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Ashton Kicks Off Week with 3 Pre-Picked Qs on Iran, Rouhani Sept 27, FUNCA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 23 -- It was the first stakeout of UN General Debate week, and tellingly it was EU Cathy Ashton, taking questions on Iran. Or rather, picking questions on Iran: her spokesperson had it all pre-planned it seemed: "Julian, Lawrence and BBC Persian."

  At least that question was on the impact of sanctions. A shouted question about the Balkans was ignored by Ashton. The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and the Westgate Mall attack, did not come up.

  To the side of the stakeout less controlling it seemed, a representative of the Iranian mission told Inner City Press that Rouhani's press conference will be on September 27 (invitations sent out two days before, usually very cloak and dagger with confirmation codes) and that Foreign Minister Zarif might come to the same stakeout as Ashton "in about an hour."

In the spirit of transparency, this information was sent out more widely as other information will be by the new Free UN Coalition for Access on @FUNCA_info.

  In terms of review, the sound quality at this year's media stakeout on the first floor of the Conference Building is not good. Ashton spoke in front of a black curtain, with blue UN flags on either side of her. The media is penned in making it easier for spokespeople to hand pick questions. But we'll see.


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