Sanctions Loom, Iran's Kebab Diplomacy Heats Up at UN, Nuclear Stew
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
UNITED NATIONS, February 28 -- As
the UN Security Council inched
closer to a vote
sanctions on Iran,
two blocks east at the Iranian Mission, kebabs and stew were on offer to
journalists who called themselves the "B team." Iran's Ambassador
Mohammad Khazaee sat at the head of the table, not eating but telling
stories of his efforts on behalf of cinema in his country. He told a
French reporter that he sounded if not looked like Alain Delon. "He is
very popular in our country," Khazaee said of Delon, putting Jean-Paul
Belmondo in the same pantheon. Inner City Press asked for the Iranian
view of Gerard Depardieu, decidedly C list. Not so much, it seems. "A
different generation," Khazaee said. But what of Jean Reno?
The purpose of the
lunch meeting, a sort of second seating after the one elsewhere reported
earlier in the week, was to highlight portions of the recent
International Atomic Energy Agency report, and to explain why the
Council should not be voting on new sanctions. Inner City Press asked
about the specifics of who would be sanctioned, who is on the
annex to the resolution,
still withheld by its sponsors. Khazaee said that there are two banks on
the list, but that he doesn't remember the last minute switch in a
previous resolution, when the Iranian government's
Aerospace Industries Organization
was dropped from the
annex at the eleventh hour at Russia's request. So has he seen the
current list? Khazaee said no, he has not.
Iran presents Ban to Ban,
kebab diplomacy not shown
A pot of Iranian stew was placed
on the table by an aide whose name incongruously sounded like Eye Candy.
Ambassador Khazaee spooned some stew onto the plate of the journalist
next to him. I am full, the reporter signaled. Khazaee shook his head,
you must try some. Eventually the scribe gave in. Then another, and
another. This press corps cannot be bought off. The previous night,
Council president for February Panama doled out roast beef and shrimp
along with an open bar in the Delegates Dining Room. As a Permanent Five
ambassador took bets on the timing of sanctions, North Korea's permanent
representative stood off by himself smiling, as takes place at least
monthly. Indonesia conveyed doubts about the Iran resolution, indicating
abstention or even a "no" vote. We'll see.
* * *
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here for a
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for an earlier
piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's
$200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.
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