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On Iran Talks Extension, ICP Asks UN, Then Ban on Momentum of P5+1

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 24 -- Hours after this stage of the Iran talks in Vienna ended by a further extension, Inner City Press at the UN's November 24 noon briefing asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric if Ban had any comment.

   "Let me get back to you," Dujarric said. Others asked, what does that mean?

  Forty minutes later, Dujarric's office sent this out:

"In response to questions about the extension of talks concerning Iranís nuclear programme, the Spokesman has the following to say:

"The Secretary-General is encouraged by the determination and commitment by the P5+1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran to overcome their remaining differences and to achieve a comprehensive agreement. He calls upon the parties in the months ahead to sustain the positive momentum and to build upon the progress they have made. He hopes that all sides continue to implement their agreed commitments with a spirit of mutual trust and in good faith."

  Dujarric even made a comment when Inner City Press asked about Chuck Hagel resigning: Ban enjoyed his time with Hagel. Note: and disinvited Iran from the Montreux talks on Syria.

In Vienna the press conference by John Kerry was delayed by Obama's farewell to Chuck Hagel.

 (Covering that event, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said let's see if a reporter shouts a question. But the applause was too loud: no question on the P5+1 talks, or anything else.)

  Minutes later in a tent in Vienna, Kerry was asked about Hagel being micro-managed by the White House in of the two American press questions he took. After that he insisted, give the foreign press a change. To an Iranian question, he called himself both candid and fair.

  As the Iran P5+1 talks continued on the eve of the current deadline, who was bragging about having predicted their failure? Western wire service Reuters, crowing that "Other media now coming around to @reuters consistent reporting on how final Iran atomic deal unlikely."

 While false exclusives have proliferated at Reuters under Stephen J. Adler, there a second, separate trend at work here.

  On another UN sanctions regime, Somalia and Eritrea, even when former Reuters reporter turned sanctions monitor Dinesh Mahtani was forced to resign for having championed a new leader for the country he was supposed to monitor, Reuters entirely omitted his removal from its claimed exclusives on the sanctions report.

  Some of this goes beyond a desire, compensated by editor Adler, to claim exclusives even where not merited (including by adopted a policy of not crediting others' exclusives).  At the UN, Reuters has gone so far as to try to censor and remove from Google's Search as "copyrighted" copies of Reuters complaints against other media filed with the UN, click here for that.

 At what point does this become more (or less) that journalism? What about "other media now coming around to @reuters consistent" refusal to credit smaller media, attempts to get them kicked out, then censoring the Internet? We'll have more on this.

  Back on October 27 when the UN's special rapporteur on human rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed held a press conference at the UN, Inner City Press asked him for an update on what he had said about the effect of sanctions and banning of Iran from the SWIFT payments system which Inner City Press asked him about one year and three days earlier, 2013 here from Minute 12:29.

  On October 24, 2013, Shaheed had acknowledged that the banning of Iran from the SWIFT payments system had had an impact. On October 27, 2014, Shaheed said he believes Iran is still banned from SWIFT, but he had no update. Instead he said that humanitarian exemptions to sanctions are having successes. 2014 video here.

 But banning from SWIFT or "de-SWIFT-ing" is not a targeted sanction at all, and he did not mention any exemptions to it.

   Overall, Inner City Press asked Shaheed what impact he thought "the nuclear issue" and the P5 + 1 talks have on human rights in Iran.  Shaheed said he doesn't like linkage, but added that when there's focus on the nuclear issue, it takes away from the focus on human rights. 

  Last year Inner City Press obtained and exclusively published an internal OHCHR plan to take over the "rule of law" functions of the rest of the UN system, and the staffing of the Special Representatives on Children and Armed Conflict, Sexual Violence and Conflict, R2P and the Prevention of Genocide.What has happened on that? Are rapporteurs, like sanctions monitors, still not given any training or orientation by the UN?

Footnote: on October 27, the UN Correspondents Association which so often demands the first question be set-aside for it didn't even send anyone to Shaheed's press conference. One attendee said, it's defUNCA-ed, as in defunct, or de-UNCA-ed, like de-SWIFT-ed. The new Free UN Coalition for Access, present, did not try to brand the press conference, because there was no need. Watch this site.


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