Iran is under a stack of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, but this situation has not stopped Iran from exploiting the UN itself in order to amass influence in the UN’s assemblies of governments from around the globe. Since first coming under UN sanctions in 2006 (and more UN sanctions in 2007, 2008 and 2010), Iran has won election to an array of governing boards of such major UN agencies as UNICEF and the UN Development Program, and now chairs the second-largest voting bloc in the UN General Assembly, the 120 member Non-Aligned Movement. I have an op-ed on all this, and more, in the Wall Street Journal — “At the U.N., Iran is a Powerhouse, Not a Pariah.”

What does this look like in practice? It’s quite a whirl. Let’s go to UN headquarters in New York (for which U.S. taxpayers, on top of paying for roughly one-quarter of the UN’s annual systemwide budget of more than $30 billion, are also chipping in almost one quarter of the $2.1 billion tab for renovating the UN’s building complex). Iran’s PressTV has a report on a busy day here for Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee. He is filmed striding through the UN halls, chairing a Non-Aligned meeting calling for action against Israel (Cuba featured prominently in the audience), and meeting with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to relay the NAM demand to slam Israel. Then he’s off to a conference on the UN Arms Trade Treaty, where (see post below) Iran, Syria and North Korea became the standout holdouts (for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with respect for the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, and maybe plenty to do with Iran’s campaign to enlarge its role at the UN).

Here’s a link to the PressTV clip, headlined “Iran’s envoy urges UN action against Israeli regime.” The bustling ambassador starring in this show is a mouthpiece for Tehran. The multi-billion dollar UN platform from which he addresses the world is funded in biggest part by U.S. taxpayers. Something to think about.