by Iran, Turkey and Brazil, US Rushes Out Sanctions Resolution Speaking
of Energy- but China Differs
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 18, updated --
As the UN Security Council convened Tuesday at 4
o'clock for the belated distribution to members of the draft Iran
sanctions resolution, whether the U.S. had played its cards right was
the question of the hour. Vice President Joe Biden had said the
resolution would be passed by the end of April. Then other
Administration sources said that, out of respect for the complex
internal politics of Lebanon, the Council's president for May, it
would wait for June.
Brazil's foray to Tehran, and deal about exchanging uranium with
Iran, forced the sanctions proponents' hand. A Turkish diplomat told
Inner City Press on May 17, what's the need for sanctions now? It
seems clear Turkey will not vote for them, and neither will Brazil.
Tuesday morning told the Senate that the draft resolution -- agreed
to by China and Russia she said -- would be distributed to the non
permanent Council members later in the day.
US Mission to
the UN then invited select reporters for a briefing by Ambassador
Susan Rice, saying it was embargoed until 4 p.m.. Major foreign
correspondents, including from the Middle East, were not invited.
Some joked that they must be, in the U.S. view, "non permanent"
UN's Ban and Ahmadinejad, outflanking not shown
if the U.S. got China to agree so quickly, the sanctions must be
extremely weak. The appearance of action is perhaps more important at
this time than action itself. Watch this space.
Update of 4:25 p.m.
-- the new press pen is standing room only, and no TV cameras are
allowed to film the entrance of the Ambassadors. As the French go in,
Deputy de la Riviere mugs for the crowd: oh la la. Brazil's Ambassador
rushes in. There are predictions of between half an hour and an
hour of consultations. The stakeout is ready.
Update of 4:36 p.m.
-- a brief descent into substance: some question why Iran would go
forward with the uranium swap it agreed with Turkey if the Security
Council votes for sanctions at this time. To others this sounds like an
argument made in China.
Update of 4:41 p.m.
-- a diplomat emerging from the Council tells the Press, it's not
really a resolution that they've distributed. Reporters penned in crane
to hear. Inside and out, there are translation problems.
Update of 4:51 p.m.
-- translation issue explained: a P-5 spokesperson emerges to clarify
that the translation equipment did not work. The document (this P-5er
IS calling it a draft resolution) was distributed, and a speech began.
Then the equipment didn't work.
Update of 4:53 p.m.
-- Brazil's Ambassador emerges and says, there is a new situation with
the swap. This is the time for negotiations.
Update of 4:57 p.m.
-- Brazil's Ambassador speaks to Brazilian TV. Others -- CNN, Al
Jazeera -- shout, "to the stakeout please! In English!" But all
politics are local.
Update of 5:11 p.m.
-- suddenly reporters want to know the name of the Ambassador of
Brazil, who's been on the Security Council for five and a half months.
Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, we hardly knew ye!
Update of 5:24 p.m.
- in the lull, there is this
ABC "blog" listing elements, quoting a "senior UN official."
of 5:57 p.m. -- in serial stakeouts, the Ambassadors of the US,
France, UK, Russia and China spoke. The US's Susan Rice spoke of
language -- "preambular" -- about investing in Iran's
energy sector. She could only two questions, chosen by her spokesman:
Al Jazeera and Canadian Broadcasting Corp (some guessed, to make up
for a lack of internationalism in their afternoon invites). Inner
City Press asked China's Li Baodong if his country would feel
constrained against investing in Iran's energy sector by this
language. He said that the purpose of sanctions is to bring Iran to
the table, not to punish normal people. This apparently means:
Chinese investment in Iran's oil sector would continue. Then Li
Baodong was gone, an exclusive offered to Xinhua News Service. There
will be negotiations "at the expert level" in the coming
days. Watch this site.
of 6:06 p.m. -- but wait! There's more! Turkey's Ambassador leaves the
chamber, and reporters, mostly for Japanese media, follow him up the
stairs. He pauses, speaks of "CBM." Some scratch their heads:
continental ballistic missiles? No -- it's Confidence Building
Measures! Outside it is raining.
* * *
UN, US on START and 123 Agreement with Russia, Iran Sanctions Link?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 11 -- With the UN Security Council's discussion of Iran
sanctions stalled by this week's trip to the Congo and this month's
NPT meetings at the UN, on May 11 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State
Rose Gottemoeller told the Press there is "no link" between
the NEW START treaty with Russia and that country's expected vote for
at least some Iran sanctions.
asked Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller if she acknowledged a link
between Iran sanctions and both the Senate's consideration of START
and the proposed U.S.-Russia Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear
Cooperation, called the ‘123’ Agreement.
