UN, Lebanon Dodges on Iran and Congo Trip, Says Ban's Staff Is
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 4 -- This month's Security Council president, Nawaf
Salam of Lebanon, is in a tough position. While the Western permanent
powers on the Council have been beating the drums for sanctions on
Iran to pass this month, Lebanon's coalition government contains the
pro- Iranian Hezbollah. Salam was asked if he would prefer Iran not
come up this month. No one has ask that it come up, he replied.
asked about the Congo, the Council's whirlwind trip only to Kinshasa.
from Minute 21:33. In previous years, when the Council has gone to
Africa it has
included four or more countries. This time it was going to be three,
with Uganda and Rwanda, but is not whittled down to one.
Ambassadors-- and one African American Ambassador -- have complained
to Inner City Press for different reasons about the limitations on
the trip. Sudan's Ambassador said, on the record, that it should be
called the Council's DRC trip, not an Africa trip. Another, off the
record, questioned not at least going to the East.
the Council has gone to the East in the past, that this is to
negotiate with Joseph Kabila the terms of renewal of mandate of the
MONUC mission. He said, "I haven't heard from any African state
on the Council that it is a disrespect." But African states are
not limited to those on the Council.
Lebanon's Salam on May 4, apples and oranges not shown
also asked about the Council's decision last month to bar the UN
Office of the Spokesperson from its consultations. Salam said yes,
this has been an issue, but said that now the Executive Office of the
Secretary General can come inside.
some, this means
only the identifiable denizens of the third floor of the UN's North
Lawn building. Spokesman Martin Nesirky has declined to answer this
question, saying to ask the Council. Now, as Ban Ki-moon himself said
this week, the ball is back on the other side of the court. Watch
* * *
At UN, Ahmadinejad
Defends Iran's Treatment of Women, Mocks Obama & Ban Ki-moon
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 4 -- When Iran dropped its candidacy for a seat on the
UN Human Rights Council last month, some described it as restoring at
least some credibility to the UN, as when Bosnia stepped in and beat
out Belarus for a seat two years ago.
City Press asked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad about Iran's
successful replacement candidacy, for a seat on the UN Commission on
the Status of Women, despite gender discrimination and repression,
Ahmadinejad had a different and lengthy answer.
said the switch
was procedural, that Iran had always wanted the CSW seat more than
the Human Rights Council, which within the Asia Group Pakistan was
supposed to run for. Due to a misunderstanding, Ahmadinejad said,
Iran temporarily made a grab for the HRC, before returning to the
seat promised to it, on the Commission on the Status of Women.
how does Iran
intend to use the seat, Inner City Press asked, since it has refused
to sign the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against
Women? We will never sign that, Ahmadinejad vowed. He went to on
paint of picture of "love and complementariness" in Iran.
menial jobs in Iran, he said, nothing "like you and me, cleaning
the street or driving a truck." He said he had read that 70% of
married women in Europe suffer physical abuse, but refuse to complain
for fear of losing their families. Women are better off, he
concluded, in Iran than in Europe.
UN's Ban and Ahmadinejad, human rights not shown
answers came during a more than one hour long press conference held
Tuesday across the street from the UN. The room in the Millennium
Hotel was full, with journalists from the Daily News, Washington Post
and wires, and even Christiane Amanpour (who was not called on).
taken a list of reporters who wanted to ask question, which Inner
City Press arrive too late to sign. But having covered Iran's Nowruz
receptions -- "be more positive next time," the Iranian
mission admonished, leading Inner City Press to ask "or what?"
-- the moderator nodded and allowed the question.
journalists remarked that Ahmadinejad's press conference was more
open and democratic than those of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,
or the pre-screened
stakeout by Hillary Clinton the previous day.
There, the US State Department decided in advance which questions to
take. At Iran's event, alongside some very pro Tehran question,
questions were taken about for example the reports of North Korean
weapons intercepted on their way to Iran.
weapons from them, Ahmadinejad answered. If America finds and seizes
such weapons they can keep them. Regarding Ban Ki-moon, Ahmadinejad
said that if the UN were in Tehran and Iran had a Security Council
veto, Ban would never have spoken as he did on Monday. Asked
repeatedly about sanctions, he said that if they go through, it will
mean that US President Obama has "submitted" and been taken
control of by a gang. This order, he said, will soon collapse.
what of those
arrested and disappeared after the contested elections? Ahmadinejad
did not answer that question, fastening instead on the women's rights
part of the question. Whether the Iranian mission will in the future
allow such questions to be asked, and even answered, remains to be