manner."

Needless to say, her Iranian hosts were thrilled with her visit and the very next day felt sufficiently empowered to give the world a display of the human rights "context" in Tehran - by executing 21 people, many publicly and stringing their bodies up for display. Under the flexible legal code in Iran, people are executed for charges like "enmity against God" or "being corrupt on earth."

A week prior to Ms. Arbour's visit, the U.N. handed Iran a leadership role on the planning committee of the next global U.N. anti-racism conference - Durban II - notwithstanding that its president has called extermination of six million Jews during World War II "a myth."

And this isn't the only U.N. leadership role given Iran. Nuclear proliferator Iran is the vice-chairman of the U.N. Disarmament Commission. Treaty violator Iran is a member of the U.N.'s Wider Appreciation of International Law Advisory Committee.

The U.N. also has gone to extraordinary lengths to fete Iranians - like handing Iranian Massoumeh Ebtekar the 2006 Champion of the Earth award for her "creativity, vision and leadership, and the potential of her work and ideas for replication across the globe." Among her creative acts, "Screaming Mary" - as she was dubbed by the world's press - performed as the spokesperson for the Iranian terrorists that took 66 Americans hostage in 1979.

Over the years, the U.N.'s courtship with Iran has had other odious consequences. In 2002 the U.N. Human Rights Commission terminated the post of U.N. investigator into human rights abuses in Iran. Outnumbered and outmaneuvered, Western democracies have never attempted to reinstate it.

In July and August of 2006 Iranian-backed Hezbollah launched 4,000 rockets at the Israeli civilian population, and in the midst of the war on August 3 Mr. Ahmadinejad openly declared: "The main solution is the elimination of the Zionist regime."

Only four weeks after attempting genocide and the destruction of a U.N. member state, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan flew to Tehran of his own volition, shook hands with Mr. Ahmadinejad, and proclaimed: "The international community should count on Iran, not isolate it."

One of the more bizarre annual U.N. spectacles is the Iranian U.N. Ambassador piloting through the General Assembly a resolution on "human rights and cultural diversity." Nobody mentions that cultural diversity in Iran includes stoning people to death for adultery by first burying them waist deep - a legal punishment inflicted as recently as July 13, 2007.

This is what the U.N. of the 21st century does for terrorists, dictators, and despots. Mr. Ahmadinejad will wrap himself in a U.N.-provided human rights flag, and proceed to talk about peace, truth, justice, and freedom. The veneer of human rights will confuse many about the evil that lurks within.

Though dangerous gibberish from beginning to end, his words will be translated into five languages, broadcast on the U.N. Web site around the world and archived for permanent consultation. And the power of peace, truth, justice, and freedom will be all that much weaker as real impediments to his barbarism are nowhere in sight.

This article was first published in the New York Sun.