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To UN, NAM Slams US Seizure of $1.8B in Iran Funds, UN Bans Press Coverage

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- Nine days after Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif met with America's John Kerry but the UN of Ban Ki-moon banned Inner City Press from covering it, Zarif wrote to Ban about American courts' "ruling that authorized the confiscation of nearly 1.8 billion US Dollars of assets belonging to the Central Bank of Iran to the benefit of private litigants."

On May 5, Iran's mission sent to Ban this NAM statement:

"Communiqué by the Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement in Rejection of Unilateral Actions by the United States in Contravention of International Law, in Particular the Principle of State Immunity

The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Movement rejects the illegal practice of the United States in defying international law by allowing and facilitating private plaintiffs to bring civil action before U.S courts against sovereign States, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, leading to the awards of default judgments against them and their national institutions. Legislation by US Congress to pave the way for illegally confiscating foreign assets in the US and the actions by the US government to unlawfully hold them enable U.S courts to issue groundless rulings.

The CoB objects to US defiance to international law through the unilateral waiving of the sovereign immunity of States and their institutions in total contravention of the international and treaty obligations of the United States and under a spurious legal ground that the international community does not recognize. This practice runs counter to the most fundamental principles of international law, in particular the principle of sovereign immunity as one of the cornerstones of the international legal order and a rule of customary international law - a principle whose primacy is recognized by the community of nations, all legal systems and the International Court of Justice and was most recently codified in the United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property.  

The CoB calls upon the  United States of America to respect the principle of State immunity, and reiterates that failing to do so would have adverse implications, including uncertainty and chaos in international relations and the undermining of the rule of law at the international level, and would constitute an international wrongful act, which entails international responsibility.

The CoB seizes this opportunity to reiterate the NAM's call to uphold dialogue and accommodation over coercion and confrontation as well as to promote peaceful settlement of disputes."

Back on April 19 when US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met in the UN on April 19, they each announced they would meet again on April 22 about the JCPOA.

  While this might seem like mechanical news, the UN and its partners in censorship saw fit to make it difficult or impossible for non-favored journalists to cover it. Inner City Press, which until this year being ousted (on February 19, audio here) and then evicted (on April 16, video here and here), was always able to cover events on the UN's second floor, now can't.

 A request to pass through the turnstile was denied, and Media Accreditation, which oversaw and filmed Saturday's eviction, was no help. But here, as fast as Inner City Press could obtain them, are the quotes:

Kerry: "We agreed to – we’re both working at making sure that the JCPOA, the Iran agreement – nuclear agreement – is implemented in exactly the way that it was meant to be and that all the parties to that agreement get the benefits that they are supposed to get out of the agreement.  So we worked on a number of key things today, achieved progress on it, and we agreed to meet on Friday.  After the signing of the climate change agreement, we will meet again to sort of solidify what we talked about today."

  Zarif confirmed, “We focused on how we will implement the JCPOA. We meet again on Friday.”

   But why would the UN evict and restrict reporters, for their coverage? The ouster and eviction were ordered by Under Secretary General Cristina Gallach, with a conflict of interest as she appears in the UN's Ng Lap Seng case audit at Paragraphs 37-40 and 20(b); Ban Ki-moon told Inner City Press, "That is not my decision." We'll have more on this.

When the US dramatically called for a UN Security Council meeting about Iran's ballistic missile launch, outside the Council Iran distributed a written statement, while Israel's Danny Danon and then Samantha Power spoke.

  Iran's statement said, "Security Council resolution 2231 does not prohibit legitimate and conventional military activities, nor does international law disallow them. Iran has never sought to acquire nuclear weapon and never will in the future, as it fully honours its commitment under the NPT and the JCPOA. Consequently, Iran's missiles are not and could not be designed for delivery of unconventional weapons. We reject arbitrary interpretation of the provisions of Security Council resolution 2231 and its annexes, and call upon all parties to act in good-faith and refrain from provocations."

