UN, Uganda Ambassador Tells Colleagues Wives of Iran, Nuclear Monsters
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 6 -- Answering a question about Iran on Thursday the UN
Ambassador of Uganda, a member of the Security Council, said "we
should not let the development of science makes nuclear weapons move
faster than us, who are trying to stop these monsters of mass
Rugunda, who invited Inner City Press to his session with Women's
International Forum, fielded questions from the wives of Ambassadors
to the UN from, for example, Bosnia and Mali. The latter, Mrs. Amalle
Baba Lamine Keita Daou, asked "what about Iran?" (Click here
for Inner City Press' question and answer with Iranian President
recently traveled to Uganda, in what was reported
as a trip to lobby for Uganda to vote against nuclear sanctions on
Iran. Afterwards, Uganda's position was that it would confer with
other African nations, which it represents on the Security Council,
and would seek "clarification" from the Obama
Administration in the US.
read this as
putting Uganda in the camp of Brazil and Turkey, for example, said to
be skeptical of sanctions on Iran. But Uganda's Ambassador Rugunda on
Thursday thundered against even non-weapon nuclear developments
unless they could be closely monitored. He is a medical doctor,
graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, and a
member of a group against nuclear weapons.
his government's representative at the talks in Juba, South Sudan
with the Lord's Resistance Army. He was asked about this, and
characterized the LRA as reduced to groups of four or five "causing
trouble." There are, however, reports from the Congo of
massacres of 100 and even 300 civilians at a time by the LRA.
UN's Ban and Amb. Rugunda, Iran and spouses not shown
the WIF audience
on Thursday was Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, the wife of Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon. Rugunda was introduced, quite formally and
informatively, by his wife Jocelyn. While Thursday's session was
productive, some thought the grouping a bit anachronistic,
asking, are their any male spouses of Permanent Representatives, for
example those of Brazil, Luxembourg, the U.S. and one other Permanent
Five Security Council member? The group will hear next month from New
Yorker author Adam Gopnik. The group's webmaster is leaving. So...
watch this site.
the Security Council members are set to dine Thursday evening with
Iran's Foreign Minister Mottaki at the Iranian resident on Fifth
Avenue and 84th Street. France will be represented by its "Charge
d'Affaires." It is not clear who will be representing the United
States. We'll see.
of 5:44 p.m. -- word on the street (84th Street, that is) is that since
Susan Rice of the US is not going, the UK's Mark Lyall Grant is not,
either, nor is his deputy Philip Parham. Apparently it is too late to
Or, the UK PR and DPR will be drinking away their sorrows at Labour's
loss, or celebrating the Conservatives' failure to gain a majority. One
wondered if the Germans -- the one in the P5 Plus One -- are invited,
at least for dessert.
* * *
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