Gottemoeller said that the 123 Agreement is "getting attention
in Washington again" and called this a "good step." Of
course, she said, the Senate in its advice and consent will look more
broadly at the U.S. - Russia relationship. Video here,
she said, "no link" but rather "no direct link."
She said the START agreement should have an "important" and
apparently positive influence, as an implementation of the "reset
button" pushed by Hillary Clinton and Sergey Lavrov.
City Press asked Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller if she had seen
the film "Countdown to Zero." It's on my schedule for next
week, she said. Click here for Inner City Press' review.
Gottemoeller and Obama book in Russian, links not shown
Iran sanctions predict at least two negative votes on the Security
Council: Brazil and Turkey. One P-5 member favors waiting to let
Brazil and Turkey try to work with Iran, figuring they too will then
come to favor sanctions. But the U.S. does not want to wait. We'll
while the visiting Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller spoke free and
easy at the North Lawn building stakeout, getting answers from the US
Mission to the UN has become increasingly difficult. On the morning
of May 11 as Ambassador Susan Rice entered the Security Council,
Inner City Press began to ask for a question about the statement
issued in her name the previous day about Sri Lanka.
was busy. Later a genial Mission staffer came to asked what the
was, and said he would go in and get an answer. But leaving the
Council he said he'd have to check with the "Sri Lanka people."
Hours later in the North Lawn building he again promised an answer.
But still as of close of business and deadline, none was provided.
Should Assistant Secretary Gottemoeller have been asked?
* * *
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
* * *
UN, Hardly Mentioning N.Korea, Did Hillary Meet the Wrong Nigerian Foreign Minister or Just
Not Know His Name?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 3, updated May 4
-- When Hillary Clinton came to speak to or at the UN
press corps on Monday afternoon, the questions were pre-selected and
North Korea was not mentioned. The first two questions were given to
CBS and the Wall Street Journal, and both were on Iran.
third and it
seemed last concerned the US decision to disclose the number of its
weapons. By sheet persistence a UN correspondent from South Asia got
a question in about India, Pakistan and Israel. But no mention of
North Korea. (In full disclosure, Inner City Press said "North
Korea" during each lull, each time louder.)
seeming blindspot? Why focus so much on Iran, calling it a threat to
cross the "red line" to nuclear weapons status, when North
Korea is already over the line? On the first day of
the NPT Review
Conference, Kim Jong-Il was visiting China.
Clinton not addressing North Korea, Inner City Press asked Gareth
Evans about it. He said the DPRK has somewhere around 10 weapons, and
it is a major concern. A reporter for Iranian media shouted two
questions to him about Israel's weapons. Evans scoffed at the second
question and turned away. He told a persistent reporter - not this
one -- that he had no business cards.
spoke, her counterpart from Indonesia walked by, with an entourage of
merely three. Hillary's posse was much larger, similar to that of
Ahmadinejad or later in the day, the EU's Lady Ashton. Snarks pegged
her outfit as something for last week's Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues, and even suggested she could be replaced by David Miliband
when Gordon Brown's Labor loses. Miliband keeps Tweeting as if
Gordo's gonna win.
Hillary Clinton on May 3, wrong Nigerian foreign
minister not shown
Department's tweets, meanwhile, contained a blatant error on
It was announced that Hillary met with Nigeria's foreign minister,
but the former ousted one was named.
#SecClinton just held a bilat with Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo
Maduekwe in New York. #Nigeria
this began in Hillary's
p.m. Secretary Clinton holds a Bilateral Meeting with Nigerian
Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe, at the TIAA CREFF Building.
melt down at the UN Inner City Press covered,
is no longer the
foreign minister of Nigeria. Nor, last
week, did the US Mission to
the UN answer a single one of the questions Inner City Press
submitted, about Congo and the Sudan -- a topic on which Hillary says
she's "disappointed." Well, we're disappointed too.
Note to Foggy
Bottom: there's a
new foreign minister of Nigeria, Odein Ajumogobia, and he'll be
appearing at Nigeria
House on Second Avenue on Wednesday. Watch this site.
Update of May 3, 6:50 p.m. - Zimbabwe's
Ambassador, at a Russian reception Monday evening celebrating the end
of World War II, told Inner City Press that the event for Nigeria's new
foreign minister has been canceled. The plot thickens...
Update of May 4, 11:01 a.m - Inner City Press
asked Nigeria's Permanent Representative to the UN Joy Ogwu about the
meeting and snafu, and she was seemingly mortified. Ojo is long gone.
So why would the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton, reaching out
to the world, not even take the time to keep up with a months-old
change in foreign ministers of a major African country that's on the UN
Security Council? And what will they say about thiat? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb 26 UN debate
12 debate on Sri Lanka http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/17772?in=11:33&out=32:56
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017
earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.
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