 Danny Danon had a exhibit, a photo of launching missile. Inner City Press asked him if he though Ban Ki-moon is "letting it all hang out" in his final year (including though the ouster of Inner City Press, petition here); Danon said they don't always agree, but they talk.

 Samantha Power took a single question, from AP. Inner City Press asked, audibly, if she is aware of the Government Accountability Project letter to her Mission, here.We'll have more on this.

  The UN Secretariat's bungling of Yemen mediation has become ever more clear, according to multiple sources and documents exclusively seen by Inner City Press, see below.

 In the UN Security Council on the Yemen sanctions resolution adopted on February 24, language was added to try to discourage the Panel of Experts from looking into the act of the Saudi-led Coalition. Concessions were made, of a kind not made for or about other countries under sanctions.

  (Inner City Press had to follow the process from outside the UN, literally, the park on 43rd Street across First Avenue, because only days after Inner City Press asked why the UN was so quiet about false claims of Iranian military equipment in a UN WFP aid ship, Inner City Press was summarily thrown out of the UN, and Banned, without due process. Petition here.)

 On March 1, back in on a reduced access pass, Inner City Press asked UN OCHA official John Ging about taking "aid" money from Saudi Arabia while it blasts away at Yemen. Video here.

 Ging said these two are "ring fenced," and that the UN doesn't allow Saudi Arabia to put conditions on aid or where it is delivered.
  Inner City Press asked, what about the Saudi threat that aid workers should leave Houthi-controlled areas? Ging said the UN had pushed back.

But quietly, as was the case with the Saudi diversion of the WFP ship. Does money talk?  Apparently yes.

The Yemen "government," which under UN rules could hold a press conference for all journalists in the UN Press Briefing Room, has instead chosen to invited only members of the Gulf and Western media dominated UN Correspondents Association to a spin session. We've put the leaked invitation online here; here's some of the text:

Dear Colleagues,

UNCA is extending an invitation sent from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Yemen, to a light breakfast briefing with a public diplomacy delegation on their visit to New York to discuss the current political situation in Yemen, on Tuesday, March 8th at 9:00am at the mission (413 East 51st street). Please see the attached invitation to RSVP.

Giampaolo Pioli, UNCA President

The focus of the annexed invitation is on "IHL and HRL violations of the Houthi - Saleh rebels." This is UNCA: this is how the UN works, or doesn't.

On March 3, Inner City Press asked UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq why UN OCHA official Stephen O'Brien said he was "pleased" when Saudi Arabia, which funds O'Brien's Yemen appeal, continues to hold the UN's "humanitarian IT equipment" at least under March 6, after Yemen's Ambassador - sure to be present at the spoon-fed breakfast for UNCA - said was Iranian military equipment.

Yemen's Hadi Gov Invites UNCA on "IHL and HL violations of the Houthi - Saleh rebels" Over Breakfast by Matthew Russell Lee

  UNCA played a role in the UN's ouster of Inner City Press, and is now linked to at least two anonymous troll Twitter accounts trying to defend the ouster. This too is how the UN works: UN Censorship Alliance.
 This same UNCA board in December 2015 offered up seats with Ban Ki-moon for $6,000, after arranging for indicted Ng Lap Seng a photo op with Ban. Covering the organization is entirely legitimate, whatever the UN says, now more than ever with the spoonfed breakfast of Yemen spin.

 On February 28, Ban Ki-moon but not his invisible envoy issued a canned statement about the previous day's airstrike:

"The Secretary-General... calls for a prompt and impartial investigation of this incident."

  Ban's call for an impartial investigation rings hollow, when he has allowed his Under Secretary General for Public Information Cristina Gallach to oust Inner City Press, which reports on Yemen, based on an "investigation" which never even SPOKE to Inner City Press. This incongruity, and its consequences, has been raised directly to Ban and his most senior advisers. Impartial?

Previously: Inner City Press obtained UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed's documents for the delayed talks in Switzerland, and exclusively put them online here.

UN Yemen Talks Documents Leaked to Inner City Press, December 2015 by Matthew Russell Lee


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